An annual report documenting human rights abuses criticized Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Amnesty International’s report on human rights abuses in 150 countries during 2007 called Israel’s sealing-off of the Gaza Strip “collective punishment” for its 1.5 million residents, which it said are suffering from shortages of food, water and fuel.
The report also said that Israel had prevented Palestinian Gazans with life-threatening illnesses from entering the country to receive treatment, and that 40 of them died as a result.
The report condemned the Palestinians in Gaza for launching Kassam rocket attacks on Israel; in the same sentence it decried Israeli strikes that injured and killed Palestinian civilians.
“The IDF does its utmost to minimize harm to uninvolved Palestinian civilians in its struggle against terrorism,” said a statement from the Israel Defense Forces. “Yet terrorist organizations such as Hamas operate from population centers, deliberately exploiting women and children as human shields and as such bear direct responsibility for the harm caused to civilians on both sides.”
“It is important to emphasize that in recent years there has been a significant decrease in the number of uninvolved civilians hurt in warfare zones due to the relentless efforts taken by the IDF.”