There have been numerous violations of human rights throughout the Palestinian Territories. Both Hamas and Fatah have committed various international war crimes against each other.
Hamas has engaged in the capture, torture, and murder of Fatah members and leaders in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Members of Hamas stormed the homes of Fatah members with guns and weapons, wounding and sometimes killing selected targets and civilians during the months following Hamas’ parliamentary victory.
The human rights of civilians were also gravely violated throughout Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. Between June 7th and June 14th, 2007, rampant gunfire in the streets and indiscriminate attacks throughout the Gaza Strip halted civilian life. Hamas directly targeted hospitals endangering patients and medical staff, and obstructing health care access to thousands.
On November 12th, 2007, thousands of Fatah supporters assembled at the Qatiba Grounds near Al-Azhar University Gaza City in memory of the death of former P.A. President Yassir Arafat. Gunmen dressed in civilian apparel and Hamas security forces were heavily deployed in and around the grounds and used guns and batons in attempts to disperse the rally. The security forces indiscriminately shot at the crowd resulting in the death of six participants and the injury of over eighty men and women.
Fatah has also flagrantly violated Palestinian law and committed
numerous human rights abuses in their illegal detainment and arrest of Hamas supporters, their families, and members of local media agencies. Many individuals detained were severely tortured, physically and emotionally. Many detainees testified that excessive force was used
during their arrests. Some individuals were blindfolded for extended periods of time and transported in the trunks of vehicles.
Fatah’s violent arrests and unwarranted detentions of Hamas supporters and media representatives still persist with appalling frequency throughout the West Bank. In particular, Fatah security forces have continued torturing Hamas affiliates.
In addition to the violence committed against arrested individuals, the families of detained and/or imprisoned Palestinians in the West Bank have also been threatened and physically abused by Fatah security forces.
Israeli civilians have also regularly been killed, some of them children, by rockets and mortar rounds fired from the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian organizations that fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel have openly declared that they intend to strike Israeli civilians, among other targets.
In a significant number of cases, Palestinians have fired the rockets and mortar shells from civilian residential areas. International humanitarian law (IHL) prohibits attacks from inside or near the homes of civilians, and using civilians as human shields.
There have been other kinds of attacks on Israeli civilians. On the morning of March 11, 1978, 11 Palestinian militants landed on a beach near Ma’agan Michael north of Tel Aviv. They killed an American photographer Gail Rubin who was taking nature photographs on the beach after learning their location from her. They then opened fire and threw grenades at passing cars and hijacked two buses. Passengers who attempted to escape were shot. Thirty-eight civilians were killed in the attack, thirteen of them children, and seventy-one were wounded.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
DO THESE CONSTITUTE WAR CRIMES OR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
SHOULD ANYONE BE PROSECUTED FOR THEM?
IF SO, WHO?