Israel must end its military attacks in Gaza; civilians must be protected

The ICJ today called on the Israeli authorities to immediately end their military attacks in the Gaza Strip.

The ICJ says these attacks have been disproportionate, with Israel failing to take precautions to protect the civilian population as required under international law. Some also constitute direct attacks against civilian objects.

More than 70 civilians, including a number of children, have been killed.

The ICJ also called on Palestinian armed groups to end their indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population in Israel, in particular their use of weapons incapable of discriminating between military and civilian persons and objects.

Three Israelis civilians were killed as a result of these attacks.

“Israeli authorities must comply with their legal obligations to desist from attacks that harm civilians, in contravention of international humanitarian law. Civilians continue to pay the heaviest price for the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)”, said Wilder Tayler, ICJ Secretary General. “Those who are responsible for such breaches of international law must be held criminally accountable.”

The ICJ also urged the Israeli authorities, in particular the IDF, to end their policy of “targeted killings”, which continues to be used against alleged members of Palestinian armed groups, in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Palestinian armed groups must also end their indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population in Israel, the ICJ says.

“The use of rockets that cannot be guided to reach military objects violates international humanitarian law and Palestinian armed groups must end the use of such rockets,” said Said Benarbia, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Senior Legal Adviser. “The use of these rockets puts the lives of Israeli civilians at risk. Since they are sometimes fired form civilian areas in Gaza, they also put the lives of Palestinian civilians at risk of retaliation.”

The ICJ is concerned that the absence of accountability for past breaches of international law and gross human rights violations committed in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reinforced the cycle of impunity that prevails over this conflict.

In particular, both parties to the conflict have failed so far to ensure accountability for serious crimes committed during operation “Cast Lead” in 2008/2009.


Saïd Benarbia, Middle East & North Africa Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ, t +41 22 979 3817; e-mail: said.benarbia(at)

Alice Goodenough, Middle East & North Africa Legal Adviser, ICJ, t +41 22 979 3811; e-mail: alice.goodenough(at)



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