[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [official website] on Wednesday released a report [official report] that points to evidence of war crimes committed by Israel in the August 2014 retaliation for the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas [BBC backgrounder]. By analyzing hundreds of photos, videos, satellite images and eyewitness testimony, researchers allege that Israeli forces targeted entire areas of the city of Rafah in Gaza with disregard to civilian and residential areas. The attacks led to 135 Palestinian civilian deaths, including 75 children. The capture of Israeli Lieutenant Hadar Goldin led to Israel implementing the “Hannibal Directive”, which allowed Israeli soldiers to use great force in responding to the capture of a soldier. The report notes that in accordance to this directive, the Israeli soldiers may have been motivated by revenge when using such extreme force on the city of Rafah. This is emphasized by the fact that even though Goldin was declared dead on August 2nd, one day after attacks began on August 1st, the Israelis decided to continue their brutal attacks until August 4th. Israel claims that the report is flawed [Jerusalem Post report] in its methodologies and facts.
The Israel-Palestine conflict [HRW backgrounder] continues to be a significant international legal issue. In June Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said that he had presented documents [JURIST report] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to assist in the investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes. Also in June a report released [JURIST report] by the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict found that both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during the conflict. In May AI accused [JURIST report] Hamas forces of leading a series of abductions, torturous acts and unlawful killings against Palestinians. In April a UN independent board of inquiry announced [JURIST report] that it uncovered evidence that at least 44 Palestinians were killed by “Israeli actions” while sheltering at UN locations during the Gaza conflict.