[JURIST] UN agencies working in Gaza joined Friday to urge respect for international humanitarian law and the obligation to protect civilians, reminding the international community in a joint statement [text, PDF] not to forget the violence there while attention to the ongoing Middle East conflict [JURIST news archive] is focused on Lebanon. Observing that since June 28, Palestinian troops and civilians have suffered approximately 160 deaths and 600 injuries, and Israeli forces have reported 1 death and 24 injuries, the statement noted that:
Under international humanitarian law...all parties to the conflict are obliged to protect civilians during hostilities. Parties must exercise precaution and respect the principle of proportionality in all military operations to prevent unnecessary suffering among the civilian population. The shelling of sites with alleged military significance that results invariably in the killing of civilians, among them an increasing number of children, cannot be justified. All parties are urged to bear in mind that international law demands accountability and that individual criminal responsibility may be engaged for violations of international humanitarian law.The UN News Centre has more.