gaza air strike 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
The damage inflicted on the civilian population in Gaza as a result of the IDF's aerial attack against Hamas must stop, an Israeli human rights group said Tuesday.
"The ongoing, unlawful attacks from Gaza on the civilian population in Israel do not provide legal or moral justification for indiscriminate damage inflicted on innocent Palestinian civilians," the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said in a press release.
The rights group said the fact that civilians were not the target of the four-day-old operation was "insufficient" in light of the "heavy toll" on Palestinian civilians, including women and children, who were not involved in the conflict.
More than 360 Palestinians have been killed in the assault. Most of these were Hamas security forces, but at least 64 were civilians, according to a UN agency.
Four Israelis, including three civilians and an IDF officer, have also been killed since the operation began.
"The distinction between civilians and combatants is a fundamental principle of human morality and a central tenet in international humanitarian law. As such, attacking or bombing a civilian population is strictly prohibited - whether in Gaza, Sderot or anywhere else," the organization said.
ACRI's statement did not distinguish between Hamas attacks that deliberately target Israeli civilians, and Israel's attacks against Hamas, which seek to avoid civilian casualties.
"Hamas is deliberately targeting kindergartens and schools and citizens and civilians because this goes according to their values," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday. "Our values are completely different. We are trying to target Hamas, which hides among civilians."
On Tuesday, President Shimon Peres said that "Israel is not fighting the Palestinian population, but a terrorist organization whose raison d'etre is continued violence and destabilizing the region."
He added that Hamas bore responsibility for the situation unfolding in Gaza.