Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – based on UN website report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Saturday (15 May) called for strict respect for international law and appealed to all sides to take steps to de-escalate the increasingly alarming situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“Over the past 10 days, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel has deteriorated at an alarming rate. The situation in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, triggered by threats of forced evictions of Palestinian families; the heavy presence of Israeli Security Forces and violence around the al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan; the severe escalation of attacks from and on Gaza; and the shocking race-based incitement in Israel have all led to vicious attacks and mounting casualties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.
“Rather than seeking to calm tensions, inflammatory rhetoric from leaders on all sides appears to be seeking to excite tensions rather than to calm them. Once again, we are seeing lives lost and terrified people being forced to flee or hide in their homes, subjected to attacks that are being carried out by both sides in what may amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
The failure to adhere to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of military operations amounts to a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.
“I urge both sides to ensure strict respect for their obligations under international law. Israel, as the occupying power, has a duty to ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance to the Gaza strip,” the High Commissioner said. “Those found to be responsible for violations must be held to account.”
Bachelet called for independent, transparent and thorough investigations into all allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
“We know from recent history how such a grave situation can advance with utterly catastrophic consequences for thousands of civilians,” Bachelet said. “There can be no winner, no sustainable peace resulting from the furtherance of the cycle of violence. I urge all sides – and States with influence – to take immediate measures to ensure respect for international law, ease tensions, and work to resolve – rather than fan – the conflict.”