Friday, March 27, 2015

Number Of Palestinian Civilians Killed By Israelis Reaches Nearly 50-Year High | ThinkProgress

Palestinian children walk between the rubble of buildings which were destroyed during the summer 2014 Israel-Hamas war, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip on Feb. 23, 2015.
Number Of Palestinian Civilians Killed By Israelis Reaches Nearly 50-Year High | ThinkProgress
by Beenish Ahmed
 "Israel killed 2,314 Palestinians in 2014, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. That’s more than any year since 1967 when Israel defeated pro-Palestinian forces to wrest control of all of Jerusalem and other land then held by Arab countries. Many of the deaths last year were a result of an Israeli military operation in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, which left at least 11,000 injured and 500,000 internally displaced.
“Israel, the occupying power, must fulfill its primary obligations to protect the Palestinian civilian population, and ensure that people’s basic needs and human rights are met,” the U.N. stated in a report documenting Israeli treatment of Palestinians. “This would include taking action to secure the physical protection of Palestinian civilians, cease their displacement, ensure accountability for violence and abuse, and lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, as well as on access to land and resources.” Israeli military officials have said that so Palestinian civilians were killed, in part, because they were used as human shields by Hamas. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said the bombing of a U.N. school “a true tragedy” but that Palestinian forces hid munitions in schools and hospitals. The U.N. maintained nonetheless that Israel violated international law, the international organization isn’t very likely to hold Israel accountable for its failures to protect — or even kill — Palestinian civilians.
 Even if U.N. officials themselves are at the forefront of the call for justice. “[W]e cannot allow impunity, we cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on,” Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in July after claiming that Israel’s attacks on homes, schools, and hospitals in Gaza pointed appeared to be at odds with the rules of war outlined by the Geneva Convention. Palestine received overwhelming approval to become a non-member state of the U.N. in 2012, and in his appeal to the assembly even then, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the the international community faced a “last chance” to “issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine.” That birth certificate was blocked by the U.N. in December when the U.N. Security Council voted down Abbas’ appeal after facing the threat of a veto from the U.S. In a remarkable shift to unwavering American support of Israel, President Barack Obama said last week that he would “reassess” aspects of the U.S.-Israeli relationship after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced support for a one-state solution, and then walked back that claim after he was re-elected. Netanyahu’s controversial speech before Congress further degraded his relationship with Obama. That means that recognition of a Palestinian state — and accountability from Israel for human rights violations — may be closer than ever before.
On Friday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that they will call for a resolution to recognize a Palestinian state in the coming weeks. “Today nothing has moved forward, still development of settlements, the Palestinians are in a more and more difficult situation and we cannot stay like that,” he said."

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