26 January 2009
Time for accountability in Gaza and southern Israel
The [Israeli] soldiers shelled the house and killed my mother, my father, my baby girl and 25 other members of my family.  Why? We are not Hamas, we are not fighters. Why did they do this to us?” – Salah Sammouni, Gaza – January 2009


"My five-year old son always asks where the closest bomb shelter is. Little children shouldn't have such worries; they should worry about what to play next." – Geut Aragon, whose house in Sderot was hit by a Palestinian rocket – December 2008

A wrecked classroom in Gaza, 19 January 2009With fragile ceasefires now in place in Gaza and southern Israel, the full extent of the devastation caused in recent weeks is becoming increasingly clear.

Amnesty International researchers visiting Gaza and southern Israel have found evidence of war crimes and other serious violations of international law by all parties to the conflict.  

Israeli military operations in Gaza killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians, devastated the territory’s infrastructure and created a humanitarian catastrophe. Some attacks were directed at civilians or civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip, or were disproportionate.

House in Ashkelon, Israel, hit by Palestinian rocket, 13 January 2009Amnesty International delegates have found indisputable evidence of widespread use of the chemical white phosphorus against Palestinian civilians in densely populated residential areas in Gaza. Delegates were told by the head of the burns unit of Gaza’s main hospital that patients, including children, were brought in with white phosphorous burns that refused to heal.

The repeated use of white phosphorus in an inherently indiscriminate manner is a war crime.

During the same period, indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups killed several Israeli civilians.

Firing indiscriminate weapons into population centers is also a war crime.

Take ActionAmnesty International is calling on the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, to take immediate steps to hold all sides to the conflict accountable for violations of international law.

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