Amnesty calls for investigation of possible war crimes in Gaza

So far this year, at least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian youth salvage belongings from the rubble of their destroyed house.
Palestinian children salvage belongings from the rubble of their house which was destroyed during Israel's attack on Gaza in August 2022 [File: Said Khatib/AFP]

Amnesty International has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate possible war crimes following the “unlawful attacks” committed during Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza Strip in August.

Israeli forces “boasted” of the precision of their attacks on Gaza in August, said Amnesty International in a new report released on Tuesday that investigates the circumstances around three specific attacks on civilians.

Amnesty said that the victims of Israel’s so-called “precise” attacks included a four-year-old child, a teenager visiting his mother’s grave, and a fine arts student killed by Israeli tank fire while at home drinking tea with her mother.

Also investigated was an attack that killed seven Palestinian civilians, which appeared to have been the result of an unguided rocket that was likely launched by Palestinian armed groups, the organisation said.

“Israel’s latest offensive on Gaza lasted only three days, but that was ample time to unleash fresh trauma and destruction on the besieged population,” Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said in a statement accompanying the report.

“The three deadly attacks we examined must be investigated as war crimes; all victims of unlawful attacks and their families deserve justice and reparations,” she said.

The August onslaught by Israeli forces was only the most recent example of indiscriminate violence against the “dominated, oppressed and segregated” population of Gaza, which has suffered under years of illegal blockade of the territory, Callamard added.

“As well as investigating war crimes committed in Gaza, the ICC should consider the crime against humanity of apartheid within its current investigation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” she said.

Since the beginning of this year, at least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 51 Palestinians killed during Israel’s three-day assault on Gaza in August, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Thirty-one civilians were among the 49 Palestinians that the United Nations said were killed in the Gaza Strip during the three-day conflict, Amnesty said in the new report.

The fighting began on August 5 when Israel launched air raids in what it said were preemptive attacks targeting the Islamic Jihad group.

Using photos of weapon fragments, satellite imagery analysis, and testimony from dozens of interviewees, Amnesty said it had reconstructed the circumstances surrounding three specific attacks, two of which were carried out by Israeli forces and one most likely by Palestinian armed groups.

The ICC has opened an investigation into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is expected to focus partly on possible war crimes committed during the 2014 conflict in Gaza. The probe is supported by the Palestinian Authority, but Israel is not an ICC member and disputes its jurisdiction.

Last month, the family of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh submitted an official complaint to the ICC to demand justice for her death.

Abu Akleh, who was with Al Jazeera for 25 years and known as the “voice of Palestine”, was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces on May 11 while she was covering an army raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies