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  • Human Rights Watch

Israeli Airstrikes in May, Could Constitute War Crimes

August 23, 2021

Al-Shorouk tower after an Israeli airstrike on May 12 [Image Source: Mohammed Talatene/AP Images]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch

HRRC's Response:

Four high-rise buildings in Gaza were destroyed in May 2021 during the fighting between Israel and Palestine. Each of these buildings was densely populated and contained storefronts. Israel claimed that these buildings were also being used for military purposes by armed Palestinian groups, yet according to the report, there has yet to be any evidence of this or any attempt to make any evidence public.

The report states that, "Human Rights Watch found no evidence that members of Palestinian groups involved in military operations had a current or long-term presence in any of the towers at the time they were attacked". Additionally, the leveling of these buildings caused significant long-term displacement of the families who were residing within, as well as destroyed businesses which many civilians relied upon. This destruction disproportionately harmed civilians, without confirmation that these were military targets at all. Thus, this constitutes a war crime as only military objectives can be the target of attacks, and attacks on civilians is prohibited.

HRRC reminds both the governments and military personnel involved in the conflict that civilians should never be targeted. All parties involved in the violence must take every precaution to avoid any civilian casualties as well as avoid the destruction of any and all civilian-owned properties.


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