Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Israel created 'terror without mercy' in Gaza.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society yesterday released their report into Israel's most recent assault on Gaza and they have found that Israel committed serious violations of international humanitarian law.

The Israeli military attacked civilians and medics and delayed - sometimes for hours - the evacuation of the injured during the January war in Gaza, according to an independent fact-finding mission commissioned by Israeli and Palestinian medical human rights groups.

"The underlying meaning of the attack on the Gaza Strip, or at least its final consequence, appears to be one of creating terror without mercy to anyone," the report said.

In one incident, the researchers found a Palestinian, Muhammad Shurrab, 64, and his sons Qassab, 28, and Ibrahim, 18, were shot by Israeli troops at close range without warning on 16 January during a ceasefire. Qassab was hit in the face and died soon after. Ibrahim was hit in the leg. The soldiers refused to give medical aid, and only after 23 hours was an ambulance allowed to approach, by which time Ibrahim was also dead.

Yohanna Lerman, a lawyer with the medical rights groups, said although their report was a preliminary investigation this one case alone was enough to indict Israel's political and military leaders.

The Israeli military has said it does not target civilians and is conducting its own investigations into some cases arising from the war.

This simply echoes the United nations findings that Israel had committed violations "too numerous to list."

For example, on January 15, in a town southwest of Gaza City, Israel Defense Forces soldiers ordered an 11-year-old boy to open Palestinians' packages, presumably so that the soldiers would not be hurt if they turned out to contain explosives, the 43-page report said.

They then forced the boy to walk in front of them in the town, it said. When the soldiers came under fire, "the boy remained in front of the group," the report said.

It said the boy was later released.

These reports are all very well and good, but what is going to be done about this?

Are we simply to say that the world's condemnation is shameful enough or are we actually going to demand that Olmert and other Israelis face charges for the crimes that they have committed?

This is the very reason that right wingers dismiss international law as a joke, because we allow them to treat it as one.

We would not hesitate to prosecute some third world leader who had committed the crimes which Bush and Olmert have committed, but we balk at doing so when it comes to an American or an Israeli because we fear the charge of being either too partisan or, in the case of an Israeli, being anti-Semitic. But the evidence should speak for itself.

Both Bush and Cheney have admitted ordering waterboarding, which is clearly a war crime. Their prosecution should, because of their own admissions, simply be a matter of course. And the evidence against Olmert is just as blatant. Nor was the recent Gaza conflict the first time he had engaged in such activities, his behaviour during the conflict in Lebanon threw up similar charges, especially when he dropped cluster bombs in civilian areas even as the UN was bringing the conflict to a close.
"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.
The reason that Olmert and Bush behaved in the way in which they did is because they believed that there would never be any consequence for their actions.

And, at the moment, they are totally right in their assumptions. And that fact makes us all complicit in the crimes which they committed.

We cannot tut-tut and do nothing. If we are genuinely appalled at what they have done then we must go to the next level and prosecute them for their actions.

To do anything less is simply to encourage the next leader who feels that they can ignore international law with impunity.

Click title for full article.


nunya said...

I'm so tired of the r-wingers in Israel running American Foreign Policy in the Middle East.

I've tried really hard to understand why a nation of 6 million steers a nation of 300 million, but I don't get it.


Kel said...

I've tried really hard to understand why a nation of 6 million steers a nation of 300 million, but I don't get it.



I don't think it's anything to do with the six million, but an awful lot to do with the millions and millions of fundamentalist Christians who are waiting for the Rapture. They need Israel for that to happen.