Skip to main content

Human Rights Watch accuses Gaza groups of war crimes during May fighting

Hamas and other Palestinian groups purposefully targeted population centers during the May war with Israel, according to Human Rights Watch. The organization also accused Israel of war crimes last month.
Ashkelon home destroyed by rocket

A leading human rights watchdog Thursday accused Gaza-based groups of war crimes and killing civilians during the May war with Israel. 

“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 of Human Rights Watch on Thursday. 

Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza, including Hamas, fought a war in May. The fighting was caused by tensions in Jerusalem and was accompanied by communal violence between Arabs and Jews in Israel. The Israeli military bombed Gaza and Palestinian groups fired rockets into Israel during the war. In Gaza, 256 people were killed, including an estimated 128 civilians. Twelve civilians died as a result of rocket fire into Israel, and one Israeli soldier was killed in an anti-tank missile attack. 

The Palestinian military and political organization Hamas controls the Gaza Strip internally, and the enclave is subject to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Other armed groups also operate in Gaza, including the Islamic Jihad

The New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Hamas and other Gaza groups of purposefully targeting civilians during the war by firing rockets and mortars “toward Israeli population centers.” The rights group added that some Gazans were also killed by munitions that failed to launch properly, including in the population center of Jabaliya. These also constituted war crimes because the laws of war only allow for the targeting of military targets, and the rockets were aimed at Israeli civilian populations, according to the organization. The organization also pointed out that in cases such as the Jabaliya deaths combatants should "avoid firing weapons from within or near densely populated areas and otherwise take necessary precautions to protect civilians under their control from attack."

Human Rights Watch interviewed Israelis and Palestinians who witnessed the rockets or are relatives of victims for the report.

The report followed one in July that accused Israel of likewise committing war crimes in its strikes on Gaza. 

In April, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of apartheid for its treatment of Jewish Israelis versus Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Human Rights Watch leader Kenneth Roth’s frequent condemnations of Israel have led to criticism of the organization. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial