Two separate investigations by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch determine that the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups unlawfully targeted civilian populations during the most recent Gaza escalation.
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.
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.
B’Tselem emphasized that firing at residential structures in densely populated areas like the Gaza Strip “inevitably involves serious risk of harm to civilians. The danger is not hypothetical: in recent years Israel has already killed thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children, in airstrikes on their homes.” In Operation Protective Edge in 2014 alone, Israel killed at least 1,055 Palestinians — including 405 children and 229 women — who did not take part in the hostilities.
The report also highlighted how these strikes are not a result of rogue combatants transgressing military orders, but in fact “part of a policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command.” The attacks “had the support of the MAG Corps, which issued legal opinions backing the...Read More