on thursday united nations special rapporteur richard falk released his report on the war crimes and crimes against humanity unleashed by israeli terrorists against palestinians in gaza here is reuters’ stephanie nebehay report:
Falk called for an independent experts group to probe possible war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas. It should gather eyewitness testimony as well as explanations from Israeli and Palestinian military commanders.
Violations included Israel’s alleged “targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances” during the offensive, which lasted from Dec. 27 to Jan. 18, and its use of weapons including white phosphorus, as well as Hamas’s firing of rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel.
Falk said that Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip of 1.5 million people violated the Geneva Conventions and this suggested further war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The aggression was not legally justified and may represent a “crime against peace” — a principle established at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, according to Falk, an American law professor who serves as the Human Rights Council’s independent investigator.
Falk, who is Jewish, suggested the Security Council might set up an ad hoc criminal tribunal to establish accountability for war crimes in Gaza, noting Israel has not signed the Rome statutes establishing the International Criminal Court.
He was denied entry to Israel two weeks before the assault started, forcing him to abort a planned mission to Gaza. In his report, he said that the refusal had set an “unfortunate precedent” for treatment of a special rapporteur.
On Monday, he is to present his report formally to the Human Rights Council, a 47-member forum where Islamic and African countries backed by China, Cuba and Russia have a majority. Neither Israel nor its chief ally the United States are members.
meanwhile douglas hamilton of reuters begins to shed light on the theological undergirding of those massive war crimes:
Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January’s Gaza offensive that they were fighting a “religious war” against gentiles, according to one army commander’s account published on Friday.
“Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land,” he said.
a day after falk released his report a series of testimonies by israeli terrorists were published in ha’aretz. because ha’aretz is a newspaper of israeli terrorists, of course, they try to pretend like these are just a few bad apples (anyone remember how the u.s. covered abu ghraib?). in any case, i will post some of these statements below because i know for a fact this characterizes the entire israeli terrorist population (all of whom are conscripted in its terrorist army and all of whom are colonists here). hoda abdel-hamid’s report from zeitoun, gaza for al jazeera shows us the context of one of the main testimonies from the first such report:
amos herel’s second and more extensive report in ha’aretz documenting these testimonies was entitled “shooting and crying.” i think this is an apt title given the fact that it goes a long way to showing the normal course of israeli terrorists: this is why i have such a huge problem with israeli terrorist films like waltz with bashir (see yesterday’s post for links on this) and also why it is impossible for israeli terrorists to “investigate” themselves. even if they show a hint of remorse it means nothing: when a group of people behave as terrorists for 122 years, and continually shoot and cry, they are crying wolf. we know they will do it again. their tears mean nothing to us. in any case here are some excerpts (click link for the full stories) of what some of these so-called weeping soldiers had to say (apparently the names below are pseudonyms):
Aviv: “At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?
“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit. I tried to exert some influence, insofar as is possible from within my subordinate position, to change this. In the end the specification involved going into a house, operating megaphones and telling [the tenants]: ‘Come on, everyone get out, you have five minutes, leave the house, anyone who doesn’t get out gets killed.’
“I went to our soldiers and said, ‘The order has changed. We go into the house, they have five minutes to escape, we check each person who goes out individually to see that he has no weapons, and then we start going into the house floor by floor to clean it out … This means going into the house, opening fire at everything that moves , throwing a grenade, all those things. And then there was a very annoying moment. One of my soldiers came to me and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘What isn’t clear? We don’t want to kill innocent civilians.’ He goes, ‘Yeah? Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact.’ I said, ‘Do you think the people there will really run away? No one will run away.’ He says, ‘That’s clear,’ and then his buddies join in: ‘We need to murder any person who’s in there. Yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist,’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media.
“And then I try to explain to the guy that not everyone who is in there is a terrorist, and that after he kills, say, three children and four mothers, we’ll go upstairs and kill another 20 or so people. And in the end it turns out that [there are] eight floors times five apartments on a floor – something like a minimum of 40 or 50 families that you murder. I tried to explain why we had to let them leave, and only then go into the houses. It didn’t really help. This is really frustrating, to see that they understand that inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want, to break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool.
“You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing in understanding how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”
“One of our officers, a company commander, saw someone coming on some road, a woman, an old woman. She was walking along pretty far away, but close enough so you could take out someone you saw there. If she were suspicious, not suspicious – I don’t know. In the end, he sent people up to the roof, to take her out with their weapons. From the description of this story, I simply felt it was murder in cold blood.”
Zamir: “I don’t understand. Why did he shoot her?”
Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”
Zvi: “Aviv’s descriptions are accurate, but it’s possible to understand where this is coming from. And that woman, you don’t know whether she’s … She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right. It’s known that they have lookouts and that sort of thing.”…
Ram: “What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of almost a religious mission. My sergeant is a student at a hesder yeshiva [a program that combines religious study and military service]. Before we went in, he assembled the whole platoon and led the prayer for those going into battle. A brigade rabbi was there, who afterward came into Gaza and went around patting us on the shoulder and encouraging us, and praying with people. And also when we were inside they sent in those booklets, full of Psalms, a ton of Psalms. I think that at least in the house I was in for a week, we could have filled a room with the Psalms they sent us, and other booklets like that.
“There was a huge gap between what the Education Corps sent out and what the IDF rabbinate sent out. The Education Corps published a pamphlet for commanders – something about the history of Israel’s fighting in Gaza from 1948 to the present. The rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles, and … their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war. From my position as a commander and ‘explainer,’ I attempted to talk about the politics – the streams in Palestinian society, about how not everyone who is in Gaza is Hamas, and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us. I wanted to explain to the soldiers that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Qassams.”
Zamir: “I would like to ask the pilots who are here, Gideon and Yonatan, to tell us a little about their perspective. As an infantryman, this has always interested me. How does it feel when you bomb a city like that?”
Gideon: “First of all, about what you have said concerning the crazy amounts of firepower: Right in the first foray in the fighting, the quantities were very impressive, very large, and this is mainly what sent all the Hamasniks into hiding in the deepest shelters and kept them from showing their faces until some two weeks after the fighting.
“In general the way that it works for us, just so you will understand the differences a bit, is that at night I would come to the squadron, do one foray in Gaza and go home to sleep. I go home to sleep in Tel Aviv, in my warm bed. I’m not stuck in a bed in the home of a Palestinian family, so life is a little better.
“When I’m with the squadron, I don’t see a terrorist who is launching a Qassam and then decide to fly out to get him. There is a whole system that supports us, that serves as eyes, ears and intelligence for every plane that takes off, and creates more and more targets in real-time, of one level of legitimacy or another. In any case, I try to believe that these are targets [determined according to] the highest possible level of legitimacy….
Yossi: “No. Not at all. On the contrary: In most of the houses graffiti was left behind and things like that.”
Zamir: “That’s simply behaving like animals.”
Yossi: “You aren’t supposed to be concentrating on folding blankets when you’re being shot at.”…
Zamir: “After the Six-Day War, when people came back from the fighting, they sat in circles and described what they had been through. For many years the people who did this were said to be ‘shooting and crying.’ In 1983, when we came back from the Lebanon War, the same things were said about us. We need to think about the events we have been through. We need to grapple with them also, in terms of establishing a standard or different norms….
there is stuff i left out. flat out lies, for instance. funnily enough herel wrote an op-ed after this saying that the soldiers were telling the truth–not for the reasons i am discussing, however. one of the israeli terrorists says that when they left palestinian homes in gaza where that they occupied they cleaned up. the reality is they shat on the floor, wrote racist graffiti on the walls, and broke furniture and trashed the homes. i know this not only because of what i have read from many eyewitness accounts (much of which i have posted here), but also because i witnessed this in south lebanon after the israeli terrorists invaded homes there. they did this in the village of markaba and many other places, too. this is their normal behavior. i think the last part that i quoted from sums it all up rather well, however, they seem to do this after every invasion and massacre and atrocity they commit: they sit around and discuss it, some claim to have remorse, and then they do it again. and again. and again. if these terrorists claim to have a moral bone in their bodies then they can make a choice to say no. to leave. (70% of israeli terrorists hold dual citizenship).
all of this makes me think about the trial of adolf eichmann and hannah arendt’s description of his trial as evidence of the “banality of evil.” in an interview with samuel grafton in 1963, arendt elaborated on her use of this term in ways that are rather apt here not only because of the consistent, continuous crimes by israeli terrorists against palestinians, lebanese, and syrians, but also because of the looming possibility of a war crimes tribunal. here is what she said to grafton:
It is of course true that evil was commonplace in Nazi Germany and that ‘there were many Eichmanns,’ as the title of a German book about Eichmann reads. But I did not mean this. I meant that evil is not radical, going to the roods (radix), that it has no depth, and that for this very reason it is so terribly difficult to think about, since thinking, by definition, wants to reach the roots. Evil is a surface phenomenon, and instead of being radical, is merely extreme. We resist evil by not being swept away by the surface of things, by stopping ourselves and beginning to think–that is, by reaching another dimension than the horizon of everyday life. In other words, the more superficial someone is, the more likely he will be to yield to evil. An indication of such superficiality is the use of clichés, and Eichmann, God knows, was a perfect example. Each time he was tempted to think for himself, he said: Who am I to judge if all around me–that is, the atmosphere in which we unthinkingly live–that it is right to murder innocent people? Or to put it slightly differently: Each time Eichmann tried to think, he thought immediately of his career, which up to the end was the thing uppermost in his mind.” (from Arendt’s The Jewish Writings, 479-480).
as one of the israeli terrorists quoted above noted that the media there keeps them from thinking–and more importantly acting. but it is not just their media. it is their entire society from its schools to its government. and all claims to the contrary from before an nakba until now zionists have practiced these sorts of atrocities consistently. and, of course, they’ve always gone unpunished. part of the problem with having an unthinking, unquestioning society means that they believe the lies of their government; they believe the stereotypes of palestinians taught in their schools and in their media. in sherine tadros’ report on these same testimonies we hear one of the chief israeli terrorists, avital leibovich making the outlandish claim that israeli terrorists work hard to “save lives on both sides of the border.” this was in the context of these damning testimonies. you can watch for yourself and see this as well as tadros giving us tours of a typical method of trashing palestinian houses in gaza by these israeli terrorists:
to be sure whatever infinitesimal percentage of the israeli terrorist society may feel a shred of remorse at present, they do not speak for the masses. indeed, israeli terrorists–those in their terrorist army now and those who will be in the future–are now sporting tshirts gloating about their participation in mass murder (see photographs below):
the article with the photographs is in hebrew so i don’t know what it says, but the version in english, according to uri blau of ha’aretz, the tshirts say:
Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” A “graduation” shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, “No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.”
There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies – such as “confirming the kill” (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.
In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.
The slogan “Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands!” had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.
“It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town,” he explains. “The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.”…
A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: “We came, we saw, we destroyed!” – alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.
the israeli terrorist journalist whose words are quoted above, later in the article, calls this tshirt making the “race to be unique.” more aptly put: “the race to be more racist.” they murder and destroy and then run around wearing tshirts bragging about it. these sentiments are similar to those written as graffiti on the walls of palestinian homes in gaza that israeli terrorists took over, after massacring families, as reported in electronic intifada by the palestinian centre for human rights:
In the Zeitoun district, where 27 members of the Samouni family were killed in an air strike while taking shelter in a building they had been placed in by the Israeli army, there are more chilling messages on the walls. In Talal Samouni’s home Israeli soldiers wrote the words “Die you all,” “Make war not peace,” “Arabs need to die” and a gravestone engraved with the words “Arabs 1948-2009” referring to the dates between the creation of the state of Israel and its latest military offensive.
A stairwell in Rashad Helmi Samouni’s house a few doors down includes the following sentences written in chalk:
“There will be a day when we kill all the Arabs.”
“Bad for the Arabs is good for me.”
“A good Arab is an Arab in the grave.”
“Peace now, but between Jews and Jews, not Jews and Arabs.”
one of the teams of the national lawyer’s guild investigators, radhika sainath, who recently traveled to gaza to document war crimes echoed these same reports, as well as a number of other violations in electronic intifada:
While I do not know what Israel hoped to achieve with its invasion, I do know the goal was not to stop Hamas rockets. In a house in al-Zeitoun, the walls, ceilings and doors are covered in graffiti that reads, in Hebrew and English, “Death to the Arabs,” “An Arab brave [a real Arab] is an Arab in a grave,” and “he who dreams Givati [the Israeli infantry brigade], kills Arabs.” Such sayings do not stop Hamas rockets. Covering prayer rugs in feces serves no military objective. Tearing up college diplomas and giving bottles of urine to detained children asking for water are not acts of self-defense.
hoda abdel-hamid has another report on al jazeera documenting how these war crimes affected khaled from abd rabo whose two daughters, souad and amel, were murdered. his other daughter samar was paralyzed. their house was leveled. the entire neighborhood was destroyed. because of the blockade he cannot get cement for a proper burial for his girls. because his identification card was buried in the rubble of his home he cannot travel to be with his 4 year old daughter in belgium where she is seeking treatment:
finally there is a list of all the martyrs murdered in cold blood by israeli terrorists in gaza produced by the palestinian centre for human rights. it is 66 pages long and it is in arabic. you can download it by clicking this link.
and, finally, this week on al jazeera’s “focus on gaza” with imran garda details further war crimes. garda also has an important discussion with marwan bishara. i always like watching bishara and think he is an amazing political analyst, but i do think that when you see him interviewed by garda, who continues to be one of the best interviewers at al jazeera, the discussion contains much more substance: