A report commissioned by the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has accused the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of carrying out a series of human rights abuses during the Gaza conflict in the summer of 2014. The group have now called for the Israeli government to open an inquiry into the alleged violations they say occurred during the 50-day conflict, reports Newsweek.
The war resulted in the deaths of almost 2,200 Palestinians, including 500 children, and the displacement of 100,000. There were 73 Israeli casualties, 64 of whom were soldiers.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s (PHR-Israel) report is based on the work of a fact-finding mission to Gaza comprised of eight “independent international medical experts,” and includes evidence of attacks on medical workers and the use of human shields by Israeli soldiers, according to the Middle East Monitor.
The team, whose testimonies the report was based on, was made up of eight independent international medical experts who were unconnected with Palestine or Israel.
According to PHR-Israel, “heavy explosives were used in residential neighborhoods, resulting in multiple civilian casualties,” with “‘double tap’ or multiple consecutive strikes on a single location” leading “to multiple civilian casualties and to injuries and deaths among rescuers.”
The report records an “apparently deliberate attack” on Shuhada’ Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al Balah, where several people were killed and injured on July 21.
The medical experts interviewed 68 Palestinians wounded during the war – only five of whom said that they had received Israeli army warnings of an impending strike.
Newsweek reported some of the most shocking findings were discovered when the team carried out an in-depth study of Khuza, a small farming town with a population of around 13,000. The report concludes the following.
“The conduct of specific troops in the area is indicative of additional serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”
The site was chosen due to the fact that both rescue organizations and journalists had reported the difficulties they had faced when trying to access the site and “the need to collect first-hand evidence regarding various allegations made.”
The report describes how, on July 23, hundreds of residents had attempted to evacuate the town holding white flags but were told to return by Israeli soldiers, while some also said that they were shot at. On the same day, a clinic came under attack despite the fact it was clearly marked as a healthcare center.
A day after this, when a group again tried to leave, there are three eyewitness accounts which describe how a six-year-old boy who reportedly had serious abdominal injuries was denied “medical evacuation” despite the fact that Israeli troops are thought to have seen him and how badly he was wounded. The boy later died of his injuries.
A team of UN war crimes investigators seeking to look into allegations of war crimes by both the IDF and Hamas were denied entry to Israel and Gaza earlier this month and have had to take evidence in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
[Image via Newsweek]