Israeli airstrikes on Palestine could violate laws of war - UN
11 July 2014, 19:49 -- Israel could be breaking the laws of war by bombing Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip, the UN's human rights office said on Friday. 'We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes,' said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.
'Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,' she told reporters.
International humanitarian law is UN-speak for the laws of war, and Shamdasani said targeting homes was a violation unless the buildings were being used for military purposes and even then, restrictions apply, AFP reports.
The death toll from Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hit 100 on Friday.
Putin calls for ceasefire in Gaza Strip in phone talk with Netanyahu
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to stop the armed confrontation in the Gaza Strip, in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Kremlin press service reported. 'A detailed discussion took place on the sharp escalation of the situation on the Gaza Strip and the south of Israel. The Russian side stressed the need for a speedy end to the armed confrontation, which has led to numerous casualties among the civilian population,' the Kremlin's statement reads, noting that the conversation, which also touched on further bilateral contact between the two countries, was initiated by the Israeli side.
The situation around the Gaza Strip has deteriorated dramatically over the last few days.
The Israeli Army on Tuesday announced the launch of a large-scale operation against Gaza Strip militants in response to continued shelling from the Palestinian side.
According to Israeli army officials, since the beginning of this year, over 450 missiles have been launched by Palestinian militants targeting Israeli settlements.
The strikes intensified in mid-June, when the search for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers began in the West Bank, for which Tel Aviv accused Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group in Israel, of abduction and murder.
Meanwhile, the scale of destruction on the West Bank is unlike anything ever witnessed before, a globally recognised Israeli peace activist told RIA Novosti Friday.
'I went to Halhul and Hebron several days after the teenagers were kidnapped, in solidarity with other Israeli activists, and what I saw there was complete and utter destruction unlike anything we had ever seen in the West Bank,' Maya Wind, an Israeli national who grew up in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada, told RIA Novosti, having visiting the West Bank a few days after the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found murdered.
Wind accused the Israeli Government and military of exploiting the murders for their own purposes, while many within the Israeli peace movement strongly agree that the latest escalation of violence has been choreographed by Israel.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has also called on the international community on Thursday to do everything possible to resume negotiations toward a two-state solution between conflicting Israel and Palestine, after 88 Palestinians were killed and several hundred injured.
'Over the past several days, the Palestinian factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have fired a barrage of more than 550 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces have launched more than 500 airstrikes on Gaza,' Ban told the Security Council.
'Eighty eight Palestinians, many of them civilians, are reported to have been killed, and 399 injured,' he said.
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