All Parties in Israel/Gaza Conflict Must Protect Safety of Civilians

Press Release
November 14, 2012

All Parties in Israel/Gaza Conflict Must Protect Safety of Civilians

Human Rights Group Condemns Indiscriminate Attacks in Residential Areas by Israeli and Palestinian Armed Groups

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- Amnesty International today urged all sides to “step back from the brink” and called on the international community to pressure both sides to protect the safety of civilians in Gaza and southern Israel following Israel’s assassination of Ahmad al-Ja’abari, the head of Hamas's military wing.

"All sides have to step back from the brink in order to protect civilian lives,” said Ann Harrison, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

The killing of al-Ja’abari in Gaza City today signaled the start of a new Israeli military operation, “Pillar of Cloud,” which continued with further airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip despite an intensive international effort towards a ceasefire in the wake of civilian casualties on both sides in recent days.

At least five Palestinian civilians have been killed, and more than 50 injured, in multiple Israeli military attacks on Gaza since November 8.

Amnesty International has gathered evidence that suggests at least two of these attacks, on November 8 and 10, were indiscriminate and therefore in violation of international humanitarian law.

“The Israeli military must not carry out further indiscriminate attacks or attacks in densely-populated residential areas that will inevitably harm civilians,” said Harrison.

“Meanwhile, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza must not fire indiscriminate rockets into Israel. The international community must put pressure on both sides to fully respect the laws of war and protect civilian lives and property.”

Palestinian armed groups fired more than 120 rockets into southern Israel between November 10 and 12, injuring at least four Israeli civilians. Amnesty International condemns the firing of these rockets, which were not directed at a specific military objective.

Both parties must ensure a prompt, thorough and independent investigation of all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by forces under their control.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.