Rockets fired by Hamas seen over the southern-central Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, May 18, 2021. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Gaza Rockets

“Indiscriminate attacks by Gaza-based armed groups are war crimes,” the watchdog stated Thursday.

By United with Israel Staff

Rocket and mortar attacks launched by Palestinian terror groups during the Hamas-Israel fighting in May “violated the laws of war and amount to war crimes,” Human Rights Watch said in a new report released Thursday.

Civilians in Israel as well as in Gaza were killed and wounded by the Palestinian attacks, HRW said.

The watchdog, which has a long history of bias towards Israel, acknowledged in the report that “the Hamas armed wing and other Palestinian armed groups launched rockets and fired mortars toward Israeli population centers that resulted in the deaths of 12 civilians in Israel and injuries to dozens of others. Munitions apparently directed toward Israel that misfired and fell short killed and injured an undetermined number of Palestinians in Gaza.”

“Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting flagrantly violated the laws-of-war prohibition on indiscriminate attacks by launching thousands of unguided rockets towards Israeli cities,” said Eric Goldstein, HRW’s acting Middle East and North Africa director.

“Hamas authorities should stop unlawful rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers,” HRW stated.

HRW interviewed 12 people in both Israel and Gaza who had witnessed a Palestinian rocket attack or are relatives of civilian victims of these terrorist attacks.

The watchdog “also determined that a Palestinian rocket that misfired killed seven people in Jabalya in the Gaza Strip on May 10. Human Rights Watch based this finding on witness interviews, site visits, an inspection of rocket remnants, and a review of video footage.”

According to the HRW report, “the rockets and mortars that Palestinian armed groups fired lack guidance systems and are prone to misfire, making them extremely inaccurate and thus inherently indiscriminate when directed toward areas with civilians. Launching such rockets to attack civilian areas is a war crime.”

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