Months after a damning report on Israeli strikes during the summer war in Gaza, Amnesty International has issued similar analysis of actions by Palestinian armed groups, saying some of their attacks also “amounted to war crimes.”
has lashed out at Palestinian militants, including those
belonging to Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, for
their use of mortars and rockets that cannot aim at specific
targets and are thus “inherently indiscriminate.”
“Six civilians in Israel, including a four-year-old boy, were
killed in such attacks during the 50-day conflict,” says the
watchdog’s new report, which was published Thursday.
More than 4,800 rockets and 1,700 mortars were fired from Gaza
toward Israel during the conflict, according to UN data. Only an
estimated 224 eventually struck Israeli residential areas, as the
rest were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense
— AmnestyInternational (@AmnestyOnline) March
Amnesty said that “several attacks launched from inside the
Gaza Strip amount to war crimes.”
The mortars used by the Palestinian militants are so bad at
aiming, Amnesty said, that they sometimes hit Palestinians
“In the deadliest incident believed to have been caused by a
Palestinian attack, 11 children were among 13 Palestinian
civilians killed when a projectile fired from within the Gaza
Strip landed in the al-Shati refugee camp,” the report says.
Amnesty has stressed that the Palestinians suffered enormous
losses during the summer war in Gaza, which resulted in the
deaths of 1,585 Palestinian civilians, including more than 530
children. More than 16,000 homes were destroyed in the Israeli
“The devastating impact of
Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is
undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never
justify violations by their opponents,” said Philip Luther, Director of the
Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty
Luther reiterated that “some of the Israeli attacks must be
investigated as war crimes.”
Amnesty International criticized Israeli bombings of Gaza
earlier, in its November 2014 report that detailed eight
incidents of airstrikes on Palestinian homes, which killed at
least 104 civilians, including 62 children.
“The Israeli and
Palestinian authorities must both cooperate with the probes of
the UN Commission of Inquiry and the International Criminal Court
to end decades of impunity that have perpetuated a cycle of
violations in which civilians on both sides have paid a heavy
price,” the new
Israel officially declined to cooperate with the UN Human Rights
Council committee’s investigation into the country’s 50-day
‘Operation Protective Edge’ in November 2014.
It accused committee chairman William Schabas, a Canadian
academic living in the UK, of being anti-Israel.
In February, Schabas resigned, saying he no longer wanted to be a
“target for malicious attacks.” He was replaced by Mary
McGowan Davis, a former New York State Supreme Court Justice.
The UN report on the war on Gaza was initially due to be made
public in March, but Davies asked to postpone it until June,
saying investigators needed more time to finish their report on
the conflict, as Israel had impeded access to the Gaza Strip and
the West Bank.