Prior to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, Hamas conducted an ongoing attack on the people of Israel by firing thousands of rockets into that nation. According to Human Rights Watch, these attacks by Hamas violated the rules of war by firing rockets deliberately and indiscriminately into cities including schools and houses of worship. “Hamas rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable and amount to war crimes” claimed the report issued by the group.
Human Rights Watch dismissed Palestinian claims that Hamas had a right to respond to Israel actions by firing rockets at civilian targets. “International law… does not support these asserted justifications.” There were no Israel military forces in most areas which received rocket attacks which clearly demonstrates the goal was to kill innocent civilians.
Human Rights Watch had previously accused Israel of war crimes during its invasion of Gaza. As the group notes, Hamas fired rockets from areas in which there were innocent Palestinian civilians and thus placed those people at risk when Israel responded to the rocket attacks.
This blog has condemned Israel’s invasion of Gaza for being disproportionate in the response to criminal attacks by Hamas. However, Hamas can not escape blame for its violation of international law.