Friday, October 30, 2020

Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes

By Editor - December 09, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

Israeli air strikes on landmark buildings toward the tail end of this summer's Operation Protective Edge amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday, calling for an immediate independent and impartial investigation. 
"Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods," said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. 
The report sights Israeli air strikes on four multistory buildings in Rafah area of the southern Gaza Strip during the last four days of the hostilities. Although the Israeli military warned the residents of the buildings to leave before they destroyed them, scores of people from nearby buildings were injured and hundreds of people lost their homes, businesses and belongings. 
"All the evidence we have shows this large-scale destruction was carried out deliberately and with no military justification [...] War crimes must be independently and impartially investigated and those responsible should be brought to justice in fair trails," said Luther. 
The Municipal Commercial Center in Rafah, which contained a shopping mall, a garage, several offices and a medical clinic, was completely demolished. The building had provided the livelihoods for hundreds of families. 
While the Israeli military has suggested that one of the buildings hit housed a Hamas command center and another had "facilities linked to Palestinian militants," Israeli authorities have not provided information as to why they completely leveled four complexes. 
"Even if the Israeli authorities had good reason to believe that a part of a building was being used for military purposes, they had an obligation to choose means and methods of attack that would minimize harm to civilians and their property," said Luther. "The Israeli army have previously conducted air strikes on specific apartments in high-rise buildings without their complete destruction."
Amnesty International forwarded its findings to the Israeli Authorities, and asked for justification as to why each attack was carried out; "what or who was being targeted; what precautions were taken to minimize the risk of harm to civilians; and whether any investigation had taken place or was on-going," according to a press release published along with the report. 
They reportedly received a answer from the Israeli State Comptroller "who simply described the focus of his inquiry into Operation Protective Edge."
"No one from the authorities who could have actually addressed the questions about these attacks responded," the press release said. 

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army in Jerusalem told the Israeli English-language daily Haaretz the military was in the midst of formulating a response to Amnesty's report.  

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