Amnesty rips IDF for 'reckless disregard of life' in Gaza

Calls Israeli response 'disproportionate,' but also urges immediate stop to rocket fire.

wounded Gazan 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
wounded Gazan 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International has condemned Israel's attacks on Gaza, claiming they are "being carried out with reckless disregard for civilian life." "Israeli military attacks over the past few days have killed more than 75 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 10 children, and other unarmed civilian bystanders not involved in the confrontations" Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program, said Sunday. "Israel has a legal obligation to protect the civilian population of Gaza. Such attacks are disproportionate and go beyond lawful measures which Israeli forces may take in response to rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups." A statement released by the organization said: "All unlawful attacks must stop - Israeli forces must put an immediate end to disproportionate attacks and collective punishment in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups must immediately stop the barrage of rockets into southern Israel." "It is high time that the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority took effective steps to prevent and punish attacks on civilians in Israel, but their failure to do so does not make it legitimate for the Israeli authorities to launch reckless air and artillery strikes which wreak such death and destruction among Palestinian civilians," said Smart. In its statement, Amnesty highlighted disproportionate casualty statistics in the conflict, saying that in the last two months, close to 200 Gazans, of whom around "one-third were unarmed civilian bystanders, including 15 children" have been killed." In the same period, the statement continued, "one Israeli civilian was killed and several injured by rocket fire," the statement said. "We condemn all attacks on civilians, but unlawful attacks by one side cannot justify violations by the other," Smart said. The statement said that IDF actions this week displayed a "disproportion and recklessness" that has "characterized" its operations in Palestinian territories. At the same time, Amnesty argued, Palestinian armed groups who launched frequent rocket attacks from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns not only showed a "callous disregard" for the lives of Israeli civilians but also exposed their own population to Israeli counterattacks.