Two new (and differing) reports on the December/January
conflict in Gaza.
The Operation in Gaza – Factual and Legal Aspects, from the Israeli foreign ministry:
Israel deeply regrets the civilian losses that occurred during the Gaza operation. But Israel has both the responsibility and the right under international law, as does every state, to defend its civilians from intentional rocket attacks. It believes that it discharged that responsibility in a manner consistent with the rules of international law. Israel is committed to a thorough investigation of all allegations to the contrary and to making the results of these investigations and subsequent reviews public when they are completed.
'Operation Cast Lead': A Statistical Analysis, from al-Haq, the Palestinian human rights organisation:
While the law does acknowledge that civilians may sometimes be the victims of a legitimate attack against a military target, parties to a conflict are bound to at all times distinguish between combatants and civilians, to refrain from targeting civilians, and to take all necessary precautions to ensure that the risk of harm to civilians is minimised.
The fact that over 83% of those killed by the Israeli forces during Operation Cast Lead were civilians suggests that such distinction or precautions were not taken into account in the planning and conduct of hostilities.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 16 August 2009.