A Gaza rights group criticized Israel’s military prosecutor Sunday for deciding not to press charges in an airstrike incident that killed a dozen Palestinian civilians during the IDF’s November 2012 offensive against Hamas in the Strip.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that the military prosecutor’s office informed it that Israel’s army did not violate the laws of war or commit any criminal acts in the attack.
The group charged that the Israeli decision showed its inquiry was a “smokescreen” to provide “systematic cover for widespread violations of international law.”
Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in November to curb Palestinian rocket barrages. During the fighting, an Israeli airstrike hit the home of the Daloo family in Gaza City, killing 10 family members and two other civilians.
A report released last week by the IDF’s Military Advocate General (MAG) provided an update on the status of investigations into alleged misconduct during the eight-day operation, including an explanation as to why the Daloo family case would be closed.
“The MAG found that the incident does not raise suspicion of the [investigating] commission of a criminal offense, and that the unfortunate result occurred despite efforts made to minimize the collateral damage to uninvolved civilians,” the report said. “As a result, the MAG decided that there was no basis to open a criminal investigation or to take any additional measures.”
The IDF acknowledged that it had killed civilians, but placed the blame with Palestinian terrorists for waging war from within a civilian population.
“With respect to a number of incidents, the MAG has determined that there is indeed basis for the claim that as a result of IDF attacks, innocent civilians were killed or injured or civilian property was damaged, usually as collateral damage resulting from an attack against military targets, or alternatively from operational errors, where civilians were mistakenly identified as terrorist operatives,” the report said. “This result, while regrettable, does not indicate a violation of the Law of Armed Conflict, and stems directly from actions of Palestinian terrorist organizations that have chosen to conduct their unlawful activities from within the civilian population.”