Friday, January 09, 2009

Israeli War Crimes in Gaza As Civilian Deaths Rise- America Defends Israel

"No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Geneva Convention, Section 11, Article 33 "
From "Collective Punishment of Gaza"Don Hynes,Jan. 2009

Channel 4 UK Report From Gaza

So because Israel is fighting terrorists they believe they have no responsibility to give medical aid to wounded Gaza civilians even if they are children left in a house surrounded by dead bodies. One wonders if the individual Israeli soldiers are so indoctrinated with such hatred of the Palestinians that they are unable to see even innocent children as being human but rather just the children of the enemy who are Terrorists.

"Red Cross finds starving children with 12 corpses in Gaza 'house of horrors'"Times Online Jan. 8,2009

The International Committee of the Red Cross has accused the Israeli military of "unacceptable" conduct and breaching international humanitarian law after discovering four emaciated children living next to the corpses of their mothers and other adults in bomb-shattered houses in Gaza City.

The ICRC said that it had spent four days seeking Israeli guarantees of safe passage so that it could gain access to the houses in the badly damaged Zaytun neighbourhood of the city. It was finally allowed to send in a rescue team and four Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances yesterday afternoon and said today that what they found was shocking.

In one house they discovered four small children, alive but too weak to stand, next to the bodies of their dead mothers. In all their were 12 dead bodies lying on mattresses.

In another house they found 15 survivors of the Israeli bombardment, several of them wounded, and in a third, three corpses. At that point they were ordered to leave by Israeli soldiers manning a post some 80 metres away, but they refused to do so.

Gaza medics describe horror of strike which killed 70, The Telegraph, jan. 08, 2009

Growing evidence emerged today of the bloodiest single incident of the Gaza conflict when around 70 corpses were found by a Palestinian paramedic near a bombed-out house.

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem

January 08, 2009 "The Telegraph" --- Mohammed Shaheen, a volunteer with Palestinian Red Crescent, was in the first convoy of ambulances to reach the site of the blast in Zeitoun since it was first occupied then shelled by the Israeli army.
His testimony confirmed accounts, first reported in The Telegraph, from survivors of the extended al Samouni clan who said they feared between 60 and 70 family members had been killed.

"Inside the Samouni house I saw about ten bodies and outside another sixty,'' Mr Shaheen said.

"I was not able to count them accurately because there was not much time and we were looking for wounded people.

"We found fifteen people still alive but injured so we took them in the ambulances.

"I could see an Israeli army bulldozer knocking down houses nearby but we ran out of time and the Israeli soldiers started shooting at us.

"We had to leave about eight injured people behind because we could not get to them and it was no longer safe for us to stay.'' Mr Shaheen was in a convoy led by a jeep from the International Committee of the Red Cross that made its way down war-damaged tracks past demolished houses to the town of Zeitoun.

Americans once again support Israel while ignoring Israeli War Crimes and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza . Nor do they see anything wrong with Israel using phosphorus or raining bombs down on UN Schools designated as shelters for refugees. Nor are the Americans concerned about attacks on ambulances, medical personnel or hospitals and clinics. Nor are Americans bothered that the Israelis have refused to allow Western Journalists into Gaza.

But has been repeatedly pointed out the US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have committed similar War Crimes so they are not about to criticize Israel for doing the same as they do. For instance the Americans like to "accidentally" bomb wedding parties in particular to terrorize the populace of Afghanistan. And like the Israelis the Americans also see nothing wrong with using kidnappings, executions or the abuse and torture of detainees. Like the Israelis the only human rights that matter as it were are to a great degree those of their own citizens and even then the rights of their own citizens can easily be taken away just by the President's signature or that of one of his delegated authorities. (The Divine Right of Kings or according to his majesties whims and all that)

The Americans also have insisted the press be embedded with military units and are only permitted to report that which is approved by the American military and the Bush Regime. And the Americans refuse to give the media adequate protection in these war zones unless they are embedded or write only positive stories about their actions. Given this situation it is difficult to know whether President-elect Obama will change or that is be able to change the way military operations are conducted. And whether there will be more transparency and accountability on the part of the US military and its intelligence agencies.

This of course does not mean that America can do what it wants as long as it doesn't "Torture " Prisoners but rather that it too must stay within International Law including the Geneva Conventions and other International agreements. America should stop presenting itself as above any laws made by the UN or other International Organizations .

This means for instance the Americans should stop using White Phosphorus and Cluster Bombs or other weapons banned by International Agreements. This also means that they are to refrain from retaliation by massive shootings and bombing which have led to unnecessary and unjustifiable large numbers of civilian casualties. There must be proper enforceable Rules of Engagement . And when an officer whether a five star General or a lieutenant gives an illegal order according to the Geneva Conventions etc. soldiers have a right to refuse rather than being chastised, imprisoned or demoted or drummed out of the service. And those at whatever level who give such illegal or immoral or obviously insane orders should be taken to task rather than a mere white-wash or finding a fall guy which are the usual ways the US military handles such matters.

"US Senate Supports Israel's Gaza Incursion"Reuters, Jan.8, 2009

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate voiced strong support on Thursday for Israel's battle against Hamas militants in Gaza, while urging a ceasefire that would prevent Hamas from launching any more rockets into Israel.

The chamber agreed on a voice vote to the non-binding resolution co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican party leaders in the chamber.

"When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel, by reaffirming Israel's inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza, as well as our support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said before the vote.

Noting that Israel was bent on halting Hamas rocket fire into its southern towns, Reid said: "I ask any of my colleagues to imagine that happening here in the United States. Rockets and mortars coming from Toronto in Canada, into Buffalo New York. How would we as a country react?"

( What's with the example of Toronto as having terrorists who are about to bomb Buffalo- is this an anti-Canadian dig or warning that Canada better not do anything which the US government does not like such as recognizing Gay Marriages or legalizing Marijuana or voting in a socialist style party like the NDP- but beyond that why can't the mayor of Buffalo talk to the mayor of Toronto or have Washington call our Prime Minister before killing a couple of million people in Toronto - Are Americans so wedded to these 19th century wild-west Myths so you shoot first ask questions later ...)

And now for a couple of videos on the Gaza Situation during the current Israeli Action.

Israel as pointed out here is accused of interfering with humanitarian and medical aid to the wounded in Gaza.

Gaza medics in the line of fire-From Aljazeera
Palestinian medical sources say 21 of their staff have been killed during Israels military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Victims of one strike in Gaza City were forced to wait four hours for assistance after medics were forced to abandon their vehicles and walk 2km to reach them.

Imran Khan reports.

Mobile Bulletin-Jan 8,2009- Aljazeera

(Just a little observation :Note how callous this Public Relations spokesperson for the Israelis sounds.She treats the deaths of innocents as if it were a trivial matter. Is she just trying to sound tough. She sounds as callous as Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld or Condoleeza Rice when they talk about hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis or thousands of Prisoners being abused and tortured because they said it was OK. It also shows that women once in positions of authority or power are no different than their callous , indifferent , power obsessed male counterparts. )

Both of the above clips are from Aljazeera which may be biased but they are about the only source of news out of Gaza since the Israelis have prevented the International Press from entering Gaza . The Israelis as usual do little or nothing to protect Journalists - and like the Bush Regime' military forces in Iraq & elsewhere the Israeli forces have a tendency to "accidentally" shoot and kill journalists in the same way they accidentally blow up schools and mosques and ambulances and medical personnel .

Richard Engel on why Israel won't let reporters into Gaza-Rachel Maddow Jan. 8,2009

What in the world does Rachel Maddow mean by her comment on Israel's refusal to allow journalists into Gaza. And are the Israelis right in assuming that once the inauguration of Barack Obama is underway the American's will have at that time no interest in the Gaza Situation. Unfortunately given the short attention span of Americans this is probably a safe assumption. Even during the Academy Awards Americans find it difficult to consider anything else that happens in the world as important. But isn't this the whole point of Infotainment style news where the trivial and the profound are seen as equivalent.

In the clip below from The Young Turks Cenk Uygur explains about Israeli War crimes and Crimes Against Humanity- the use of white phosphorus & killing a whole family to get at an Hamas leader- If someone were to target an Israeli or an American leader and killed all of his or her family what would be the reaction of Israel or America?

When a state kills civilians knowingly all we get is So What! To Israel once again we are reminded that they have no sympathy or concern over Gaza residents since all those residing in Gaza are supporters of Hamas and are therefore all legitimate targets. And anyone including Humanitarian agencies whether the UN or the Red Cross or Red Crescent or other NGOs are also legitimate targets if they are in Gaza or give medical assistance to Hamas fighters or Hamas supporters . If all Gazans can be characterized as being Hamas supporters to one degree or another then anyone helping them is defacto an enemy of Israel and an enemy of course of America - Israel's staunchest ally.

If one recalls the Americans during several of their massive bombings of cities such as Fallujah in Iraq refused to allow the Red Cross or other humanitarian organizations into these cities till long after most of the fighting ceased.

Is Israel Using The Right War Tactics?- The Young Turks-Jan.5 ,2009
Watch more at

Don Hynes in his article writes about the ethical issue of collective punishment which Israel has meted out to the people of Gaza and to the Palestinians in general and in the past to the people of Lebanon.Such collective punishment under the Geneva Conventions is a War Crime.

From "Collective Punishment of Gaza"Don Hynes,Jan. 2009

"No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Geneva Convention, Section 11, Article 33 "

"Information Clearinghouse" -- Israel has maintained a privileged relationship with the United States since a portion of Palestine was portioned to the newly created state of Israel in 1948 through United Nations Resolution 181, another British inspired “divide and rule” strategy which resulted in 780,000 Palestinian refugees.

This “privilege” continued to be guaranteed through a US based lobby for Israel both in the Congress and mainstream media, fortified in the American populace by a four decades long campaign to equate compassion for the suffering of European Jews during WWII and solidarity with the people of Israel into unquestioning support for the government of Israel and its foreign policies.

This “special relationship,” supported and defended by every American president since Eisenhower including president-elect Obama, became most emphatic during the last decade in which Israel retained suffering victim status under any circumstance with any and all Israeli military actions legitimized.

...Israel uses US financed armaments and munitions to wage war against a civilian population that it has caged for years in an urban prison camp, deprived of movement, food, energy or any reasonable degree of humanitarian support. The reported deaths extend to thousands of critically if not mortally wounded, suffering in ghetto like compounds where medical supplies and humanitarian aid are severely limited or unavailable due to Israeli embargo and military blockade.

Although the United Nations President called for sanctions against Israel and the Assembly of Nations was near unanimous in its condemnation of Israel’s attack, the US blocked censure through its veto power in the Security Council.
and he concludes blaming America and Arab countries for their silence and their complicity by not speaking out against Israel and by continuing to give material support to Israel.

The people of Gaza have no hope in the US government and will find no solace or any viable assistance among their compromised and corrupt Arab neighbors who continue to supply Israel with fuel for their jets, bombers and tanks. Their only hope is in humanity, those who will penetrate the propaganda, be they Arab or Israeli, Jew, Christian or Muslim, and call upon their governments to not only censure but stop the war crimes of Israel and save the people of Gaza.

And here's another example of a possible War Crime committed by Israel:

"Israel fires on UN Gaza convoy" Media With Conscience, Jan.8,2009

At least one Palestinian has been killed after a UN relief agency convoy came under fire from Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, officials say.

The attack took place on Thursday as the lorries travelled to the Erez crossing to pick up supplies that were to have been allowed in during a three-hour ceasefire.

Thursday's pause in the 13-day Israeli offensive to allow humanitarian aid into the strip was scheduled to last from 1pm (11:00 GMT) to 4pm (14:00 GMT).

The Israeli military said that it was checking reports of the incident.

John Ging, the head of the UN relief agency in Gaza, said that the casualties were Palestinian civilian contractors contracted to bring supplies from the crossing points.

"They were co-ordinating their movements with the Israelis, as they always do, only to find themselves being fired at from the ground troops," he said.

"It has resulted tragically in the death of one and the injury of two others."

In this next article by Robert Fisk he lists a number of other atrocities committed by the Israelis which they have gotten away with:

"Why Do They Hate The West So Much, We Will Ask"By Robert Fisk January 07, 2009 "The Independent"

-- - So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night's work in Gaza by the army that believes in "purity of arms". But why should we be surprised?

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. "Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties," yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night's butchery on their hands. Had George Bush had the courage to demand an immediate ceasefire 48 hours earlier, those 40 civilians, the old and the women and children, would be alive.

What happened was not just shameful. It was a disgrace. Would war crime be too strong a description? For that is what we would call this atrocity if it had been committed by Hamas. So a war crime, I'm afraid, it was. After covering so many mass murders by the armies of the Middle East – by Syrian troops, by Iraqi troops, by Iranian troops, by Israeli troops – I suppose cynicism should be my reaction. But Israel claims it is fighting our war against "international terror". The Israelis claim they are fighting in Gaza for us, for our Western ideals, for our security, for our safety, by our standards. And so we are also complicit in the savagery now being visited upon Gaza.

(and he concludes that Israel will use various lies and rationalizations to defend its actions and many westerners will once again buy into the Israeli propaganda that it is always the victim and never the perpetrator of War Crimes.)

And I write the following without the slightest doubt: we'll hear all these scandalous fabrications again. We'll have the Hamas-to-blame lie – heaven knows, there is enough to blame them for without adding this crime – and we may well have the bodies-from-the-cemetery lie and we'll almost certainly have the Hamas-was-in-the-UN-school lie and we will very definitely have the anti-Semitism lie. And our leaders will huff and puff and remind the world that Hamas originally broke the ceasefire. It didn't. Israel broke it, first on 4 November when its bombardment killed six Palestinians in Gaza and again on 17 November when another bombardment killed four more Palestinians.

Yes, Israelis deserve security. Twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed. But 600 Palestinians dead in just over a week, thousands over the years since 1948 – when the Israeli massacre at Deir Yassin helped to kick-start the flight of Palestinians from that part of Palestine that was to become Israel – is on a quite different scale. This recalls not a normal Middle East bloodletting but an atrocity on the level of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. And of course, when an Arab bestirs himself with unrestrained fury and takes out his incendiary, blind anger on the West, we will say it has nothing to do with us. Why do they hate us, we will ask? But let us not say we do not know the answer.

But as Robert Fisk and others have argued even if Israel has committed a series of War Crimes in its present actions against Gaza no Israeli will ever be brought before an International Tribunal or Court because the Americans will block any such action with its veto at the United Nations. And President Elect Obama knows that to go against Israel is the kiss of death in American politics or as Pundits refer to it as the Third Rail.

But this would not be such an issue if the US didn't have veto power. I believe that this veto power given to members of the Security Council has over and over again turned the UN into a "Paper-Tiger" like the League of Nations before it. It means that the UN is to a great extent at the mercy of the United States (or some other country). So time to get rid of the Veto power or expel the US from the Security Council for abusing their position of privilege over and over again in the UN.

also see:

"UN Halts All Aid Deliveries to Gaza "by: Ibrahim Barzak and Steve Weizman, The Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2008

The UN provides food aid to around 750,000 Gaza residents, and runs dozens of schools and clinics throughout the territory. They have some 9,000 locally-employed staffers inside Gaza, and a small team of international staffers who work there.


"An Unnecessary War" by Jimmy Carter, Washington Post, Jan. 8,2009

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

and so it goes,

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