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Human rights groups make varied responses to new violence in Israel

The Red Crescent Society in Palestine is seen responding to Israeli violence on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Red Crescent Society/Facebook
The Red Crescent Society in Palestine is seen responding to Israeli violence on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Red Crescent Society/Facebook

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Human rights groups are making varied responses to new Palestine-Israel violence, ranging from full-on support of Israel to warnings for both sides to respect human life.

The Anti-Defamation League, which bills itself as the "global leader in combatting antisemitism," fully backed Israel. The organization referred to Hamas as "terrorists" and noted its connections to Iran while stating that Israel has the "indisputable right to defend itself."

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"The missiles aimed at Israeli towns and the terrorists infiltrating villages are no less than war crimes as they target civilians," the ADL said. "We call on responsible members of the international community to take concrete actions both in support of Israel and against those who support the Palestinian terrorists."

Amnesty International, the global non-governmental organization focused on human rights, was one of the groups that took a more measured response -- though noted Hamas' responsibility for escalating recent tensions with Saturday's rocket attack.

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"We are deeply alarmed by the mounting civilian death tolls in Gaza, Israel and the occupied West Bank and urgently call on all parties to the conflict to abide by international law and make every effort to avoid further civilian bloodshed. Under international humanitarian law all sides in a conflict have a clear obligation to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the hostilities," said Agnès Callamard Amnesty International's Secretary General.

"Deliberately targeting civilians, carrying out disproportionate attacks, and indiscriminate attacks which kill or injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity in previous wars on Gaza. Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, must refrain from targeting civilians and using indiscriminate weapons, as they have done in the past, and most intensively in this event, acts amounting to war crimes."

Doctors Without Borders also took a more balanced response but singled out Israeli forces for striking two hospitals in Gaza in retaliation against Palestine.

"Healthcare facilities cannot become targets. We ask all parties to respect health infrastructures, which must remain a sanctuary for people seeking treatment," Doctors Without Borders said in the statement."The scale of this new round of hostilities must not be underestimated, with Palestinian and Israeli authorities reporting massive casualties all over Israel and Gaza."

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Human Rights Watch, another of the world's largest groups dedicated to such causes, did not appear to make any formal comment by press time. The HRW has previously blasted Israel for "apartheid and persecution."

Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestine-supporting Muslim groups in the United States volleyed with flurries of press releases in support of the respective nations.

Palestine is recognized by most nations around the world as a sovereign nation and has observer status with the U.N. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this year also reaffirmed Washington's commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict.

Still, Israel and the United States remain firm allies -- largely because of the Israeli lobby in the U.S.

"The United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the nation's largest American Muslim civil society umbrella organization, reaffirms its unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their right to freedom from the Israeli occupation," the organization said in its news release.

"The recent unprovoked and continuous attacks by Israel on Palestinian towns, cities, and refugee camps have resulted in tragic loss of Palestinian lives. We condemn Israel's targeted and indiscriminate killing of civilians, including innocent children, women, and the elderly."

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The organization also urged Arab and Muslim countries that have normalized relations with Israel to "reconsider their approach in pursuit of peace and stability in the region."

"Normalizing relations should never come at the expense of the Palestinian people's rights to their lands. There can be no true peace that disregards the sanctity and Muslim rights of the Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds Alshareef."

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