Target Israeli Defense Forces against Palestinian civilians

Israel is charged with war crimes in Gaza - not for the first time

The high number of civilian casualties in the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip raises the question of proportionality. Israel invokes its right to self-defense. But critics accuse the country of disregarding international law.

The bombing attack felt like an earthquake, the residents of Wehda-Strasse later said. It was around 1 a.m. on Sunday night when the residential and commercial district in central Gaza was struck by a long series of violent explosions. A little later the Israeli government announced that the army had destroyed a Hamas tunnel system in a special operation. Three buildings were shattered in the attack. By evening 42 dead had been rescued from the rubble, including 16 women and 10 children.

The bomb attack on Wehda-Strasse once again raises the question of the proportionality of the military deployment. Not for the first time in the Middle East conflict, human rights activists accuse Israel's armed forces of disregarding international humanitarian law and of committing war crimes. International law requires Israel, like any warring party, to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible.

The Israeli army in a dilemma

Israel stresses that it is acting in legitimate self-defense against the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip. In addition, the army is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties. The Islamist Hamas movement, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, accuses the Israeli government of using civilians as protective shields and of hiding their military facilities in schools, hospitals and residential areas.