Amnesty report attacks Israel as well as Hamas


Amnesty International’s most detailed probe into Hamas rocket attacks on Israel accuses the Palestinian terror group of committing war crimes — but also heavily criticises Israel’s actions in last summer’s conflict.

The report, published on Thursday, highlighted the deaths of six civilians in Israel who were killed in rocket attacks that showed a “flagrant disregard” for international law.

But Amnesty’s investigation also attacked Israel’s policy towards its Bedouin community, and appeared to attribute blame for Bedouin casualties to both sides.

An attempt to tackle the Israeli claim that Hamas had used civilians as human shields concluded with a suggestion that the IDF should have taken greater care to minimise casualties.

The charity claimed the presence of Gaza residents in munition stores could have been part of an effort by the terror group to shield residents from Israeli military operations.

In response to Hamas ordering residents to stay in their homes in areas that Israel had warned could be targeted, Amnesty said the group may have acted “out of concern for their safety or a desire to avoid further panic”.

But the report concluded that Hamas “demonstrate what is, at best, a reckless disregard for the lives of civilians in Israel, as well as a consistent failure to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians in Gaza from the effects of attacks”.

Yiftah Curiel, press attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London, said Israel welcomed the investigation into Hamas’s actions, but added: “We do not accept the implied equivalence which the report draws between Israel and an internationally-recognised terror group which has repeatedly called for its annihilation.

“Unlike Hamas, Israel is vigorously investigating its conduct, aiming to draw lessons and minimise civilian harm.”

The 64-page report found that Palestinian armed groups were guilty of war crimes for storing rockets in civilian buildings, including UN schools, and for launching attacks from locations where ordinary Palestinians were sheltering.

Amnesty said one of the deadliest incidents caused by the terrorists had seen 13 Palestinian civilians — including 11 children — killed when a rocket aimed at Israel fell short and landed in a refugee camp in Gaza. Hamas had said the projectile was fired by Israel.

The report focused partly on the use of long-range, unguided missiles by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. It acknowledged that the rockets were “inherently indiscriminate” and that more than eight million Israelis live within range of the missiles.

An International Criminal Court investigation into alleged human rights abuses by both Israel and the Palestinians last summer should be conducted, Amnesty said.

Amnesty International’s UK director Kate Allen visited Israel this week and was due to meet Britain’s ambassador Matthew Gould on Thursday to discuss the report.

Another Amnesty report to be published shortly will probe the executions of Palestinians in Gaza by Hamas for alleged “collaboration” with Israel.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive