Last January, Israel killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip using high calibre missiles and white phosphorous weapons.
In their report, Amnesty posed questions about the projectiles used given the high number of civilians and children that died. While numerous human rights organisations have stated that the number of Palestinian deaths is around the 1,400 mark, the majority of whom are civilians, Amnesty points out that at least 300 of those are children and minors.
The Israeli tactic during the attacks on Palestinian territory were characterised by a lack of discrimination between military and civilian targets, to which the report refers to as “wanton destruction”.
In another section, the report refers to the use of human shields by Israeli forces, obliging civilians –including children– to remain in the proximity of buildings that they were using as military positions. Regarding this practice, Amnesty found no evidence that the Palestinian combatants had used the tactic. However, they point out that Hamas put the civilian Palestinian population at risk by firing and hiding rockets in places close to residential areas and that the carrying out of these attacks is illegal and also in violation of international law, and therefore unjustifiable.
For their part, the Israeli army said that as a result of their operation “Cast Lead” against Hamas militants who were launching rockets into Israeli territory, ten soldiers and three Israeli civilians were killed.