Amnesty International report exposes IDF’s lethal force against West Bank civilians

The report comes amidst Israeli officials' assertions that their military actions are focused on Hamas, contradicting evidence presented by Amnesty that highlights the frequent targeting of civilians.

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Amnesty International released a comprehensive report on Monday, shedding light on the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) repeated use of lethal force against civilians in the occupied West Bank. The report comes amidst Israeli officials’ assertions that their military actions are focused on Hamas, contradicting evidence presented by Amnesty that highlights the frequent targeting of civilians.

The human rights organization meticulously analyzed four instances where the IDF employed “unlawful lethal force” in the West Bank, impeding medical personnel from reaching the wounded. Through the verification of 19 videos and four photographs, Amnesty documented incidents leading to the deaths of 20 Palestinians, including seven children, contributing to a wider pattern of violence in the region.

Since Oct. 7, when IDF retaliation began following a Hamas-led attack, the West Bank has witnessed severe military actions by Israeli forces. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that at least 360 individuals, including 94 children, have been fatally injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank during this period.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty’s director of global research, advocacy, and policy, emphasized the stark increase in unlawful attacks within the West Bank, executed amidst the extensive bombardment in Gaza. “These unlawful killings are in blatant violation of international human rights law and are committed with impunity,” Guevara-Rosas stated, advocating for an investigation into these actions as potential war crimes.

A notable incident highlighted in the report was the IDF’s raid on Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, where forces disguised as medical personnel killed three Palestinians. This operation, like others documented by Amnesty, lacked substantial evidence to justify the military’s claims of targeting planned attacks against Israel.

OCHA has noted a significant rise in “search and arrest operations” by the IDF across the West Bank since the onset of retaliation against Hamas. These operations have resulted in 4,382 Palestinians sustaining injuries, with 54% of these injuries occurring during raids, contributing to the escalating death toll.

One distressing account from the Amnesty report is the IDF’s raid on Nour Shams refugee camp, which led to the death of 15-year-old Taha Mahamid and the injury of his father, Ibrahim Mahamid. The raid saw IDF soldiers employing excessive force, disrupting residential areas, and hindering medical access to the wounded.

Amnesty International’s findings indicate that the IDF’s actions have repeatedly violated international standards governing the use of force. The organization underscores that the documented willful killings and infliction of suffering represent grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, meriting classification as war crimes.

The report challenges the ICC to address these documented violations, with Guevara-Rosas stating, “In this climate of near-total impunity, an international justice system worth its salt must step in.” The call for the ICC’s involvement underscores the necessity of international intervention to ensure accountability for the IDF’s actions against Palestinian civilians.

The Amnesty International report provides a harrowing overview of the IDF’s use of lethal force in the West Bank, calling into question the international community’s response to these potential war crimes. “The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court must investigate these killings and injuries as possible war crimes of willful killing and willfully causing great suffering or serious injury,” Guevara-Rosas said.

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