Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Over 50 days, both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and other serious breaches of international law. To date, neither side has held anyone to account.
During the war, Israeli forces fired tens of thousands of artillery and tank shells into densely populated residential areas, and launched air strikes on homes across the Gaza Strip, killing families inside in many cases. They struck schools sheltering civilians and attacked hospitals and medical workers, including ambulance staff trying to evacuate the dead and wounded.
Victims of war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by both sides in the 2014 armed conflict in Gaza could be a step closer to justice, Amnesty International said upon today’s publication of the findings of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry into the war.
“This report marks an important step towards accountability for all the victims and their families. It’s a welcome independent validation of Amnesty International’s own extensive research into last year’s Gaza/Israel conflict, which found that both sides carried out a litany of appalling violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.
“The evidence is overwhelming and now the members and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council must give the Commission’s findings and recommendations serious consideration, refrain from politicizing the Commission or its report, and ensure that the Council takes all appropriate measures necessary to ensure accountability.
By Tarek Chatila, Montreal-area activist and writer for Amnesty Canada’s Isr/OT/PA co-group
In March, Amnesty International released the report ‘Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict’, which focuses on the firing by Palestinian armed groups of thousands of unguided rockets and mortars towards Israel, during the fifty day war.
By Tarek Chatila, Montreal-area activist and writer for Amnesty Canada’s Isr/OT/PA co-group
In March, Amnesty International released its report entitled ‘Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict.’ Coming just two weeks before Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it is part of the ‘Nowhere to run for life, safety, justice’ campaign which demands accountability for human rights violations carried out by all parties during Israel’s operation in Gaza, codenamed ‘Protective Edge.’
By Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secretary General. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeve Amnesty
Amnesty International has reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation ( MOU) which was concluded between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries on 18 January, 2015.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 26 March 2015
Palestinian armed groups displayed a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians by repeatedly launching indiscriminate rockets and mortars towards civilian areas in Israel during the conflict in July and August 2014, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.
Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict provides evidence that several attacks launched from inside the Gaza Strip amount to war crimes. Six civilians in Israel, including a four-year-old boy, were killed in such attacks during the 50-day conflict. In the deadliest incident believed to have been caused by a Palestinian attack, 11 children were among 13 Palestinian civilians killed when a projectile fired from within the Gaza Strip landed in the al-Shati refugee camp.
The death of a Palestinian minister during a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank may have resulted from arbitrary and abusive force by Israeli forces against demonstrators, said Amnesty International.
Ziad Abu Ein, who headed a committee that opposed the West Bank wall and Israeli settlements, died after a confrontation with Israeli forces in the village of Turmus'ayya. Photographs posted online showed Israeli forces grabbing his throat.
“This appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided. The Israeli forces have an abysmal track record when it comes to policing protests and have frequently resorted to the unnecessary or excessive use of force against protesters in the West Bank, resulting in numerous unlawful killings. And they continue to do so with impunity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
Shortly before his death Ziad Abu Ein told news reporters the protest had been peaceful. "We came to plant trees on Palestinian land, and they launched into an attack on us from the first moment. Nobody threw a single stone," he said.
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 9 December 2014
Air strikes on landmark buildings at the tail end of the Israeli military’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in August 2014 were a deliberate and direct attack on civilian buildings and amount to war crimes, says Amnesty International today.
“Nothing is immune”: Israel’s destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza provides evidence that attacks on four multistorey buildings during the last four days of the conflict were in contravention of international humanitarian law and calls for them to be independently and impartially investigated.
“All the evidence we have shows this large-scale destruction was carried out deliberately and with no military justification,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
“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.”
Armed men who attacked worshippers at a synagogue in West Jerusalem killing four Israelis and injuring eight this morning have displayed an utter contempt for fundamental principles of humanity, said Amnesty International.
The killing is the deadliest attack on civilians to occur in Jerusalem in six years.
“Nothing can ever justify such an abhorrent attack on worshippers in a synagogue. The deliberate killing of civilians must be utterly condemned,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.
The attack was said to be carried out by cousins living in East Jerusalem. No group has yet claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack but both Hamas and the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad have praised it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond “with a heavy hand” to the attack in a worrying signal that violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, including house demolitions and other collective punishment, will worsen.
By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
Nearly three months have passed since the latest conflict came to an end, but the piles of rubble and empty shells of family homes in Gaza serve as painful reminders of the death and destruction that resulted from Israel’s latest military operation there in July and August this year.
Mohammad Akram al-Hallaq’s three grandchildren were watching cartoons in the television room when the three missiles struck on 20 July. The walls collapsed in an avalanche of rubble, crumbling into piles of dust and rocks above and below them. None of the children survived. Eight people, all civilians, including four children from another family living in the building were also killed.
A Palestinian child sits above the ruins of his ruined home, and looks at thousands of homes destroyed because of the war on Gaza.© 2014 Pacific Press
Posted at 0001hrs GMT 5 November 2014
Israeli forces have killed scores of Palestinian civilians in attacks targeting houses full of families which in some cases have amounted to war crimes, Amnesty International has disclosed in a new report on the latest Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.
Families under the Rubble: Israeli attacks on inhabited homes details eight cases where residential family homes in Gaza were attacked by Israeli forces without warning during Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014, causing the deaths of at least 104 civilians including 62 children. The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families.
By Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa, Amnesty International – USA
As the UN General Assembly began its meeting on September 16 in New York City, Amnesty International was delivering 187,563 signatures to the White House in a global call to cut off weapons fuelling abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thousands of people from the U.S. and 166 other nations are urging President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to stop arming Israel and start backing a UN arms embargo on Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups.
by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
This summer’s conflict in Gaza and southern Israel was wrenching. Day after day it did not let up. Rockets launched from Gaza. Relentless aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza. More rockets from Gaza. Missiles and ground assaults by Israeli forces. All of that in a wider context of serious and longstanding human rights violations, including the collective punishment of the Gaza blockade; and very legitimate security concerns. Against this loud and angry backdrop the toll on civilians, overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians, was heartbreaking. In a corner of the world that has been enmeshed in decades of repression, terrorism, reprisal, defence and revenge the summer of 2014 will long be remembered for the scale and ferocity of the violence.
The Israeli authorities’ outrageous plan to expropriate nearly 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank is illegal and must be rescinded immediately, said Amnesty International.
“Israel’s strategy of illegally confiscating land for settlements in the West Bank must stop once and for all. Not only it is illegal under international law but it is leading to a wide range of violations of Palestinians’ human rights on a mass scale,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Reports that that the Israeli cabinet justified this land grab as a reaction to the deplorable murder in June of three Israeli teenagers suggests this is an act of collective punishment and that Israel is moving further and further away from its obligations under international law.”
The plans, announced on Sunday by the Israeli military-run Civil Administration, would directly affect at least five Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area.
This appears to be the largest land grab in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1980s.