UN sees possible Israeli war crimes, Brazil votes against opening investigation – 27/05/2021 – Worldwide

While the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday (27) that Israel may have committed war crimes by bombing Gaza in the latest conflict against the Islamic group Hamas, the position Brazil’s official is that opposition to the creation of an international investigation into possible violations.

These statements were made during a session of the UN Human Rights Council, convened on an exceptional basis a few hours before the ceasefire that ended the phase of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians. The meeting considers a resolution presented by Pakistan, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and the Palestinian delegation to the Council.

According to Bachelet, his office saw the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, including 68 children, and 10 people in Israel, in addition to hundreds injured. According to him, while the Israeli armed forces have taken precautions such as early warnings of airstrikes that have destroyed entire buildings in residential areas, the offensive raises serious concerns over respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality of the country. IHL.

“If considered indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians, these attacks could constitute war crimes,” Bachelet said, adding that the initial investigation found no evidence that all of the targets were buildings used. by Hamas leaders or for military purposes, as Israel claims.

Regarding the rockets launched against Israel, the high commissioner said that because the projectiles had blind targets and were unable to distinguish between military and civilian targets, each of them – more than 4,400, according to Israeli officials – constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

In her speech, the representative of Brazil on the Council, Ambassador Maria Luisa Escorel, said that the country would not support the proposal to open the international search. According to her, the measure is unable to help maintain peace and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

Escorel expressed “deep concern” at the escalation of violence and deplored the tragic loss of civilian life. He also celebrated the ceasefire as “an important and necessary step” to prevent further episodes of violence and called on both sides to adhere to respect for international law.

The ambassador’s speech also reflected the pro-Israel stance of the (non-party) Jair Bolsonaro government, giving different weight to the role played by parties involved in the 11-day conflict. Escorel said Brazil condemns “in the strongest terms the rockets launched from Gaza against the Israeli population by Hamas and other militant groups.”

In mentioning Israel’s military action, however, the Ambassador was more moderate. He said civilian deaths and damage to infrastructure in the Palestinian territory “are of great concern” and called on Israeli forces “to exercise the utmost caution while exercising their right of self-defense.”

According to the ambassador, Brazil “strongly supports all diplomatic efforts towards a long-term agreement that addresses the legitimate concerns of both parties.”

Hamas began firing rockets on the 10th in retaliation for what it called violations of Israeli rights against Palestinians in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims. The attacks came after a series of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian groups at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a trial court ruling that could expel Palestinian families from a disputed neighborhood in East Jerusalem since. its annexation by Israel in 1967. In response, the Israeli armed forces began to bomb Gaza.

The series of violence is the most serious since 2014. The last major clash lasted 51 days and devastated the Gaza Strip, killing at least 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 74 Israelis, almost all of them. soldiers.

The current conflict has also served as fuel to escalate internal hostilities in Israeli cities that were previously seen as symbols of coexistence between Arabs and Jews. There have been hundreds of arrests and local authorities have declared states of emergency and curfews. In addition, there were signs of revolt against Israel among the Arab population of neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, which heightened fears that the conflict would destabilize the entire Middle East – which it did not do.

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