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Human Rights Watch: Israel used disproportionate force in war against Gaza

February 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Thursday that US-based organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has criticized Israel for violating Palestinian rights during the recent war against the Gaza Strip.

The newspaper reported that Israel violated the internal laws of war during its offensive dubbed Pillars of Defense which it launched against civilians and militants in Gaza. “HRW counted 14 airstrikes in which there didn’t appear to be a valid military target, and four others targeting militants but which used disproportionate force.”

The newspaper also reported HRW as saying, “The attacks killed more than 40 Palestinian civilians. They included a bomb attack on a home in the northern Gaza Strip town of Jebalia that killed Fouad Hijazi, a 46-year-old janitor, and two of his children aged 4 and 2.”

Based on interviews conducted with Gaza residents, “The HRW report said attacks included bombings of civilian locations like homes and farm groves “without any apparent military objective.”

According to the Israeli daily, “the attack included a strike on November 21 that killed a 48-year-old farmer, Talal al-Asaly, and two of his children, Ayman [19] and Abeer [11] in northern Gaza while they worked in their garden.

“Another drone strike two days earlier killed Ibrahim al-Astal [48] and his nephew, Omar al-Astal [14] in the southern area of Khan Younis.”

HRW, the newspaper reported, accused Israel of using disproportionate force that largely harmed human life and property in targeting what it claimed were Palestinian militants. “They cited that an attack on November 20th may have targeted the home of a Palestinian militant, killing three civilians and wounding at least 20 others.

“Another strike hit the home of a man that Israeli officials identified as a Hamas militant, killing 12 civilians.”

Israel carried out an eight-day war against the Gaza Strip on November 14, 2012 which it called Pillars of Defense. The U.S, Canada and many EU countries supported Israel in that war under the pretext of it being ‘self-defense.’

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 158 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of which 102 were civilians; 55 were militants; one was a policeman; 30 were children; and 13 were women. More than 1200 Palestinians were injured.