Israel and Hamas Deny War Crimes after Amnesty Report
While investigations by numerous human rights groups are ongoing, Amnesty International released a scathing report yesterday, blaming both Hamas and Israel for civilian deaths. They argue that international law clearly states that a distinction must be made between combatants and non-combatants.
They also argue that the use of white phosphorous, which was allegedly procured from the United States, was dropped by IDF aircraft on built-up civilian areas. This would be a direct contravention of the GEneva Convention.
Human rights investigators have been trawling through the rubble in Gaza and gathering testimonies in an attempt to piece together a picture of the way both sides fought and the weapons they used.
International law demands that a distinction is made between combatants and non-combatants, and civilian casualties proportionate to the military gains from the attack in which they occurred.
Amnesty delivered the report precisely one month after Israel and Hamas declared unilateral ceasefires in Gaza.
Its fact-finding missions unearthed evidence that Israeli troops "used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes".
The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs issued a response to Amnesty International's claims on Monday, arguing that their version of events is 'biased' and does not meet standards of objectivity. They list a series of 'rebuffs' that argues many of Amnesty's points.
In response to questions by the media, following is the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs response to Amnesty International's report on use of weapons in Operation Cast Lead:
Initial study of the report indicates that it presents a biased version of the events, and does not adhere to professional criteria and objectivity. A detailed response will be given at a later stage, but at this time, it is possible to state that:
Hamas also strongly denied Amnesty's report, saying their demands are unbalanced and unfair and denied that any country was exporting arms to Hamas.
Hamas on Monday rejected an Amnesty International report that accused the Palestinian Islamic movement, as well as Israel, of using weapons illegally during the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.
In a separate report, Amnesty called on the United States to stop supplying arms to Israel, as they say they are being used on civilians.
Amnesty International has called on the United States to stop supplying Israel with arms it says were used in the killing of civilians in Gaza during Israel's three-week military offensive on the Hamas ruled territory and its civilian population.