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.

Israel/Gaza Documents

  • Israel should immediately allow access to Gaza for Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organizations so they can investigate allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.
    August 20, 2014
    Press release
  • Israeli security forces ordered a Palestinian man to take down security cameras that captured the shooting deaths of two Palestinian boys in May. Footage recorded by cameras on the man’s building prompted an international outcry over the killings.
    June 19, 2014
    Press release
  • With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks under way again in Washington, questions persist about whether Israel will agree to a Palestinian state on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, the so-called Green Line. In the meantime, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are keeping a wary eye on the red lines that constrain what they can say and do.
    July 31, 2013
    Commentary
  • Israel engaged in discriminatory practices and other rights violations against Palestinians during 2012, while Palestinian authorities committed abuses against their own population, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013.  

    February 14, 2013
    Press release
  • Palestinian armed groups in Gaza violated the laws of war during the November 2012 fighting by launching hundreds of rockets toward population centers in Israel.
    December 24, 2012
    Press release