Adalah accuses gov't of war crimes in past Gaza operations

Rights group: Israel conducted illegal reprisals and cleansed areas of civilian buildings in 2nd intifada.

idf infantry gaza 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
idf infantry gaza 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Israeli-Arab human rights organization Adalah was due to petition the High Court of Justice on Sunday demanding that the state investigate the top echelon of the Israeli government for war crimes allegedly perpetrated in two military operations in the Gaza Strip during the second intifada. The petition totals 135 pages plus 89 appendices and contains domestic and international documentation, which, according to Adalah, prove that the aims of the operations and IDF conduct during the operations constituted criminal acts, including illegal reprisals and cleansing areas of civilian buildings. The actions referred to in the petition were "Operation Rainbow" (May 18-24, 2004) and "Operation Days of Penitence" (September 30- October 15, 2004). The respondents named by the petitioners served during the period of the two operations and include Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz, Army Advocate-General Avihai Mandelblit, Gaza military commander Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Zakai; O/C South Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel; Chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon; Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz; the IDF and the Israeli government. The petitioners, which also include The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Gaza) and Al-Haq (West Bank,) are represented by Adalah attorney Marwan Dalal. Adalah charged that at least 17 children were killed and 167 homes demolished during "Operation Rainbow." According to Israeli sources, 40 Palestinian terrorists and 12 Palestinian civilians were killed in the operation, which was launched after 13 soldiers were killed in three separate instances in Rafah. Adalah charged that at least 27 children were killed and 91 homes demolished during "Operation Days of Penitence," which was launched after terrorists fired Kassam rockets at Sderot, killing two children. The UN estimated that at least 107 Palestinian civilians and terrorists were killed. Israeli sources estimated that 42 Palestinian civilians were killed in the operation. In the petition, Dalal charged that the acts committed by Israeli military commanders and officers in both of these operations amounted to criminal offenses under Israeli domestic and international law, and that those responsible must be prosecuted and held accountable. In both operations, wrote Dalal, the IDF carried out willful killings and the extensive and wanton destruction of civilian property, which are classified as grave breaches under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are therefore considered war crimes.