Tagged: Israeli War Crimes

Palestinians die in Gaza strike

BBC NEWS | 2010/01/08 | 09:19:40 GMT

Three people, including a 14-year-old-boy, have been killed in Israeli air strikes overnight in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics say. The Israeli military said it was responding to mortar and rocket attacks on Thursday on Israel from Gaza. It said it attacked two tunnels on the border with Egypt, a tunnel to be used by militants for crossing into Israel and a weapons making site. The strikes hit targets Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah.

The militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said an Israeli jet had also bombed a building in Gaza City. On Thursday, Israeli planes dropped thousands of leaflets over the Gaza Strip warning residents to steer clear of the border after Palestinian militants fired mortar rounds into Israel. Gaza militants have fired more than 280 rockets or mortars at Israel since the end of a devastating offensive against the territory on January 18, according to the Israeli military. Palestinian groups and human right organisations say about about 1,400 Palestinians died during the offensive. Thirteen Israelis were also died in the fighting.

Report: Israeli academic institutions’ role in the occupation

Report by ‘The Alternative Information Center’, 14 December 2009

The idea of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as means of struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories has gathered pace in the years following the second intifada, and all the more so since the Israeli siege and attacks on the Gaza Strip. As academics and students tend to be among the most politically active and aware populations, it was only natural that one of the types of boycott at the forefront of the BDS campaign is the academic boycott. First publicly called for in 2002, academic boycott campaigns against Israeli academic institutions have become a controversial issue in various universities and academic communities around the world. While proponents of the boycott argued for it as an effective way struggle against the occupation, the legitimacy of an academic boycott has been disputed even by some in the left-wing ranks who believe it’s effects are too severe.

Through this report the Alternative Information Center (AIC) aims to inform and empower the debate on an academic boycott by giving information not on the Israeli violence and violations of International law and human rights, but on the part in the Israeli occupation played by the very academic institutions in question, and how vulnerable are they to a possible boycott. The report proves and clarifies that aside      Continue reading

Report finds new Israeli war doctrine targets civilians

Press release, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, 3 December 2009

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) released today [2 December 2009] a new report which exposes the shifts in Israel’s combat doctrine as evidenced in the prosecution of operation “Cast Lead” and from numerous public oral and written statements made by high ranking military officers and senior Israeli government officials. The report, “No Second Thoughts: Changes in the IDF’s Combat Doctrine In Light Of Operation ‘Cast Lead’,” demonstrates Israel’s application of a new combat doctrine during the hostilities in Gaza, which is based on two principles:

“Zero Casualties”: The complete prioritization of avoiding IDF [Israeli army] casualties while disregarding the increased risk to Palestinian civilians. The implementation of this policy is evident in the massive use of fire power; the use of white phosphorous weapons in densely populated areas, and in firing at Palestinians in the streets, with no discrimination between combatants and civilians, this even after the IDF would order the evacuation of residents from civilian homes.       Continue reading

Will Israel Fall in Five Years?

Criminal State • by Jeff Gates

Online reports of a study by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency cast doubt over the survival of Israel beyond the next two decades. Regardless of the validity of the report, with what is now known about the costs in blood and treasure that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has imposed on the U.S., its key ally, Israel could fall within five years. For more than six decades, American support for Israel has relied on the ability of pro-Israelis to dominate U.S. media, enabling Tel Aviv to put a positive spin on even its most extreme behavior, including its recent massacre in Gaza. With access to online news coverage, that Zionist bias is becoming apparent and the real facts transparent. Though Americans seldom show a strong interest in foreign affairs that too is changing. While few of them grasp the subtleties of one-state versus two-state proposals, many have seen online the impact of a murderous Israeli assault on Palestinian civilians that was timed between Christmas and the inauguration of Barack Obama.

The leaders of the 9-11 Commission acknowledged that its members would not allow testimony on the impetus for that attack. Yet the report confirmed that the key motivation was the U.S.-Israeli relationship. With access to online news, more Americans are asking why they are forced to support a colonial Apartheid government. With the election of yet another extremist Israeli government led by yet another right-wing Likud Party stalwart, it’s clear that Tel Aviv intends to preclude peace by continuing to build more settlements. With that stance,     Continue reading

Israel rejects UN’s endorsement of Gaza war report

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.

What Role Did the U.S.-Israeli Relationship Play in 9-11?

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

Israel Plans ‘Military Probe’ Review to Divert Pressure

26/11/2009 | 7:30pm GMT+5:30 | nvs

Benjamin Netanyahu (Right)

Benjamin Netanyahu (Right)

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

Abbas and the Goldstone Report – Our Shame is Complete

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

Israel Faces Growing Pressure after UN War Crimes Vote

IANS | Robert Berger Jerusalem | 17 October 2009 

Israel is facing growing international pressure after the United Nations Human Rights Council approved the Goldstone Report, which accuses the Jewish state of war crimes against Palestinians. The Goldstone Report also accuses Palestinian militants of war crimes during the Gaza conflict of nearly a year ago.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling on him to cooperate with the Goldstone Report. They urged Israel to open an “independent, transparent investigation” into alleged war crimes during the three-week Gaza conflict last December and January.  The resolution by the Human Rights Council endorses the Goldstone Report’s recommendations that both the Israelis and Palestinian militants show the U.N. Security Council they are investigating the war crimes accusations. Israel has rejected the report as one-sided and biased and says the Gaza war was a legitimate act of self defense in response to years of Palestinian rocket attacks. Israeli officials say opening a war crimes investigation would be tantamount to accepting guilt.

But Israeli David Horovitz, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, says defiance may be counterproductive. “I would have thought the last thing Israel can afford to do is to try to simply ignore it,” he said. “There has to be some kind of intelligent response, even though the national sense of justice and pride motivates many, I think, in the Israeli leadership to say, ‘This is just so unfair, so clearly prejudiced, that we do not want to justify it or honor it by responding.’ I don’t think Israel can afford to do that.” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti says Israel should be held accountable, and he called for international war crimes trials. “Those who committed crimes like killing children for no reason, who hurt civilians for no reason, yes; anybody who kills children for no reason should go to court,” he said. Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered officials to prepare for a long diplomatic, legal and public relations battle explaining Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. As Mr. Netanyahu put it, “We will delegitimize those who try to delegitimize us.”

An Israeli army artillery battery fires a smoke bomb into the Gaza Strip from the border, 06 Jan 2009

UN Vote backs Gaza ‘War Crimes’ Report by 25-6

BBC NEWS | 2009/10/16 | 17:07:58 GMT

The UN Human Rights Council has backed a report into the Israeli offensive in Gaza that accuses both Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes. The report by Richard Goldstone calls for credible investigations by Israel and Hamas, and suggests international war crimes prosecutions if they do not. Twenty-five countries voted for the resolution, while six were against. Both Israel and the US opposed official endorsement of the report, saying it would set back Middle East peace hopes. The Palestinian Authority initially backed deferring a vote, but changed its position after domestic criticism. Palestinians and human rights groups say more than 1,400 Gazans were killed in the 22-day conflict that ended in January, but Israel puts the figure at 1,166. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed.

‘Culture of impunity’

Before the vote in Geneva – in which 11 countries abstained and five others, including the UK and France, chose not to vote – the Palestinian Authority’s representative argued that the matter was simply about respect for the rule of law. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, meanwhile insisted that now was the time to end the “culture of impunity” which continues to prevail in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In contrast, the Israeli government had lobbied intensively against the resolution, saying the Goldstone report was biased against Israel and removed the right of nations to defend themselves against terrorists. It also complained that the vote was not simply on the Goldstone report, but on a Palestinian-backed resolution that criticised Israel and ignored Hamas. The resolution also made    Continue reading

Allies Advise Israel to Probe Gaza Crimes

15/10/2009 | 8:08 pm GMT+5.30 | nvs

Richard Goldstone

Richard Goldstone

It seems Israel has come under some pressure or strong advice to probe what the UN judge Mr. Richard Goldstone found as War Crimes during the 22-day conflict which began on 27 December 2008. The Goldstone Report accused Israel of using disproportionate force against Palestine and deliberately targeting Palestinian civilians. Palestinian Hamas militants are also accused of indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli civilians. Both Hamas and Israel rejected the report findings accusing it ‘biased’ and favouring terrorism. Israel said it has already conducted a detailed enquiry and found that no war crimes as pointed out by the Goldstone Report, had taken place from Israeli side. It vehemently argued it has right to self-defence.

As UN Human Rights Council is going to discuss the Goldstone report today i.e. on 15th October London’s UN envoy asked Israel to hold “full, credible and impartial” investigations. Israel received almost similar calls from his counter parts of the US and France. Though Mr. Goldstone has presented his report two weeks ago, the UNHRC has deferred the discussion on report to March of the next year. Palestinians were angered with this development and expressed their serious concern that the allegations made against Israel in the report were being ignored by the International community. Again the decision to defer the discussion was reconsidered and decided to meet for discussions on 15th October.   Continue reading

From Recent History…

[picapp src=”8/e/9/d/Israeli_Forces_Move_b3bd.jpg?adImageId=4877124&imageId=2580420″ width=”500″ height=”348″ /]

May 21 2003

BEIT HANOUN, GAZA STRIP – MAY 21: A Palestinian boy prepares to hurl stones at Israeli tanks May 21, 2003 in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip. New Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas cancelled a visit to the northern Gaza town after Israeli forces reentered the town they had seized last week. Residents said that Israeli troops, who pulled to the outskirts of the town May 20, 2003, had demolished 15 houses, uprooted thousands of trees and damaged the water and sewage systems. Abbas was to tour the town to assess damages from Israeli forces five-day invasion. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Palestinian U-turn on Gaza report

BBC News | 2009/10/07 | 13:11:59 GMT

The UN Security Council is set to discuss whether to hold an emergency session on the Goldstone report on the conflict in Gaza nine months ago. Libya, the only Arab state on the 15-member body, will request the session in a closed-door meeting. Palestinian officials voiced their “full support” for the meeting – after leaders were excoriated for requesting a deferral of a UN debate last week. Both Israel and Gaza militants are accused of war crimes in the report. One senior Palestinian politician, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has said the leadership had erred by seeking the deferral of the debate at the Human Rights Council until next March. “We must say a mistake has been made. This mistake should not be underestimated or concealed,” he said in a radio interview. Many Palestinians have expressed outrage at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for seeming to let Israelis off the hook following Goldstone’s trenchant criticism of Israel’s blockade of Gaza and attacks on its citizens. The UN panel led by eminent South African judge Richard Goldstone accused Israel of using disproportionate force and deliberately harming civilians. It urged the UN Security Council to refer allegations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if either side failed to investigate and prosecute suspects. Israel has rejected the evidence and said it had already investigated its troops’ conduct, clearing most of the subjects of wrongdoing.

Bad for peace

Palestinian delegates in Geneva reportedly came under intense pressure from the US and Israel to seek the delay of the Human Rights Council debate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that the    Continue reading

Barak Urged To Leave London Immediately To Avoid Arrest

Palestine Monitor | 29 September 2009

Israeli government legal advisers have urged Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to leave London immediately to avoid facing arrest for war crimes committed during Israel’s assault on Gaza earlier this year. British lawyers, acting on behalf of Palestinian families, have filed a suit in Westminster seeking an international arrest warrant for Barak, who is also Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister. The charges are based in part on Goldstone’s recent 575-page UN report, which found Israel guilty of targeting civilians and firing white phosphorus, both of which are war crimes. Numerous human rights groups have documented Israeli war crimes in Gaza, including Israeli organization B’tselem which concluded that 773 of the casualties were civilians. Barak’s office has insisted that as a government minister he is immune to prosecution. However, the international arrest warrant issued last year for the President of Sudan, on charges of war crimes in Darfur, offers a precedent that government office does not guarantee immunity. The 1988 Criminal Justice Act gives courts in England and Wales universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases. In light of Israel’s failure to investigate war crimes, a failure which was also criticized in the Goldstone report, recourse to international tribunals is the only avenue open to Palestinians seeking justice. It remains to be seen whether the international community and the UN’s condemnation of Israeli war crimes will result in justice for Palestinians, or whether Israel will continue to be granted the impunity it has enjoyed for so long.

A Horrific Account of Israeli Bombing on Children, Parents and Precisely Para Medics

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