‘It is time for European leaders to speak more clearly about what international law requires,’ says senior policy fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations
Nov. 22: A prominent researcher says evidence strongly indicates that Israel has committed war crimes in recent attacks on Gaza, reports Anadolu Agency.
Anthony Dworkin, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, reached the conclusion after conducting a comprehensive evaluation of Israel’s latest attacks on the Palestinian enclave.
Noting that the number of casualties in the Israeli attacks exceeds 14,000 and that Israel has conducted military operations against Gaza hospitals, Dworkin said European leaders are avoiding public discussions on whether Israel is committing war crimes.
He said some leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have not gone beyond expressing concerns about the impact of the attacks on civilians.
“As the military campaign enters a new phase that may involve operations in Gaza’s now densely crowded south and raises increasing questions about how the operation will end, it is time for European leaders to speak more clearly about what international law requires,” he said.
Dworkin pointed to the existence of two sets of rules, namely the laws of war and international humanitarian law, which determine what can and cannot be done in times of conflict. Particularly, he pointed out that the violation of international humanitarian law constitutes a war crime.
He said international humanitarian law clearly delineates the limits of causing harm to civilians during military operations.
He noted that international humanitarian law calls for parties to conflicts to take all necessary measures to protect non-combatants while acknowledging that there is no war without civilians being affected.
Dworkin said that even in attacks targeting military objectives, there are restrictions on causing civilian casualties. He noted that it is prohibited to launch attacks in situations where the likelihood of civilians suffering harm is higher than the probability of military targets being struck.
Noting that most of the Palestinian group Hamas’s attacks on Oct. 7 disregarded these rules, Dworkin said the motivation for and context of most of Israel’s attacks should be investigated.
“Nevertheless, a review of the evidence strongly suggests that Israel has violated international humanitarian law and committed war crimes,” he said.
Dworkin also cited Israel’s blocking of basic supplies from entering Gaza and its strikes on water tanks, power plants and fishing vessels as examples of collective punishment.
Attacks that cause disproportionate civilian harm are a war crime, he stressed.
“To take only one example, it is hard to see how Israel’s strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp, which killed at least 195 people according to Gazan authorities and apparently killed two Hamas officers and a number of other fighters, meet this threshold,” he said.
“According to experts who have studied the targeting practices of different military forces, Israeli attacks have caused a level of civilian death that is much higher than US or UK forces have permitted in counterinsurgency warfare,” he added.
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.
The Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has soared to 14,128, the Health Ministry in the blockaded enclave said Tuesday.
“The victims include over 5,840 children and 3,920 women,” the ministry added in a statement.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.