Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes as it “Violated the...

Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes as it “Violated the laws of War in Gaza”


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Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Israel violated the laws of war in the Gaza Strip and has possibly committed war crimes during its last offensive against the Palestinian enclave.

The international rights group said in a detailed article about its findings on Thursday that it “conducted field investigations in August into three attacks in which civilians sheltering at schools were killed and injured,” and it came to the conclusion that Israel has violated the laws of war.

“Human Rights Watch sent a series of detailed questions to the Israeli military about each of these attacks and its efforts to investigate them. The military responded on September 3 with no responses to the specific questions but with a general description of the Fact-Finding Assessments Committee the military has established to examine incidents during the recent fighting,” the watchdog report said.

The group said the incidents were separate shelling of two UN schools in Northern Gaza on July 24 and 30 and another missile attack on a UN school in Rafah on August 3.

The three attacks killed a total of 45 people, including 17 children, the New York-based rights watchdog said.

“Two of the three attacks Human Rights Watch investigated… did not appear to target a military objective or were otherwise unlawfully indiscriminate. The third attack in Rafah was unlawfully disproportionate if not otherwise indiscriminate,” the HRW said in the statement.

“Unlawful attacks carried out willfully — that is, deliberately or recklessly — are war crimes,” it added.

“Suleiman Hassan Abd el-Dayam, 24, who was staying at the school with his extended family, said three of his family members died and five were wounded in the attack. When he heard the first strike at about 2 a.m, he ran to the classroom where women and children were sleeping, and a second munition hit. “I saw that my wife had a head injury, so I carried her outside,” he said. “Then I looked for my aunt. I found her, and she was saying, ‘I can’t see!’ So I took her outside too. And my other cousin, Ibrahim, had his legs cut off”,” the report added.

Human Rights Watch said that Israeli military informed them “that it had created a Fact-Finding Assessments Committee to “examine exceptional incidents” during the seven-week conflict, headed by Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon, commander of the Israel Defense Forces North Formation, and staffed by personnel who were not in the chain of command during the fighting.”

The human rights watchdog said that the Israeli military “said 44 incidents had been referred to the committee as of September 10.”

It is worth reminding that more than 2,150 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli onslaught, which started on July 8. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were injured.

On the Israeli side, Tel Aviv reported the killing of 72 Israelis in the conflict.