Amnesty International: Hamas Rocket Attacks Amounted To War Crimes

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Mar 27, 2015 12:35 PM
Amnesty International: Hamas Rocket Attacks Amounted To War Crimes

Yes, you read that right; Amnesty International has declared Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel amounted to war crimes.

Last summer, the bloodshed began when Hamas claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers. Soon afterwards, Israel began operations in the West Bank to bring the perpetrators to justice. The “crackdown” prompted Hamas to increase rocket attacks from Gaza, which led Israel to invade the Gaza Strip to prevent further attacks on its citizens last summer. Close to 5,000 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.

Last November, Amnesty International reported that Israel had committed war crimes, which they rejected. According to the Associated Press, Israel's Foreign Ministry said Amnesty's report"ignores documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas."

"The report does not mention the word terror in relation to Hamas or other armed Palestinian groups, nor mentions tunnels built by Hamas to infiltrate Israel and perpetrate terror attacks," the ministry said.

Well, in this new report, Amnesty says Hamas’ attacks were "unlawful" and "displayed a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law" (via BBC)

Militants displayed a "flagrant disregard" for the lives of civilians during the 50-day war, a report found.

According to UN data, more than 4,800 rockets and 1,700 mortars were fired from Gaza towards Israel between 8 July and 26 August. Around 224 projectiles are believed to have struck Israeli residential areas.

Amnesty said that all the rockets used by Hamas and other militant groups, some of which have ranges of up to 160km (100 miles), were unguided projectiles which could not be accurately directed at specific targets and were "inherently indiscriminate".

The majority of Israel's 8.3 million people live within reach of the long-range rockets, and the report pointed out that as a result the "circle of fear has widened" in Israel.

"Palestinian armed groups, including the armed wing of Hamas, repeatedly launched unlawful attacks during the conflict," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director, Philip Luther.

"In launching these attacks, they displayed a flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law and for the consequences of their violations on civilians in both Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Amnesty's report also detailed other violations of international humanitarian law by Palestinian groups during the conflict, such as storing rockets and other munitions in civilian buildings, including UN schools, and cases where armed groups launched attacks or stored munitions very near locations where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

Of course, Hamas’ spokesperson Tahir al-Nounou said the report was inaccurate, made “false allegations,” and was “based on the Israeli narrative.”

Hamas broke the ceasefire during the war, and was caught by the French Press firing rockets from densely populated areas in Gaza. Gallagher Fenwick, a reporter with FRANCE 24, took advantage of the seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire, which occurred in early August, to “snoop around.” It’s was during this time that he stumbled upon a rocket launching pad 50 meters from the hotel where most of the international press was staying and 100 meters from a UN building, clearly marked with its blue flag.

During the conflict, a network of tunnels used by Hamas were discovered and destroyed by Israeli Defense Forces. Yet, it wasn’t a cheap undertaking. Each tunnel cost between $2-3 million to build and there were at least 30 of them. 
It was money that could’ve been spent on medical clinics, infrastructure, schools, and supplies, but Hamas decided to spend it on operations to fund their terrorist activities.