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Lack of accountability for violations of humanitarian and human rights law has been identified as one of the key sources of humanitarian vulnerability in the occupied Palestinian territory. International law requires all state and non-state actors to effectively investigate suspected violations, and, depending on the findings, prosecute those responsible. The law also obliges relevant actors to compensate the victims of violations committed by institutions or individuals acting on their behalf. Action to that effect can significantly contribute to the rehabilitation of victims and survivors, as well as to the deterrence and prevention of future violations.
Articles, statements and press releases
Accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all sides during successive hostilities in Gaza is an urgent priority. Failure to ensure effective accountability for lives lost, homes destroyed and damage wrought fuels a culture of impunity that can lead to further violations. Eight years after the 2008-2009 (Cast Lead) hostilities in Gaza, victims are still bearing the consequences while lack of accountability persists.
Two years after the 2014 escalation of hostilities, justice remains elusive. Serious concerns persist regarding the lack of investigations and accountability by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities into alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including allegations of war crimes, as well as lack of civil remedies and compensation to victims.
The last quarter of 2015 was marked by a sharp rise in stabbing, ramming and shooting attacks by unaffiliated Palestinians against Israelis, as well as almost daily protests and related clashes. As a consequence, the number of casualties among West Bank Palestinians (145 fatalities and over 14,000 injuries) in 2015 was the highest since 2005, when OCHA began documenting incidents. Israeli casualties in the West Bank and Israel were also the highest since 2005 (25 fatalities and 300 injuries). The frequency and intensity of protests and clashes declined sharply during the first half of 2016 alongside a more moderate fall in Palestinian attacks.
On 31 July, suspected Israeli settlers attacked and burned the Dawabsheh family home in Duma village, Nablus, killing 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, and critically injuring his parents and four-year-old sibling. Graffiti reading “long live the Messiah” and “revenge” was spray-painted on the outside house walls. The surviving family members sustained severe injuries and were transferred by the Israeli military to a hospital in Israel. The 32-year-old father died on 8 August; his wife remains in critical condition. The condition of the four-year-old is stable. These are the first two fatalities as a result of Israeli settler attacks in 2015.
In June Israeli forces killed three Palestinian civilians and injured 66 others in clashes and other incidents across the oPt. All the fatalities and 58 of the injuries were recorded in the West Bank. During the same period, Palestinians killed two Israeli civilians and injured nine others, as well as five members of Israeli forces. Despite the relative increase in fatal incidents, June marked the lowest number of Palestinian injuries in the oPt since January 2012.
The devastation of residential areas across the Gaza Strip and the resulting mass displacement over the course of the hostilities of summer 2014 were unprecedented. The latest figures emerging from damage assessments carried out by the United Nations indicate that over 12,500 housing units across Gaza were totally destroyed and nearly 6,500 were severely damaged. Almost 150,000 additional units were damaged to some degree, but are still inhabitable.