The HRW report stated;
1. The Palestinian rocket and missile attacks violated the Laws of War**.
2. Harming civilians was the main aim of Palestinian armed groups.
3. The Palestinians demonstrated an intent to commit War Crimes, when their press releases boasted about their pending attacks on civilian population centres, rather than military targets.
4. There was no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.
5. Firing the rickets from densely populated areas in Gaza, near homes and businesses, invited Israeli counterattacks that would needlessly injure and kill Palestinian civilians. The injured Palestinians, who were unnecessary collateral damage, were publicised by Hamas, for its own propaganda purposes.
6. Involved were: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committee.
7. Retaliating against Israeli attacks on rocket sites, by firing on population centres, is illegal under international humanitarian principles, and the Laws of War.
The report concluded that the attacks were unlawful, and that those responsible should be punished. Whilst justice may never be served on the terrorist leadership, the illegal attacks on civilians most likely polarised the Israeli Government, and its people, and set back any peace prospects for years, which means that Country Risk on the Palestinian Territories should be increased at this time.
|Popular Resistance Committee|
*Human Rights Watch
** The 4th Geneva Convention specifically protects civilians in times of war, including conflicts in which war has not been declared.