It began just after four o’clock on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Four young boys, all cousins from the same family, were playing football on a Gaza beach.
The Israeli shelling rained down – killing all four children. The mother of one of the boys is pictured, above, outside the morgue in Gaza City on Wednesday.
Since the Israeli military offensive ‘Operation Protective Edge’ launched on 8 July, scores of civilians have been killed and injured. This deadly battle has wreaked further havoc, punishment and devastation on Gaza’s blockaded population, with Gaza’s children caught in the crossfire.
Indiscriminate targeting of civilians is against international law. But countries, including the UK, continue to supply weapons to Israel and potentially facilitate these war crimes.
How many deaths will be enough?
The horrific human toll of the violence is mounting. The past eleven days of violence have seen at least 375 Palestinian deaths (83 of them children) and more than 3,000 injured.
Thousands have fled their homes, or what was left of them. Those that stayed are being denied basic services: over half of Gaza’s population is now without water.
And with the ground invasion now under way, we expect the numbers of civilian casualties and the destruction of Gaza’s crippled infrastructure to increase.
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke out against Israel’s retaliatory shelling, dubbing it ‘deliberately disproportionate’ and amounting to ‘collective punishment’.
Palestinian armed groups have also launched dozens of indiscriminate rockets into Israel. Two Israelis have been killed.
We are not innocent bystanders
Last year the UK sold £6.3 million-worth of arms to Israel. We know that some arms sold by the UK government have been used to commit human rights violations in Gaza in the past.
And if the UK continues to supply arms – even indirectly – it is likely the UK will be helping to facilitate war crimes.
Stop all arms sales – don’t facilitate war crimes
We’re urging the UK government to suspend all arms transfers to Israel.
We also want to see:
- the UK government to call on other states to stop their arms transfers to Israel, Hamas and any other armed group until there is no longer a substantial risk that such items will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law or serious human rights abuses.
- an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilians.
Our action to the UK Government is part of a campaign by Amnesty activists around the world to halt sales in their countries and call for a UN arms embargo.