The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch sent an appeal to the leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, demanding that they officially end all attacks against civilian targets in Israel.
Hamas declared last year that it temporarily stopped all of its bombings in Israel, and remained committed to its declaration, but did not rule out the possibility of attacks on civilians completely.
Over the last year, Hamas fired dozens of homemade shells at Israeli settlements and military installations within the Gaza Strip, and in areas close to the Israeli border with Gaza.
Joe Stork , vice-president of the North Africa and Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, said, "Now that Hamas has a new role in the political structure of Palestine, it’s necessary for Hamas to stop attacks against civilian targets. We recognize that Hamas claims these attacks are retaliations for Israeli attacks on civilians, but in no case are we willing to consider that attacks on civilians are justified." The Human Rights Watch letter stated, "the absolute prohibition against targeting civilians extends to acts of reprisal for attacks against one’s own civilians".
In their letter, which was addressed to Khaled Mishaal, the Head of the political bureau of Hamas in Damascus, Syria, Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, and Ismail Haniya, the Head of the parliamentary list of Hamas, Gaza, Human Rights Watch detailed their hope that Hamas as an organization would "adopt and publicize, without delay, a policy of full respect for humanitarian law principles that will include an unconditional end to attacks that target civilians or that cause them indiscriminate harm."