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Hold Israel accountable for war crimes in Gaza: Rights group

Palestinian men look on as a bomb from an Israeli air strike hits a house in Gaza City on August 23, 2014. Photo by AFP

A human rights group says Israel must be held accountable for using “captured Palestinians as human shields” during its summer 2014 military aggression against the Gaza Strip.

Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights released a report on atrocities the Tel Aviv regime committed during the onslaught on Gaza, which started on July 8 and ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce.

“Our investigation documented both indiscriminate attacks on civilians by Israeli forces and their use of captured Palestinians as human shields,” said Ihsan Adel, a legal officer for Euro-Mid, which is a nongovernmental human rights watchdog focusing on the Middle East-North Africa region.

“According to international law, attacks are considered indiscriminate when they are not directed at specific military targets, measures are not taken to limit the effects and no attempt is made to differentiate between combatants and civilians,” the report said.

It also said that the Israeli forces “deliberately and knowingly” targeted a large number of civilians in Gaza.

The Geneva-based nonprofit organization also documented “at least six cases” in the southern city of Khan Younis, where the Israeli forces used Palestinian civilians as human shields.

“These civilians were held against their will for hours or days to protect Israeli soldiers from fire, and in the meantime were subjected to inhumane and abusive treatment such as beating, humiliation and exposure to the hot sun while naked for long periods of time,” the report added.

The observer organization rejected accusations by Israeli officials that the Palestinian resistance fighters have used people as human shields.

“In contrast, the Euro-Mid team did not find any evidence of Palestinians who were forced to stay in their homes or to use their bodies for the protection of Palestinian resistance factions, as charged by the Israeli” officials, the report added.

“The use of human shields is a form of cruel and inhumane treatment and constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

A host of international bodies including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused the Israeli regime of committing war crimes in Gaza.

The UN estimates that 400,000 Gazan children are in need of psychological care due to the adverse effects of the Israeli wars on Gaza over the past few years.

By Press TV


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