Amnesty International urged the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups to make every effort to protect civilian lives.

“We are deeply concerned by the number of civilians killed in Gaza, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and call on all parties involved to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and avoid further bloodbath,” said Agnés Callamard , secretary general of Amnesty International.

“Deliberately attacking civilians and carrying out disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has committed these repeatedly, with impunity, in previous wars against Gaza. Palestinian armed groups must stop targeting the Israeli civilian population, as they have done in the past and even more so today, and put an end to the use of indiscriminate weapons: these actions, in turn, constitute war crimes,” added Callamard.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israel’s retaliation against Gaza has caused at least 232 deaths and almost 1,700 injuries. Israeli media and the Ministry of Health have reported at least 250 deaths and over 1,500 injuries due to attacks by Palestinian armed groups.

The Israeli armed forces have informed the press that Israeli civilians (including minors) and soldiers have been captured and taken hostage by Palestinian armed groups: these are actions prohibited by international humanitarian law, which may constitute war crimes. All civilians taken hostage must be released immediately. Everyone, in any case, must be treated humanely and receive medical care.

The root causes of these repeated cycles of violence must be urgently addressed. This means respecting international law and ending Israel’s illegal 16-year blockade of Gaza and every other aspect of Israel’s system of apartheid against the entire Palestinian population.

The Israeli government must stop inciting violence and stoking tensions in the occupied West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, especially at religious sites.

Amnesty International has called on the international community to take urgent action to protect civilian populations and prevent further suffering.