Debunking “collateral damage:” Airwars report launch on civilian harm
On Monday December 13th, Airwars held the launch event for a new report on civilian harm, bringing together British and European MPs with global experts from Airwars, PAX for Peace, and Humanity and Inclusion to discuss civilian protection in the context of the use of explosive weapons in urban environments.
Airwars’s new report, ‘Why did they bomb us?’ Urban civilian harm in Gaza, Syria, and Israel from explosive weapons use’ – which is published in Arabic, Hebrew, and English – employs Airwars’ standard methodology to examine how, when, and where civilians are killed in urban conflicts – including all local reports of civilians killed and injured in May 2021 by Israeli strikes in Gaza and civilians harmed in Israel by Palestinian rocket fire. We also examined locally reported civilian casualties from Israel’s eight-year long Syria campaign against Iranian-linked forces.
High civilian casualties in Gaza are symptomatic of the profoundly troubling global military trend in the use of wide area effect weapons in populated areas. The use of heavy explosive weapons in towns and cities frequently leads to damage and destruction of houses, infrastructure and services, and drives displacement. In February 2022 states have a unique opportunity to strengthen the protection of civilians, with negotiations to develop a political declaration to address the humanitarian consequences from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.