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    Israel Committed War Crimes in Gaza: Amnesty International

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    International Human Rights Agency Amnesty International (AI) issued a statement condemning the destruction of multistory buildings in Gaza by airstrikes during Israel's Operation Protective Edge in August and said it was a deliberate act that amounts to war crimes.

    MOSCOW, December 9 (Sputnik) — The destruction of multistory buildings in Gaza by airstrikes during Israel's Operation Protective Edge in August was a deliberate act and amounts to war crimes, Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.

    "All the evidence we have shows this large-scale destruction was carried out deliberately and with no military justification," Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, was quoted as saying in the statement published on the Amnesty International's website.

    Luther also said that "both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods."

    The watchdog issued the statement along with the publication of the "'Nothing is Immune': Israel's destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza" report.

    According to the findings of the report, airstrikes launched on four multistory buildings in Gaza over the last four days of the hostilities were in breach of international humanitarian law.

    "Even if the Israeli authorities had good reason to believe that a part of a building was being used for military purposes, they had an obligation to choose means and methods of attack that would minimize harm to civilians and their property," Luther added.

    Amnesty International said it sent the findings to the authorities in Israel though no substantial response has been received as to why the buildings were razed to the ground.

    The watchdog called on the Commission of Inquiry established by the United Nations for an independent and impartial investigation into the matter, although noted that international law violations in the Gaza Strip both by Israeli and Palestinian forces have not been impartially investigated so far.

    The Operation Protective Edge occurred during the summer as a result of an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The operation was launched by Israel against the Hamas movement in retaliation for the group's attacks against Israel. Over 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 60 Israelis died during the operation.

    Meanwhile, a report published on Monday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that 538 children were killed and 3,370 were injured during the operation.

    Related:

    UN Considering Special Commission on Human Rights Violations in Gaza Strip
    Tags:
    Operation Protective Edge, violence, human rights, civilian deaths, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Gaza Strip, Palestine, Israel
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