Will Israel’s War Crimes Go Unpunished?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security meeting with senior Israeli Defense Forces commanders near Gaza on July 21, 2014. (Israel government photo)

Brian J. Trautman

Israel’s month-long military barrage of Gaza known as “Protective Edge” included numerous attacks on civilian-populated sites, including on homes, hospitals, mosques, markets and United Nation (UN) schools-turned-shelters.

To date, Israel’s assault has killed at least 1,300 Palestinian civilians, including over 400 children, and injured more than 10,000. (Some estimates are much higher.) An estimated half a million people have been displaced. Upwards of 10,000 homes have been destroyed and countless others partially damaged.

Strikes on some of the abovementioned sites have prompted international calls for officials of Israel’s government to be investigated for possible war crimes in Gaza.

Referring to the deadly July 30 attack on a UN school, the human rights organization Amnesty International argued that “If the strike on this school was the result of Israeli artillery fire it would constitute an indiscriminate attack and a likely war crime.” On Aug. 7, citing “mounting evidence” that Israel engaged in “apparently deliberate attacks against hospitals and health professionals in Gaza” which “left six medics dead” and injured many more, Amnesty International called for an “immediate investigation.”

The organization also published “disturbing testimonies from doctors, nurses, and ambulance personnel” which detailed “harrowing” life-saving efforts of medical personnel faced with an “utterly impossible situation” of working “with bombs and bullets killing or injuring their colleagues.”

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