Tuesday, February 02, 2010

UN find challenges Israeli version of attack on civilian building in Gaza war.

Israel has submitted a 46 page report to the UN challenging the findings of Goldstone, who stated that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes during the war in Gaza.

However, one of the claims Israel is making has been challenged.

The Israeli report looked in detail at a handful of incidents, including the attack on the al-Badr flour mill in northern Gaza, which was severely damaged.

The UN mine action team, which handles ordnance disposal in Gaza, has told the Guardian that the remains of a 500-pound Mk82 aircraft-dropped bomb were found in the ruins of the mill last January. Photographs of the front half of the bomb have been obtained by the Guardian.

This evidence directly contradicts the finding of the Israeli report, which challenged allegations that the building was deliberately targeted and specifically stated there was no evidence of an air strike. Goldstone, however, used the account of the air strike as a sign that Israel's attack on the mill was not mere collateral damage, but precisely targeted and a possible war crime.

The flour mill attack was not the most serious incident of the war: although nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in just three weeks, no one died at the mill. However, because it was a civilian building producing food – the only operational mill in Gaza – the incident received particular criticism from Goldstone, who concluded that the building was hit by an air strike, the attacks were "intentional and precise", and they were "carried out for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population". He added that the attacks violated the fourth Geneva convention and customary international law and may constitute a war crime.

The Israelis are anxious to dismiss the claim that they deliberately attacked the flour mill, as such an attack is an obvious attempt to starve the local population, but the flour mill was not the only place of production which was hit.
Gaza's largest concrete factory, at a different site a few miles away, was also destroyed, as were several large food processing plants.
The Israelis greatly damaged their reputation during the war on Gaza by, amongst many other things, sending forth Mark Regev to set out their defence. His defence at times bordered on the ridiculous.

He eventually started claiming that one could not trust the evidence of any victims who lived under authoritarian regimes as they could be lying for fear of reprisal. He provided no evidence to counter the charges made against Israel but, instead, simply insisted that one should not believe the victims. It was an extraordinarily clumsy and unconvincing defence.

So, I am not surprised that the report Israel have submitted to the UN has been found to contain factual inaccuracies. Her defence of her actions in Gaza were clumsily contrived at the time and have not improved since.

Related Articles:

Robert Fisk: Israel feels under siege. Like a victim. An underdog.

Israel: Oops, We Did Shell U.N.'s Gaza Compound With White Phosphorus!

Click here for full article.

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