Gaza still suffers from Israel’s 22-day war Cast Lead – video


Gaza Under Attack Timeline | In pictures Aug-Sept 2011 | Oct-Nov 2011 | Dec 2011


Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza

Almost three years have passed since Israel waged an all out war against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Although the onslaught has faded from the headlines, its victims continue to suffer physically and psychologically.

In a three-week invasion, which started on December 27, 2008, nearly 1400 Gazans were killed and thousands of others injured.

About 21 thousand homes were destroyed by Israeli tanks and fighter jets. Israel claimed it went to war to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.

International activists had this to say about the situation in Gaza…..

Experts say children in particular suffered greatly from anxiety and depression after the Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead.

Human rights groups have often accused Israel of violating every single international convention governing the rules of war and the treatment of civilians.

Almost three years after Israel waged a war on Gaza victims say they are still traumatized by what Israeli forces put them through during 22 days of war.

Source and more at Gaza TV News




More info about the war can be found at Never Cast Lead Again

For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine


Israel is not looking for Peace


History of Israeli Genocide


Essential Read: The Promised Land ~ by Jad KhairAllah



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ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ



* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.





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WHITE WASH WATCH | Goldstone’s Reconciderations on the Gaza Cast Lead Report

SPECIAL TOPIC

Current hasbara influenced media and kept backwards media outside the occupied terrritories almost are vomiting their propaganda for the next whitewash of Israel’s genocide on Gaza. Below this post continuous updates of (unbiased) news will be published.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
~Adolph Hitler

Hasbara
Israel is using it’s hasbara (again) to make us and media believe, no warcrimes were committed during Operation “Cast Lead” on Gaza which took place from 27 December 2008 until 18 January 2009. The current status quo since Judge Goldstone reconsidered his earlier “findings” in the self investigation of Israel’s acts during the war on Gaza is the reason IOA recently even had the courage to call on the United Nations to withdraw the whole report.

With utmost shameless courage Israels Foreign Minister Lieberman from Moldavia, like Goldstone zionist himself stated it was no surprise for him Goldstone retracted his earlier statements, as for even Bibi and himself had exerted great efforts to achieve the same before… (even without us noticing of course)

Here the Hitler quote falls in place: “Make the Lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

In one line, the most catching description for the propaganda (in hebrew called Hasbara) of IOA, whitewashing every crime they commit or ever have been committing before. If this “tactic” does not work, everyone falls in state of denial again but never ever it has lead to a conviction of the zionist entity or the people ordering and forfilling the ongoing massacres on Palestinian people. The Nakba. 63 Year ethnic cleansing and IOA’s hasbara keeps the world stupid and backwards.

As soon as reports like Goldstone’s hit the media, and his remarks of “never mind…” hit some journalists using their own minds and opinion, IOA is twisting it’s behind like never before. Eternally victimized by their Holocaust, it seems it gives them the right to get away with every crime, oppression, assassination, expulsions, evictions, ethnic cleansing and plain massacres.

Zionist, have become, exactly and even worse like those, they once feared and hated themselves.

Needless to say this was not the first massacre since IOA announced it’s own statehood.
Click here for an overview of All Israeli Massacres on Palestinians.



Recapulating the Cast Lead Massacre
Over 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel’s onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza — the majority of them children and refugees.

In this time, IOA used indiscriminate force and violence, even made use of forbidden chemical weapons like white Phosphorus, DIME, depleted uranium and more. But still, IOA wants us to believe there was no crime committed at all. I regard this as an insult of our intelligence, but formost an magnum opus of denial of the crimes on Palestinians, the massacred and their loved ones who where left behind.

The ongoing Siege on Gaza already made it to the largest open air prison in the world, but the weapons used on the people of Gaza made it also the largest gas chamber in history. Even now – and probably long lasting and continuing – effects on all kinds of health, of born and even unborn life are horrendous. Birth defects, massive increase of diseases like cancer and more.

Not to be forgotten: The thousands of injured, handicapped, eye- arm- or legless Palestinian people who were mutilated for life…physically as well as mentally. The children, traumatized for life. But IOA committed no crime.

This is an appeal from occupiedpalestine, to use your common sense and mind to behold the facts and judge for yourself, for it is clear judge Goldstone and companions do not want you and us to believe the reality. And as long as IOA’s warcrimes stay unpunished, the zionist modus operandi of ethnic cleansing in any way possible will continue and increase. It not has been enough it has been to much already too long.

Palestine is not waiting to be the next to hear the world says again:Wir haben es nicht gewußt…

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Goldstone’s Backtrack: Some points to remember

by Tom Pessah on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Justice Goldstone, author of the famous report on the 2009 attack on Gaza, published an op-ed today in which he seemed to be retracting some of his claims. He wrote that “while the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”

This claim was immediately picked up by Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sees it as making it “clear that IDF is a moral army.”

It is important to respond to these claims for several reasons: because they are false and misleading, and because they serve to buttress many Israelis’ self-image of being morally superior to Palestinians, since all Israeli violence towards civilians is supposedly accidental. Portraying such attacks as accidental is also linked to seeing them as inevitable, and therefore justified – which means they can happen again.

Mondoweiss’ Adam Horowitz has already responded to this, but here are some more points to keep in mind in regard to the 2009 Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

1. They were very well documented by a variety of sources. Human Rights Watch wrote that “First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.”

Breaking the Silence testimonies show that “Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad. The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don’t see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and others, collected many testimonies of attacks on civilians. For example:

The al-Helu family had been told to evacuate their house in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza, but while they were attempting to flee, Israeli soldiers opened fire on them. Farah was shot in the stomach and bled to death two hours later

2. As Adam wrote:

The U.N. committee of independent experts (led by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis) which was charged with following the Israeli and Palestinian investigations following the Goldstone report […] point to Israel’s unwillingness, and in fact inability, to investigate the policies of the Israeli military as the greatest fault of the Israeli investigation to this point… The experts’ report also addresses the structural reason the Israeli investigation has failed to look into military policy. Evidently the Israeli office responsible for investigating the question of crimes committed in Gaza is the same office that would be responsible for providing legal counsel to the Israeli military’s Chief of Staff and other military authorities. So basically, office that would accusing the military of committing crimes is the same one that would be defending them from the same charges.

As a result, few officers have been charged in relation to crimes committed. An internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

On the other hand, an anti-war activist was given three months in jail for riding his bicycle too slowly at a protest.

3. The claim that there was no policy behind this stems from a poor understanding of civilian-military relations in Israel. The details of policy are often not set by the government, but they give army officers leeway to set these policies, and then don’t take any significant steps to punish them for causing human rights violations. For example, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was supposed to end, according to the government’s decision, 40 kilometers north of the border. The army initiated a full invasion, and no one was ever reprimanded for this discrepancy. In 2000, some government ministers wanted to limit the use of force against Palestinian protestors at the beginning of the second Intifada, while the army shot an estimated million bullets (as can be seen in the excellent Israeli documentary “a Million Bullets in October,” available on Youtube). In 2006 the Chief of Staff asked the government for permission to attack Lebanese infrastructure and was refused (see Shelah’s and Limor’s book on that war)- but infrastructure was attacked nonetheless. And so it was in Gaza: as I mentioned an internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

The background for such actions was ongoing incitement to attack civilians – Deputy Defense secretary Vilnai’s threat to bring a “Shoah” on Gaza or the hate leaflets distributed to soldiers entering the Strip – and many more examples.

4. It is true that the army is taking criticism of its actions more seriously than after the attack on Lebanon in 2006. This can only be explained as a direct result of international pressure, which hopefully could prevent some loss of civilian life in the future. In other words, instead of praising the army’s liberality, Goldstone should be praising the international community of activists for successfully putting pressure on the army to investigate its own actions..

5. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the hype.

Tom Pessah is a graduate sociology student at UC Berkeley.

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What the Goldstone op-ed doesn’t say

by Yaniv Reich on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

 

Israel is “vindicated”, claims FM Lieberman about Richard Goldstone’s latest op-ed in the Washington Post, adding that “we knew the truth and we had no doubt it would eventually come out.” Netanyahu has gone so far as to demand the Goldstone report be retracted from the UN. Among all the celebrations and self-congratulatory pats on the back, it is worth pausing for a moment to ask: what exactly does Goldstone’s latest essay vindicate?

The answer seems much less clear than Israel’s unconditional supporters want to argue. The most charitable portions of his piece (to Israel) suggest that “if I [Goldstone] had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” This statement is so patently obvious as to be meaningless, particularly given Israel’s steadfast non-cooperation at the time of the investigation, but let’s assume Goldstone means this in a substantive way. He did publish this piece under a headline of “reconsidering the Goldstone report” after all.

What else is there in this op-ed that suggests a change from the original Goldstone report? The op-ed focuses on a very select group of three themes. The first point relates to the ongoing investigations into allegations of war crimes. Goldstone refers to the UN committee of independent experts’ report to support this argument, and he quotes that report to the effect that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.” The second key claim in Goldstone’s op-ed is confusing, but suggests that the ongoing investigations have proven that Israel did not attack civilians as a matter of intentional policy. How these conclusions have been reached before the investigations, which the Goldstone report called for as its primary recommendation, have been concluded is unclear. The third theme is that Hamas has not done any of the good things Israel has done: Hamas did deliberately target civilians, Hamas didn’t investigate anything, Hamas continues to be guilty of war crimes by firing rockets into civilian areas, and Goldstone admits he was maybe “unrealistic” and “mistaken” to believe Hamas would investigate itself.

I want to first highlight several general observations about what this op-ed does and doesn’t say. Then I will address these three themes in detail.

What the Goldstone Op-Ed Doesn’t Say

Limited to one of seven categories of possible war crimes

The Goldstone commission’s findings on deliberate attacks on civilians is one of at least seven broad findings (which comprise hundreds of specific incidents) that raise issues about Israel’s conduct. These other key findings include: (1) Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so violates the Fourth Geneva Conventions; (2) The political institutions and buildings of Gaza cannot be lawfully considered part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure” and so Israel’s attacks on them are unlawful; (3) Israel taking insufficient measures to protect the Palestinian civilian population; (4) “indiscriminate” attacks (as distinct from “deliberate” attacks) killed many civilians without any credible military rationale for those actions; (5) Israeli use of weapons, such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, which, although not banned under current international law, were used in ways that do violate the laws of war; and (6) Israel’s deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, including industrial plants, food production facilities, sewage treatment plants, and water installations; this destruction has no military justification (for example, Israel’s “wanton destruction” of Mr. Sameh Sawafeary’s chicken coops, killing all 31,000 chickens inside despite there being no military activity in the area) and could constitute a crime against humanity.

Goldstone’s op-ed pointedly excludes discussion of all of these very serious charges of possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, so it’s odd that FM Lieberman and his hasbara “excreta” (his word, not mine) think Israel is somehow absolved of all responsibility. One cannot avoid the impression that Israel’s unconditional supporters stillhaven’t actually read the report.

Overlooks key impacts of the report

One of the strangest omissions in the op-ed was the recognition that, assuming Israel is conducting investigations in good faith (again, more on that terrible assumption below), it was the Goldstone report that caused Israel to conduct these investigations. The best evidence this is the case was Israel’s absolute refusal to investigate anything except the credit card theft case, until, that is, it got worried that Israeli leaders might end up in the International Criminal Court. More evidence to support this argument can be found in Israel’s response to a conflict without a Goldstone kick in the rear: the 2006 Lebanon war. In that case, Israel constituted the whitewashing Winograd Commission, which didn’t even pretend to investigate the “the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets”, as Amnesty International and other human rights organizations observed. Thus, without the Goldstone report, there is absolutely no reason to believe Israel would be conducting the investigations for which Goldstone is largely praising now.

Another important impact, which was a direct result of the report’s recommendations, was the policy changes, such as “new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas.” I have argued elsewhere that these policy changes acknowledge implicitly that Israel had not been minimizing civilian casualties, as it argues so vociferously, or else there wouldn’t be any possible policy changes that could further minimize civilian harm. Either civilian casualties were being minimized before, in which case the policy changes are meaningless, or are minimized now (hypothetically, of course), in which case Israel wasn’t doing its utmost to protect civilians from harm before. It certainly can’t be both. Either way, these policy changes are directly related to the report, a point Goldstone’s op-ed also makes.

Validity of Specific Claims Made in Goldstone’s Op-Ed

The credibility of Israel’s investigations

Goldstone’s op-ed gives the strong impression that, despite the length of Israel’s military investigations being “frustrating”, Israel has “appropriate processes” in place. It is difficult to understand where this belief comes from, because it certainly does not appear in this form in McGowan Davis report he cites (McGowan Davis chairs the UN committee of independent experts monitoring implementation of the Goldstone report recommendations). That report paints are far less appealing picture of Israeli’s military investigations, noting, for example, that:

  1. “That Israel’s military justice system provides for mechanisms to ensure its independence”, but “the Committee further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure the MAG’s [Military Advocate General’s] independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw the operation in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations.”
  2. “The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni.. . . As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial.” This case is of course cited directly by Goldstone, yet his arguments are incompatible with the actual McGowan Davis report.
  3. “The Committee has discovered no information relating to four incidents referred to in the FFM [Goldstone] report: incident AD/02, incident AD/06, the attack on the Al-Quds hospital, and the attack on the Al-Wafa hospital. Nor has the Committee uncovered updated information concerning the status of the criminal investigations into the death of Mohammed Hajji and the shooting of Shahd Hajji and Ola Masood Arafat, and the shooting of Ibrahim Juha. Accordingly, the Committee remains unable to determine whether any investigation has been carried out in relation to those incidents.”
  4. “It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” “
  5. “The Committee expressed strong reservations as to whether Israel’s investigations into allegations of misconduct were sufficiently prompt. In particular, the Committee expressed concern about the fact that unnecessary delays in carrying out such investigations may have resulted in evidence being lost or compromised, or have led to the type of conflicting testimony that characterizes the investigations into the killings of Majda and Raayya Hajaj, and the inconclusive findings reported with respect to the tragic deaths of Souad and Amal Abd Rabbo and the grave wounding of Samar Abd Rabbo and their grandmother Souad.”
  6. “The promptness of an investigation is closely linked to the notion of effectiveness. An effective investigation is one in which all the relevant evidence is identified and collected, is analyzed, and leads to conclusions establishing the cause of the alleged violation and identifying those responsible. In that respect, the Committee is concerned about the fact that the duration of the ongoing investigations into the allegations contained in the FFM report – over two years since the end of the Gaza operation – may seriously impair their effectiveness and, therefore, the prospects of achieving accountability and justice.”

These conclusions of the McGowan Davis report give a very different impression of mechanisms for accountability in Israel’s military justice system than one would understand from a casual reading of Goldstone’s latest op-ed. For additional, excellent analysis of these points, Adam Horowitz’s piece at Mondoweiss is a must-read.

Was it a deliberate policy of targeting Palestinian civilians?

If this op-ed “vindicates” anything, it seems to be about Israel deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy. The Goldstone report investigated 11 specific cases, which were concerning because civilians were killed “under circumstances in which the Israeli forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status.” After reviewing the details of these cases, which included not only the attack on the Samouni family (discussed in the op-ed) but also attacks on a mosque at prayer time and the shootings of civilians waving white flags, the report concludes:

“From the facts ascertained in the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility.” (Goldstone report, pp. 16)

This finding, of course, is precisely why the report recommends that Israel launch credible investigations into possible wrongdoing, which Goldstone claims Israel is now doing (more on this later). In that sense, Israel’s investigations confirm many of the key findings of the Goldstone report, a point I’ve raised previously.

The conclusion above, which is easily the strongest charge in the entire Goldstone report, has very little to do with Goldstone’s latest statement that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” The Goldstone commission and other human rights investigations have never said the IDF maintains a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. This is a red-herring; nobody seriously believes there is a high-level policy to murder civilians. The actual issue is that “these incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population” (Goldstone report, pp. 16). This low threshold was an intentional policy, as has been confirmed by dozens of soldiers’ and officers’ statements. For example, many people have commented before about how the IDF “rewrote the rules of war for Gaza”, in particular by getting rid of “the longstanding principle of military conduct known as ‘means and intentions’—whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon—as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter.” The intentional, deliberate policy was one of “literally zero risk to the soldiers”, an order that is inescapably related to the high civilian casualties among the Palestinians. For these reasons the main argument in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, which FM Lieberman erroneously believes “vindicates” Israel, is entirely besides the point.

Condemning Hamas

Hamas certainly, and unlawfully, does deliberately target civilians. This is not only grotesque but illegal, and Hamas military leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court for this since Hamas’ political leadership has refused to investigate the matter themselves and hold those responsible for war crimes to account. But, of course, this was already well known by anybody who read the Goldstone report, which wrote:

“The Mission has further determined that these [8000 rocket] attacks [since 2001] constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

One could have also reached the same level of awareness by reading any of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or other human rights organizations‘ press releases and reports. In this sense, there is absolutely nothing new about Hamas in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, yet some Israelis and Jewish groups seem surprised (see, e.g., AIPAC’s one of many tweets on the matter).

A Sad, Integrity-Damaging Turn

The first time I saw Judge Goldstone speak in person he was striking in his equanimity and unshakeable commitment to international law. Even in the face of hate-filled attacks by Jews in the audience, who compared his report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he handled himself with a level of firm principle that I imagined to be unmovable. The second time I saw him speak in public a year later, he seemed tired and worn down by the relentless attacks against him by those who chose to attack the messenger instead of deal with the message. It was nothing concrete that he said, but there was a withered tone in his voice and a sort of quiet resignation that his best intentions had been so vehemently manipulated—and misunderstood.

Goldstone’s latest op-ed is something else altogether. It does not challenge a single concrete finding in the entire report, and he has not conceded absolutely anything to his critics in that way. In fact, his findings under severe constraints have held up remarkably well with time. But the tone and timing of this current piece suggest that somehow the report should be “reconsidered”, that it was somehow wrong. Moreover, his comments seem to intentionally mislead about the content of the UN independent committee’s findings on due process in Israel. This is nothing more than a bone to Israel’s apologists, which is deeply misleading for all the reasons discussed here. I am afraid this is a sad, integrity-damaging turn for a man who had singlehandedly done so much to protect people from war crimes in Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere.

And he should have known better, that is, he should have known that this craven gesture to Israel would not allow his enemies to forgive him and welcome him back to the broader Jewish community. Already the enemies, sensing weakness, attack for the final kill attempt. Jeffrey Goldberg, with the tone of the intellectual gatekeeper he fashions for himself, makes it clear this doesn’t change the “blood libel.” The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, tells Goldstone “an apology is not good enough“. We can expect much, much more of such attacks.

Goldstone has done neither international law and accountability for war crimes—nor himself—any favors with this latest, depressing op-ed.

This post originally appeard on Yaniv Reich’s blog Hybrid States.

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Israel demands retraction of UN Gaza war criticism

Three siblings from the Al-Samouni family. Goldstone's report said Israeli forces "killed 23 members of the extended Al-Samouni family" in one day of its devastating Cast Lead offensive on the coastal enclave

April 3, 2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel on Sunday demanded the retraction of a United Nations report deeply critical of its deadly 2008-2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip after the main author expressed regret over the conclusions.

South African judge Richard Goldstone had faced down enormous criticism in Israel at the time, much of it targeting his own Jewish ancestry, over the report which accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes during the 22-day conflict.

But in a surprise about turn on Saturday, he said his conclusions would have been different if he had been aware of additional information now brought to his attention.

“If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” he wrote in a commentary piece in the Washington Post.

The report’s findings had set the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which more than 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

Israeli officials said the United Nations now needed to set the record straight.

“This is an extremely important development and right now we are multiplying our efforts to get this report rescinded,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told army radio on Sunday.

“I am going to give the issue my personal commitment,” Barak said, adding that he deeply regretted the “harm already done” by the Goldstone report.

He was echoing remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late on Saturday.

“Goldstone himself has just confirmed what we all knew all along… I think our soldiers and army behaved according to the highest international standards,” the premier said during a brief televised address.

“We expect this farce to be rectified immediately.”

Netanyahu once again rejected the findings of the Goldstone Report, which came up with evidence of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas for targeting civilians.

The Israeli military did not deliberately target civilians during Operation Cast Lead, Netanyahu said, while Hamas fired at innocent civilians and did not conduct investigations.

The prime minister said the fact that long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi — now facing an uprising in his country — was on the UN Human Rights Council that commissioned the report, made the findings especially dubious.

“There is no greater absurdity,” he said.

In his opinion piece in the Post, Goldstone said he now concurred with Netanyahu that the council had a “history of bias against Israel”.

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission,” Goldstone wrote.

A UN committee of independent experts that followed up on the Goldstone Report’s recommendations found that Israel “has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza.”

In contrast, Hamas leaders “have not conducted any investigations” into the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel that were its grounds for going to war.

Allegations of intentionality by Israel in turn were based on the death and wounding of civilians in situations where the UN fact-finding mission could not reach “any other reasonable conclusion,” Goldstone said.

He acknowledged that while some incidents were validated in cases involving individual soldiers, Israeli investigations found that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

Goldstone recalled one of the most serious incidents his team investigated — without Israel’s cooperation due to its allegations that the investigators were biased — when Israeli shelling of a Gaza home killed 29 members of the Al-Samouni family.

He noted that Israel’s investigation into the incident found the attack was apparently due to an Israeli commander’s misinterpretation of a drone image and that an officer was under investigation for having ordered the shelling.

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes,” Goldstone wrote.

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Spread for the sake of the Martyrs of this genocide!

Israeli minister, media perpetuate lie about Goldstone’s Gaza report

Eli Yishai, Israel’s lethally incompetent Interior Minister, is outraged that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza war, has not condemned attacks on Israeli civilians. According to Ynet, Yishai sent a letter to Goldstone in which he “demanded of Goldstone to condemn the firing from Gaza as he did with IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea that Goldstone did not condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza is one of the oft-repeated lies about his report. Look, the document is posted on the World Wide Web. It is pretty long, so let me spoil it for you. On page 32, it states, regarding the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza:

The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that, where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity. Given the seeming inability of the Palestinian armed groups to direct the rockets and mortars towards specific targets and given that the attacks have caused very little damage to Israeli military assets, the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.

… Noting that some of the Palestinian armed groups, among them Hamas, have publicly expressed their intention to target civilians in reprisal for the civilian fatalities in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law.

Goldstone, like everyone else, is not above criticism. But the accusation that he did not condemn attacks on Israeli civilians is an outrageous lie. By reporting these accusations, without pointing to their utter, demonstrable falseness, Israeli media is a collaborator in this libel (no, not a “blood libel”, but still, a pretty nasty libel).

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Israel threatens to disconnect Gaza’s infrastructure

Published yesterday (updated) 24/01/2011 15:34

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday told French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie he was considering disconnecting the Gaza Strip from Israel’s electricity and water supplies.

The plan was originally proposed by Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the summer of 2010. He suggested that the European Union help build a power plant, water desalination plant and sewage treatment facility in the Gaza Strip to make it self-sufficient.

Ma’an asked officials in Gaza what impact this would have on the coastal enclave.

Munthir Shublaq, director of the water supply network for the coastal cities, said Israel has already drastically reduced water supplies to the Gaza Strip. Israel provides 5 million cubic meters of water per year, while the average consumption is 180 million cubic meters. He added that recently, Israel further reduced the water supply to 3.2 million cubic meters annually.

Shublaq said this has left Gaza residents dependent on groundwater, which has become increasingly contaminated. At present, 95 percent is undrinkable, he said.

The excessive use of the supply forced sea water to move inland, raising the groundwater’s chloride concentration to 1000 milligrams per liter. The recommended concentration is less than 250 milligrams per liter, he added.

If Israel stopped supplying the Gaza Strip with water, Shublaq said, that would create serious problems in certain areas in the coastal enclave which depended on water from Israel. Water desalination plants must be urgently established, he said.

Meanwhile, if Israel disconnects the coastal enclave from its electricity grid, “Gaza will be destroyed,” said Kan’an Ubeid, chief of the Strip’s sole power station.

Without a connection to Israel’s power grid, Gaza residents would only have electricity once or twice a week. Around 60 percent of Gaza’s electricity supply comes from Israel and there is currently no alternative to the situation, Ubeid explained.

He was consulting Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah to look into other possibilities, he added.

“Egypt is still hesitating to include the Gaza Strip in the regional electricity project despite the fact that funding and land for the project is ready.”

Political analyst Ibrahim Abrash said Israeli threats to disconnect Gaza’s infrastructure were political, and a continuation of Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Strip. He said former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began the process aiming to destroy the Palestinian national project.

However alternative supplies could be found, Abrash said, possibly in Egypt.

“Egypt is supplying Israel with electricity, so is it possible Egypt will refuse to do that for Gaza?”

Maan News Agency: Israel threatens to disconnect Gaza’s infrastructure.

Israel aimed to ‘cleanse’ Gaza neighbourhoods in 2008 invasion – Telegraph

Israel’s controversial invasion of Gaza deliberately aimed to “cleanse” Palestinian neighbourhoods, former soldiers have alleged, in claims that will reignite the debate over the legality of the three week military campaign.

Israeli missile strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 2008

Palestinian firefighters try to assist after an Israeli missile strike in Rafah on the site of a security compound used by the Islamic group Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2008 Photo: AP

Israel invaded Gaza at the end of 2008 in a bid to halt rocket attacks from the territory it ceded in 2005. It says it focused on military targets controlled by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, and bitterly countered a 2009 United Nations report that stated civilians had been deliberately targeted.

But in startling interviews with Israeli filmmaker Nurit Kedar, former soldiers have for the first time allowed themselves to be named while blaming their commanders for encouraging a “disproportionate” response to Hamas’s rockets. They said their commanders used to “psych up” soldiers before an operation so they were ready to shoot indiscriminately.

One soldier says he was told to shell every house in a neighbourhood. Richard Goldstone’s report for the UN alleged that war crimes had been committed by both sides, but highlighted the moral and legal severity of the Israel’s attacks.

Israel has said its operational orders during the war emphasised “proportionality” and “humanity”. The importance of minimising harm to civilians was made clear to soldiers, it said at the time. By the end of the 22-day operation some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed and large areas of Gaza razed. Ten Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians also died.

In a report to be shown on Channel 4 News on Monday, Ohad, a 24-year-old tank commander, remembers being told the night before the operation that the entry into Gaza was to be “disproportionate”. Once into Gaza, he said his orders were unambiguous: “The order was very clear that if a car came within 200 metres of me I could simply shoot at it. Shoot a shell at it.”

He added: “We needed to cleanse the neighbourhoods, the buildings, the area. It sounds really terrible to say ‘cleanse’, but those were the orders….I don’t want to make a mistake with the words.”

Shay, a 30-year-old who was in the Elite Combat Unit, says he was disgusted by the behaviour of some conscripts in the Israeli army. He described taking over from the them the house of a wealthy Palestinian family. Conscripts, he said, had already defecated all over the bathroom. Family photos had been scrawled over. Graffiti on the walls read: “Long live Israel.”

Last year, the UN criticised Israel and Hamas for failing adequately to investigate the findings of its report. The Israeli embassy said yesterday: “Over 12,000 rockets and shells rained down on Israeli civilians from Gaza forcing the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] to carry out a military operation. Unlike much of the region, the open society within Israel allows for all allegations such as these to be aired and investigated. Israel has already authorised over 100 separate investigations into the operation, five broader investigations, and close to 50 criminal investigations are also taking place. Our judicial process is renowned across the world for its independence.”

For the full report, watch Channel 4 News at 7pm on Monday.

Israel aimed to ‘cleanse’ Gaza neighbourhoods in 2008 invasion – Telegraph.

The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by Israeli Occupation Force Snipers

January 21, 2011 posted by Debbie Menon |  Veterans Today

Hiam is one of four Children we brought to CT for treatment. Hiam lost an eye to an Israeli sniper while she walked along a quiet street holding her mother’s hand (Gaza; picture in upper right is before prosthetic eye)

Our Silence is complicity

Shooting boys at work is nothing new for Israel, nor is shooting anyone else.

The U.S. FBI calls snipers who kill for sadistic pleasure “Long Distance Serial Killers (LDSK),” just another name for snipers who suffer from a criminal, sadistic psychopathology.

I’m not sure I could live with myself if I shot out a girl’s eye, or a protester’s or any one’s. I’m quite sure the snipers in the Israeli Occupation Force sleep well in their smug assurance that they are carrying out God’s will.

These are children. And Palestinians are human beings. What blinds you to this understanding, IDF? I really would like an answer.

By David S Halpin FRCS   Formerly, orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at the Torbay and Exeter Hospitals Devon UK

Introduction

The deliberate injury of the limbs of 23 boys by high velocity weapons has been logged and described by Defence for Children International – Palestine Branch (DCI-P) since March 2010. (1)  Some of the facts have been published in national newspapers.  These barbarous acts contravene international and national law but there are no judicial responses.  The caring professions see the physical and mental pain of those who suffer and they should be in the vanguard in calling for this great cruelty to cease forthwith.  Political leaders have failed to act.  The Geneva Conventions Act 1957, which is of central importance in holding war criminals to account in the jurisdiction of the UK, is being emasculated.

Context

Most of the 1.5 million population of the Gaza strip is impoverished.  Half are refugees from Mandate Palestine or  their children.  About 50% of the male population is without work.  It has been isolated and occupied for decades.  A commercial port was being built in 2000 but that was bombed by Israel.  The isolation and the hobbling of its commerce was increased by a siege which was started in March 2006 in response to the election of a majority of Hamas members to the legislature.  It was further tightened in June 2007 after the Hamas government pre-empted a coup by the Fatah faction that was led in Gaza by Mohammad Dahlan.

See also Israeli sniper bullet takes 12-year-old girl’s life

The misery was further deepened with ‘Operation Cast Lead’ that was unleashed 27/12/08.  This was promised 29/02/08 (2).  “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah (holocaust) because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” – Matan Vilnai  Deputy Defence Minister to Israeli Army Radio.  There was a massive bombardment which killed 220 adults and children in the first 15 minutes.  This was followed by a full scale invasion.  1400 humans were killed and approximately 5000 injured physically.  The minds of very many more were injured too.  4000 homes were totally destroyed, almost all the factories and 40 mosques.  The two gleaming science blocks of the Islamic University  of Gaza were flattened by very powerful thermobaric bombs, the blasts being heard throughout the 360 square kilometres of the Gaza ‘Strip’.  The siege has been even more draconian since.  Cement, ballast and steel rods are only let in at about 5% of the rate needed for rebuilding, the pretext being that ‘bunkers’ could be constructed.  At the present rate it will take 78 years to rebuild Gaza. (3)  Chocolate, writing paper and all manner of things have been blocked.  The 1,000 tunnels at Rafah have provided a way in for goods but in the face of bombing and roof falls.

See also Israel’s dirty secrets in Gaza: Army veterans reveal how they gunned down innocent Palestinian families and destroyed homes and farms

The lack of any work and the extreme poverty of the large extended families has drawn the boys and men to scavenge for broken concrete (‘gravel’) in the evacuated Eli Sinai ‘settlement’ and in the industrial zone by the Erez border control post at the northern limit of the ‘Strip’.  The factories of the industrial zone have been progressively demolished by Israeli shelling etc.  They are seen to the west as one enters Gaza through Erez.  A donkey and cart, shovel, pick, sieve, muscles and courage are the tools.  The rubble is used to make cement blocks and poured concrete with the cement that is imported  largely through the tunnels.  Many dozens of men and boys do this work for precious shekels in the shadow of manned watch towers and under ‘drones’ above.

The 23 boys who have been shot between 26/03/10 (Said H) and 23/12/10 (Hatem S) are listed in the table below with skeletal facts.  These points are made:-

  • In 18 there were single shots and not automatic fire
  • The reported range in most cases confirms that the weapon was a sniper’s rifle in the hands of a sniper
  • Almost always there were many dozens of other men and boys at work; these victims were picked off
  • A leg was the target in most cases.  Where the leg was not the target it is likely the sniper was ‘aiming up’ so the flank, elbow etc was hit instead.
  • No weapons were being borne by the gravel workers so they posed no threat to the Israeli Occupation Force personnel.  Instead they were bending their backs to their menial work within their internment camp
  • The histories refer often to the recovery of the injured boy by friends and relatives under fire. This was a feature during ‘Cast Lead’ or instead the paramedics were barred from getting to the victims so they died without care.

The history of the injury and sequel for each boy are linked to in (1).  It has been done meticulously and the translation into English is perfect.  The pain, and often the terror, felt by the boy as the bullet struck home are vividly recorded.  No bullets have been recovered yet so the calibre/type is unknown.

  • How many boys will regain full, or nearly full function is difficult to judge without the radiographs being present.  Cases 3,4, 5,7,13 and 15 are likely to have joint involvement and thus some lifelong disability.
  • In cases 1 and 3 there is nerve injury.  If that proves to be an axonotmesis in either, it is possible that a first class repair will not be available in Gaza.
  • The fractures are open by definition and no doubt comminuted.  Delayed or non-union is possible.  Deep infection is a real risk, antibiotic therapy not withstanding.  The risk of deep infection relates to  a.  the possible inclusion of fabric  b.  the high energy injury causing irregular and wide devitalisation of the tissues  c.  the probability that these difficult bullet wounds were not laid open and a complete wound toilet performed.  One or two of these boys might end with an amputation.
  • Almost all the boys have been frightened off or forbidden from gravel work.  There are few, if any, other means of earning shekels.

The shooting to wound and kill Palestinians is relentless.  DCI-P notes that according to a UN study, between January 2009 and August 2010, at least 22 Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been killed and 146 injured in the arbitrary live fire zone adjacent to the border with Israel and imposed at sea. At least 27 of these civilians were children.  It also notes that the targeting of civilians is absolutely prohibited under international law, regardless of circumstances.

These quotations from the available stories convey a little of the poverty, the suffering and the courage:-

  • ‘The three of us would wake up every day at around 5:30am and leave to collect gravel. We were not the only ones doing this type of work.  Hundreds of youngsters aged between 13 and 22 used to work with us, despite the danger we faced because we were close to the Israeli border.’  Awad W- 3
  • The work was exhausting and dangerous. ‘Israeli soldiers would sometimes shoot at us, and sometimes shoot in the air to intimidate us,’ recalls Ibrahim .  ‘Sometimes they would                           shoot at the carts, horses and donkeys we used to move the gravel. But we had to do the work despite the dangers, because we didn’t have any other job to do.’  Ibrahim K- 4
  • Mohammad was taught by his neighbours to watch for birds flying away from the watch towers, as this was a sign to start running, as it meant soldiers were climbing into

the towers and the shooting would soon begin.  Mohammad M – 6

  • ‘They killed our three horses and one donkey in four months, and we had to spend the money we earned on replacing them.’ ….. ‘They were down on their stomachs pointing their rifles towards us, but they didn’t shoot. We got used to such things.’  Mohammad S – 11

Silence is complicity

References

  1. http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/UA_4_10_Children_of_the_Gravel_UPDATE_29_DEC_%202010(b).pdf
  2. http://www.haaretz.com/news/barak-hamas-will-pay-for-its-escalation-in-the-south-1.240417
  3. http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_21083.pdf

I thank Gerard Horton and DCI-P for the availability and excellence of this information, and for supporting publication in a medical forum.  I also thank Dr Khamis Elessi in Gaza for information.

Conflict of interest:  I founded the Dove and Dolphin Charity 110119

<http://www.doveanddolphin.co.uk/>   with a voyage to Palestine 8 years ago and chair its trustees.  It attends to the welfare of children in Gaza in the main.  No pecuniary benefit is derived from this charity.

(David Halpin can be contacted via  <david@infoaction.org.uk>

His web site is <http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/> )

FOOTNOTE

This paper was submitted to the Lancet and the British Medical Journal 4 January 2011 under the title ‘Ethical’.  The refusal from the latter is here:

The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by Israeli Occupation Force Snipers : Veterans Today.

A Mother’s Loss – Operation Cast Lead Mass – murder

Jan 18, 2011

If this does not break your heart you could hardly be considered a sane human being. I will forever be deeply affected by my time with the Samouni family, anybody with a heart would be.


YouTube – A Mother’s Loss – Operation Cast Lead Mass-murder.