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|22 feb 2017|
UN to criticise Israel over Gaza
It is the first such report since Israel's incursion into Gaza.
Richard Falk has been highly critical of Israel in the past, and his new report is no exception.
In it he questions the legality of Israel's actions in Gaza. Israel, however, has repeated accusations that that Mr Falk is biased.
Israeli authorities denied him entry last December, when he attempted to conduct his regular investigative mission to the Palestinian territories.
Because Mr Falk was unable to enter the Palestinian territories, his latest report focuses instead on the legality of Israel's incursion into Gaza.
He suggests that it is not a question of whether Israel used disproportionate force in Gaza, but rather whether Israel acted lawfully in entering Gaza at all.
He concludes that it did not, and that the incursion may constitute a war crime.
He is calling for an independent inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas.
Further, Mr Falk suggests that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is in violation of the Geneva Conventions and must be lifted.
The report is certain to anger Israel, which has long complained of bias by Mr Falk.
But Mr Falk is not the first to suggest that Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza.
In January, the UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay expressed her concern at possible violations.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has also said Israel failed to honour its obligation to treat civilians wounded in the conflict.
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