New York: The United Nations’ top human rights official has called for an investigation into Israeli air strikes on Gaza, on the grounds that the targeting of Palestinian homes — resulting in a high death toll among civilians, particularly children — could violate international law.
The warning from Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, came on the fourth day of Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip and a rocket barrage of Israel by Islamist militants.
However, the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, said his government would not be deflected by criticism from abroad, refusing to rule out a ground offensive and vowing there would be more air strikes
Pillay said her office had received “deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes” in Gaza. “Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
Pillay added that the “indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza” could also constitute a breach.
“Every alleged breach of international law must be promptly, independently, thoroughly and effectively investigated, with a view to ensuring justice and reparations for the victims,” she said.
Netanyahu shrugged off criticism and said the bombing would continue. “No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power,” he said, claiming to have recently had “good conversations” with leaders including Barack Obama and EU heads of government.
He claimed Israeli planes and drones had attacked more than 1,000 targets in Gaza, adding, “there are still more to go”. He said Israel had already struck Gaza with twice the force used during the last offensive of its kind in 2012, and he would not rule out an incursion by ground troops.