Crime & Justice

Destruction of Gaza buildings for ‘buffer zone’ may constitute ‘war crime,’ warns UN

Geneva, Switzerland, Feb 8 (EFE).- The United Nations on Thursday expressed concerns over the Israeli military’s destruction of “all buildings” within a kilometer of the Israel-Gaza fence to establish a “buffer zone,” warning that such actions could amount to a “war crime.”

“Extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said in a statement.

Turk pointed out that the convention prohibits the “occupying power” from destroying private property, particularly if it is being done to create a buffer zone for general security purposes.

“Since late October 2023, my Office has recorded widespread destruction and demolition by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) of civilian and other infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools and universities in areas in which fighting is not or no longer taking place,” Turk said.

Such demolitions have taken place in Beit Hanoun and Shujaiyeh in northern Gaza, Nuseirat refugee camp in the middle, Khan Younis in southern Gaza, and other neighborhoods of the Strip, the UN official said.

Israel has not provided cogent reasons for such extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure,” the UN rights chief added.

According to Turk, the level of destruction has not only caused massive displacement of the population but would also make it “impossible” for civilians to return to these areas once hostilities have ceased, potentially constituting another war crime. EFE

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