The UN report on the 2014 Gaza conflict rejects Israeli government and military officials’ view of what is permissible in combat in densely populated areas. The UN commission’s premise differs from that of these officials, seeing Gaza as the home of over 1.5 million civilians where combat took place, not as a battlefield on which civilians live. The report states that the immense harm to civilians during the fighting cannot be justified nor can IHL be interpreted so as to legalize it, even considering the modus operandi of Hamas and other armed groups. The commission also found that the responsibility for violating IHL rests with the senior political and military officials who drew up the policy and did not change it even when its lethal consequences became clear.
After the operation B'Tselem wrote to the MAG Corps demanding investigations of the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) into 20 incidents that had taken place during the operation. In each of the incidents, B'Tselem's field research raised serious suspicions that military actions had harmed unarmed, uninvolved civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law. View list of cases and investigations status
Three years after Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military's argument against independent investigation of its conduct during the operation has proven to be hollow. The military has completely failed to investigate itself, regarding both policy choices and the conduct of the forces in the field in particular cases.
B'Tselem responds to an op-ed published by Richard Goldstone regarding the Goldstone Report into Operation Cast Lead. While Goldstone retracts the allegation that Israel intentionally targeted civilians, grave questions remain regarding others aspects of Israel's conduct.
In an opinion piece, Jessica Montell concludes that "It is vital that we move beyond the slogans and soundbites around Goldstone. Instead, we must honestly discuss how to ensure genuine accountability for past wrongs, full respect for international humanitarian law and protection for civilians in any future military operations."
In its end of year summary, B'Tselem warns that the continued siege on Gaza and the settlement enterprise prevent any real human rights improvement. There was a decline this year in Palestinian casualties, and in rocket-fire at Israel, as well as easing of West Bank movement and a decision to ease imports and exports from Gaza. At the same time there was a dramatic increase in house demolitions and restrictions on demonstrations.
Summary of data
One year ago today, Operation Cast Lead began. 762 Palestinians who did not take part in the hostilities were killed, and vast damage was caused to houses, factories, and infrastructure in Gaza. Israel has not yet instituted an independent apparatus to investigate the violations committed by the army during the operation, and nobody has been brought to justice.
B'Tselem has commemorated 20 years since its founding by releasing data on human rights in the Occupied Territories during this period. 7398 Palestinians, 995 Israeli civilians and 488 members of the Israeli security forces were killed in the conflict. At least 10,000 Palestinian homes were demolished for various alleged reasons.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.