Thursday, December 27, 2012


Islamic Jihad
Human Rights Watch, which has published an extensive report* on the recent conflict in Gaza, has concluded that Palestinian terrorist groups committed war crimes when they unlawfully targeted civilian  population centres. Palestinian armed groups fired more than 1500 rockets at Israel, of which 800 hit illegal targets, including Jerusalem, where a number of Muslim holy sites are located.

The HRW report stated;

1. The Palestinian rocket and missile attacks violated the Laws of War**.
2. Harming civilians was the main aim of Palestinian armed groups.
3. The Palestinians demonstrated an intent to commit War Crimes, when their press releases boasted about their pending attacks on civilian population centres, rather  than military targets.
4. There was no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.
5. Firing the rickets from densely populated areas in Gaza, near homes and businesses, invited Israeli counterattacks that would needlessly injure and kill Palestinian civilians. The injured Palestinians, who were unnecessary collateral damage, were publicised by Hamas, for its own propaganda purposes.
6.  Involved were: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committee.
7. Retaliating against Israeli attacks on rocket sites, by firing on population centres, is illegal under international humanitarian principles, and the Laws of War.

Not included in the report, but important nevertheless, is the fact that Iran supplied the technical assistance for Gaza terrorist groups to build long-range rockets, which were then fired upon Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, cities which contain no military targets. Thus, Iran is also guilty of War Crimes.

The report concluded that the attacks were unlawful, and that those responsible should be punished. Whilst justice may never be served on the terrorist leadership, the illegal attacks on civilians most likely polarised the Israeli Government, and its people, and set back any peace prospects for years, which means that Country Risk on the Palestinian Territories should be increased at this time.

Popular Resistance Committee
*Human Rights Watch
** The 4th Geneva Convention specifically protects civilians in times of war, including conflicts in which war has not been declared. 

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