In a likely war crime، IDF soldiers deliberately shot at children and people with disabilities when it quelled Hamas-led protests on the Gaza border during the last 11 months، a United Nations Human Rights Council commission of inquiry reported on Thursday. IDF soldiers “have intentionally shot children، they intentionally shot people with disabilities، they intentionally shot journalists،” said legal expert Sara Hossain of Bangladesh، who was one of the three investigators on the commission. She spoke at a press conference in Geneva، along with the two other experts who published the report on the Hamas-led protests، which Palestinians call the “Great March of Return” that began on March 30.
The snipers who shot at the protesters had high-level technological equipment، were backed up by tanks and separated from the protesters by a fence، Hossain said. These are among the reasons that “the commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return، Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law،” said Argentinian legal expert Santiago Canton، who chaired the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry into the protests. “Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity، and must be immediately investigated by Israel.”
The commission stated that the intentional shooting of civilians “not directly participating in hostilities is a war crime.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the report، saying the UN had set “new records for hypocrisy and mendacity out of an obsessive hatred of Israel، the only democracy in the Middle East. It is Hamas، which fires missiles at Israeli citizens، throws explosive devices and carries out terrorist activity during the violent demonstrations along the fence.”