Human Rights Watch: Israel violated laws of war in Gaza

Human Rights Watch said Israeli air strikes during the most recent Gaza Strip conflict last November “violated the laws of war.”

Field investigations, which the group said were not comprehensive, found 14 instances in which Israeli unmanned drones or fixed wing aircraft hit areas “with no indication of a legitimate military target,” and another four in which there were identifiable military targets but which “appeared to use indiscriminate means or caused disproportionate harm to civilians,” according to the report. The air strikes killed at least 43 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children, HRW said.

Israel Radio quoted the Israel Defense Forces as saying it was investigating its attacks during Operation Pillar of Defense, the conflict from Nov. 14 to 21, 2012 precipitated by an intensification of Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel communities.

The group’s annual global report, released Feb. 14, also documented abuses in Egypt, Syria, Iran and Lebanon, and criticized Iran for cracking down on opposition groups and leaders ahead of parliamentary elections. — jta