Amnesty says Israeli attacks amount to 'war crimes'

The Nation  |  May 18, 2021

The "shocking disregard" Israeli forces display for Palestinian lives may amount to war crimes, said Amnesty International.

In a statement on Monday, the rights watchdog said a number of Israeli air strikes have targeted residential buildings and in some cases killed entire families.

It added that the attacks "may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity."

Saleh Higazi, deputy director for Amnesty International in the Middle East and North Africa, said "no prior warning was given to the civilian residents to allow them to escape."

"Under international humanitarian law, all parties must distinguish between military targets and civilian objects and direct their attacks only at military objectives. When carrying out attacks, parties must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” he added.

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Higazi called on the International Criminal Court to "urgently investigate" Israel's attacks as "war crimes".

The watchdog quoted several Palestinian residents who were affected by Israel's attacks. "There was no warning, so people were inside their home sitting together," said Yousef Yassin, a medic from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza who was quoted by Amnesty International.

At least 213 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed and 1,442 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The airstrikes were preceded by days of tension and Israeli aggression in occupied East Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were assaulted by Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.​​​​​​​

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