UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay
UN Human Rights chief Navi PillayReuters

The United Nations human rights commissioner Navi Pillay has opened an emergency UN debate on Gaza saying there is a "strong possibility" that Israel is violating law in Gaza, and that could amount to war crimes.

She said the killing of Gaza civilians, especially children, raises concerns on Israel's precautions and respect for proportionality, reported RTE.

Pillay also condemned “the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortar by Hamas into Israel, endangering civilian lives there.”

The debate comes after the PLO, led by Mahmoud Abbas, endorsed demands by Hamas for halting hostilities with Israel.

With Israeli and US encouragement, Egypt has tried to get both sides to hold fire and then negotiate terms for protracted calm in Gaza.

Hamas and other armed factions had rejected Cairo's offer, saying they wanted assurances of relief from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and other concessions.