Israel’s “collective punishment” of Gazans amounts to war crime: Amnesty

Human rights group Amnesty International on Friday urged Israel to immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, stressing that the collective punishment of civilians for Hamas's military operation amounts to a war crime.

Israel’s blockade on the densely-populated territory “has plunged the Gaza strip into darkness and will exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe”, Amnesty said in a statement.

“The collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population amounts to a war crime – it is cruel and inhumane,” it said.

“Amnesty reiterates that Palestinian civilians are not responsible for the crimes of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups and Israel must not, under international law, make them suffer for acts they play no role in and cannot control.”

Amnesty also called on the international community “to work towards an agreement over humanitarian corridors,” in Gaza, where more than 423,000 people have been displaced.

At least 1,537 Palestinians have been killed since Israel started strikes on Gaza following the deadly Hamas attack last Saturday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

The death toll includes 500 children and 267 women. An additional 6,612 people have been injured, the ministry added.

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