Da Ha'aretz del 14/09/2006
Originale su http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/762447.html

Amnesty International report: Hezbollah guilty of war crimes

di Yossi Melman

Amnesty International has accused Hezbollah of "serious violations of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes" during the recent Lebanese war.

In a report published in London Thursday, the human rights group condemned the "deliberate targeting" of Israeli civilians by Hezbollah.

The report states that 43 civilians, including seven children, were killed in these Hezbollah attacks.

In meetings with Amnesty International, Hezbollah had argued that its rocket attacks on northern Israel were a reprisal for Israeli attacks on civilians in Lebanon and were aimed at stopping such attacks.

In its report Amnesty rejects the Hezbollah claim by pointing out that international law forbids the targeting of civilians and reprisals.

During the month-long conflict, Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians, seriously injuring 33 others and forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to take refuge in shelters or flee, the report said.

Approximately a quarter of all rockets were fired directly into urban areas, including rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings.

"The scale of Hezbollah's attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used, and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war," Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said in a comment on the report.

"The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side."

Combined with its earlier publication on Israel's targeting of Lebanese civilian infrastructure, the latest findings underlined the urgent need for the United Nations to establish a full and impartial investigation into violations committed by both sides.

The Amnesty report on Israel was severely criticized in Israel and by Jewish groups abroad, who accused the human rights organization of bias. These same critics maintain that Amnesty should have waited and issued the two reports simultaneously.

Haaretz learned that the decision on the timing of the reports' release was made in London, which did not please officials of Amnesty at the Israel office.

The director of the Amnesty International office in Tel Aviv, Amnon Yarden, will present Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav with a copy of the report Thursday.

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