“As the violence intensifies there is an urgent need for the UN to mandate an international independent fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel to investigate violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. This is the first crucial step towards ensuring that those who have committed war crimes or other serious violations can be held accountable.
“The international community must not repeat previous mistakes, standing by and watching the devastating consequences for civilians of both sides and failing to abide by and enforce the laws of war. Swift UN action is needed as lives hang in the balance.”
Amnesty is also calling on the UN to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups with the aim of preventing further serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Pending such an embargo, all states must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to the parties, which have failed to properly investigate violations committed in previous conflicts or bring those responsible to justice.
Israeli air strikes have targeted civilian homes in Gaza – on the basis that they are the family homes of “Hamas operatives”, according to statements by the Israeli military – destroying the homes after warning the families to leave. However, in several such cases no evidence has emerged to indicate that the alleged “Hamas operatives” were inside the homes at the time of the attack, that the homes were being used to store munitions, or otherwise were being used for military purposes.