Human Rights Watch determines Israeli strikes ‘unlawful’

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on 13 November 2019. Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on 13 November 2019. (Anas Baba/AFP)

4 February 2020

Human Rights Watch determined the strikes that killed 11 civilians in Gaza violated laws of war

Back in 2019, two Israeli airstrikes fired at Palestinian armed groups missed their targets and killed 11 civilians. On 4 February 2020, Human Rights Watch determined that Israel broke the international laws of war by striking Palestinian civilians. This determination comes after months of meticulous inspection to see if war crimes were indeed committed, commented a Human Rights Watch representative. According to international humanitarian law, military authorities are legally obliged to assess their targets to ensure that only combatants and military objectives are being targeted. Additionally, military authorities must take all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians.

However, these are not the first alleged war crimes to erupt  from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In November 2019, Palestinian armed groups fired hundreds of rockets into Israel and injured 78 civilians. Once again, Human Rights Watch determined that this was a violation of the international laws of war. Gerry Simpson, the associate crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch called for the conflict to be met with International Criminal Court scrutiny. 

The conflict in Gaza has had very little resolution since it began over 50 years ago. Recently, President Donald Trump released his “Middle East Peace Plan” that intended to diffuse tension between Israel and Palestine. However, President Trump’s plan was met with heavy rejection by the international community. An independent UN human rights expert called this peace plan “lopsided” in favor of Israel. Global News reported President Trump’s plan, which would allow Israel to annex 30% of the West Bank, has been criticized by many of the Arab nations in the Middle East, including Trump’s Middle Eastern ally, Saudi Arabia. 


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Author: Vito Quaglia; Editor: Rachel Warner

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