Preliminary Gaza War Crimes Investigation by Amnesty International

Since the end of Israel’s major attack on Gaza, the killer state continues its incursions and outrages.

From Steve Lendman:

For the week ending January 28th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported continued Gaza and West Bank incursions and attacks:

— the IDF shot and killed a Gaza farmer on his land;

— 17 Gaza and West Bank Palestinians, including four children and two journalists, were wounded;

— 32 West Bank incursions were conducted;

— 64 West Bank civilians, including 15 children, were arrested;

— a private West Bank home near Bethlehem was seized as a military site;

— Gaza remains under siege and total isolation; conditions overall keep deteriorating;

— two Jerusalem homes were demolished; 53 civilians were left homeless; and Israel continues Judaizing Jerusalem through repeated land seizures.

The same pattern repeats daily, and reports indicate more American and EU complicity. The US Navy patrols the Red Sea to prevent weapons “smuggling,” and Army Corps of Engineers are on the Egyptian – Gaza border to locate tunnels and destroy them. EU nations will monitor Rafah and perhaps other Gaza – Egypt border crossings, and France, Britain and other European countries offered naval vessel patrol help in the Red Sea.

For the satraps of America and Europe, Palestinian lives are unworthy of defence compared to the need for the monster landthieving Israeli state to ‘defend itself’.

Wallowing in fascist depravity, Israel, more specifically Tipsy Livni has now sanctioned Al Jazeera’s Israeli news service.

Following the closure, the Foreign Ministry, in conjunction with the newly-formed national information directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, considered declaring the station a hostile entity and closing its offices in Israel. After submitting the idea to legal review, however, concerns emerged it would not be permitted by the High Court of Justice.

Instead, it chose to limit the network’s activity in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. First, Israel will not renew the visas of Al Jazeera’s non-Israeli employees or grant visas to new employees. Second, station representatives will have reduced accessibility to government and military bodies, and will not be allowed into briefings or press conferences.

Third, the network will have access to only three official spokespeople – those of the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces. The information directorate has also instructed Knesset members and ministers not to grant interviews or otherwise cooperate with Al Jazeera, but this is a non-binding instruction which lawmakers may apply at their discretion.

“Israel believes in freedom of the press and in the public’s right to know,” a Foreign Ministry official said Monday. “This is a rearrangement of relations between Israel and the Al Jazeera network in light of the present situation.”

Pardon me while I puke at the hypocrisy above.

Run, war criminals, run! Col. Geva Rapp who was involved in Operation Cast Lead flees Britain in fear of arrest for war crimes.

Col. (res.) Geva Rapp had arrived in London three days before for appearances in which he was to explain Israel’s position and refute media representations of the hostilities.

His trip had been cleared by Israeli security services.

On Thursday night, after news of his visit reached pro-Palestinian groups, some 80 protesters demonstrated outside the offices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in central London, where Rapp was scheduled to speak.

Calling for police to arrest him, the protesters blocked public pathways, while one scaled the building’s walls. Police made several arrests.

The event was cancelled and the decision was made for Rapp to return to Israel out of fear of a universal jurisdiction arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.

The International Herald Tribune relates the story of the people of Atatra, bombarded by Israel’s vicious and insane militia.

Palestinians describe Israeli military actions as a massacre and Israelis attribute civilian casualties to a Hamas policy of hiding behind its people.

So when disaster struck at the Abu Halima house on Sunday, many did the only thing they thought might save them: They got on the phone with their Israeli friends.

As the sun set and the bodies burned, a crowd of panicked villagers waited as two farmers made frantic phone calls to merchants on the other side of the border. “There was no one I didn’t call,” one of them said.

Forty to 50 houses were destroyed.

But when the platoon of Captain Y. took over the neighborhood where the Ghanem family lived, it blew up their house without going inside, he made clear in an interview. A search of it two weeks later by a Times correspondent joined by Chris Cobb-Smith, a 20-year veteran of the British Army and weapons consultant for Amnesty International, showed no evidence of explosive material or of a secondary blast.

So why was the house destroyed?

“We had advance intelligence that there were bombs inside the house,” said Captain Y., in the phone interview. “We looked inside from the doorway and saw things that made us suspicious. I didn’t want to risk the lives of my men. We ordered the house destroyed.”

For the Ghanem family’s 23-year-old son, Bakr, the act will not easily be forgotten.

“A house is something physical but also something in your heart,” he said, as he stood outside his collapsed home, taken over by cats and putrid odors. “The place in our heart has also been injured. There can be no peace after this.”

Many here believe that the Israelis feel the same about them and that they were treated with the suspicion and contempt of would-be fighters. That might help explain what happened, they say, when Omar Abu Halima and his two teenage cousins tried to take the burned body of his baby sister and two other badly burned girls to the hospital on Sunday.

The boys were hauling the girls and six others on a tractor, when, according to several accounts from villagers, Israeli soldiers told them to stop. According to their accounts, they got down, put their hands up, and suddenly rounds were fired, killing two of the teenagers: Matar Abu Halima, 18, and Muhamed Hekmet, 17.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that soldiers reported that the two were armed and firing. Villagers strongly deny that. The tractor that villagers say was carrying the group is riddled with 36 bullet holes.

The question of how Israel handled civilians in this war has become a matter of keen controversy. Human rights groups are crisscrossing Gaza documenting what they believe will form the basis of war crime proceedings aimed at demonstrating that Israel used disproportionate force.

Did Israel use “cancer bombs” in recent Gaza attack? – podcast exploring weaponry used by Israel against the civilian population of Gaza.

Blood Sport in #Gaza

Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz, head of the Knesset Defense Readiness and Fighting Terrorism Committee, is visibly nervous in his interview with Aljazeera’s Imran Garda. When expertly cornered, he revealed the Israelis had planned the Gaza invasion for 8-9 months.

Events move quickly in carnages of this appalling magnitude. The interview above held on Jan 4 09 is damning as it reveals in full living colour that the Israeli massacre of Gaza was hatched well before the Israelis proferred their hands in truce with Hamas in June 08

Again from Al Jazeera, which is scooping the pool in both content and quality of its coverage of this iniquitous event:

A United Nations agency says nearly fifty percent of those killed in Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip are women and children.

Gazza Physician, Mona El-Farra relates the mind-churning statistics:


8th of January -13th day of the Israeli Tttack against Gaza

720 are killed
including :-
215 children
89 women
12 1st aid health workers

more than 3000 are injured many with serious injuries

11 ambulances were attacked and destroyed while on duty

health workers are not allowed to evacute many of the injured ,in many occasions
the medical teams face new sort of burns , thier is a possibility that israel uses white phosphorus against civilians ,INVESTIGATION IS NEEDED AT ONCE .
health teams in Gaza need to be assisted , as they are overwhelmed with the increasing numbe rof the casualities and lack of supplies and electricity ,
new born babies inside the hospitals are under great threat , due to power flactuation in the special care baby units SCBU

43 were killed inside one of the UN schools , were those fleed to the school ,as thier homes were under heavy shelling or destroyed ,the Un asked for immediate investigation and denied Israeli claim of the presenc eof armed men inside the school

no electricity in Gaz a
80%of areas have no water , due to the destroyment of the infra structure , due to the heavy shelling
70%of tleecommuniucations are destroyed too

yestreday Israeli army allowed 3 hours of ceasfire , so the civilians can go to get thier supplies
,but there were no enough bread , vegetables , meat , grosseries and no cash with the population , and thousands are homeless!

thousands of Rafah citizens at the moment are homelss, have been evacuated , and thie rhomes were demolished at the southern part of rafah on the borders ,.

iam indirect contact with my fellow doctors in gaz a, but may be i will lose this contact soon ,as the communications is getting less , and this will lead to real catastrophy on the level of evacauting of the injured

PRAY FOR US this is usual messege i recive from friends , neibghors and relatives in Gaza

thank you all for your solidarity , friendship , and humanatarian concern

The specious attempts by Israel to exonerate itself from blame for the massacre of 43 civilians at the UN School have failed.

UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness reported this evening that the Israeli army is privately briefing diplomats on the fact that its previous claims about their attack on a UN-run girls’ school in the Gaza Strip, which caused over 100 civilian casualties, were baseless.

The attack occurred yesterday, when Israeli mortars deliberately fired three shells at the school, which was filled with hundreds of displaced civilians at the time, killing at least 46 and wounding 55 others. As international outrage began to well over the enormous civilian toll of the attack, Israel declared the killings “according to procedures” and claimed Hamas had fired rockets from the school’s courtyard, making the attack on hundreds of innocent civilians self-defense.

Much was made of the claim, including reports that Israel was mulling filing a formal complaint to the United Nations about Hamas’ use of the facility. But as the United Nations poked holes in the official story, Israel is now backing off those claims.

And while Israel had previously claimed to have had proof to back up its story, Gunness says the military is now conceding that the mortar fire they previously claimed came from the school came from elsewhere in the refugee camp. Though Israel is trying to keep its admission of guilt relatively quiet (far more quiet than its allegations that the killings were justified) it will doubtless pay a further price in the court of international public opinion for having once again deliberately targeted a building full of innocent civilians.

Nicolas Kristof opines late, far too late as he unwinds the story of Hamas’s creation, venturing to add some useless speculation after the event.

So what could Israel have reasonably done? Bombing the tunnels through which Gazans smuggle weapons would have been a proportionate response, if Israel had stopped there, and the same is true of airstrikes on certain Hamas targets. An even better approach would have been to ease the siege in Gaza, perhaps creating an environment in which Hamas would have extended the cease-fire. It was certainly worth trying — and almost anything would be better than lashing out in a way that would create more boomerangs.

“This policy is not strengthening Israel,” notes Sari Bashi, the executive director of Gisha, an Israeli human rights group that works on Gaza issues. “The trauma that 1.5 million people have been undergoing in Gaza is going to have long-term effects for our ability to live together.

Rafahkid relates the crushing of his home town, Rafah. This time, not content with implacable bulldozers, Israel pulverises whole neighbourhoods from the skies.

Residents reported mass leaflet drops in these neighbourhoods by Israeli ‘planes this afternoon. The papers ordered them to leave their homes in the areas stretching from the borderline all the way back to Sea Street, the main street running through the heart of Rafah, parallel to the border. This area is hundreds of metres deep and the site of thousands of homes. Most of these areas are refugee camps, where residents are being made refugees yet again, some for the third or fourth time following the mass home demolitions of 2003 and 2004 by Israeli military D-9 bulldozers.

Rafahkid’s entire blog is well worth a close read for a chilling view of what it is like to live in under the boot of an occupier.

Michel Chossudovsky reveals for us why Gaza’s people are annoying obstruction to Israeli interests in their region.

Yes, folks – we’ve struck natural gas.

Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

However

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?