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Human Rights Watch says researchers are being blocked from entering Gaza

Human Rights Watch said Monday that Israel is not letting its researchers into the Gaza Strip to document cases of abuse by authorities.

Since 2008, Israel has "systematically" kept researchers out of Gaza, with the exception of one permit being granted last year, Human Rights Watch said in a 47-page report. The organization said Egypt has also prevented its employees from entering Gaza from Egyptian territory since 2012. The militant group Hamas took control of Gaza, home to almost 2 million people, in 2007, and both Hamas and Israel have been accused of war crimes during fighting over the last decade.

Israel for years has said Human Rights Watch is biased against the country, and Tel Aviv has declared that there is no reason to have researchers in Gaza because Israel is doing its own investigations into possible abuse. "If Israel wants the ICC prosecutors to take seriously its argument that its criminal investigations are adequate, a good first step would be to allow human rights researchers to bring relevant information to light," Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press. Israel wasn't the only party called out in the group's report — it also criticized Hamas for not working with investigators and failing to protect local human rights workers, and Egypt for not letting researchers through to Gaza.