Live Updates: Israel-Hamas War and Gaza Ceasefire

A United Nations panel investigating the October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent conflict in Gaza accused both Palestinian and Israeli armed groups of war crimes, and it found that Israel’s conduct of war includes crimes against humanity.

In a report released Wednesday, the three-person commission — led by Navi Pillay, the former United Nations human rights chief — provided the United Nations’ most detailed examination of the events took place on and since October 7. The report itself does not prescribe any sanctions, but it does provide a legal analysis of actions in the Gaza conflict that are likely to be heard by the Court of Justice. International legal and other international criminal proceedings considerations. Israeli uncooperative with the investigation and objected to the panel’s assessment of his conduct, the panel said.

The report said the military wing of Hamas and six other Palestinian armed groups – in some cases supported by Palestinian civilians – killed and tortured civilians during the October 7 attack on Israel, in which More than 800 civilians were among the more than 1,200 people killed. The report added that 252 people, including 36 children, were taken hostage.

“Many of the kidnappings were carried out with significant levels of physical, mental and sexual violence as well as degrading and humiliating treatment, including taunting of the detainees,” the report said. kidnapping in some cases”. “Women and women’s bodies were used by men as trophies.”

The committee also looked into allegations by journalists and Israeli authorities that Palestinian militants had committed rape, but it said it “could not independently verify those allegations” because Israel had not cooperate with the investigation. The report cited “lack of access to victims, witnesses and crime locations as well as obstruction of investigations by Israeli authorities.”

The committee noted that Hamas has denied all allegations that its forces committed acts of sexual violence against Israeli women.

The music festival venue was attacked on October 7. The United Nations report said Palestinian armed groups killed and tortured people in attacks that day.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times

The Commission also cited substantial evidence of desecration of corpses, including sexual desecration, decapitation, scalping, burning and dismemberment of body parts.

But Israel, in its months-long campaign in Gaza to oust Hamas, also committed war crimes, the committee said, like using famine as a weapon of war through an armed attack. gas. encircle all of Gaza.

It said Israel’s use of heavy weapons in populated areas was a direct attack on civilians and had basic elements of crimes against humanity, disregarding the need to separate between combatants and civilians and caused disproportionately high civilian casualties, especially among women and children.

The conflict has killed or injured tens of thousands of Palestinian children, the commission said, and the scale and rate of casualties is “unprecedented in conflicts of recent decades.”

Other crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza include “extermination, murder, gender repression targeting Palestinian men and boys, forced population displacement, torture and cruel and inhumane treatment”.

The council said Israeli forces used sexual and gender-based violence, including forced nudity and sexual humiliation, as a “procedure of action” against Palestinians during the forced evacuation and detention. “Both male and female victims are victims of such sexual violence, but men and boys are specifically targeted,” the report said.

“The treatment of men and boys was deliberately sexualized as an act of revenge for the attack,” it added, referring to October 7.

Injured Palestinian children at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, on Sunday. The United Nations report said Israel’s use of heavy weapons in populated areas caused disproportionately high levels of civilian casualties.Credit…Abed Khaled/Reuters

In a statement responding to the report, the Israeli delegation to the United Nations in Geneva denounced what it called “systematic anti-Israel discrimination.” It said the committee downplayed Hamas’s use of human shields and attempted to create a false equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli military regarding sexual violence.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Oren Marmorstein later called the report “another example of the cynical political drama known as the United Nations” in a social media post. “The report describes an alternative reality, in which decades of terrorist attacks have been eradicated, there are no sustained missile attacks on Israeli citizens, and there is no single state,” he wrote. No democracy can defend itself against a terrorist attack.

The committee – which includes Chris Sidoti, an Australian expert on human rights law, and Miloon Kothari, an Indian expert on human rights and social policy – said Israel had refused to cooperate with its investigation and deny the group access to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Israel also did not respond to six requests for information, the council said.

The team based its findings on interviews with survivors and witnesses conducted remotely and in person during visits to Türkiye and Egypt. It also draws on satellite imagery, forensic medical records and open source data, including photos and videos taken by the Israeli military and shared on social media.

The committee said it had identified those most responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity, including senior members of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups as well as members of senior levels of Israel’s political and military leadership, including members of the country’s war cabinet. The committee said it will continue its investigation focusing on those who are personally criminally responsible and are responsible for command or superiors.

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