World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Hamas Must Order Permanent End to Civilian Attacks

Occupied Palestinian Territories: Hamas Must Order Permanent End to Civilian Attacks

(Jerusalem) – Hamas should announce publicly and without delay that it will not carry out attacks that target civilians or cause them indiscriminate harm, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the leaders of the group.

Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement, Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya), won the Palestinian parliamentary elections on January 25. The group’s military wing has carried out suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed scores of civilians and gravely wounded many others. The organization declared and has maintained a moratorium on such attacks for more than a year, but has never made a commitment to end them.

Over the past year Hamas has also been responsible for firing home-made Qassam rockets at Israeli towns, in violation of the international humanitarian law prohibition against firing weapons that cannot be directed at specific military targets in or near civilian areas.

“Hamas's new role in Palestinian politics makes it essential as well as opportune for it to make a commitment that it will not attack civilians under any circumstance," said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. "Whatever happens in its relations with Israel, it must make clear that it will no longer undertake attacks against civilians."

Hamas spokespersons have claimed that such attacks are in response to Israeli attacks that kill Palestinian civilians. But the absolute prohibition against targeting civilians extends to acts of reprisal for attacks against one's own civilians, Human Rights Watch said.

“Attacks that intentionally kill and maim civilians flagrantly violate the most basic humanitarian principles," Stork said. "These are among the very worst kinds of crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity – and all states have an obligation to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Under international law, persons who order or condone war crimes or crimes against humanity, as well as the direct perpetrators of such acts, can be held criminally responsible.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news