Protecting human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

	Tents for Palestinians seeking refuge are set up on the grounds of a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) centre in Khan Yunis

Over the past three weeks, the world has witnessed horror unfolding on an unimaginable scale in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

More than 2 million people in the Gaza Strip are struggling to survive amidst a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, and the level of civilian casualties has been unprecedented. In the face of such unprecedented devastation and suffering, humanity must prevail.

In times like this, the work of Amnesty International is essential. Together, we are supporting on-the-ground research and helping to document shocking human rights violations. This is crucial for holding perpetrators accountable and seeking justice for victims and their families. 

Ever since the latest violence erupted in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories earlier this month, Amnesty International has been doing what it does best: standing with humanity and holding perpetrators of human rights violations to account. 

  • Our Crisis Evidence Lab has been verifying reports of harm against civilians and combatting the spread of misinformation online.
  • Our communications teams have been helping to raise awareness
  • Together, we are using our skills, our strengths and our collective voice to call for justice and an end to the violence. 

Many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the stories of heartbreak and trauma reverberating in the news. Remember, in moments of such darkness, the light of human rights defenders shines bright.

Here is an overview of the work that Amnesty is doing, all thanks to your support.

Photo credit: Mahmud HAMS/AFP


Keeping you informed 

Amnesty International has been monitoring the state of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for years now. 

In June, Amnesty International published its investigation into the May 2023 offensive on the Gaza strip, finding that Israel had unlawfully destroyed Palestinian homes, often without military necessity in what amounts to a form of collective punishment against the civilian population. 

In its February 2022 report, Amnesty International set out how Israeli forces have committed in Gaza (as well as in West Bank and Israel) acts prohibited by the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention, as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population with aim of maintaining a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians, thereby constituting the crime against humanity of apartheid. 

From the first day of this latest conflict, our teams around the world and on the ground have been gathering evidence, sharing stories of eyewitnesses and sharing information through social media and in the news. 

You can find our quotes and press releases on our website. And if you don’t already follow us on social media, do take a look at our recent posts. 

Photo credit: Amir Levy/Getty Images


Uncovering human rights violations 

Amnesty’s crisis investigation teams are on the ground and our Crisis Evidence Lab is working as quickly as possible to verify evidence in real time in order to expose war crimes, protect civilians, and seek accountability for all those who are violating human rights. 

Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab is a highly skilled team that uses cutting-edge investigation tools to document human rights violations. It helps to ensure that information emerging from conflict areas is timely and accurate. 

Made up of investigators, engineers, and developers, the team uses geolocation data, obtains photos and videos, checks satellite image records, and interviews witnesses. They combine first-hand statements from witnesses with digitally-verified evidence to allow us to cut through dangerous misinformation and determine what is really going on. 

Video footage analysed by the Evidence Lab verified that members of Hamas or other Palestinian armed groups from Gaza were deliberately shooting at Israeli civilians and taking civilians as hostages on the initial day of the attacks. Since then, the team verified that Israeli military units striking Gaza were equipped with white phosphorus artillery rounds, and they are investigating what appears to be the use of white phosphorus in Gaza. 

The Crisis Evidence Lab is an incredibly important arm of Amnesty International, fueled by Amnesty supporters like you. Our research holds those who break international humanitarian and human rights laws accountable, and it brings justice for those whose human rights are violated. 

With evidence still emerging of the violations committed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Amnesty International will continue its investigations to determine the full range of crimes committed by all parties under international law. 

Photo credit: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Image

A view of phones being charged by portable charging stations at Palestinian Red Crescent center as people experience electricity shortages after Israeli attacks in Khan Yunis, Gaza

Here are some words directly from one of our researchers on the ground in Gaza.

Their fearless commitment to protecting human rights in such a dire situation is both heart-breaking and truly awe-inspiring.

“We work amid ongoing, ceaseless bombardment and [we] ask about the most deadly cases where civilians and displaced people were killed. I meet with those who have lost their entire families, women, children, and the elderly. Under these dangerous conditions, we are the only ones still working on the ground to document violations and war crimes.”

Listen to their message and remember that it’s thanks to people like you that people like them can do the incredible work that they do. 

Photo credit: Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images

A view of an ammunition as Israel tightens measures by the army, police and other security forces after Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood in Sderot

What is Amnesty calling for?

As an impartial human rights organisation, Amnesty seeks to ensure that all parties to an armed conflict comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Amnesty International has made a number of calls on the groups party to this conflict and on the wider international community. These calls continue to evolve as the situation develops.

On 26 October, Amnesty International issued an urgent call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent further loss of civilian lives and to ensure access to life-saving aid for people in Gaza.

Photo credit: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In addition, Amnesty International has called for:

The Israeli authorities to:

  • Immediately end unlawful attacks and abide by international humanitarian law; including by ensuring they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects and refraining from direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.
  • End the total siege, which has cut Gazans off from food, water, electricity and fuel, and immediately allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians.
  • Urgently lift the illegal blockade on Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment and is a war crime, in the face of the current devastation and humanitarian imperatives.
  • Rescind their “evacuation” orders, which has left more than one million people displaced and threatens life-saving treatment in hospitals.
  • Grant immediate access to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to carry out investigations, including collecting time sensitive evidence and testimonies.
  • Release all Palestinians who are arbitrarily detained.
  • Dismantling the system of apartheid against all Palestinians.

Hamas and other armed groups to:

  • Immediately end deliberate attacks on civilians, the firing of indiscriminate rockets, and hostage-taking.
  • Release civilian hostages unconditionally and immediately.

The international community and particularly Israel’s allies, including EU member states, the US and the UK, to:

  • Take concrete measures to protect Gaza’s civilian population from unlawful attacks.
  • Impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict given that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed. States must refrain from supplying Israel with arms and military material, including related technologies, parts and components, technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance. They should also call on states supplying arms to Palestinian armed groups to refrain from doing so.
  • Refrain from any statement or action that would, even indirectly, legitimize Israel’s crimes and violations in Gaza.
  • Pressure Israel to lift its illegal 16-year blockade of the Gaza strip which amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s population, is a war crime and is a key aspect of Israel’s apartheid system.
  • Ensure the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation of Palestine receives full support and all necessary resources.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to:

  • Urgently expedite its ongoing investigation in the situation of Palestine, examining alleged crimes by all parties, and including the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.