Complete Coverage of Israel/Gaza
Israel – Gaza Conflict
December 2008 – January 2009
On December 27, 2008, Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead” – a 22-day military campaign with the stated aim of suppressing rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Human Rights Watch documented serious violations of the laws of war by Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, some of which amounted to war crimes. In Gaza, more than 700 civilians died in the fighting; in Israel, 3 civilians lost their lives.
Laws-of-war violations by Israeli forces included drone-launched missile attacks that killed 29 civilians, the killing of 11 civilians holding white flags, and the use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas. Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups violated the laws of war by firing hundreds of rockets deliberately or indiscriminately into civilian areas in Israel.
To date, neither Israel nor Hamas has held the perpetrators of these violations to account, despite recommendations of the UN Fact-Finding Mission (the "Goldstone report"), supported by the UN's Human Rights Council and General Assembly, that Israel and Hamas conduct credible, independent investigations.
In Israel, only one soldier has been convicted for a wartime abuse: he got seven months in prison for the theft of a credit card. In Gaza, no one is known to have been punished for firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, or for the arbitrary detentions, torture and killings by Hamas of other Palestinians.
In addition, both sides continue to violate international humanitarian law. Palestinian armed groups have slowed but not stopped their indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. Israel is severely restricting the import into Gaza of essential goods and supplies needed for reconstruction. One year after the fighting, Gazan civilians have been unable to repair their destroyed homes, schools and roads.
January 29, 2015Press release
September 24, 2014Press release
August 20, 2014Press release
June 19, 2014Press release
July 31, 2013Commentary