woensdag 5 november 2014
Amnesty: Israel showed ´´shocking disregard´´ for the laws of war during attacks on families in Gaza
The Israeli military displayed "shocking disregard" for civilian lives in Gaza during its devastating 50-day war on militants in the Palestinian territory, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.
Amnesty documented eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza "without warning", killing "at least 104 civilians including 62 children."
"The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families," Amnesty said. Israeli attacks killed about 2,200 Palestinians during the war, most of them civilians, and left over 100,000 homeless.
Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International."The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, who were given no warning and had no chance to flee."
In the single deadliest attack documented in the report, 36 members of four families including 18 children were killed when the three-storey al-Dali building, was struck. Israel has not announced why the building was targeted, but Amnesty International has identified possible military targets within the building.
The second deadliest attack appears to have targeted a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, who was outside the Abu Jame’ family home. The house was completely levelled killing 25 civilians including 19 children. Regardless of the intended targets, both of these attacks constitute grossly disproportionate attacks and under international law, they should have been cancelled or postponed as soon as it was evident that so many civilians were present in the house.
In several of the cases documented in the report, possible military targets were identified by Amnesty International. However the devastation to civilian lives and property caused in all cases was clearly disproportionate to the military advantages gained by launching the attacks.
“Even if a fighter had been present in one of these residential homes, it would not absolve Israel of its obligation to take every feasible precaution to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the fighting. The repeated, disproportionate attacks on homes indicate that Israel’s current military tactics are deeply flawed and fundamentally at odds with the principles of international humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther.
The report contains numerous accounts from survivors who describe the horror of frantically digging through the rubble and dust of their destroyed homes in search of the bodies of children and loved ones.
The group said it had to conduct research for the report remotely as Israel denied it and other watchdogs access to Gaza.
Amnesty called on Israel and the Palestinians to "accede to the Rome Statute and grant the ICC (International Criminal Court) the authority to investigate crimes committed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
It also called for cooperation with the UN Human Rights Committee, which last month urged Israel to ensure an independent and impartial investigation to the Gaza war.
A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said the report "serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups." It noted Israel was currently carrying out investigations into "90 incidents" during the Gaza campaign. Israel said Amnesty had provided "no evidence" to back up its claims, while ignoring "war crimes perpetrated by Hamas, including the use of human shields, as well as ammunition storage and firing at Israeli civilian population centers from within schools, hospitals, mosques, and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza."
Amnesty said "Palestinian armed groups also committed war crimes, firing thousands of indiscriminate rockets into Israel killing six civilians including one child."