In a rare condemnation of Israel, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, denounced Israel’s excessive use of force in its largest military operation in two decades targeting Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.
Guterres, visibly angry at the impact of the Israeli offensive on the Jenin refugee camp, said the operation left more than 100 civilians wounded, forced thousands to flee, damaged schools and hospitals, and disrupted water and electricity networks.
He also criticized Israel for preventing the wounded from obtaining medical care and humanitarian workers from reaching everyone in need.
“I strongly condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including terrorist acts,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
“applies to Israel”
When asked if this condemnation applied to Israel, he replied: “It applies to every use of excessive force, and it is clear that in this case, the Israeli forces used excessive force.”
In addition, the Secretary-General of the United Nations called on Israel once again to “comply with its obligations under international law”, to exercise restraint and to use only proportionate force.
He stressed that “the use of air strikes is inconsistent with the conduct of law enforcement operations.”
Israel is responsible
Guterres reminded Israel that “as the occupying power, it has a responsibility to ensure that the civilian population is protected from all acts of violence.”
The Secretary-General’s condemnation followed a statement by three independent UN human rights experts on Wednesday that said the Israeli air strikes and ground actions “amount to flagrant violations of international law and norms on the use of force and may constitute a war crime.”
Experts on human rights in the Palestinian territories, the rights of the displaced, and violence against women and girls have called for Israel to be held accountable for its illegal occupation and its violent actions to perpetuate it.
Destruction in Jenin (AFP)
It is noteworthy that the Israeli attack, which lasted for two days, destroyed roads and alleys in Jenin camp, forced thousands of people to flee their homes, and killed 12 Palestinians. An Israeli soldier was also killed during the attack.
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