Reports and Studies

Chronic impunity for attacks is keeping Palestinian health workers in the firing line

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30 March 2020


Between 7 July and 26 August 2014, Israel conducted a large-scale military offensive on Gaza. In total, 2,219 Palestinians were killed, including 1,545 civilians, 556 of whom were children. Attacks on healthcare were a recurring feature of Israel’s military operation. 23 medical workers were killed and 78 were injured. 17 hospitals, 56 primary healthcare centres and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed.

The June 2015 report of the UN independent Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza Conflict stated that “the Commission was able to gather substantial information pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law... these violations may amount to war crimes.”

Genuine criminal investigations into alleged serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law – leading to potential criminal charges, prosecutions and convictions – are essential for ensuring legal accountability and justice for victims, survivors and their families. They are also vital so as to provide the most effective possible deterrent against the commission of future such violations.

Yet six years on from the pervasive and well-documented serious international law violations allegedly committed during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza in 2014, including against healthcare facilities and personnel, no criminal charges, prosecutions or convictions have resulted from Israel’s military investigation system.

The following six case updates on incidents featured in our 2015 No More Impunity report6 are emblematic of how Israel’s military investigation system has up to now delivered impunity for serious individual incidents. Al Mezan has submitted hundreds of criminal and civil complaints in the pursuit of legal accountability and justice, including for five of the incidents here.