Gaza, 2014: Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission

fact finding gaza

Following the 51 days of war in Gaza during the summer of 2014, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)-Israel recruited independent international medical experts, to conduct a fact finding mission in the Gaza Strip. In conducting the fact finding mission, PHR-Israel partnered with Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The following are the conclusions of the mission, reprinted here in full:

* The attacks were characterised by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighbourhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.

* The initiators of the attacks, despite giving some prior warnings of these attacks, failed to take the requisite precautions that would effectively enable the safe evacuation of the civilian population, including provision of safe spaces and routes. As a result, there was no guaranteed safe space in the Gaza Strip, nor were there any safe escape routes from it.

* In numerous cases double or multiple consecutive strikes on a single location led to multiple civilian casualties and to injuries and deaths among rescuers.

* Coordination of medical evacuation was often denied and many attacks on medical teams and facilities were reported. It is not clear whether such contravention of medical neutrality was the result of a policy established by senior decision-makers, a general permissive atmosphere leading to the flouting of norms, or the result of individual choices made on the ground during armed clashes.

* In Khuza’a, the reported conduct of specific troops in the area is indicative of additional serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Full copy of the report is found here.

Ramallah
Ras Al-Tahouneh ST, near Al-Muqata'a
Al-Bireh, Palestine
Phone: 02 297 4563/4
Fax: 02 297 4565
Email:
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Gaza
Tomouh Building (Jawwal), Al-Jala'
Gaza City, Palestine
Phone: 08 288 3115
Fax: 08 288 3114
Email:
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Disclaimer
The views expressed in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the
Secretariat, Niras NATURA AB, Birzeit University,
or the donor governments.