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UN Condemns Israeli Air Strikes on Gaza’s Largest Refugee Camp

The UN Human Rights Office has voiced deep concern that recent Israeli air strikes on the Gaza refugee camp of Jabalia may constitute war crimes.

The UN Human Rights Office has expressed grave concerns that recent Israeli air strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza may amount to war crimes. 

The strikes, which occurred twice within two days, resulted in numerous casualties, including civilians, as reported by the Palestinian health ministry.

Targeting of Hamas Commander:

Israel stated that its air raid on Tuesday successfully targeted Ibrahim Biari, a senior Hamas commander. 

However, the UN Human Rights Office raised questions about the proportionality of the attacks, given the high number of civilian casualties and the spell of destruction.

Retaliation and High Casualty Numbers:

In retaliation for what Israeli officials describe as one of the worst attacks in the country’s history, Israel has carried out relentless bombing campaigns in Gaza. 

This began when Hamas militants crossed the border from Gaza on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostages. 

According to Gaza’s health ministry, these retaliatory bombings have caused a significant number of casualties, particularly among women and children.

Proportionality and War Crimes:

The principle of proportionality, a central aspect of international humanitarian law outlined in the Geneva Conventions, is invoked in assessing the legality of military actions during conflicts. 

It stipulates that civilians and civilian structures must be spared, but the unintentional death of civilians during a conflict may not necessarily constitute a war crime. 

War crimes are typically associated with attacks deliberately targeting civilians or situations where the scale of civilian harm is excessive compared to the military advantage gained.

International Response and ICC Jurisdiction:

The international community has reacted strongly to the significant casualties resulting from the Israeli air strikes. Bolivia severed diplomatic ties with Israel in protest, while Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel. 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the primary authority for investigating genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. However, it is worth noting that Israel is not a member of the ICC.

UN Chief’s Condemnation:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his deep concern over the escalating violence in Gaza, particularly the killing of Palestinians, including women and children, in Israeli air strikes within the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp. 

This statement was delivered by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, on Wednesday.

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