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From the field

18 Dec 05: Israeli civilian killed by Palestinians south of Hebron

B'Tselem strongly condemns the suicide bombing near the gas station at the entrance to the settlement of Kedumim in the northern West Bank, in which 4 Israeli civilians were killed, among them one minor.

Attacks aimed at civilians undermine all rules of morality and law. Specifically, the intentional killing of civilians is considered a "grave breach" of international humanitarian law and a war crime. Whatever the circumstances, such acts are unjustifiable.

Palestinian organizations raise several arguments to justify attacks on Israeli civilians. The main argument is that "all means are appropriate in fighting against a foreign occupation and to attain independence." This argument is baseless. It is also contrary to the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law, whereby civilians are to be protected from the consequences of warfare. In attacking the other side, therefore, each party must discriminate in selecting its targets and attack only military objects. This principle is part of international customary law; as such, it applies to every state, organization, and person, even those who are not party to any relevant convention.

B'Tselem demands that the Palestinian Authority do everything within its power to prevent future attacks and to prosecute the individuals involved in the recent attacks, as well as in past ones.