HRW: Israel committed ‘apparent war crimes’ during May offensive on Gaza


In the report published on Tuesday [27 July], Human Rights Watch said that it investigated three Israeli strikes that killed 62 Palestinian civilians “where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity,” in some cases, killing entire families in one airstrik

Two Palestinian girls sit on a trolley amidst the rubble of homes in Gaza City destroyed in an 11-day Israeli offensive in May 2021

Yumna Patel reports in Mondoweiss:

Israel may have committed war crimes during its deadly 11-day offensive on the Gaza Strip in May, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

In the report published on Tuesday, HRW said that it investigated three Israeli strikes that killed 62 Palestinian civilians “where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity,” in some cases, killing entire families in one airstrike.

The May offensive was Israel’s fourth devastating offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip since 2009. Over the course of 11 days, Israel killed at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.

“Israeli authorities’ consistent unwillingness to seriously investigate alleged war crimes, as well as Palestinian forces’ rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers, underscores the importance of the International Criminal Court’s inquiry,” Gerry Simpson, HRW’s associate crisis and conflict director said.

While the report focused on three airstrikes that resulted in the highest civilian death toll “with no evident military targets,” HRW added that other Israeli attacks during the May offensive “were also likely unlawful.”

One of the three attacks highlighted in the report was the attack on the crowded residential neighborhood of al-Wahda street, which Israel bombarded in the early morning hours of May 16th.

The four-minute attack caused three mulit-story buildings to collapse, killing 44 Palestinian civilians, at least half of whom were from the al-Qawlaq family, including eight children.

While the Israeli military claimed at the time, and maintains until today, that the strikes targeted tunnels and an underground command center used by armed Palestinian groups, HRW noted that the army has “presented no details to support that claim.”

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