by Cynthia Blank
Amnesty International report finds Palestinian terror groups showed 'disregard' for civilian lives during Operation Protective Edge.
Palestinian terror groups demonstrated "flagrant disregard" for civilian lives during Operation Protective Edge, a report issued by Amnesty International on Thursday said.
The report outlines the damage caused by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza during the summer war, including several incidents in which Israeli civilians were killed, as well as the deaths of 13 Palestinians when a Hamas missile fell in the A-Shati refugee camp.
According to the data presented, armed terror groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, shot thousands of rockets and mortars from Gaza at civilian areas in Israel. Specifically addressed in the report was mortar fire.
The authors note that in certain cases mortars were fired at Israeli military targets, but since mortars are such imprecise weapons, they should never be used to target military bases near civilian areas.
“Indiscriminate attacks that kill or wound civilians constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes,” the report accuses, adding that "Palestinian armed groups must end all direct attacks on civilians."
Also addressed are the other international violations performed by Palestinians during the conflict, including their storing ammunition in UN schools, and launching rockets from civilian areas.
This report, the third issued by international bodies on Operation Protective Edge, is the first to deal with Palestinian activities during the operation, as opposed to just Israeli Defense Forces actions.
“The devastating impact of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never justify violations by their opponents,” Philip Luther, the Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, said.
Luther called on both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to cooperate with additional probes “to end decades of impunity that have perpetuated a cycle of violations in which civilians on both sides have paid a heavy price.”
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