Netanyahu demands ‘total’ Gaza cease-fire

Netanyahu has come under political pressure to act more strongly against Hamas. (Jim Hollander/Pool via Reuters)
Updated 12 August 2018
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Netanyahu demands ‘total’ Gaza cease-fire

  • There have been efforts by UN officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas
  • Since July, there have been three major flare-ups of violence

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday demanded a “total” cease-fire from Gaza’s Hamas rulers in his first public comments on another deadly flare-up between the two sides.
There have been efforts by UN officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, though Israeli officials have not commented on them.
Since July, there have been three major flare-ups of violence.
“We are in the midst of a campaign against terror in Gaza,” Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting. “It will not end with one blow.
“Our demand is clear: a total cease-fire. We shall not be satisfied with less than that,” he added.
“Until now we have destroyed hundreds of Hamas military targets and with every round of attacks the Israel Defense Forces exact another heavy price from Hamas.”
Netanyahu has come under political pressure to act more strongly against Hamas, though both sides are reluctant to start a fourth war between them since 2008.
Israel has also sought an end to kites and balloons carrying firebombs over the Gaza border fence to burn Israeli farmland.
An informal truce reached on Thursday night has largely held despite the deaths of three Palestinians since then from Israeli army fire during border protests and clashes.
Thursday saw extensive Israeli air strikes in retaliation for the launching of more than 180 rockets and mortar rounds by Hamas and its allies beginning on Wednesday night.
Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes, including a mother and her 18-month-old daughter, while seven Israelis were wounded by Palestinian rocket fire as hundreds took refuge in bomb shelters.
It was one of the most serious escalations since the 2014 Gaza war and followed months of rising tensions.
At least 168 Palestinians have been killed since Gaza border protests and clashes began on March 30, with most succumbing to Israeli fire during demonstrations. Others have died in air strikes.
Over the same period, one Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.


UN investigation delves into Daesh’s crimes against Yazidis

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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UN investigation delves into Daesh’s crimes against Yazidis

  • The team began its work in August, a year after it was approved the UN Security Council
  • The investigation aims to collect and preserve evidence of acts by Daesh in Iraq that may be war crimes

LONDON: A UN investigation into atrocities committed against Yazidis and others in Iraq will do more than simply gather information that will molder in an archive, the probe’s leader said on Wednesday, it will help bring perpetrators to justice.

The team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan began its work in August, a year after it was approved the UN Security Council.

Speaking on the sidelines of a London event celebrating Yazidi activist Nadia Murad — who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize —  Khan said the investigation will get into full gear in 2019.

“We will be pushing forward with greater capacity next year once we have a budget from the United Nations,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The investigation aims to collect and preserve evidence of acts by Daesh in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. In September 2017 — after a year of talks with Iraq — the UN council adopted a resolution asking UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to create the team “to support domestic efforts” to hold the militants accountable.

The evidence gathered is primarily for use by Iraqi authorities.

Whether that evidence will then be shared with international courts, will “be determined in agreement with the Government of Iraq on a case-by-case basis,” according to the resolution.

“This mandate was not created to create simply an archive that would gather dust,” said Khan.

“Our bid is ... to ensure that the best possible evidence is presented, is preserved, is collected. The necessary investigations are committed so that those who committed these horrendous acts are subjected to the vigour of the law.”

UN experts warned in June 2016 that Daesh was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, destroying the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Supporters of the Yazidi cause have expressed irritation at delays the probe has faced.

“Four years have passed since the crimes of genocide committed against Yazidis but we have seen no justice as yet for the victims and survivors,” Karwan Tahir, the Kurdish regional government’s representative in Britain told the London event.

About 7,000 women and girls were captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 and held by Daesh in Mosul where they were tortured and raped.

Murad, a young Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul in 2014, and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney have long pushed Iraq to allow UN investigators to help.