Israel violates laws of war by attaking media: HRW
JERUSALEM - Agence France-PresseIsraeli attacks on journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip during an eight-day flare up last month “violated the laws of war,” Human Rights Watch said yesterday.
But Israel rejected the findings, saying the military had adhered to international law during the conflict.
“Four Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities in Gaza during the November 2012 fighting violated the laws of war by targeting civilians and civilian objects that were making no apparent contribution to Palestinian military operations,” said HRW.
“The Israeli government asserted that each of the four attacks was on a legitimate military target but provided no specific information to support its claims.”
Israel and Gaza militants fought an eight-day battle from Nov. 14 which killed about 170 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, and six Israelis, four civilians and two soldiers.
Hundreds of air strikes were carried out by Israel, including several targeting buildings housing media outlets, and bombed a car carrying two cameramen for a Hamas-affiliated television station, killing both. Israel said it launched “surgical strikes” that only targeted facilities used by militant groups or their members.
But HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson accused Israel of having “dangerously and unlawfully blurred the distinction between civilians who call for or support military attacks and those who directly participate in attacks.”
The rights group said it had found no evidence the media sites targeted were “valid military objectives.” Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” said Whitson.