In annual report: Amnesty slams Israel, Palestinians
Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Israel of committing "war crimes" against the Palestinians and termed the killings of Israeli civilians by Palestinians were "crimes against humanity".
In its annual report on human rights published Wednesday, Amnesty International said over 600 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli Army in 2003, including 100 children. Amnesty claimed that in most cases the killings were unlawful because they were caused by accidental shooting, firing towards residential areas, and assassinations without trial.
The group said "thousands of Palestinians were detained by the Israeli army. Most were released without charge, hundreds were charged with security offences against Israel and at least 1,500 were held in administrative detention without charge or trial."
Trials in military courts "did not meet international standards. Allegations of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees were widespread and Israeli soldiers used Palestinians as 'human shields' during military operations," it said.
It regretted that "most Israeli soldiers and security force members continued to enjoy impunity. Investigations, prosecutions and convictions for human right violations were rare."
"In the overwhelming majority of the thousands of cases of unlawful killings and other grave human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers since the intifada began, no investigations were known to have been carried out," it said.
Israel was also accused of holding "scores of Jewish Israelis who refused to perform military service or to serve in the occupied territories" as prisoners of conscience.
Amnesty criticised Israel's destruction of hundreds of Palestinian homes, commercial and public facilities as well as water, electricity and communication infrastructure "as a form of collective punishment."
According to Amnesty's report, last year, Palestinians killed 200 Israelis, including 130 civilians, 21 of whom were children. The internationsl organization branded the Palestinians' attacks against Israeli civilians as "crimes against humanity."
This "deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups," the report said, "constituted crimes against humanity." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)