Reuters | Amsterdam |Mon Feb 8, 2010 | 4:58pm IST
Palestinian Authority officials will present more arguments in March urging the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes during the Israeli offensive in Palestinian-ruled Gaza, the court’s chief prosecutor said. The ICC prosecutor launched a preliminary examination in 2009 to establish whether war crimes were committed by either side in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority has recognised the ICC’s jurisdiction in a bid to allow a court investigation. “They will be back in March with more legal arguments, so we are letting them come here before making any decision,” ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in an interview at his office in The Hague. “It is a very complex decision.”
About 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the three-week Israeli offensive launched on Dec. 27, 2008 and while a September U.N. report blasted both sides in the conflict, it was harsher in its judgement towards Israel. The ICC can investigate alleged war crimes in a state party’s territory if the U.N. Security Council — where the United States, Israel’s main backer, has veto power — refers a situation to the court or if a non-state party voluntarily accepts its jurisdiction. Continue reading
BBC News | Monday, 1 February 2010 | 11:38 GMT
Israel has revealed it has reprimanded two top army officers for using white phosphorus shells during an attack on a UN compound in Gaza last year. The admission is contained in the Israeli response to the Goldstone report, which concluded both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes. Both officers have retained their ranks according to reports. Until now the Israeli army has denied breaking the rules of engagement over the use of white phosphorus. During the 22-day conflict last year media pictures showed incendiary shells raining down on a UN compound. The officers were named in Israeli media reports as Gaza Division Commander Brig Gen Eyal Eisenberg and Givati Brigade Commander Col Ilan Malka. “Several artillery shells were fired in violation of the rules of engagement prohibiting use of such artillery near populated areas,” the report says.
The officers were charged with “exceeding their authority” in ordering the use of the weapons in an attack on 15 January 2009. An Israeli Defence Force spokesman said that the reprimand would be noted on their records and would be considered if they apply for promotion in future. Brig Gen Eisenberg is still in command of Israel’s Gaza division, and Col Malka has been moved to the West Bank under the same rank, according to the Reuters News Agency. Continue reading
BBC News | Jerusalem | 2009/12/22 | 00:18:18 GMT
Aid agencies have strongly criticised the international community for failing to help bring an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The charities made the accusation in a report published just ahead of the anniversary of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. The aid agencies condemn not just Israel, but the world community. In the words of Oxfam’s director, Jeremy Hobbs, “world powers have failed and betrayed Gaza’s ordinary citizens.”
The charities call for more pressure to be exerted on Israel to end what they describe as its illegal collective punishment of Gazans. Israel imposed a tightened blockade after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power two-and-a-half years ago. That was bad enough, say the aid agencies. Matters became that much worse after the destruction caused by the Israeli offensive in Gaza earlier this year. The report points to an acute shortage, in particular, of building materials. A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister told the BBC that Israel remains committed to humanitarian supplies of food, medicine and power. But he said that sanctions will remain in place as long as Hamas is, as he put it, committed to destroying Israel and killing Israelis.
Adri Nieuwhof and Ziyaad Lunat | Electronic Intifada | 18 December 2009
Efforts by human rights organizations, lawyers and activists in Palestine and Europe to hold Israeli war crimes suspects to account have gained momentum over the past few years. Last week, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to the UK over threats of a lawsuit under the country’s universal jurisdiction laws. The Goldstone report on the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, published in September, favors universal jurisdiction as a tool for enforcing international law, preventing impunity and promoting international accountability.
The purpose of universal jurisdiction is to hold accountable in third-party states individuals suspected of war crimes from states that do not fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law. The events of World War II showed the horrific consequences of the absence of the protection of civilians, leading to the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention in 1949 dealing with the laws of armed conflict. State signatories to the Convention are obliged to enforce and ensure the respect of international humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict. Continue reading
IANS | Fri, Nov 6 | 08:24 PM
Tel Aviv Friday deplored a UN resolution backing the Goldstone report that investigated human rights violations during the brief war between Israeli forces and Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip early this year. The UN resolution suggests if either of the two sides fails to launch a credible investigation, then the matter should be submitted to the Security Council, Xinhua reported. Israel has denied any violation of international humanitarian laws. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had appointed a former South African judge Richard Goldstone to investigate any possible human rights violations during the 22-day war in December and January in the Gaza Strip. After a debate, majority of the 192-member UN General Assembly voted in favour of an unbinding resolution that calls upon both Israel and the Palestinians to conduct ‘independent and credible’ investigations into alleged war crimes.
In response, Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement ‘Israel rejects the UN resolution which is completely detached from the ground realities it faces.’ The ministry also said it had the right for self-defence and would continue to act to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. Israel said it launched the offensive in response to eight years of continuous rocket fire from Gaza. At least 1,400 people were killed in the fighting. While defying international pressure for an inquiry based on the Goldstone report, Israel said it has been conducting its own investigation into a number of civilian deaths and other incidents during the Gaza war, including some listed in the report.
September 11, 2009 by Jeff Gates
On the day of the 9-11 attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attack would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: “It’s very good….Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel).” Intelligence wars rely on mathematical models to anticipate the response of “the mark” to staged provocations. Reactions thereby become foreseeable—within an acceptable range of probabilities. When Israeli mathematician Robert J. Aumann received the 2005 Nobel Prize in economic science, he conceded that “the entire school of thought that we have developed here in Israel” has turned “Israel into the leading authority in this field.” With a well-planned provocation, the anticipated response can even become a weapon in the arsenal of the agent provocateur. In response to 9-11, how difficult would it be to foresee that the U.S. would deploy its military to avenge that attack? With fixed intelligence, how difficult would it be to redirect that response to wage a long-planned war in Iraq — not for U.S. interests but to advance the agenda for Greater Israel? The emotionally wrenching component of a provocation plays a key role in the field of game theory war planning where Israel is the authority. With the televised murder of 3,000 Americans, a shared mindset of shock, grief and outrage made it easier for U.S. policy-makers to believe that a known Evil Doer in Iraq was responsible, regardless of the facts.
The strategic displacement of facts with induced beliefs, in turn, requires a period of “preparing the mindset” so that “the mark” will put their faith in a pre-staged fiction. Those who induced the March 2003 invasion of Iraq began “laying mental threads” and creating agenda-advancing mental associations more than a decade earlier. Continue reading
26/11/2009 | 7:30pm GMT+5:30 | nvs
Increasing internal and external pressures have lead Israeli Government to rethink about its firm stand of denying re-probe of what UN commission accused as war crimes committed by IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) during its attack on Gaza in Dec ’08-Jan09 period. It has been under severe pressure to set up independent probe commission to look into war crimes allegations raised by Richard Goldstone lead commission set up by UNHRC. Israel denied every allegation made in ‘Goldstone Report’ and accused Goldstone of having done biased investigation who was himself a South African Jew having a well built house in Israel. Mr. Richard Gold stone rejected Israeli allegations and challenged the US to concrete examples of any flaw in his report submitted to UNHRC. The report accused both IDF and Hamas with targeting civilians during the war. Major part of the report consisted description of war crimes committed by IDF. Both parties accused Goldstone of being biased. The report recommended for both sides to conduct independent inquiries failing which would lead them to face international prosecution at Hague. The report was passed in UNSC meeting with 25-6 votes.
As per the BBC report, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister David Ayalon told “another investigation could be conducted if it was necessary to prove… there were no wrongdoings”. He insisted Israeli army probes by military investigators were already “completely independent… but we are looking into further reviews as Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2009/10/20 | 16:58:09 GMT
UN human rights investigator Richard Goldstone has rejected Israel’s claim that the peace process would be harmed by his report on the offensive in Gaza. Judge Goldstone said there was no peace process at present and Israel’s foreign minister did not want there to be one. The Goldstone report, which has been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council, accuses both Israel and Hamas militants of committing war crimes. Mr. Goldstone’s remarks came in a conference call with American rabbis. “It’s a shallow, utterly false allegation,” Mr. Goldstone said of Israel’s attempt to brand his report as an obstacle to peace. “What peace process are they talking about? There isn’t one. The Israeli foreign minister doesn’t want one,” Mr. Goldstone said. “If Continue reading
Counterpunch | October 15, 2009 | RAMZY BAROUD
As Israeli bombs fell on the Gaza Strip during its one-sided war between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, millions around the world took to the streets in complete and uncompromising outrage. The level of barbarity in that war, especially as it was conducted against a poor, defenseless and physically trapped nation, united people of every color, race and religion. But among those who seemed utterly unmoved, unreservedly cold were some Palestinian officials in the West Bank. Mahmoud Habbash, the PA Minister of Social Affairs is but one of those individuals. His appearances on Aljazeera, during those fateful days were many. On one half of the screen would be screaming, disfigured children, mutilated women, and search parties digging in the dark for dead bodies, at times entire families. On the other, was Habbash, spewing political insults at his Hamas rivals in Gaza, repeating the same message so tirelessly parroted by his Israeli colleagues? Every time his face appeared on the screen, I cringed. His every unruly shriek reinforced my sense of shame. It’s Shame, perhaps, but never confusion. Those who understand how the Oslo agreement of September 1993 morphed into a culture that destroyed the very fabric of Palestinian society can fully appreciate the behavior of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank during the Gaza war, before it and today. Continue reading
Treading the Borders between Life and Death –leftturn.org
By Ewa Jasiewicz | Published on: September 22, 2009
(Ewa Jasiewicz is a solidarity activist, union organizer and journalist. She volunteered with emergency services in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. She is currently a Gaza-based Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement.)
It happened at 2:30am, Wednesday, December 31. Israeli helicopter gunships and warplanes had been bombing the length of the Gaza Strip. In Eastern Jabaliya, white phosphorous had been exploding over Ezbit Abid Rubbu, Al Gerem, and Jabal al Rais. Jabal Al Rais, the President’s Mountain, renamed “The Mountain of Fire” because of the resistance in the area against incoming Israeli forces, was where Dr Ihab al Madhoun, 34, and Mohammad Al Hassira, 21, had driven to rescue suspected casualties. Both medics were inside their ambulance when it was struck by Israeli missile fire. Hassira, a medical volunteer, died instantly. Madhoun, suffering shrapnel injuries to the head and neck lived until midday the following day. Visiting him in the Kamal Odwan Hospital in Jabaliya, I saw the experienced doctor lying bandaged up, semiconscious, with blood and brain fluid seeping from the back of his skull, writhing in pain. Hasira and just hours later, Madhoun, would join 14 other medics who lost their lives, most in the line of duty during Israel’s 22-day attack.
During Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 – January 2009, Israeli forces killed 16 emergency medical staff and injured 57, including at least four who needed leg and arm amputations. Thirteen of the medics killed worked for the Civil Defence Service (CDSS)—a mixture of fire fighters and frontline emergency medical personnel. Eleven fire fighters were also injured, their red engines bearing bullet holes directly targeting drivers. On the first day of Israel’s attack, Israeli warplanes destroyed half of all of the CDS’s 16 offices in the Gaza Strip. In the central governorate of Diere Balah every single CDS building was reduced to rubble within five minutes of the first attack, and tens of staff members killed. Bodies continued to be pulled out of the rubble for days after the initial bombardment. In one day, 235 police officers, including CDS staff, were killed—an attack human rights lawyer Daniel Machover of UK legal firm Hickman and Rose claims should be recognized as a war crime. “It was a premeditated, pre-planned attack on civilian institutions, including the coming out parade of a police academy. These were not military targets, and as such, there is strong evidence to suggest the bombing of these was a war crime.” The CDS had four of its eleven ambulances wrecked. With 600 trained rescuers, the service needs Continue reading