Israel should cease attacks that cause loss of civilian life and property in violation of the laws of war. Human Rights Watch investigated eight Israeli airstrikes that were apparent violations of the laws of war before the ground offensive that began on July 17, 2014. The findings and reports of numerous new civilian casualties heightened concerns for the safety of civilians during the ground offensive.
United Nation’s figures as of July 22 indicate that at least 443 Palestinian civilians have died since fighting began on July 7. More than 147 children and 74 women are reported among the dead; 1,100 children and 1,153 women have been wounded, and an unknown number of other civilians. UN facilities are already overflowing with tens of thousands of displaced persons.
Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property. Deliberate or reckless attacks violating the laws of war are war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.
Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel appear to be indiscriminate or targeted at civilian population centers, which are war crimes, while Israeli attacks targeting homes may amount to prohibited collective punishment.
Israel’s military operations in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers have amounted to collective punishment. The military operations included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and illegal home demolitions. During raids on Palestinian towns, refugee camps, and villages, Israeli forces have shot and killed at least five Palestinians and arrested and detained at least 150 more without charge.
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.
Any Palestinian armed groups unlawfully holding three Israeli teenagers should release them immediately and unconditionally. Israeli forces searching for the three should respect the laws of war with respect to the Palestinian population in the occupied territory and not carry out mass, arbitrary arrests. The three teenagers apparently were abducted in the West Bank on June 12, 2014.
A Palestinian autopsy has confirmed that a Palestinian boy killed by Israeli forces during a protest in the West Bank on May 15, 2014, died from injuries caused by live ammunition. The June 11, 2014 autopsy of Nadim Nuwarah, 17, found bullet entry and exit wounds and metal bullet fragments.