Report of Gaza fact finding commitee

The following are excerpts from the beginning of the report, the full contents of the report covers some 254 pages and therefore is not available on the site as HTML. It can however be downloaded as a PDF document for further perusal.

Executive Summary.

  • The Independent Fact Finding Committee on Gaza to the League of Arab States (the Committee) was established in February 2009 with the tasks of investigating and reporting on violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law during the Israeli military offensive (hereinafter operation Cast Lead) against Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 and collecting information on the responsibility for the commission of international crimes during the operation.

The Facts

  • The Committee saw, heard and read evidence of great loss of life and injury in Gaza. Statistics accepted by the Committee show that over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including at the very least 850 civilians, 300 children and 110 women. Over 5,000 Palestinians were wounded. The Committee was unable to accept the figures given by Israel, which claim that only 295 of those killed were civilians, as they do not provide the names of the dead (unlike Palestinian sources). Moreover, Israel includes policemen as combatants, whereas they should be considered as civilians, and it asserts that only children below the age of sixteen qualify as such, whereas the accepted international age for children is eighteen. The Committee heard disturbing accounts of cold-blooded killing of civilians by members of the IDF, accounts which were later confirmed by Israeli soldiers at the Oranim military college.

War Crimes

  • The Committee examined the responsibility of parties to the conflict for the commission of only of those war crimes which are generally accepted and whose meaning and content is clear.
  • The Committee found that the IDF was responsible for the crime of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians. In reaching this conclusion the Committee had regard to the number of civilians killed and wounded and to the extent of the destruction to civilian property. It rejected Israel?s determination of who is a civilian. Members of the Hamas civil government responsible for administering the affairs of Gaza are not combatants as claimed by Israel. Nor are members of the police force responsible for maintaining law and order and controlling traffic.
  • The Committee also found that Palestinian militants who fired rockets into Israel indiscriminately, committed the war crime of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians.

Crimes Against Humanity

  • A crime against humanity comprises acts of murder, extermination, persecution and similar other inhumane acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population with knowledge of the attack. The Committee found that Israel?s offensive met the legal requirements for this crime and that the IDF was responsible for committing this crime.
  • ….

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