Adalah demands investigations into suspected Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip

Israeli attacks on Gazan civilians and civilian property gravely violate the rules of engagement as stipulated in international law; serious suspicions raised that military has committed war crimes during its operations.

This past week, Adalah sent a series of urgent letters to Israeli military and legal authorities, including the Minister of Defense, the Military Advocate General (MAG) and the Attorney General, urging them to immediately open investigations into alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

Adalah wrote the letters in the wake of numerous reports regarding the military’s conduct during Operation “Protective Edge”, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 230 Palestinians, about 75% of whom are civilians. Adalah’s letters were based on sworn testimonies by residents of Gaza that were collected by lawyers from partner organization Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, which detailed the increasingly dangerous circumstances that the war has inflicted upon the Gaza Strip and its civilians.

  1. In an urgent letter by Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher on 17 July 2014, Adalah demanded an investigation into the impact of the Israeli military’s attacks on water infrastructure, as well as an investigation into the military’s killing of three Palestinian municipal workers and the injury of dozens more, who were attempting to fix the infrastructure. According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), missiles from the Israel Air Force destroyed the water supply to more than 900,000 Palestinian residents of Gaza, creating a severe health risk. In addition, the Israeli military continued their fire as workers tried to stop the water leakage and restore the infrastructure that was damaged by the bombings.
  2. In another letter sent on 17 July 2014, Adalah Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh called for an investigation into suspected war crimes over the killing of eight members of the al-Haj family in the Gaza Strip. According to reports, at 1:20 am on 17 July 2014, the al-Haj family home was hit by a missile from the Israeli Air Force during air strikes on a refugee camp in Khan Younis.
  3. On 16 July 2014, Attorney Shehadeh sent a letter demanding the opening of an investigation into a suspected violation of international humanitarian law following an air strike on a center for disabled Gazans. According to information from Al Mezan, the attack resulted in the deaths of Suha Abu Saada (38 years old) and Ola Hahi (31 years old). Both patients suffered from mental and physical disabilities. Another four women were injured in the strike, including one caretaker at the center.
  4.  On 16 July 2014, Attorney Zaher called for an investigation into the Israeli military’s continued targeting of hospitals, medical centers, and medical staff in the Gaza Strip. On 9 July 2014, an Israeli missile struck an area of land adjacent to the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jabaliya, injuring a director of the emergency department, Youssef Abdel Haid, as well as injuring paramedics Ramadan Huso, Marwan Hamouda and Iyad Bassiouni. In addition, on 11 July 2014, the hospital was struck by four Israeli missiles, which led to severe damages on the building’s fifth and sixth floors.

Adalah also sent an earlier letter on 10 July 2014 demanding that the Israeli military stop targeting Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the opening of investigations into alleged war crimes.

Adalah argued in its letters that the Israeli attacks on Gazan civilians and civilian property gravely violate the rules of engagement as stipulated in international humanitarian law (IHL). IHL forbids the military from striking civilian targets, however, the Israel military repeatedly refuses to distinguish between military and civilian targets. This raises serious suspicions that the military has committed war crimes during its operations. As such, it is the duty of Israeli authorities to open independent investigations into the circumstances of these events, particularly when it relates to the killings of civilians who uninvolved in hostilities.

As of 17 July 2014, according to UN OCHA, at least 230 Palestinian have been killed since the beginning of Israel’s military offensives ten days ago; 171 of these fatalities were civilians, including 48 children and 31 women. At least 1,764 Palestinians have been injured in the attacks, including 521 children and 372 women. Around 1,780 homes have been destroyed or severely damage.

Read more:

Adalah PR, “Israeli military should immediately stop targeting Palestinian civilians in Gaza and open investigations into alleged war crimes”, 11 July 2014

Adalah PR, “Palestinian civil society in Israel demands urgent action on Gaza”, 14 July 2014

Adalah PR, “Joint letter: Grave concern regarding Israeli calls to vacate northern Gaza Strip”, 14 July 2014

For more information, see:

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza):

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Gaza):


OCHA-OPT Situation Report on Gaza:

Cover photo by Ali Jadallah