the daily news of massive violations of international law and of war crimes committed by israeli terrorists is nothing new. they do this all the time. they have always done this. what is new is that various reports keep coming out in the western media. what is not new is that such reports change nothing. still no state that, for instance, has a seat on the united nations security council, is doing anything to stop any of the massive violations of human rights, the war crimes in gaza, the ongoing colonization of palestinian land.
clancy chassay and julian borger posted three really important film son the guardian’s website documenting some of the most egregious of these war crimes. i cannot post the films here, but i strongly recommend clicking on the link below and going directly to the website to watch them. here is what chassay and borger wrote in their accompanying article:
The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive against Gaza earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospitals, and drone aircraft firing on civilians.
Three Guardian films based on a month-long investigation, add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including up to 300 children….
The Guardian’s investigation follows soldiers’ evidence published in the Israeli press about the killing of Palestinian civilians and complaints by colleagues involved in the military operation that the rules of engagement were too lax….
Some of the most dramatic testimony gathered by the Guardian came from three teenage brothers in the al-Attar family. The trio describe how they were taken from their home at gunpoint, made to kneel in front of tanks to deter Hamas fighters from firing at them and sent by Israeli soldiers into Palestinian houses to clear them.
“They would make us go first so if any fighters shot at them the bullets would hit us not them,” 14-year-old Al’a al-Attar said.
Medics and ambulance drivers said they were targeted when they tried to tend to the wounded. Sixteen of them were killed. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of Gaza’s 27 hospitals and 44 clinics were damaged by Israeli bombs. Two clinics were destroyed. In one incident, paramedics were fired on by a tank using a shell filled with 8,000 lethal metal darts as they were carrying a wounded man to an ambulance.
In a report released today, doctors for Human Rights Israel said there was “certainty” that Israel violated international humanitarian law during the three-week war in January, with attacks on medics, damage to medical buildings, indiscriminate attacks on civilians and delays in medical treatment for the injured….
The Guardian gathered testimony of missile attacks by Israeli drones on clearly distinguishable civilian targets. In one case a family of six was killed when a missile hit the courtyard of their house. Israel has not admitted to the use of drones but military experts say their optical equipment is good enough to clearly identify individual items of clothing worn by targets….
Last week, a group of 16 of the world’s leading war crimes investigators and judges called on the UN to launch a full inquiry into “alleged gross violations of the laws of war committed by both sides during the recent conflict in Gaza and southern Israel”.
in response to those films, seumas milne posed some important questions that world leaders and the united nations must consider:
There is of course no chance that the UN security council will authorise the kind of International Criminal Court war crimes indictment now faced by Sudan’s leaders over Darfur. Any such move would certainly be vetoed by the US and its allies. And Israel’s own courts have had no trouble in the past batting away serious legal challenges to its army’s atrocities in the occupied territories. But the use of universal jurisdiction in countries such as Spain or even Britain is making Israeli commanders increasingly jumpy about travelling abroad.
With such powerful evidence of violations of the rules of war now emerging from the rubble of Gaza, the test must be this: is the developing system of international accountability for war crimes only going to apply to the west’s enemies – or can the western powers and their closest allies also be brought to book?
meanwhile today one of the top israeli terrorists called today for a re-occupation of gaza:
Matan Vilnai, the deputy Israeli defense minister under the newly-formed Israeli government, stated Sunday that he believes the Israeli military should re-occupy parts of the Gaza Strip with military force in order to stop the Palestinian resistance.
“We need to conquer the areas from which mortar shells are being fired,” said Valnai in a speech at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel. He continued, “The mortar shell is the main threat. They are (fired from) a limited (distance) of 5-6 km and we just need to be there.”
Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but still maintain a tight military presence on all borders between Gaza and Israel, preventing Palestinians in Gaza from leaving the Strip, and implementing a siege that has paralyzed the economy of Gaza and made commerce impossible.
Vilnai called for the re-occupation in order to, as he said, stop the Palestinian resistance from firing homemade shells across the border into Israel. He didn’t address the fact that the shelling had only resumed after Israeli forces engaged in multiple violations of a six-month ceasefire implemented between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza.
He also criticized the system of alerts that was meant to inform citizens of Israel of Palestinian shelling, saying that there were malfunctions in the system that kept some alerts from going off. But he didn’t mention the fact that in the last Israeli invasion of Gaza, Palestinians were killed at a rate of 100 to 1, in comparison to Israeli casualties, and the Palestinians have no alert system whatsoever.
there may not be an terrorist army physically inside occupying gaza from the inside, but make no mistake about it, gaza is occupied in the form of this siege. a siege, by the way, that egypt is completely complicit in. here is the latest disgusting move from the egyptian regime:
A security official says the flock was discovered on Sunday night, along with the entrances to six tunnels in the Salah el-Din district north of the Rafah border crossing.
Police seized five tons of cement and found a half ton cache of TNT hidden in near the border.
Gaza has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in June 2007.
The tunnels are the main artery for food entering Gaza. But they are also a conduit for weapons to Gaza militants.
Israel destroyed many tunnels during its recent three-week military offensive in Gaza, but smuggling continues.
yes, this these sheep that people in gaza would have used for food…this cement that people would have used to rebuild their homes has been stolen by the egyptians who are enforcing this siege along with their israeli terrorist partners. of course americans are a part of that system of siege even though we may not by physically present. it is our weapons that enforce the siege as this marc garlasco and darryl li write in the nation:
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become ubiquitous in Gaza’s skies in recent years and are key to the notion that Israel can use high-tech precision weaponry to distinguish between combatants and civilians. The facts, however, suggest that any weapon is only as discriminating as the people using it.
Israel is the world’s leader in drone technology. It has modified US designs for its own use and even for export (despite the recent diplomatic spat between Israel and Turkey, a drone purchase deal between the two countries appears to be on track). Israel’s primary armed model, the Hermes, is the Israel Defense Force’s answer to the Predator, which is used extensively by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hermes can hover at 18,000 feet for up to twenty hours at a time. Its sensors can discern people on the ground–they can even distinguish between adults and children. Drones can carry a variety of munitions; those used in Gaza appear to rely primarily on a variant of the US-made Spike anti-tank missile, with a lethal blast radius of ten to twenty meters.
Little wonder, then, that drones were the IDF’s weapon of choice when Israel launched its military campaign on December 27 with an attack on the Gaza City police headquarters, which killed at least forty cadets during a police academy graduation ceremony. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the proposal to attack this event was hotly debated within the IDF for months. IDF lawyers knew that these policemen were presumptively civilians under international law, which would consider them legitimate targets only if they were directly participating in hostilities against Israel. At the site of this attack Human Rights Watch researchers found hundreds of perfectly cubic pieces of metal shrapnel, circuit boards and other parts (including some marked with Motorola serial numbers), and four small impact craters–all consistent with drone-fired missiles.
The assault that killed Mo’men Allaw was one of six drone attacks that Human Rights Watch researchers in the Gaza Strip investigated, in which twenty-nine civilians were killed. Five of six took place in broad daylight, and all of them without any evident military targets in the vicinity, in civilian areas that were removed from fighting and, because they were so densely built-up and distant from border areas, were unlikely sites for launching rockets into Israel. In addition to interviewing more than a dozen witnesses, we gathered extensive physical evidence consistent with drone attacks, such as telltale cubic pieces of shrapnel, and took photographs of the blast patterns left behind in walls and items of clothing speckled with dozens of tiny square holes. Other human rights groups have documented dozens of similar incidents.
One of the deadliest drone attacks occurred a few hours after the initial December 27 air assault. A drone fired a missile at a group of youths who had gathered around a radio as they waited for a bus near the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza City. The missile killed twelve young men, mostly students at the UNRWA-sponsored Gaza Training College across the street.
“We heard a buzzing noise in the air before the explosion,” recalled Ibrahim Rayyis, 19, who witnessed the attack from a nearby store. “When I went out to see what happened, my two brothers Hisham and Allam were lying on the ground, blood gushing from their wounds.” Their father, Nehru Rayyis, later stumbled upon the body of another relative killed in the attack, 20-year-old Abd Allah, on the floor outside an overflowing morgue in a Gaza hospital.
Human Rights Watch has also documented several cases of children killed while playing on the roofs of their homes. On January 4, the day before Mo’men Allaw was killed, an Israeli drone fired a missile at two children playing on the roof of a two-story home in downtown Gaza City, killing Mahmoud Mashharawi, 12, and Ahmed Subayh, 16. Mahmoud’s brother Ashraf, 30, a cameraman who has worked with Britain’s Channel 4 television, rushed to the hospital in time to watch his brother die on the operating table.
A few hours later, five children from the al-Habbash family who were on the roof of their home in the al-Shaaf neighborhood were struck by a drone-fired missile, killing 10-year-old Shadhar and 12-year-old Isra. Two of their teenage siblings each lost both of their legs. “We keep chickens on the roof, and the kids were feeding them and playing,” their father, Muhammad, a science teacher at an UNRWA school, told us. After the ambulances evacuated his children, he said, he collected pieces of their skin and flesh from the roof.
That Israel’s drones essentially treated anyone on a Gaza rooftop as a target was apparent most of all to its own soldiers. “They told us not to go up on the roofs because everyone who goes up on the roof is going to be taken out,” an IDF medic stationed in the Zaytoun area on the outskirts of Gaza City during the campaign told Human Rights Watch. His comrades made clear, he said, that if he went up on the roof of a Palestinian home, “somebody from the air will take you down.”
However indiscriminately they may have struck, IDF drones probably killed fewer civilians than old-fashioned weapons such as artillery and tank shells during the recent military campaign.
No weapon better symbolizes Israel’s indirect occupation of the Gaza Strip. Since removing its military bases and settlers from Gaza in 2005, Israel has disclaimed any responsibility as an occupying power for the well-being of Gaza’s populace. But even without permanent garrisons, Israel continues to control Gaza’s economy and infrastructure, from its borders and airspace to its power grid and monetary policy. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, tightened in mid-2007 after Hamas took over Palestinian Authority institutions, has created immense hardships on Gaza’s civilian population. And just as Israel’s control of Gaza’s borders allows it to dictate from a safe distance what Gazans can eat, whether they can turn on their lights and what kinds of medical treatment are available to them, drones give Israel the ability to carry out targeted attacks without having to risk “boots on the ground.”
Under the laws of war, Israel remains a belligerent force and an occupier in Gaza, and its actions are accordingly regulated by two sets of rules: one for how it may fight and another for ensuring the welfare of the population. Israel uses its drones to pay lip service to the first set of duties and its embargo to wash its hands of the latter. In short, it seeks indefinite control without responsibility. The facts, however, tell a starkly different story: that neither remote-control weapons nor remote-control occupations equal more justice or less bloodshed.
but the issue is not only gaza. the issue is also about the palestinians living in historic 1948 palestine who also live under occupation on various levels. the racism is getting increasingly worse there:
The Mossawa Centre for the Rights of Arab Citizens in Israel has documented 250 incidents of aggression against Arab Israelis since the start of the year, compared to 166 in all of 2008, the group said in a report.
“The physical and verbal aggression has increased mainly in cities with mixed Arab-Jewish populations,” the report said.
“The increase in incidents indicating anti-Arab racism is apparently related to the electoral campaign for the February 10 elections in which candidates played the anti-Arab card, almost giving a green light to aggression,” Nidal Hotman, an attorney and spokesman for the group, told AFP.
He was referring mainly to the campaign of Avigdor Lieberman, a tough-talking immigrant from the former Soviet Union who has taken a hard line on Israeli Arabs and been called a “racist” and “fascist” by his critics.
The centerpiece of his campaign was the demand that all Israeli citizens take an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state, a policy derided as racist by many in the Arab Israeli community which makes up 20 percent of Israel’s population.
jonathan cook had a really powerful piece in electronic intifada last week about how this racism affects the lives of palestinian bedouin in 1948 palestine, which reads in part:
Little Ashimah Abu Sbieh’s life hangs by a thread — or more specifically, an electricity cable that runs from a noisy diesel-powered generator in the family’s backyard. Should the generator’s engine fail, she could die within minutes.
Ashimah suffers from a rare genetic condition that means her brain fails to tell her lungs to work. Without the assistance of an electric inhalator, she would simply stop breathing.
That nearly happened late last year when the generator broke down during the night. Her parents, Siham and Faris, woke to find the 11-month-old’s face blue from a lack of oxygen. They reconnected the inhalator to a set of car batteries and then battled to fix the generator before the two hours of stored power ran out.
The desperate plight of Ashimah’s parents is shared by thousands of other Bedouin families caring for chronically sick relatives who live in communities to which Israel refuses to supply electricity, said Wasim Abas of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel.
The organization’s latest report, titled Sentenced to Darkness, calls the state’s denial of essential services, including running water and electricity, to 83,000 Bedouin in the southern Negev desert, “bureaucratic evil.”
Abas said the lives of Bedouin patients who need a reliable supply of electricity — to refrigerate medicines and special foods, run air-conditioning or power nebulizers and inhalators — are being put in grave danger by official intransigence.
According to the report, 45 Bedouin villages have been denied services as a way to pressure them to renounce their title to ancestral lands and their traditional pastoral way of life. Instead, it is hoped they will move into a handful of deprived and land-starved Bedouin townships specially built by the state.
Concrete homes in the so-called unrecognized villages are under permanent threat of demolition, forcing many residents to live in tin huts and tents, and the national utility companies are barred from connecting them to services.
The Bedouin languish at the bottom of the country’s social and economic indices, with 70 percent of children living in poverty. Israel has also located a chemical waste dump and a massive electricity generating station close to several of the Negev’s unrecognized villages, though it refuses to connect them to the grid.
Abas said the lack of an electricity supply in particular posed a severe threat to the Bedouin community’s health. A fifth of all residents of unrecognized villages suffer from chronic illness, particularly asthma and diabetes, and require a reliable electrical supply to their homes for their treatment. Most must travel long distances, usually over dirt tracks, to reach health clinics and hospitals.
“We found that a lack of electricity contributed to a deterioration in the condition of these patients in about 70 percent of cases, and directly resulted in death in two percent of cases,” Abas said.
Hopes that Israel would be forced to connect the villages to the national grid were dashed in 2005 when the courts ruled against the family of a three-year-old cancer victim, Enas al-Atrash, who was demanding electricity for the family home. Doctors had warned that Enas might die without reliable refrigeration of her medicines and an air-conditioned environment.
Instead, the judges criticized the family for living in an unrecognized village, though they recommended that officials contribute to the family’s large fuel bill so they could continue running a generator.
couple this with the posts below about all of the massive ethnic cleansing happening in al quds, as well as the west bank, and you have full scale colonialism on crack. in an article in the palestine monitor today it raised questions about why the israeli colonial terrorist regime is allowed to be the last of a dying breed. it concludes with these questions:
Why is Israel the only country that has been allowed to continue colonialist ventures? Why are International Laws and UN resolutions not enforced on Israel, but enforced on others? Why does the rest of the world remain silent towards those double-standards policy?
If International Law and organizations such as the UN are to be effective and continue to exist, they must be enforced. If not, they become ‘suggestions’ instead of laws and resolutions.
For order and humanity to exist in the world, the International Community must enforce their decisions. If not, why should any nation be bound by their authority? Israel must be made to respect the laws and resolutions of the International Community and the shared humanitarian values we can all believe in.
Just like the rest of the world, Israel must give up its colonialist ventures in Palestine and Palestine must be allowed to gain its freedom and sovereignty over its lands.
Colonialism must end in all of its manifestations—and that includes you, Israel.