The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) says Israel has been using drones to launch airstrikes on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
According to the rights group’s most recent report, Israel deploys drones to initiate attacks or to mark targets for airstrikes to be carried out by its Apache helicopters and F16 fighter jets.
At least 825 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women and children have been killed in Israeli drone strikes in the coastal area over the past five years, the PCHR said.
“This is one of things that we are mostly concerned about, because we have daily experience with the drones and yes it is true that — as I said — hundreds of Palestinians, of Gazans – mainly civilians, including children and women – were killed by these drones,” Hamdi Shaqqoura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.
The drones were heavily used during the 22-day Israeli war on Gaza in 2008 which claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the populated coastal strip and left thousands more injured. It also inflicted over USD 1.6 billion in damage on the territory’s economy.
“When we receive the victims here, some of them are already martyrs and some of them are seriously injured and some of them are decapitated. So many children … are decapitated because of the use of these weapons, and in fact the weapons that they use are internationally banned,” said General Director of Shafa Hospital in Gaza Medhat Abbas.
Some analysts believe Washington and Tel Aviv collaborate closely on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles. They say Israel is using the Gaza Strip as testing ground for its weapons.
“I think this is the reflection of the nature of Israel as a settler colonial state that aims at getting rid of as many natives as possible and transforming the Gaza Strip into a testing ground for its scientific and technological experiments,” political analyst Haidar Eid said.