Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls for a full investigation into the state’s abuses in Gaza:
The extent of the harm to the Gaza civilian population from the recent operation is unprecedented. Whole families were wiped out. Children were killed before their parents’ eyes. Some people watched as their loved ones bled to death. The extensive harm to the civilian population is not, in and of itself, proof of violations of the laws of war. However, it requires Israel to conduct an independent and credible investigation, rather than relying solely on operational debriefings. Such an investigation is mandated by law. It is also in Israel’s best interest, says B’Tselem, as the Israeli public has a right to know what was done in its name in the Gaza Strip.
Based on the initial information, the investigation must examine the following questions, among others:
- Did the army target civilian objects, even if they did not contribute to Hamas military actions?
- Did the army act in accordance with the principle of proportionality, prohibiting excessive harm to civilians in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage?
- Did the army make prohibited use of weapons, including White Phosphorous?
- Did soldiers fire at civilians without justification?
- Did soldiers use Palestinian civilians as human shields?
- Did soldiers attack ambulances and medical teams while they were carrying out their duties?
- Did the army delay the evacuation and treatment of wounded in areas in which hostilities were not taking place?