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Tags Current Affairs

War crimes by Israel and Hamas?

Date: 20 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

After an escalation in conflict between Israel and Hamas, both groups have accused each other of committing war crimes.

 

Background

Israel and Hamas have trained their missiles on each other’s targets. These strikes have killed hundreds of innocent citizens on both sides.

 

Details

  • The international law on war restricts attack on civilian areas as well use of indiscriminate force in these areas.

  • In the current conflict, Hamas has targeted apartment buildings in Tel Aviv. These strikes have killed many civilians.

  • Israel has used retaliatory attacks on several buildings that have killed civilians. They allege that Hamas is using innocent civilians as human shield.

  • At present, 20 million residents of Gaza are squeezed into a tiny territory. Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade that prevents citizens from escaping their territory.

  • Hamas has a vital position in Palestinian society. West has accused them of being terrorists but they are the de-facto rulers of Gaza.

  • Recently, the International Criminal Court had launched an investigation into war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas during the clashes in 2014.

 

Clashes

  • Gaza strip is a highly urbanised area with high population density. Civilian and military areas operate side by side and it is difficult to distinguish them from each other.

  • The Hamas operates from many civilian institutions such as schools, hospitals, mosques, residential complexes etc.

  • It is difficult for prosecutor to prove that Hamas had deliberately placed civilian targets nearby to act as human shield.

  • Israel has been accused of using excessive force to tackle the Palestine’s lower grade missile launchers. However, it says that it has the right to defend itself against aggressors.

 

Various issues involved

  • Hamas military commanders do not wear uniforms and it is difficult to distinguish them from ordinary citizens.

  • Hamas also has a large military underground infrastructure that allows its leaders to hide during military strikes from Israel.

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