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Report: Israeli Drones Killed 29 Civilians in Gaza War

June 30, 2009

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Drones equipped with tiny, precision-guided missiles were supposed to make battles incredibly exact – killing only armed enemies, while leaving innocent bystanders unharmed. But in its war against Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces “killed 29 civilians, eight of them children” during six drone strikes, according to a new report out from Human Rights Watch.

It’s the latest in a long series of accusations of wartime transgressions leveled at the Israeli military for its conduct during the Gaza campaign. But this report, in some ways, may be the most damning. Relying on eyewitness accounts, investigations of the attack scenes and IDF video, Human Rights Watch could find no evidence “that Palestinian fighters were present in the immediate area” during the six unmanned attacks. “None of the targets were moving quickly or leaving the area, so the drone operators would have had time to determine whether they were observing civilians or combatants, and to hold fire if they were not able to tell the difference.” And that failure to distinguish between the two is a violation of the laws of war, the group says.

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One Comment
  1. Frank permalink

    The problem with unlawful combatants is that you cannot tell by looking at their clothes if they play any violent role. Let’s pretend for a minute that we know for a fact that nobody was carrying a gun or wearing a militant insignia. OK. But what if someone dressed in slacks and an oxford shirt was known by Israel to be a bomb or missile maker?

    I don’t see any evidence that anybody expect talking heads and bloggers believe that anybody ever thought push button war would be surgical to the point that no civilians would ever be harmed. So, instead of pretending that’s what we thought, engage the subject matter on a more realistic level and in a less mendacious manner.

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