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Gaza conflict war crime report expected

March 23, 2015 - GENEVA

A United Nations war crimes enquiry report on the Gaza conflict is due. Officials say publication will go ahead though Israel\'s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to shelve it after the chairman, William Schabas, resigned.

On July 8, 2014, Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza in response to Hamas rocket fire. The Israeli government has dismissed the UN panel as biased against it.

Schabas, a Canadian academic, United States judge Mary McGowan Davis and former United Nations racism investigator Doudou Diene of Senegal comprise the original panel. It was created in July 2014 at the request of Palestinians with the backing of Arab and Muslim states. McGowan Davis was a member and later chair of a UN committee of independent experts that followed up on the findings of an earlier fact-finding mission into Israel\'s incursions into Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.

Reuters noted in August 2014, that no clear victor emerged from what had become a war of attrition between the Middle East\'s most powerful armed forces and the dominant Hamas militant movement in the Gaza Strip.

The top United Nations human rights official, Navi Pillay, condemned Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and Israel's military assaults on Gaza, according to The New York Times. Pillay also asserted that the high number of Palestinian deaths belied Israel's claim that all necessary precautions had been taken to protect civilian lives.

Insight - Did Israel\'s \'Hannibal directive\' lead to a war crime in Gaza? (Reuters 13 Oct 2014)

U.S. judge named to U.N. panel on Gaza conflict (Reuters 25 Aug 2015)

Former New York Judge on U.N. Gaza Panel (NYT 25 Aug 2015)

U.N. watchdog urges Israel to probe possible Gaza war crimes (Reuters 30 Oct 2014)

Date written/update: 2015-02-26