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Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to Amnesty International's recent report, Fuelling conflict: Foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza, on the use of foreign-supplied weaponry during the recent Gaza conflict. [HL1856]

I would like to reiterate what my honourable friend Bill Rammell said during the Foreign Affairs Committee evidence on 4 March 2009 that it has not been clear what equipment was used by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza. We have therefore been undertaking our own assessment based upon a variety of sources. The Amnesty International report is a helpful contributor to that. When that process is complete we will make the information available to Parliament.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusion of Human Rights Watch that Hamas did not use civilians as human shields during the recent military action in Gaza. [HL2181]

According to the Human Rights Watch letter to Foreign Ministers of 16 March 2009, it has clearly stated that it has documented cases in which Hamas has fired rockets from very near populated homes or other civilian objects. The letter also states that launching rockets from within densely populated areas—thus making civilians in the vicinity vulnerable to counterattacks—violates the requirement to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm.