Israel's 'defiance' of international law slammed

Geneva - UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Thursday slammed what she said was Israel's "deliberate defiance" of international law during the Gaza conflict.

Pillay lambasted the country's attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and UN facilities which are sheltering 250 000 civilians in Gaza.

"There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel," the South African told reporters.

Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental," she said.

'Completely unconscionable'

She spoke a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp which was sheltering some 3 300 homeless Gazans, killing 16 people.

Israel has accused Palestinian Islamists Hamas and other militants of hiding out among the civilian population and using UN facilities and other sites to store weapons and launch rocket attacks.

Pillay said that under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, but can lose their protected status if used for military purposes.

Even then, she said, due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.

"It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored," said Pillay.

Lack of accountability

She also criticised Israel's strikes on Gaza's power plant, as well as water and sewerage systems.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from Israel and the US.

"We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on," Pillay said on Thursday, calling into question domestic investigations by Israel into abuses.

"I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong," she added.

As of Wednesday, the 24th day of the Gaza conflict, 1 364 Palestinians had been killed - three-quarters of them civilians, Pillay said.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have also died, while cross-border rocket fire has killed two Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker.

The UN human rights chief has repeatedly condemned the actions not only of Israel but also the indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli communities.

Danie Gerber 2014-07-31 04:13:13 PM
What about Gaza u idiot Pillay. They hiding behind civilians. Israel is just defending themselves.
Grant Kippa Freedman 2014-07-31 04:18:00 PM
Lol she is pathetic....why,because in Syria more than 200'000 people have been killed and not a word hmmmmm makes you think why is Israel only being harassed by the useless UN....
Paul Mark Maarman 2014-07-31 04:20:38 PM
Israel does not care, with no real internal nor external pressure is making hay while the sun shines...
Ivan Van Der Merwe 2014-07-31 04:31:34 PM
So if Zimbabwe started firing rockets into South Africa, what would you recommend be done.
shaynes 2014-07-31 04:36:38 PM
You know, if it weren't for the iron dome proctecting Israeli civilians, this war would be an entirely different story. Imagine if every one of the 2000+ rockets aimed at Israeli towns and communities hit on target? Because Israel protects its citizens, and Hamas hide behind them, we have a skewed version of the truth. Hamas hides rockets in UN schools. Hamas digs terror tunnels in UN clinics. And the world blames Israel. I dont get it.
Binte Maya 2014-07-31 04:38:08 PM
Sorry Danie.. more and more people are waking up to the truth... hifing behind civilians is an old excuse that no1s buying except for those few who still can't handle the truth..
Husain Motala 2014-07-31 04:41:49 PM
Alan think that you need to read a book
Binte Maya 2014-07-31 04:42:13 PM
That goes for all who are oppressing others GRant.... we stay united against this violent use of force used in all country.. this article refers to gaza... hence the comments for gaza at this time Grant....!!
Mally Gee 2014-07-31 04:45:17 PM
Pillar is just a puppet of the SA gov who are instructed to hate Israel and blame them for the cause of the bloodshed; when any fool can see that the Palestinians are the aggressors.
Ricky Singh 2014-07-31 04:45:42 PM
Its only cowards that kill and main women and children.Surely the world has lost its humanity to not see the tragedy unfolding.Are we to standby to witness this carnage or is someone gonna do something.