Human Rights Watch says that Israel is likely to have committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip, this just a day after the army announced that five criminal investigations were being directed towards incidents involving its forces.The group stated, Thursday, that in three cases it has examined, Israel caused ‘numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war’, according to AFP.
The recent 50-day military assault on the region saw more than 2,100 Palestinians — most of whom were civilians, including nearly 600 children — killed by Israeli forces in a series of relentlessly brutal strikes coming from air, land and sea.
73 casualites have been accounted for on the Israeli side, 67 of which were soldier deaths.
The three incidents cited by Human Rights Watch were two separate shellings of UN schools in northern Gaza, on July 24 and 30, as well as a guided missile strike which targeted another UN school in the southern city of Rafah, on August 3.
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The attacks killed a total of 45 people including 17 children, the group said.
‘Two of the three attacks Human Rights Watch investigated… did not appear to target a military objective or were otherwise unlawfully indiscriminate. The third attack in Rafah was unlawfully disproportionate if not otherwise indiscriminate.’
‘Unlawful attacks carried out willfully — that is, deliberately or recklessly — are war crimes,’ it said.
According to the Israeli military, a criminal investigation into five incidents has already been launched, including the July 24 case, where Israeli shelling killed at least 15 people at a UN school in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza.
Several dozen other cases are also reportedly on the agenda for potential criminal investigation, but the July 30 or August 3 incidents have not been mentioned.
The official said, AFP further reports, that the army had already dismissed seven incidents referred for review, including the death of eight members of a single family in an Israeli air strike on their home, in addition to the killing of a media worker.
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‘Israel has a long record of failing to undertake credible investigations into alleged war crimes,’ HRW additionally stated.
A number of international rights groups, including the United Nations, have verbaly condemned Israel for numerous attacks. Even Washington slammed the July 24 UN school attack, but refrained from placing the blame squarely on Israel.
US Senate support for the merciless and indiuscriminate attacks on Gaza’s civilian population was unanimous during the assault, leaving concerned citizens worldwide in a state of shock as attrocities mounted by the hour.
The identities of the slain have not entirely been accounted for, as of yet.
Palestinian officials have threatened Israel with action at the International Criminal Court over a number of allegations and generations-long violations against the rights of Palestinian people, to include the blatant breaching of several UN resolutions.
Even Hamas has signed a proposal for Palestinians to join the body, potentially opening itself up to investigation, yet no action has currently been taken, with the Israeli state continuing their typical routine of violating ceasefire agreements, expanding settlements and continuing to imprison Palestinians by the dozen on a near-daily basis, while the Palestinian Authority continues to coordinate its policing efforts with Israeli security.
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