Amnesty International confirms what every Israeli already knows – Hamas committed war crimes and targeted civilians during Operation Protective Edge.
Israel has known for years that Gaza terror groups including Hamas use inhumane – let alone illegal – tactics to attack the Jewish state. They hide behind civilians while firing at civilians. They fire rockets at civilian areas. Rockets are often packed with metal balls intended to cause maximum physical destruction and death.
And now, in rare recognition of Hamas’s blatant violations of international humanitarian law, human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) stated in a report released Thursday that Palestinian terror organizations committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict, killing both Israeli and Palestinian civilians by firing rockets and mortars indiscriminately.
The 63-page report, titled “Unlawful and Deadly: Rocket and Mortar Attacks by Palestinian Armed Groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel Conflict,” comes after two earlier reports issued in late 2014 that accused Israel of war crimes for attacks on multi-story civilian buildings and residential homes during the war.
Palestinian terrorists, including Hamas, launched unguided rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed at a specific target and therefore are a breach of international law, AI said. Amnesty’s findings confirm Israel’s assertions that Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations specifically targeted civilians rather than military installations
“Palestinian armed groups, including the armed wing of Hamas, repeatedly launched unlawful attacks during the conflict, killing six and injuring civilians,” stated Philip Luther, director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
“In launching these attacks, they displayed a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law and for the consequences of their violations on civilians in both Israel and the Gaza Strip,” Luther said.
Hamas Kills its Own
Six civilians in Israel were killed in such attacks, and 13 Palestinian civilians died when a Palestinian projectile launched from the Gaza Strip landed in a Gaza refugee camp.
Palestinians claimed that the Israeli military was responsible for that attack, but Amnesty said that an independent munitions expert examining the evidence on the group’s behalf concluded that a Palestinian rocket was responsible. “The blast crater was too shallow to have been caused by an artillery or mortar shell or a missile fired by a drone, and its circumference was too wide to have been caused by a tank shell,” the report states.
The report also points to other international humanitarian law violations during the conflict, including Palestinian militant groups storing munitions in civilian buildings and United Nations schools as well as launching attacks near locations where hundreds of displaced civilians were taking shelter.
“In at least two cases, accounts indicate that attacks were launched in spite of the fact that displaced Gazan civilians were sheltering in the compounds or in neighboring buildings,” the report states.
The report counts 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars at that the Palestinians fired at Israel between July 8 and August 26, 2014. At least 243 rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, while another 31 fell short and landed within the Gaza Strip.