Geneva, Switzerland (BBN)-The UN’s top human rights official has condemned Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip, saying that war crimes may have been committed.

Navi Pillay told an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Israel’s military offensive had not done enough to protect civilians, reports BBC.

She also criticised Hamas for “indiscriminate attacks” on Israel.

Israel launched its offensive on 8 July with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza.

“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay said.

However Israel, which claims the UN Human Rights Council is biased, is unlikely to co-operate with any authorised UN investigation, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva reports.

At least 649 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed in the past 15 days of fighting, officials say.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to try to help negotiate a truce.

He landed at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, despite a 24-hour ban on US flights there imposed by American aviation authorities.

Several European airlines have also suspended flights to Israel after a rocket from Gaza landed near the airport.


Fighting continued overnight on Tuesday. An air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip left at least five people dead. An Israeli soldier was also killed.

A Palestinian woman whom the BBC filmed being pulled from the rubble of a Gaza blast on Sunday also died from her injuries, her doctor said. Ten of her relatives were killed in the blast.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Kerry are both in the region to try to bring an end to the fighting.

They have both called for an immediate end to hostilities and for the underlying causes of the conflict to be addressed.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas should be held accountable for rejecting an Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

BBN/ANS-23July14-4:40pm (BST)