Amnesty: Israel repeatedly violated rules of war in Gaza

A new Amnesty International report has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the laws of armed conflict during the three-week Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.

The report claims that 1400 Palestinians died in the offensive – including 300 children – and that 5000 people were wounded.

The Amnesty report accuses IDF soldiers of violating the laws of armed conflict over and over again by directly attacking civilians and civilian structures and by causing an immeasurable number of civilian casualties when attacking Palestinian fighters.

It also mentions Israel’s justification for the offensive: that it attacked Gaza to prevent war and to stop armed Palestinians from shelling cities and towns in southern Israel with rockets. The report goes on to detail that three Israeli civilians were killed during the Gaza operation, adding to seven Israeli civilians killed by home-made rockets and other Palestinian attacks launched from Gaza in 2008.

According to the Amnesty International report, the sudden conflict came following a period of a year-and-a-half in which the IDF imposed an uncompromising blockade on the residents of Gaza, which almost completely prevented the movement of people and goods into the Gaza Strip and led to a humanitarian crisis.

The blockade almost completely strangled economic life, the report goes on to accuse, claiming that even those on their death bed were not permitted to leave the Strip for medical attention.

The report also accuses Israeli security forces of destroying many Palestinian homes in the West Bank on the pretext that they were built illegally.

erusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor responded to the report by accusing Amnesty International of focusing disproportionately on Israeli policy in Gaza and of not paying enough attention to the firing of rockets at Israel civilians.

The watchdog, headed by Bar Ilan University Professor Gerald Steinberg, added that Amnesty’s biased and disproportionate obsession with Israel reached its peak during the latest conflict in Gaza.

According to NGO Monitor, Amnesty International published more than 20 declarations during the Gaza offensive, most of them critical of Israel, even while violations of human rights included a massacre of more than 600 villagers by Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo to which Amnesty devoted minimal attention.

Ref. Haaretz

Amnesty.org

Also read: “Israeli war crimes were daily and too numerous to count”

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