Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Human Rights Centers: More than 1,400 Palestinians Killed in Cast Lead

RAMALLAH, December 27, 2011 (WAFA) – Tuesday marks the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip, when Israel killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and injured around 5,300 between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, according to reports issued by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.

PCHR reports said that December 27, 2008 also marks the anniversary of the single bloodiest day in the history of occupation, when 334 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces; 76.6% of whom were civilian.

Al-Mezan report documented the death of 355 Palestinian children, 111 women, and 949 civilians during the operation, as well as detailed destruction of over 40,000 houses in the Strip.

Cast Lead Operation was unprecedented in terms of the scale of grave and systematic violations of the international humanitarian law that level up to war crimes, as Israel targeted civilian Palestinians and objects in disregard of human rights standards, added al-Mezan.

PCHR said it submitted 490 criminal complaints, on behalf of 1,046 victims, to the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG), alleging the commission of international crimes and requested the opening of a criminal investigation.

PCHR received 21 responses, of which only one indicated that an Israeli soldier had been charged and convicted of the theft of a credit card, and sentenced to 7.5 months in jail.

The Israeli violations entailing individual criminal responsibility included --but were not limited to-- the crimes of “willful killing, the extensive destruction of civilian property, the direct targeting of civilians and civilian objects, the use of human shields, and the launching of indiscriminate attacks,” reported PCHR.

PCHR called on the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to “refer the situation in Israel and Palestine to the International Criminal Court,” and reminded States, as High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, of their pressing legal obligation, “to search for and prosecute all those suspected of committing war crimes, regardless of their nationality.”

Al-Mezan stressed that the international community needs to take immediate actions to end the illegal and immoral Israeli blockade on Gaza, guarantee free passage of people and goods into the Strip, including material necessary to rebuild Gaza, and to protect Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian Territory and the Strip.
Human Rights Centers: More than 1,400 Palestinians Killed in Cast Lead