Thursday, October 01, 2020

Israel accused of war crimes in Gaza

By Editor - November 05, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

Khuzaa was one of the villages that was hit the hardest during the 50-day military campaign.

Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes during its military campaign in Gaza this summer. 

A report released by the group on Wednesday says Israel displayed “callous indifference,” launching attacks on family homes in densely populated areas throughout the coastal strip. In some cases, its conduct amounted to war crimes. The report adds that Palestinian militants also perpetrated war crimes. 

The report, entitled Families Under the Rubble, examines eight cases of targeted Israeli strikes that killed at least 111 people, 104 of whom were civilians, 62 children in all. Amnesty says it has “significant doubt” as to whether there was a clear and present military objective in some of the cases, something that could make the strikes a war crime. 

“In all the cases documented in this report, there was a failure to take necessary precautions to avoid excessive harm to civilians and civilian property as required by international humanitarian law,” the report said. 

“The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families,” Amnesty said in a statement put out along with the report. 

During the 50-day military campaign, 2,192 Palestinians were killed, including 1,523 civilians, and approximately 18,000 homes were destroyed, according to statistics from the United Nations. Israel, which lost 64 soldiers and six civilians and endured disruptions due to the threat of Hamas’ missiles, said it took every precaution to minimize civilian casualties, but that its efforts were hindered because Hamas used Gaza’s civilian population as human shields. 

Whether or not Hamas members are guilty of hiding in civilian areas, the report is scathing in its criticisms of Israel’s blatant disregard for the lives of noncombatants. 

“In those cases where Amnesty International has been able to determine the possible military target, it has found either that in fact it was not a military objective, that the devastating toll on civilians and civilian property was out of all proportion to any military advantage from the attack and/or that Israel failed to take necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” the report reads. 

In the eight cases investigated by Amnesty, no prior warning was given to the homes’ occupants, despite Israel’s insistence throughout its military campaign that it always warned Palestinians to evacuate the structures before bombing. 

A statement issued by the Israeli embassy in London questioned the reliability of Palestinian fieldworkers employed by Amnesty in the Gaza strip who gathered testimonies for the reports, saying their work “serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups.” Amnesty says it was forced to rely on locals to gather testimonies and information because its regular employees were barred by Israel from entering Gaza. 

Amnesty called on Israel and the Palestinians to “accede to the Rome statue and grant the ICC [international criminal court] the authority to investigate crimes committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.” 

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