“Israeli officials have failed to give any justification for carrying out these attacks. In some of the cases in this report Amnesty International has not been able to identify any possible military target,” says AI in a summary of the report appearing on its website. “In those cases it appears that the attacks directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes.”
Entitled “Families Under the Rubble,” the 50-page report focuses mainly upon attacks upon civilian homes, detailing eight specific cases of Israeli bomb or missile attacks upon residential buildings, attacks in which some 104 civilians, including 62 children, were killed.
One of the more disturbing sections of the report deals with what happened at the nine-story Cordoba Building in the Remal residential neighborhood in central Gaza City. On Sunday, July 20, at about 6:45 p.m. three Israeli missiles slammed into the al-Hallaq family’s apartment on the second floor, while two more missiles hit the floor just below, pulverizing the apartment of the Ammar family.
Khalil Abed Hassan Ammar, a resident on the lower floor who also happens to be a doctor with the Palestinian Medical Council, described what happened:
“It was terrifying we couldn’t save anyone…. All of the kids were burnt, I couldn’t tell which were mine and which were the neighbours,'” he said. “…We carried whoever we were able to the ambulance… I only recognized Ibrahim my eldest child, when I saw the shoes he was wearing…I had bought them for him two days before.”
Both homes were extremely crowded, as both families at the time were putting up relatives who had been forced to flee their own homes. In all, seven members of the al-Hallaq family were killed, while four members of the Ammar family died. Out of the 11 fatalities, five were children.
“Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“The report exposes a pattern of attacks on civilian homes by Israeli forces which have shown a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, who were given no warning and had no chance to flee.”
You can go here to access the full report, which includes a photo of Hassan and Samar al-Hallaq taken with their son, Saji, taken in 2013, and here to access the summary of the report on Amnesty’s website.
In its conclusion, the report states:
The pattern of attacks suggest military tactics were adopted that are
incongruent with the binding rules governing the conduct of hostilities in
international humanitarian law. The fact that the Israeli military began carrying out aerial bombardment of inhabited homes in the first days of the conflict 77 and that this tactic was used for the duration of the operation, as illustrated by the dates of the attacks in this report, seems to suggest that Israel’s political leadership endorsed this manner of conducting hostilities.
You can go here to read a Fox News article on Israeli officials “blasting” the report for its “extreme bias.” Meanwhile the New York Times assures us that Israel is presently conducting its own internal investigation, which doubtless will be much more balanced and fair than the Amnesty report.