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Destruction in Gaza Photo: AP
Destruction in Gaza Photo: AP

Rights groups demand Gaza op probe

Human rights organizations urge attorney general to investigate violations of combat rules in Gaza

Aviad Glickman
Published: 01.20.09, 20:06 / Israel News

Eight human rights organizations appealed to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz Tuesday to establish an independent committee that would investigate attacks on Gaza civilians during the IDF operation in the Strip.


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The organizations that launched the appeal, including B'tselem, Gisha, Yesh Din, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) say that an investigation independent of the State is necessary in order to establish whether international laws were broken by Israel.


ACRI Attorney Limor Yehuda wrote that the organizations' claims were based on various incidents reported by the media as well as reports emerging daily from Gaza.


According to Yehuda, the "appalling" number of women and children killed during the operation as well as suspicions of violated combat regulations require an efficient and extensive investigation by an independent organization. She said Palestinian medical sources had reported at least 1,300 casualties in Gaza, 410 of which were children.


Yehuda wrote that the two basic principles of combat regulations are "the distinction between fighters and civilians, and the principle of proportionality". She added that these principles were intended to serve the highest purpose of humanitarian law, by minimizing the harm caused to civilians in times of conflict.


The organizations further claim that attacks on civilian buildings should not be carried out on general suspicions, but rather, only based on well-founded information. They also condemned the rocket fire on Israel as aimed at harming civilians and a violation of international law. The use of civilians as human shields was also slammed by the groups.


However, the appeal said, these actions do not justify Israel's violations of international law in Gaza.


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