Human Rights Watch Issues Report on Hezbollah’s Targeting of Civilians

by Roger Alford

Human Rights Watch yesterday issued a 128-page report entitled “Civilians Under Assault: Hezbollah’s Rocket Attacks on Israel in 2006 War.” The full report is here and the press release is here. Here is an excerpt:

During the 2006 war, Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets indiscriminately and at times deliberately at civilian areas in northern Israel, killing at least 39 civilians…. Human Rights Watch said that Hezbollah’s justifications for its attacks on Israeli towns – as a response to indiscriminate Israeli fire into southern Lebanon and to draw Israel into a ground war – had no legal basis under the laws of war….

In “Civilians under Assault,” Human Rights Watch urges Hezbollah, as a matter of practice and doctrine, to cease all attacks that deliberately target civilians, as well as those that cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants, and to renounce publicly the argument that attacks on Israeli civilians are permissible as reprisals for Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians. The report calls on the government of Lebanon to interdict the delivery of rockets to Hezbollah so long as it uses them, or subscribes to a doctrine that would permit use of them, to fire deliberately or indiscriminately into civilian areas.

The report also urges the governments of Syria and Iran not to permit the transfer to Hezbollah of materiel, including rockets that Hezbollah has used in violation of international humanitarian law.

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