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Ask HRW (Israel and Palestine) 1 – Recent Events


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/05/23

Omar Shakir is the Israel and Palestine Director for Human Rights Watch (Middle East and North Africa Division). Here we talk about Israel, Palestine, human rights, international law, and more.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In mid-May, what are some of the updates in some of the issues regarding Israel and Palestine, especially in light of some of the recent firings in the issue between Israel and Palestine?

Omar Shakir: Early May, we saw an escalation between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. These resulted in 25 Palestinians being killed in the Gaza Strip and 4 Israelis were killed in Southern Israel. 

The Israelis were killed, 3 of whom were killed via rockets fired indiscriminately from the Gaza Strip. Those are war crimes under international law. There was a fourth Israeli targeted by an anti-tank weapon fired apparently from the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians were killed – 23 out of the 25 – by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. A number of those were militants belonging to different armed Palestinian groups. Two Palestinians were apparently killed when a militant rocket misfired and hit their home.

Jacobsen: For those who may not know the prior conflicts, what tends to be the proportion of those who are military targets, who are killed or injured, or those who are civilians, who are killed or injured, on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side?

Shakir: It is hard to generalize. If we look back at the 2014 war, for example, you had a situation in which you had over 2,000 Palestinians killed. You had more 1,400 who were civilians. We have seen smaller scale flare-ups, where the number of civilians killed has been far fewer than that.

I think the issue is that when raining fire down on a very densely populated area – 2,000,000 people amid a 25×7 mile territory. It is quite likely that civilian casualties are likely to result.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Omar.


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