United Nations says Israel should face justice for Gaza protest killings

Israeli air force retaliates for balloon bomb in Gaza

Israeli air force retaliates for balloon bomb in Gaza

The three-person panel said civilians who did not pose an "imminent threat" were among those killed and injured.

In its recommendations, it called for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide information on "alleged perpetrators" to national and worldwide justice mechanisms and include the global Criminal Court who might undertake "independent investigations into alleged global crimes and violations".

Commission chair Santiago Canton of Argentina said such commissions of inquiry on violence in the Middle East date back almost a century - to the League of Nations, the UN's predecessor - and he decried a "failure" of the global community to respond.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also welcomed the probe's findings.

Protests have been held at the frontier between Israel and the Gaza Strip since past year, calling for the easing of an Israeli blockade of the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees there to return to homes in Israel.

Katz, who is also intelligence and transportation minister, said the report was based on false information and wasn't properly researched. It deployed soldiers along the border fence, who it said were ordered to resort to live fire only when absolutely necessary and when there was an imminent threat. In contrast, one Israeli soldier was killed and four were hurt during the demonstrations, it said.

The commission said it heard from 15 contributors from the Israeli side, including non-governmental organizations, but got no co-operation from the Israel government.

Raghad Fadel, a 22-year-old who is now unemployed, said after growing accustomed to being treated by the world as "nothing more than numbers and collateral damage", the report offered her some hope.

Israel has said that weekly protests along its border fence with Gaza, dubbed by residents of the Palestinian enclave as the Great March of Return, are particularly violent and could act as a cover for Hamas, Gaza's militant Islamist rulers, to infiltrate its territory and carry out terrorist attacks against its citizens.

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The UN team also dismissed claims by Israel that the protests were aimed to hide acts of terrorism.

The Israeli government has repeatedly lambasted alleged bias against Israel by the 47-member Human Rights Council.

The petition was filed "in light of the very high number of fatalities and injuries during the protests", according to a statement from Yesh Din in April.

"The UN Human Rights Council is setting new records of hypocrisy and lies stemming from its obsessive hatred toward Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Hamas is the one firing missiles at Israeli civilians, throwing explosive devices and carrying terrorist activity during demonstrations on the Gaza border", Netanyahu said.

It added that it had found "reasonable grounds to believe that ... the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators was unlawful". It adds that the United Nations was unable to discern if an additional 18 were members of other movements considered terrorist organizations by Israel.

The commission conducted more than 300 interviews and reviewed more than 8,000 documents related to the demonstrations before issuing the report.

Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, one of the panel's three investigators, said Israeli forces were in no danger when they fired on the crowds.

Egypt also upholds the siege, restricting movement in and out of Gaza on its border. "It must not continue trading arms with a state found to be committing war crimes that are both historic and ongoing".

The IDF has said that all instances "in which civilians are allegedly killed" by Israeli fire "are thoroughly examined" by an internal military committee.

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