Saturday 31st of July 2021

pirating the west bank...























When Fighting Erupts Between Israel and Hamas, the Question of War Crimes Follows


Civilian deaths on both sides raise urgent questions about which military actions are legal, what war crimes are being committed and who, if anyone, will be held to account.


The Israeli missile that slammed into a Palestinian apartment exacted a shocking toll: eight children and two women, killed as they celebrated a major Muslim holiday, in one of the deadliest episodes of the war between Israel and Palestinian militants that has raged for nearly a week.

Israel said a senior Hamas commander was the target of the Friday attack. Graphic video footage showed Palestinian medics stepping over rubble that included children’s toys and a Monopoly board game as they evacuated the bloodied victims from the pulverized building. The only survivor was an infant boy.

“They weren’t holding weapons, they weren’t firing rockets and they weren’t harming anyone,” said the boy’s father, Mohammed al-Hadidi, who was later seen on television holding his son’s small hand in a hospital.

“Oh, love,” he said to his son.

Civilians are paying an especially high price in the latest bout of violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, raising urgent questions about how the laws of war apply to the conflagration: which military actions are legal, what war crimes are being committed and who, if anyone, will ever be held to account.

Both sides appear to be violating those laws, experts said: Hamas has fired more than 3,000 rockets toward Israeli cities and towns, a clear war crime. And Israel, although it says it takes measures to avoid civilian casualties, has subjected Gaza to such an intense bombardment, killing families and flattening buildings, that it likely constitutes a disproportionate use of force — also a war crime.

In the deadliest attack yet, Israeli airstrikes on buildings in Gaza City on Sunday killed at least 42 people including 10 children, Palestinian officials said.

No legal adjudication is possible in the heat of battle. But some facts are clear. Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages on Gaza, an impoverished and densely packed enclave of two million people, have killed at least 197 Palestinians, including 92 women and children, between last Monday and Sunday evening, producing stark images of destruction that have reverberated around the world.

In the other direction, Hamas missiles have rained over Israeli towns and cities, sowing fear and killing at least 10 Israeli residents, including two children — a greater toll than during the last war, in 2014, which lasted more than seven weeks. The latest victim, a 55-year-old man, died on Saturday after missile shrapnel slammed through the door of his home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. One Israeli soldier has also been killed.

With neither side apparently capable of outright victory, the conflict seems locked in an endless loop of bloodshed. So the focus on civilian casualties has become more intense than ever as a proxy for the moral high ground in a seemingly unwinnable war.


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Dozens of loud explosions could be heard throughout the Gaza Strip as the IDF carried out another round of “extensive attacks on terrorist targets,” with ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas entering the second week. 

“Our fighter jets are currently striking terror targets in Gaza,” the IDF tweeted around 2am Monday, amid reports of Israeli warplanes targeting dozens of locations all across the Gaza Strip.


While there were no immediate reports of new casualties, the death toll in Gaza reached 192, including 58 children and 34 women, with more than 1,200 injured by Sunday. In Israel 10 people were killed, including two children, and over reportedly 500 wounded after a week of nightly fire exchanges, most by shrapnel or while rushing for cover in bomb shelters.

The latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalation follows days of unrest in Jerusalem, prompted by Israel’s plans to forcefully evict several Palestinian families in an occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood. The plan triggered mass protests, which were met with a heavy-handed response. Israeli police even stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, prompting accusations that it deliberately cracked down on worshippers. In retaliation, Hamas launched the first volley of rockets into Israel last Monday, triggering a full-scale Israeli military operation.


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On 27 December 2008 Israel launched a major military offensive  nicknamed Operation 'Cast Lead' in Gaza. It prevented the media and aid agencies from entering the area. In the following three weeks, the Israeli military killed at least 1,383 Palestinians, including 333 children. 



By Larry Romanoff


During Israel's Operation "Cast Lead" more than 280 schools and kindergartens were destroyed in Gaza in less than 3 weeks by the Jewish military. Also rendered unusable were Gaza University and the Islamic University. Jewish military forces directly and intentionally bombarded the United Nations school which was sheltering more than 1,300 people. Gaza's American school was similarly destroyed by intensive bombardment with white phosphor munitions.

The military repeatedly bombs all the schools in Gaza, claiming they are the source of 'rocket attacks' on Israel. The Israeli government has clearly instructed its military to target and destroy all educational institutions in Gaza, as part of an overall plan to eviscerate the social structure of Palestine and its people. It has been so bad that a new word emerged from the carnage in Gaza: "scholasticide" — the systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centers of education dear to Palestinian society, as the ministry of education was bombed, the infrastructure of teaching destroyed, and schools across the Gaza strip targeted for attack by the air, sea and ground offensives. The photo is of the United Nations school.


According to Amnesty International, "The scale and intensity of the attacks were unprecedented, even in the context of the increasingly lethal Israeli military campaigns in Gaza in previous years."

Israeli forces made extensive use of white phosphorus. Homes, schools, medical facilities and UN buildings — all civilian objects — took direct hits.

"Everything caught fire. My husband and four of my children burned alive in front of my eyes; my baby girl, Shahed, my only girl, melted in my arms."

In another attack, at least 43 civilians were massacred on 6 January as they took shelter at the al-Fakhoura school in Jabaliya refugee camp.

The Israeli military has been repeatedly accused of using white phosphor on Arab civilians, as well as DIME explosives. They target not only civilians and children, but schools, universities, medical clinics and hospitals, government offices, police stations and mosques. They target food warehouses and food processing plants, water treatment plants, electrical stations — any and all facilities necessary to the functioning of a society. Homes are deliberately destroyed by the thousands and the Jews refuse to permit the import of construction materials to rebuild. The Israeli military regularly bomb Palestinian police stations, on one occasion killing the entire police staff who were performing exercises in the station courtyard.

The West Bank is a desert, with water in exceedingly short supply. The Jewish settlements in the West Bank have been built in all those places with available water. According to the UN and various human rights agencies, 200,000 Jews now control 89% of all the water in the west Bank. This leaves only 11% for the 2.5 million Palestinians who must make that area their home. Jewish villages built in the West Bank are invariably on the sole source of water in the area, from that point on forbidden to Palestinians. Arabs are no longer permitted to fish in their own waters.

But even this doesn't give outsiders a true picture of daily life in Palestine. In building their illegal settlements, Israel's Jews, accompanied by the military, claim an area, evict the Palestinian residents, and force them to move. Bulldozers are sent in to destroy gardens and orchards, fish farms are ravaged, farmland is destroyed and animals killed. There are countless documented reports of the Israeli military using Palestinian livestock for target practice, occasionally driving by a pasture and shooting dead every farm animal. Crops are dug up, driven over with tanks, or otherwise destroyed. Palestinian olive trees are chopped down or doused with gasoline and burned, either by or under the protection of, the Jewish military. 

They burn, chop down, or uproot olive trees by the tens of thousands in attempts to drive the Palestinians forever from their lands. News reports claim the Jews have destroyed more than one million Palestinian olive trees. The Times of Israel even produced a video of Jewish settlers destroying 100 Palestinian olive trees while the military IDF watches protectively.

Often, groups of Jewish residents from the illegal West Bank settlements will go to Palestinian olive groves during the night, with a Jewish military escort for protection, and will pick all the fruit trees clean, leaving nothing for the Palestinian farmers whose entire year's work, and revenue, are gone. Such actions reflect a consistent determination to destroy the very fabric of a people.


A Sampling of Atrocities




The West Bank is dotted with hundreds of checkpoints through which Palestinians must pass to travel to their homes, schools, farms and jobs. Children and youths are routinely arrested and imprisoned, beaten and tortured, often for simply needing to cross a Jewish military checkpoint. Palestinians are consistently harassed at these checkpoints, abused and humiliated, often made to strip to their underwear before being permitted passage — if they are permitted to pass. Often, they are not.

There are videos on the internet of Israeli soldiers fondling womens' breasts as a prerequisite to crossing a check-point. One report described how an Israeli soldier, examining a man and his wife attempting to pass thorough a check-point, repeatedly fondled the woman's breasts and, when the husband didn't respond, the soldier exhibited his penis to the woman and then urinated on her husband. When the man finally threw a punch at the soldier, he jumped back, took out his handgun, and shot the man dead.

There are so many testimonials by witnesses, both Jewish and Gentile, of the violence and degradation by Jews in the West Bank to fill a very large book. One Jewish visitor said, "I watched two young teenagers near Kiryat Arba force a Palestinian family at gunpoint to get on their hands and knees and bark like a dog while a jeep full of IDF soldiers 20 feet away laughed."

There are many reports that Jewish soldiers particularly target pregnant women for abuse, especially those already in labor and on their way to a hospital to give delivery. In one report from 2007, 68 Palestinian women were forced to give birth outdoors at checkpoints, at which time 34 of the infants and 4 of the mothers died from the ordeal. The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights (PICCR) reported that Israeli troops stationed at hundreds of roadblocks in the occupied territories barred dozens of pregnant women from crossing the checkpoints while in labor as they were being transferred to hospitals and medical centers.

 Murdering Children for Sport


Ayman Mohyeldin was an Egyptian reporter for al-Jazeera English who had covered dozens of major events in the Middle East for many American and other networks. His reputation was enormous, and his reporting on the Israeli assault on Gaza was such a stellar journalistic performance that NBC "aggressively pursued him to leave Al Jazeera, paying him far more than the standard salary. . .” His new assignment for NBC was to cover Israel and Palestine, a task greatly assisted by his ability to speak Arabic and his intimate knowledge of the Middle East and its history. But in July of 2014 Mohyeldin was abruptly removed from NBC by David Verdi, a top NBC executive, who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately. NBC attributed Mohyeldin's removal to unspecified "security concerns", but there was an additional factor at play.

Mohyeldin had been playing soccer on a beach with four small Palestinian boys, and had no sooner backed away from them, and was not so many meters distant from them, than an Israeli gunboat which had been monitoring them from a short distance offshore, fired an artillery shell directly into the group of boys, blowing them all to bits. Mohyeldin had witnessed the deliberate murder of four small Palestinian boys by the Israeli military and submitted a full report to NBC who scuttled his report to replace it with a different version presented by his replacement. But it was too late. Mohyeldin had already posted on social media photos of the boys, their names, and the game, and was so distraught at what he had seen that he had already posted graphic evidence on the same social media of the event he had just witnessed. If not for his instinctive actions, the event would never have been known.

The October, 2001 edition of Harper's Magazine features an 11-page article "A Gaza Diary", where reporter Chris Hedges accuses Israeli soldiers of deliberately goading Palestinian children and murdering them for sport. The Harper's piece is not available online, but Hedges repeated his accusations on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" show (October 30). Hedges writes that at Palestinian refugee camps the Jewish soldiers attract children with insulting taunts, provoking them to throw stones over the electric fence, then either tossing in percussion grenades or shooting them dead. The soldiers, shooting with M-16 rifles equipped with silencers, sent bullets that "tumble end-over-end through the children's slight bodies,” killing 11-year-old Ali Murad and seriously wounding four more, three of them under 18, according to Hedges. On the previous day, he writes, eight were shot under similar circumstances, six of them under 18. Hedges writes he has seen children shot in El Salvador, Guatemala and Sarajevo, and mothers with infants lined up and massacred in Algeria, "but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport”.”

One can imagine there was some Jewish pressure in the follow-up, since the executive producer of the Chris Hedges segment was suddenly saying, "We should have asked some clarifying follow-ups, exploring this story from the Israeli side,. … and to try to understand the perspective of an Israeli soldier on the front lines." Hedges appeared to have been a bit frightened as well.

Gideon Levy wrote that "killing children is no longer a big deal. The plain fact, which must be stated clearly, is that the blood of hundreds of Palestinian children is on our hands." This part would have to be true. During the past 20 years, thousands of Palestinian children have been killed. At one point in March of 2012, the estimate was that about 60% of all Palestinian children killed by Jewish soldiers had been shot in the head.

Today, they specialise in knee-capping the children, with snipers shooting out the childrens' knees. Haaretz wrote an article glowing about Jewish soldiers blowing out 42 knees in one day. The UK Independent even published a video of this, and in another article a Jewish soldier claiming a (Guinness?) record of 52 knees he had personally shot out.

The attitude of the Jewish occupiers is even more starkly and intimately manifested by Israeli soldiers modeling new T-shirts which were apparently produced with military approval: one one of them there is a pregnant Palestinian woman, with the caption "one shot; two kills". Another one depicts a small Palestinian child, with the caption "the smaller they are, the harder to hit".

This is not a matter of a few 'bad apples' committing unapproved crimes. No government can commit such atrocities against humans, against their neighbors, people who live in the same place, without the silent consent of the majority of their population. If the Jewish citizens of Israel didn't approve of the brutal and inhumane treatment of Palestinians, it would soon stop. The inhumanity of the brutality and savage treatment of Palestinians, especially children, must be brought to consciousness in all countries, until the groundswell of public opinion cannot be ignored

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