Israeli human rights group B’Tselem releases a statement:
IDF Killed 23 Civilians in Gaza in the Past Month “By Mistake”
In the last four weeks, according to B’Tselem’s statistics, Israel ‘s security forces in the Occupied Territories killed 23 Palestinian bystanders, who the military indicated they did not intend to kill. Among them were 7 children. All were killed by helicopter missile fire, excluding one killed by artillery fire.
In this same period, no Israelis were killed by Palestinians.
The killing of innocent civilians with missiles fired during the day in the heart of crowded neighbourhoods, as occurred in most of the cases cited, is not an “unfortunate mistake” but a near certain result. Whoever authorized the firing of missiles knew inescapably, or should have known, that this would be the expected result. International humanitarian law prohibits conducting an attack, even against a legitimate military target, if it is known that the attack will cause harm to civilians that is excessive compared to the anticipated military advantage. Violation of this prohibition is defined as a war crime, and therefore carries individual criminal liability for those responsible.
B’Tselem wrote to the IDF Judge Advocate General demanding that a Military Police Investigation be opened immediately regarding all those responsible, including the Chief of Staff and the Commander of the Air Force, for the killing of 23 civilians.
The statistics relate to the period of 20/05/2006 – 21/06/2006, and do not include the members of the Ghaliah family, in regard to whom B’Tselem cannot currently confirm with certainty who is responsible for their deaths.