|HRW: Israel violated laws of war in Gaza||
A U.S.-based rights group says Israel violated laws of war in a series of airstrikes during an 8-day military operation last November.
Human Rights Watch says it counted 14 airstrikes in which there didn't appear to be a valid military target, and four others targeting militants, but which used disproportionate force, AP reported on Wednesday.
HRW says the attacks killed more than 40 Palestinian civilians. It cites a bomb attack on a Gaza home that killed a father and two children, ages 4 and 2. The group released the report late Tuesday.
Israel's air assault came after increased rocket fire and other attacks by Gaza militants.
“Israeli forces too often conducted airstrikes that killed Palestinian civilians and destroyed homes in Gaza without apparent legal justification,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at the HRW.
The international right organization’s field investigations into the attacks found no evidence of Palestinian fighters, weaponry, or other apparent military objectives at the time of the attack.
Individuals who deliberately order or take part in attacks targeting civilians or civilian objects are responsible for war crimes, the right group noted.
The report went on to say that several Israeli missiles have targeted civilians and civilian objects, such as houses and farm groves, without any apparent military objective.
Yet, under the laws of war, only military objectives - belligerent forces or objects that make an effective contribution to military action - may be targeted.
The HRW sent the details of the investigation to the Israeli military on January 14, 2013, calling for more information.
The rights group, however, did not wait for the Israeli military’s response and decided to release its report rather than wait for the Israeli officials’ investigation.
Tel Aviv has failed to provide information that would justify other attacks previously documented by Human Rights Watch, the group concluded.
On November 14, 2012 Israel launched a deadly offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, which killed more than 160 Palestinians and injured some 1,200 others.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
The Israeli regime denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement and adequate healthcare and education.
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