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From the field

B'Tselem strongly condemns Palestinian rocket attack

B'Tselem reiterates its categorical condemnation of Qassam-rocket attacks by Palestinian organizations from the Gaza Strip aimed at Israeli communities. A rocket attack this morning killed Fatima Slotzker, 57, and left one man critically wounded. Since June 2004, rocket fire killed nine Israeli civilians, five Palestinian civilians, and one foreign national, and wounded dozens of persons.

As B'Tselem has pointed out many times in the past, deliberate attacks against civilians are a grave breach of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), regardless of the circumstances. Whoever commits such an attack is subject to prosecution for war crimes.

B'Tselem calls on the Palestinian Authority to impose its authority on the persons involved in firing rockets at Israeli communities, and to prevent attacks against civilians. The provisions of International Humanitarian Law demand prompt and vigorous action to achieve this objective.

While clearly recognizing Israel 's right and obligation to defend its citizens, B'Tselem warns against reprisal actions, which breach IHL and whose military effectiveness is questionable.