Civilians deliberately targeted in Gaza attacks, reports find

Two separate investigations determine that the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups unlawfully targeted civilian populations during the most recent Gaza escalation.

Palestinian walk through the wreckage of a building that was damaged by Israeli air strikes

Oren Ziv writes in +972, “Israel killed 13 Palestinian civilians who weren’t involved in hostilities or affiliated with militant groups in its latest military campaign in Gaza, according to a new report by B’Tselem released Wednesday. Two of the casualties were children and three were women, one of whom was heavily pregnant. “These deaths are the foreseeable outcome of Israel’s unlawful, immoral policy of bombing homes in Gaza,” determined B’Tselem.”

“Based on B’Tselem’s investigation, from May 3 to May 6, Israel launched airstrikes and fired shells at more than 350 targets in Gaza, wounding 153 people. The rights group also found that none of the strikes “were preceded by any suitable warnings that might have given the inhabitants the opportunity to seek shelter or save their belongings.”

“During this time, the militant groups associated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets to Israel, killing three and wounding 123. A rocket fired by Islamic Jihad operatives struck a home in Gaza and killed a pregnant woman and her one-year-old niece, and an anti-tank missile fired by these groups killed another Israeli civilian. “This targeting of the civilian population in Israel is unlawful and immoral,” according to the report.”+

Palestinian in the wreckage of his home after Israeli airstrike

“As in previous attacks, Israel again targeted residential and office buildings, the report found. According to the United Nations, a total of 33 housing units were destroyed and 19 more were severely damaged, leaving 52 families — 327 Palestinians, including 65 are children — without shelter. Hundreds more housing units sustained partial damage.”…

“In a separate report also released on Wednesday, a Human Rights Watch investigation into the May escalation reaffirmed B’Tselem’s findings: “Four Israeli airstrikes struck targets that appeared to contain no military objective or may have caused disproportionate civilian loss in violation of the laws of war.” HRW also stated that, since rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups cannot target a particular military objective, their use in civilian areas is “inherently indiscriminate in violation of the laws of war.” (more…)


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