LONDON – Amnesty International has urged the UN to urgently mandate an independent international investigation into Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as well as Palestine's indiscriminate shelling of Israel, and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes.
The UN questions the legality of Israel's Gaza offensive, while the Israeli government is dismissive of international pressure. Despite claims by Israel that its ‘Protective Edge’ military operation targets ‘militants,’ over hundred Palestinians killed in airstrikes on Gaza are civilians, according to the Amnesty.
At least 24 children and 16 women were among the casualties. Simultaneously, at least 20 people in Israel have been wounded by rocket attacks from Palestinian territories, according to the human rights watchdog, calling on the UN to set up a fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel to investigate violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.
"Swift UN action is needed as lives hang in the balance," said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Amnesty. "The international community must not repeat previous mistakes, standing by and watching the devastating consequences for civilians of both sides."
Amnesty sees arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian military groups as a means of preventing the violence escalating further. "Pending such an embargo, all states must immediately suspend transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to the parties, which have failed to properly investigate violations committed in previous conflicts, or bring those responsible to justice,” Amnesty's official statement reads.