Human Rights Watch Blasts Palestinians for 'War Crimes'

An international human rights organization is set to release Friday a report on suicide terror strikes by Palestinian militants against Israeli targets, in which various Palestinian groups are blasted for 'war crimes.'

Those who carry out and orchestrate suicide missions commit crimes against humanity and war crimes, Human Rights Watch, an based in New York, says in the report.

The organization's conclusions on such terror strikes are being released Friday in a new report: "Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians."

The report analyzes the modes of operation and organizational structure of Palestinian groups that have taken responsibility for suicide strikes. It also details international standards that prohibit attacks against civilians, and examines the terror organizations' finances and the role played by the Palestinian Authority.

The Human Rights Watch report emphasizes that international law and the rules of war impose an absolute, unconditional ban on harming civilians.

The report explicitly names the political leaderships of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as being responsible for the perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Due to these organizations' centralized power structures, it is inconceivable that terror strikes could be carried out without instructions and inspiration from their top political leadership echelons, writes the report.

The report accords political responsibility but not criminal responsibility to Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, headed by Chairman Yasser Arafat, for war crimes carried out by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The brigades, which are Fatah's military arm, operate with relative autonomy in local areas; and, the report explains, its findings suggest that Fatah's military wing does not take orders from the PA's, or the Fatah's, political leaderships.

The report's writers reject a distinction drawn by some Palestinians between attacks on Jewish civilian settlers and strikes on Israeli civilians within the Green Line. International law, the authors declare, prohibits terror attacks against both types of civilians, as well as strikes on reservist soldiers and soldiers who are not on duty.