On February 28, 2019, the UN published its Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the riots along the Israel-Gaza border, which began in March 2018. As with previous UN pseudo-investigations on Israel and in order to condemn Israel while exonerating Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, the COI ignored readily and publicly available information that points to the obvious legality of Israeli actions.1

The following table examines specific claims made in the COI report, and identifies missing details and context that ought to have affected the COI’s conclusions. In fact, in two different submissions, NGO Monitor already provided the COI with ample evidence of Hamas war crimes, including the recruitment and use of Palestinian children as soldiers. The omission of this information illustrates the UN’s interest in condemning Israel at all costs, and lack of interest in protecting universal human rights.

Additionally, the COI does not provide names for 21 of the individuals it claims Israel killed without justification, making it impossible to verify the circumstances of the instances.2 It is unclear why unverifiable information was included in the UN’s report.  NGO Monitor will update this analysis as new information is obtained.

Terror Operatives

COI ReportInformation Ignored
“29 of the Palestinians killed were members of armed groups.” •The COI provides no source for its claim of “29 members of armed groups.”
•According to Meir Amit, from March 30, 2018 – January 14, 2019 150 Palestinians were identified as being affiliated with armed groups, most of them operatives of Hamas or affiliated with it (58 operatives of the military wings of the various organizations).
•According to Meir Amit, 92 individuals killed from March 30, 2018-May 15, 2019 were affiliated with armed groups (41 military wing).
•According to Hamas, 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed on May 14 were members of the terror group.
“In total, Israeli security forces killed 60 demonstrators on 14 May, the highest one-day death toll in Gaza since their military operation there in 2014.”•According to Hamas, that 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed on May 14 were members of the terror group.
•Another three were identified members of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Saraya al-Quds military wing.
“Some activities, such as the launching of incendiary kites, cutting barbed wire or tyre burning, began to be organized by self-declared “units”, some of them through their own Facebook pages. The commission found no evidence to suggest that they were directed or coordinated by armed groups” (emphasis added). Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem stated that “Every day the young men on the border invent ways to develop marches and the most recent was the night confusion unit.”
•According to Meir Amit, “Some of the demonstrations were held during the night as part of the activities of what Hamas calls ‘the night harassment unit.’ There were many rioters and the activities they engaged in were particularly violent, and included IEDs thrown at IDF forces.”
•Analyst Joe Truzmah explains the command and control structure of the “Kushuk Unit” responsible for “delivering tires to the border to light on fire, removal of barbed wire at the security fence, throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, and grenades.” Mustafa Mousa Zaqout, leader of the Fatah-affiliated armed group Abd Al-Qader Husseini Brigades, is the leader of the Kushuk Unit. Under Zaqugot are three commanders: Musab Al-Abudi’a, Ibrahim AlNajjar, and Nashed Mohareb. They oversee the activities of the “foot soldiers” that carry out the violent directives of their commanders.
•Additionally, the “Sons of Al Zouari Unit,” is active in the preparation and launching of incendiary balloons towards Israeli civilian areas.
•On October 8, 2018, a Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad figure Ahmed al-Mudallal stated that the return marches “would continue and the Night Harassment Units would continue their activities until the ground burned under the feet of the ‘Zionists.’”
• “Abed Hawajri (41): Abed was a resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp. Israeli forces killed him with a shot to the abdomen as he stood in a crowd of demonstrators approximately 150 m from the separation fence.”•Hawajri was a “Senior operative in the DFLP and one of the founders of the organization's branch in the al-Bureij refugee camp”
“Mohammad Kamal Najar (25): Mohammad, from Jabaliya, was killed when Israeli forces shot him in the abdomen as he approached a wounded friend approximately 50 m from the fence, and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers.” •Najar is identified as being affiliated with Hamas. According to Meir Amit, “A death notice was posted by the Abu Khiris-al-Najar clan. The Shaheed Suheil Abu Zaida Brigade of Hamas military wing issued a condolence notice which was hung in the family's mourning tent during a condolence call paid by Isma'il Haniyeh.”
“Tha’ier Rabaa (30): Tha’ier, from Jabaliya, was shot in the thigh by Israeli forces approximately 30 m from the separation fence. He died of his injuries a week later.”•Rabaa was “as an operative in Fatah's military wing (al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade).”
“Bader Sabagh (19): Bader, from Jabaliya, was killed by Israeli forces when they shot him in the head as he stood smoking a cigarette 300 m from the separation fence.” •Sabagh was “apparently a Hamas operative. Hamas flags and a Hamas death notice were placed at the entrance to the family's mourning tent.”
“Jihad Abu Jamous (30): Jihad, a resident of Bani Suheila, was killed by Israeli forces by a shot to the head, approximately 300 m from the separation fence.”•Abu Jamous was an “Operative in Fatah's military wing (website of the alAqsa Martyrs' Brigade/Shaheed Nidal al-'Amoudi Battalion, March 30, 2018). The wing issued a death notice for him showing him in uniform with a red beret. The eastern Khan Yunis branch also issued a death notice for him.”
“Ameen Abu Mo’amar (25): Ameen, from Al-Soufi neighbourhood, was killed by Israeli forces with a shot to the abdomen as he stood in a crowd, approximately 60 m from the separation fence.”•Abu Mo’amar was an “operative in the military wing of the PFLP, according to a statement from the organization (Facebook page of the PFLP information bureau in Khan Yunis, March 31, 2018).”


COI ReportInformation Ignored
“Several children were recognizable as such when they were shot. The commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot them intentionally, knowing that they were children.”•According to the examples provided by the COI, 8 of the minors killed in the 18 examples provided were over the age of 16. It is difficult to understand how the COI would be able to find “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot them intentionally, knowing that they were children” when they were killed at a distance in the context of violent protests and amongst black smoke from burning tires.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child protects children’s rights to life, peaceful assembly, expression and the highest attainable standard of health, among other rights.”•The COI refused to analyze the CRC and other human rights conventions from the perspective of Hamas and Palestinian Authority obligations. Under international human rights law and the treaties cited by the COI, these are the two main entities with jurisdictional control over the Gaza riots, and responsible for upholding the law.
•The COI negates that the Convention on the Rights of the Child protects children from being recruited and used as soldiers. The COI not only failed to examine this critical aspect of the law, but was actually presented with dozens of cases of recruitment and use and ignored each one.
Article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child articulates that restrictions can be placed on the right to peaceful assembly in the interests of national security and public safety: “No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” (emphasis added). The COI ignored the responsibility of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the riots remained peaceful and did not harm public safety, health, or morals.
“Schoolboy (16): Israeli forces shot a schoolboy from Shuja’iya, Gaza City in the leg with live ammunition when he was approximately 80 m from the separation fence. He underwent three leg amputations” (emphasis added).•It is unclear what the UN means by an individual undergoing “three leg amputations.”
•The UN does not provide the name of this individual making it impossible to verify information regarding this incident.
•“On 14 May, Israeli security forces shot and killed seven children:
•a girl, Wisal Khalil (14), and six boys:
•Izzedine al-Samak (13);
•Said al-Kheir (15);
•Ahmad al-Sha’ar (15);
•Talal Matar (15);
•Saadi Abu Salah (16)…”
•Wisal Khalil was a “Fatah activist
•“al-Samak’s body was wrapped in a Hamas flag for burial.” According to DCI-P, Izzedine al-Samak “was approximately 150 meters from the perimeter fence with a bag of stones when he was shot in the back.”
•Said al Kheir’s “body was wrapped in a Hamas flag for burial. Hamas' military wing issued a death notice for him (YouTube, May 15, 2018).”
•Ahmad al-Shaar “threw two tires during the protest in the moments before an Israeli solider shot him”;
•“Saadi was with a group of youths who were throwing stones at Israeli soldiers stationed near the Gaza perimeter fence.”
“On 14 May, Israeli security forces shot and killed seven children.” Among them was Ibrahim al-Zarqa (17). •al-Zarqa was killed among members of Hamas’ military wing due to the premature explosion of a grenade about to be launched at Israeli forces.
•al Zarqa was also “active in Hamas' media bureau in the al-Tufah region (Twitter account of al-Tufah al-Ilamiyyah, May 15)”
“Muath Souri (15): On 3 August, Israeli forces shot Muath, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, in the abdomen when he was approximately 160 m from the separation fence. He died the following day.”•According to a PFLP-linked NGO, “Around 7:25 p.m., Muath was participating in March of Return protests and was approximately 20 meters from the barbed wire fence and 50 meters from the main fence when Israeli soldiers shot at several demonstrators.”
•According to Ma’an News, he was buried in a Hamas flag and bandana.
“Nasser Mosabeh (11): Nasser was from Khan Younis. On 28 September, Israeli forces shot him in the back of the head as he stood 250 m from the separation fence. He died the same day.” •According to B’Tselem, Mosabeh was a Red Crescent volunteer who “used to come to the protests every Friday and bring medical supplies from the field clinic to the protest area.”
•Children should not be employed to transport supplies to the front lines in armed conflict, nor to the heart of violent protests.
“Yasser Abu Naja (11): On 29 June, Israeli forces killed Yasser from Khan Younis with a shot to the head as he was hiding with two friends behind a bin, approximately 200 m from the separation fence. The children had been chanting national slogans at Israeli forces.” •“During the ‘return march” on June 29, 2018, a group of boys tried to sabotage the barbed wire fence east of Khan Younes, near the security fence, probably in preparation for an attempt to break into Israeli territory. One of the group members, Yasser Abu al-Naja, a boy aged 13 (or 14), was killed during the attempt to sabotage the barbed wire fence. The dead boy is the son of Amjad Abu al-Naja, senior operative in Hamas’s military wing in Khan Younes, and a member of a clan which produced Hamas and Fatah terrorist operatives. Hamas’s senior officials, including Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, attended Yasser Abu al-Naja’s funeral.”
“Bilal Ashram (17): On 15 May, Bilal, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, was throwing stones at Israeli soldiers when they shot him twice, in the foot and the chest, as he ran away, approximately 150 m from the separation fence. Bilal was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.” •“The Fatah branch in central Gaza Strip issued a death notice for him saying he was a Fatah operative (Facebook page of the Raed alQrinawi branch of the Fatah in the central Gaza Strip, May 16, 2018).”
“Mohammad Ayoub (14): On 20 April, Israeli forces shot Mohammad, from Jabaliya refugee camp, in the head while approximately 200 m from the separation fence. He died the same day.”“The northern branch of Fatah announced he was a Fatah member (Facebook page of the Fatah branch in the northern Gaza Strip, April 20, 2018). His body was wrapped in a Fatah flag for burial. The Israeli media reported that Muhammad Ibrahim Ayoub’s father was an operative in the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in Gaza until Hamas took over the Strip (Haaretz, April 24, 2018).”


COI ReportInformation Ignored
“Razan Najar (20): On 1 June, an Israeli sniper bullet hit Razan, of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and who at the time was wearing a white paramedic vest and standing with other volunteer paramedics approximately 110 m from the separation fence, in the chest at the Khuzaa site, east of Khan Younis. She died in hospital.”The New York Times, after a much more extensive investigation than that engaged in by the COI, concluded that Najar was hit by shrapnel from a ricocheting bullet and not by an Israeli sniper. The COI does not mention why it ignored the New York Times investigation.


COI ReportInformation Ignored
• “Yasser Murtaja (30): On 6 April, Yasser, a journalist from Gaza City, was shot in the lower abdomen by Israeli forces at the Khan Younis site while he was filming the demonstrations for a documentary. He was wearing a blue helmet and a dark blue bulletproof vest clearly marked ‘Press’. He died the following day.”•Murtaja was reportedly a Hamas officer.
•Then Israeli Defense Minister Liberman indicated that Murtaja had been flying a drone over Israeli troops.


COI ReportInformation Ignored
The COI “found reasonable grounds to believe that the Israeli snipers shot these demonstrators intentionally, despite seeing that they had visible disabilities.”•In three of five “emblematic cases” noted in the report, two are noted as being deaf and killed at a distance of approximately 150 meters away and one is noted as using crutches to walk but was killed while he was sitting. It is unclear how the COI “found reasonable grounds to believe” that they were shot because “they had visible disabilities.”
“Fadi Abu Salmi (29, double amputee): Fadi, from Khan Younis, had had both legs amputated following an Israeli airstrike in 2008. On 14 May, Israeli snipers shot him in the chest at the Abasan Al-Jadida protest site, where he was sitting in his wheelchair with two friends approximately 300 m from the separation fence. He died immediately.”•“The military wing of the PIJ claimed him as an operative and said he stood in the front line in every clash in eastern Khan Yunis (website of the Jerusalem Battalions, May 14, 2018).”

Whitewashing Terror

COI ReportInformation Ignored
“No Israeli civilian deaths or injuries were reported during or resulting from the demonstrations. According to Israeli sources, four Israeli soldiers were injured during the demonstrations.” •The COI did not include the nearly 500 rockets launched by Hamas and Palestinian armed groups in November in its analysis of events that took place in the context of the violence along the Israel-Gaza border. It therefore ignores the 108 Israelis that were injured and required hospitalization due to injuries sustained during these rocket attacks.
•The COI also ignores “48-year-old Mahmoud Abu Asabeh, a Palestinian man from the West Bank town of Halhoul, near Hebron, who was killed in Ashkelon when a rocket from Gaza struck an apartment building in the city late Monday.”

Contradicting Claims

COI ReportInformation Ignored
“The shooting by Israeli security forces of Palestinian demonstrators with high-velocity weaponry at close range…” (emphasis added). Three paragraphs earlier the COI states that “Victims who were hundreds of metres away from the Israeli forces and visibly engaged in civilian activities were shot” (emphasis added).