Israel and Palestine , emerging accountability discussions

A young man waves a Palestinian flag A young man waves a Palestinian flag Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda on Unsplash

09 June 2021

The international community has begun to consider accountability for Israel and Palestine for war crimes

After the most recent airstrikes in Gaza, which  destroyed housing units, hospitals and health care centres, and a water desalination plant, the international community has increasingly moved to hold the two sides accountable for the crimes they have committed in violation of international law. Israeli justification for their attacks on Palestinians in Gaza has recently come under scrutiny by the international community, as the military claimed it was only targeting Hamas-related buildings despite evidence against this. As a result, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into the conflict, since continual strikes by Israel centred on civilian structures in Gaza violate international law.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is nothing new, as the two sides have been fighting continuously over territory for decades. The most recent eruption of violence has resulted in airstrikes between the two sides, often targeting civilian populations. This act is illegal since attacks must be proportionate and directed at a military target to not violate international law. From what has been examined in Gaza, Israel has repeatedly bombarded civilian structures in the area, leading organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch an inquiry into human rights abuses perpetrated by the two groups.

The increased response from the international community in condemnation of these airstrikes is hopeful, as organizations like the ICC and United Nations have increasingly begun conversations regarding accountability. Many see this sort of accountability as the only way to ensure that the illegal actions from both Israelis and Palestinians do not occur again. However, international humanitarian law can lack the enforcement mechanisms to implement any punishment for countries that commit illegal acts. In the meantime, the only immediate solution is to reduce conflict between the two sides in hopes of a return to normalcy.


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Author: Emily Herstine; Editor: Andrew Goodell

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