Amnesty accuses Israel, Hamas of human rights violations

NEW YORK (JTA) – Israel and Hamas violated international humanitarian law during their round of violence in November, Amnesty International said in its annual report.

In its report released Thursday, the human rights group accused both sides of a series of violations of human rights over the past year.

“The Israeli air force carried out bomb and missile strikes on residential areas, including strikes that were disproportionate and caused heavy civilian casualties,” the report said.

Amnesty said the Israel Air Force routinely launched strikes against Gaza, killing scores of civilians, including more than 20 children, and that many of the strikes were carried out without providing sufficient evidence in accordance with international law.

On Palestinian travel restrictions and the blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Amnesty said the policies “impacted on basic infrastructure, including water, sanitation and power supplies continued to be severe.”

In the same report, Amnesty also addressed human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza accusing Palestinian militants of committing war crimes before and during the eight days of fighting in November with Israel by firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilian targets killing. Some of the rockets and shells fired at Israel fell short, killing at least two Palestinians. In addition, Amnesty said Hamas had executed seven “collaborators” during the conflict.

The report also referred to Israel’s Cast Lead in 2009-10, saying that Israeli authorities had failed to properly investigate killings of Palestinians during the three weeks of the military operation to halt rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Israel has said the majority of the casualties were enemy combatants.

Amnesty also was critical of areas controlled by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, saying it had unlawfully detained and tortured Palestinians.

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