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UN Says Israel and Hamas Committed War Crimes; Gaza Truce Plan in Balance

Editor

Laila Afifa

12 June 2024 22:57 WIB

A woman and child walk among debris, aftermath of Israeli strikes at the area, where Israeli hostages were rescued on Saturday, as Palestinian death toll rises to 274, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, June 9, 2024. REUTERS/Abed Khaled

TEMPO.CO, Geneva - A U.N. inquiry found on Wednesday, June 12, that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes in the early stages of the war in Gaza, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

The findings were from two parallel reports by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI), one focusing on the Oct. 7 attacks and another on Israel's response.

Israel, which did not cooperate with the commission, dismissed the findings as the result of anti-Israeli bias. Hamas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The war began on Oct. 7 when militants led by Hamas, the Islamist group ruling Gaza, killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's military retaliation has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million, caused widespread hunger, and devastated housing and infrastructure.

Negotiators from the U.S., Egypt and Qatar have been trying for months to mediate a ceasefire and free the hostages, more than 100 of whom are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said its formal response to a U.S. ceasefire proposal outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 31 was "responsible, serious and positive" and "opens up a wide pathway" for an accord.

But an Israeli official said on Tuesday, on condition of anonymity, that Israel had received the answer via the mediators and that Hamas "changed all of the main and most meaningful parameters" and "rejected the proposal for a hostage release".

The proposal outlined by Biden envisages a ceasefire and phased release of Israeli hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians jailed in Israel, ultimately leading to a permanent end to the war.

Major powers are intensifying efforts to halt the conflict in part to prevent it from spiralling into a wider regional war, with a dangerous flashpoint being the sharply escalating hostilities on the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, backed by Iran, fired barrages of rockets at Israel on Wednesday in retaliation for an Israeli strike that killed a senior Hezbollah field commander.

Israel said it had in turn responded with air strikes on the launch sites, fuelling growing concern of a bigger confrontation.



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