27 May '15
At first glance, one might be more than a bit taken by surprise that Amnesty actually published the research report ‘Strangling Necks’: Abduction, Torture and Summary Killings of Palestinians by Hamas Forces During the 2014 Gaza/Israel Conflict. If nothing else, quite the catchy title, but before getting overly excited one's attention is almost immediately captured by the following:
“It is absolutely appalling that, while Israeli forces were inflicting massive death and destruction upon the people in Gaza, Hamas forces took the opportunity to ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killings and other grave abuses,” said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.
“In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses including against people in its custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”
What might seem to be one of the most troubling aspects of Hamas thuggery, torture and murder, absolutely appalling in the words of Philip Luther, was the very fact that it took place while Israeli forces were inflicting massive death and destruction upon the people in Gaza. One could of course easily surmise that Luther's indignation is driven by the feeling that Hamas had other more important business to be attending to.
While for whatever reason the following seems to have escaped Amnesty's director's attention, Hamas and its cohorts were actually quite busy attending to other activities that clearly constitute war crimes, firing rockets by the thousands into civilian population centers, not being the least of their crimes. As this seems to have eluded Mr. Luther's attention, a brief review of what actually occurred during this period would seem to be in order, providing a needed context, absent as expected from the start.
Operation Protective Edge by the Numbers
The IDF initiated Operation Protective Edge to put an end to the terror attacks emanating from Gaza. In the three weeks leading up to July 8, terrorists fired 250 rockets capable of reaching Israel’s largest population centers and endangering 3.5 million Israeli lives. More than half a million Israelis had less than 60 seconds to find shelter after hearing a rocket siren. Tens of thousands had only 15 seconds.
Between July 8 and August 6:
Terrorists in Gaza fired 3,360 rockets at Israel.
2,303 rockets hit Israel.
115 rockets hit populated areas in Israel.
584 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.
119 rocket launches failed.
475 rockets landed within the Gaza Strip.
Between July 8 and August 5:
Terrorists fired 597 rockets from civilian facilities in Gaza.
Approximately 260 rockets were fired from schools.
Approximately 160 rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.
Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.
Approximately 50 rockets were fired from hospitals.
Between July 8 and August 5, IDF aerial, naval and ground forces struck 4,762 terror sites across the Gaza Strip, including:
1,678 rocket launching facilities.
977 command and control centers.
237 military administration facilities.
191 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities.
144 training and military compounds.
1,535 additional terror sites.
From July 8 to August 5, the IDF targeted terrorists in Gaza responsible for the planning and execution of attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
IDF forces targeted at least 253 Hamas terrorists.
At least 147 Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.
At least 65 terrorists of various smaller organizations.
At least 603 terrorists of unknown affiliation.
And while Israeli forces in actuality did not inflict massive death and destruction upon the people in Gaza, the approximately 1,100 rockets specifically fired from civilian facilities, religious sites, schools....etc. certainly could have produced far more serious loss of life and injury than occurred. It is rather hard to believe that Mr. Luther is unaware that embedding rockets and weapons within the above locations constitute grave and serious war crimes, but then again, this is Amnesty International.