A new Amnesty International report published this week has accused Hamas of carrying out a brutal campaign of human rights abuses in Gaza, including abductions, torture and extra-judicial killings of Palestinian civilians in 2014. All of the abuses were “committed without impunity” according to Amnesty investigators.
The report, entitled ‘Strangling Necks: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict’ covered the period of last summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge conflict in Gaza.
The report reveals that 23 Palestinians were subjected to extra-judicial executions, most of whom were already in prison accused of “collaborating” with Israel.
In addition, “perceived political opponents” of Hamas were abducted, tortured or assaulted – “particularly members of the rival Fatah party and former members of the Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza”. The report states that no-one had been brought to account for the abuses, suggesting they were officially sanctioned.
Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International stated: “In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses, including against people in custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to extract revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip”.
In response, Hamas has said that the report was biased and relied on dubious sources.
In March, Amnesty International published a report accusing Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups of committing war crimes by indiscriminately firing rockets at Israeli civilians during Operation Protective Edge.
Last summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge conflict in July-August 2014 in 2,189 Palestinian fatalities, and 74 Israeli fatalities.
Gaza-based terror groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars at Israel between July 8 and August 26, 2014. At least 243 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, while another 31 fell short and landed within the Gaza Strip.