...the Geneva Convention required forces at war to be able to distinguish between military targets and civilians. If that is not possible, then "launching the attacks is inherently unlawful".
The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories has said Israel's military offensive on Gaza "would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law".
Richard Falk called the 22-day bombardment a "massive assault on a densely populated urbanised setting", with the civilian population subjected to "an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm".
His findings were written in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.
Islamic and African countries backed by China, Cuba and Russia have a majority in the 47-member forum.
Neither Israel nor US, its principal ally, are members.
Falk said the Geneva Convention required forces at war to be able to distinguish between military targets and civilians.
If that is not possible, then "launching the attacks is inherently unlawful".
Israel launched its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in December saying it aimed to stop rocket fire by Hamas into southern Israel.
A ceasefire was declared on January 18 after the offensive left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, many of them women and children.
Three Israeli civilians and 10 soldiers were killed during the offensive.
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