Five things we learnt from the Gaza War report

Five things we learnt from the Gaza War report

The UN Human Rights Council has released its much-anticipated report into the 2014 Gaza war.

During the 51-day offensive, the UN estimates 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children. Six Israeli civilians died in the conflict and at least 1,600 others were injured. Here are five key things we learnt from the report:

1. The UN think both Israel and Gaza committed war crimes

The commission said it gathered "substantial information pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law" by both sides. In some cases, it added, these violations may amount to war crimes.

2. The UN raised questions about senior officials setting Israel's military policy

The conclusions of the report said in the case of attacking residential buildings in Gaza or using artillery in densely populated areas soldiers were following agreed policy but added: "It may be that the policy itself violates the laws of war". The UN commission said that in many incidents "the weapons used, the timing of attacks, and the fact that the targets were located in densely populated areas indicate that the Israel Defense Forces may not have done everything feasible to avoid or limit civilian casualties."

3. And questions about the Palestinian authorities

The report raised concerns about the authorities failing to bring armed groups who break the law to justice. "The absence of measures to initiate criminal proceedings against alleged perpetrators calls into question the stated determination of the Palestinian Authority to achieve accountability," the report said. The report noted that while Israel had taken steps to investigate its own alleged violations, "investigations by Palestinian authorities are woefully inadequate."

4. There was a huge amount of firepower in Gaza

The commission said the 2014 hostilities saw a huge increase in firepower, with more than 6,000 airstrikes by Israel and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired. Palestinian armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars toward Israel during the 50-day war, it said.

5. Both Hamas and Israel have largely rejected the findings of the report

Hamas said their rockets were aimed at military sites rather than civilians and Israel said the report was "politically motivated". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that throughout the conflict Israel acted according to international law and he criticised the UN Human Rights Council on Monday as a body that does "everything but worry about human rights."

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