[JURIST] Both Hamas and Israeli forces committed war crimes [news release] during fighting in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, according to Amnesty International (AI). A report [text, PDF] issued by Amnesty Thursday alleges that Israeli attacks killed 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children. The report says Israel is bound by the international human rights treaties it has ratified, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) [text] and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [text]. Human rights obligations allegedly breached during the conflict include respect for the right to life (ICCPR, Article 6), the right to adequate food and housing (ICESCR, Article 11), and the right to education (ICESCR, Article 13). An AI researcher said that Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups committed war crimes when they fired rockets into southern Israel, killing three. Israel Defense Forces [official website] said AIs report seemed unbalanced [news release]. Hamas has criticized [Haaretz report] AI's report as "unfair."
In December, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [statement text] what she called Israels disproportionate use of force against Hamas targets in Gaza [JURIST report]. Pillay's call followed two days of Israeli airstrikes that killed 270 people and wounded more than 600, including many civilians, according to a UN report [news release]. In April, Israel announced [JURIST report] it would not comply with a UN Human Rights Council [official website] investigation into fighting [BBC backgrounder] in the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder]. AI then accused Israel of war crimes [JURIST report], citing the use of white phosphorous in civilian areas.