[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday accused [press release] the Israeli military of committing war crimes over the summer by attacking schools where hundreds of displaced Palestinians sought shelter. The three attacks, which took place on July 24, July 30 and August 3 [BBC reports], killed 45 people, including 17 children. Fred Abrahams, special adviser at HRW, stated that “Israel has offered no convincing explanation for these attacks on schools where people had gone for protection and the resulting carnage.” HRW called on all parties engaged in the Gaza conflict to take every necessary precaution to minimize harm to the civilian populations, reminding all involved that laws of war prohibit attacks deliberately targeted at civilians. The Israeli military has created a Fact-Finding Assessments Committee to investigate exceptional incidents during the summer conflict.
In recent weeks rocket attacks between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, forcing the UN and the international community to take steps to help resolve the conflict. In August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 formally requested access [JURIST report] to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to gather first-hand information into the human rights situation in Gaza. Earlier that month the UN Human Rights Council [official website] appointed three experts [JURIST report] to an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged international humanitarian and human rights law violations committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. Also in August then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay [official profile], urged [JURIST report] the international community to end what she called a “climate of impunity” around the Israel-Palestine conflict. In July top Palestinian officials filed a complaint [JURIST report] in the International Criminal Court [official website] accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza.