IFFC Report on Gaza War
The following information was extracted from The Independent Fact Finding Committee Report on Gaza (dated 30Apr'09) to the League of Arab States. The report contains 254 pages and the PDF version is 6MB in size.
In Israel’s 22-day military offensive against Gaza (named “Operation Cast Lead”) from 27-Dec-2008 to 18-Jan-2009;
Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including at least 850 civilians, 300 children, and 110 women.
Over 5,000 Palestinians were wounded, including at least 1600 children and 800 women.
Over 3,000 homes were destroyed and over 11,000 damaged;
215 factories and 700 private businesses were seriously damaged or destroyed;
15 hospitals and 43 primary health care centres were destroyed or damaged;
28 government buildings and 60 police stations were destroyed or damaged;
30 mosques were destroyed and 28 damaged;
10 schools were destroyed and 168 damaged;
3 universities / colleges were destroyed and 14 damaged; and
53 United Nations properties were damaged.
EXTRACTS FROM 'THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY':
1. The Independent Fact Finding Committee on Gaza to the League of Arab States (the Committee) was established in February 2009 with the tasks of investigating and reporting on violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law during the Israeli military offensive (hereinafter operation Cast Lead) against Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 and collecting information on the responsibility for the commission of international crimes during the operation. The Committee comprised Professor John Dugard (South Africa: Chairman), Professor Paul de Waart (Netherlands) , Judge Finn Lynghjem (Norway), Advocate Gonzalo Boye (Chile/Germany) , Professor Francisco Corte-Real (Portugal: forensic body damage evaluator) and Ms Raelene Sharp, solicitor (Australia: Rapporteur).
2. The Committee held an initial meeting with the Secretary-General of the Arab League and his staff in Cairo on 21 February. It then travelled to Gaza on 22 February, which it entered at the Rafah crossing. The Committee was accompanied by three representatives of the League: Mr Radwan bin Khadra, Legal Advisor to the Secretary General and Head of the Legal Department, Mrs Aliya Ghussien, Head of Palestine Department, and Ms Elham Alshejni, from the Population Studies and Migration Department. The Committee was also accompanied by Mr Omar Abdallah from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
EXTRACTS FROM 'THE FACTS':
7. The Committee saw, heard and read evidence of great loss of life and injury in Gaza. Statistics accepted by the Committee show that over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including at the very least 850 civilians, 300 children and 110 women. Over 5,000 Palestinians were wounded. The Committee was unable to accept the figures given by Israel, which claim that only 295 of those killed were civilians, as they do not provide the names of the dead (unlike Palestinian sources). Moreover, Israel includes policemen as combatants, whereas they should be considered as civilians, and it asserts that only children below the age of sixteen qualify as such, whereas the accepted international age for children is eighteen. The Committee heard disturbing accounts of cold-blooded killing of civilians by members of the IDF, accounts which were later confirmed by Israeli soldiers at the Oranim military college.
8. Four Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian rockets during operation Cast Lead and 182 wounded. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed (three by friendly fire) and 148 wounded.
9. Palestinian fighters had only unsophisticated weapons - Qassam rockets and Grads - whereas Israel was able to employ the most sophisticated and modern weaponry to bombard the population of Gaza from the air, land and sea. Although Israel initially denied it had used white phosphorous in the offensive it later admitted its use but denied it had been used unlawfully. The Committee is, however, satisfied on the available evidence that white phosphorous was used as an incendiary weapon in densely populated areas.
10. There was substantial destruction of, and damage to property during the offensive. Over 3,000 homes were destroyed and over 11,000 damaged; 215 factories and 700 private businesses were seriously damaged or destroyed; 15 hospitals and 43 primary health care centres were destroyed or damaged; 28 government buildings and 60 police stations were destroyed or damaged; 30 mosques were destroyed and 28 damaged; 10 schools were destroyed and 168 damaged; three universities / colleges were destroyed and 14 damaged; and 53 United Nations properties were damaged.