Amnesty International said in a report released today that the militant group Hamas tortured and killed Palestinians during the war against Israel in the Gaza Strip last year.
Hamas exploited the fighting against Israel in July and August to “ruthlessly settle scores,” including with members of Fatah, the rival political faction and political base of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas, according to Amnesty.
“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,” Phillip Luther, the organization’s Middle East and North Africa program director, said in a news release.
Using the “chaos of the conflict,” Hamas carried out “spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes,” Luther said.
But of course, Hamas official Salah Bardawil said the report was not objective or balanced and aims to divert attention from Israeli crimes against the people of Gaza:
"Amnesty should have investigated the war crimes against humanity committed by Israel instead of criticizing the victims," Bardawil said.
No surprise their as Hamas continues their storyline of playing the victim and refusing to hold themselves accountable for their own barbaric acts.
And of course, Hamas' attacks on Amnesty International are ludicrous - Amnesty International's goal as an organization is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated. And Amnesty did just that with regards to Israel and the war in Gaza last year.
In their report, Amnesty International found multiple human rights violations committed by Hamas against their own people:
According to the Amnesty report, among the victims was Atta Najjar, formerly a police officer of the Palestinian Authority, who was serving a 15-year prison sentence after being arrested in 2009, two years after Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza strip, and convicted of collaborating with Israel. Najjar was taken from the prison and executed in August, a few days before a cease-fire took effect, Amnesty reported.
On the same date, six men were executed before a crowd of hundreds that included children. The report says Hamas had declared them collaborators who had been sentenced to death in "revolutionary courts" before they were dragged on the ground to be shot individually, and then sprayed with bullets.
"The Hamas leadership repeatedly calls for rights and justice for Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere but they do not always act in a manner that reflects respects for rights, justice and the rule of law,” Luther said.
Luther also accused Hamas forces of flouting fundamental rules of international humanitarian law - no surprise there:
“Torture and cruel treatment of detainees in an armed conflict is a war crime. Extrajudicial executions are also war crimes,” he said, and urged Palestinian authorities -- including Hamas -- to cooperate with international inquiries on the summer conflict, and investigate the cases documented in the report.
Clearly, regardless of who is fighting in a war, heinous acts and war crimes are committed by both sides.
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