UN human rights investigators have questioned the legality of Israel’s Gaza offensive in a wide-ranging report to the UN Human Rights Council.
One investigator, Richard Falk, asked how a military assault with modern weapons could have been made “against an essentially defenceless society”.
The report found civilians appeared to “have taken the brunt of the attacks” with schools and clinics also hit.
Israel has accused Council members of seeking to “demonise” it.
Many international organisations have raised concerns about possible war crimes during the three-week offensive, which ended on 18 January.
An Israeli rights group has also criticised Israel for hitting medics and impeding medical evacuations.
The Israeli military says it is investigating specific claims of abuses and argues that it did its utmost to protect civilians during a conflict in which militants operated from populated civilian areas.
Because Mr Falk, a UN human rights investigator, was unable to enter the Palestinian territories, his latest findings focus on the legality of Israel’s January operation in Gaza in general, rather than on specific cases or claims that disproportionate force was used.
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