Israel violated ‘laws of war’ in Gaza, says Human Rights Watch

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Human Rights Watch said Israeli airstrikes during the most recent Gaza Strip conflict last November “violated the laws of war.”

Field investigations, which the group said were not comprehensive, found 14 instances in which Israeli unmanned drones or fixed wing aircraft hit areas “with no indication of a legitimate military target,” and another four in which there were identifiable military targets but which “appeared to use indiscriminate means or caused disproportionate harm to civilians,” according to the report. The airstrikes killed at least 43 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children, HRW said.

Israel Radio quoted the Israel Defense Forces as saying it was investigating its attacks during Operation Pillar of Defense, the Nov. 14-21, 2012 conflict that was precipitated by an intensification of Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel communities.

Human Rights Watch said it was releasing its findings now because past such investigations “were not conducted by trained military police investigators or dedicated to investigating alleged laws-of-war violation.”

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