A UN team has arrived in Gaza to investigate the IDF shelling of its four schools in Gaza. The Israeli government has agreed to co-operate with them. A team from the UN Human Rights Council has also arrived to investigate war crimes by Hamas and the IDF. Israel has refused to co-operate with them.
The UN Human Right Commission, Yesh Din, B’Tselem, Amnesty, Human rights Watch are some of the organisations pressing for a proper investigation into the IDF’s lethal assault on Gaza, and judging them against Israel’s own laws as well as international laws. Jonathan Cook adds a new point: the effectiveness of Iron Dome makes indiscriminate attacks on Gaza indefensible.
The IDF has announced that it will itself investigate whether or not it committed any breaches of international law during its onslaught on Gaza. The announcement has provoked near-universal cynicism by all those who have commented, including B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Human Rights Watch. Fear that Israel may be taken to the ICC may encourage the IDF to identify a little wrong-doing.
The primary purpose of this report from Human Rights Watch is to detail incidents of the IDF firing on Palestinian civilians – a war crime- as they fled the Khuza’a massacre. It also provides a glimpse of the harrying of Palestinians as they run from place to place seeking safety as one building after another is shelled.
Excellent analysis by Mouin Rabban, published a fortnight ago.
“Once again, Israel is ‘mowing the lawn’ with impunity, targeting civilian non-combatants and civilian infrastructure. Given its continual insistence that it uses the most precise weapons available and chooses its targets carefully, it is impossible to conclude that the targeting is not deliberate. ”
Now read on…
Martin Shaw, a renowned expert on war and genocide in the modern era, has written before about the Israel-Palestine conflict, expressing reservations about boycotting Israel. In the light of current developments he reviews his position.
The people of Gaza surely have the right to use makeshift projectiles to end a merciless seven-year-long blockade or to end Israel’s criminal bombardment of Gaza’s civilian population writes Norman FInkelstein in a critique of the failure of Human Rights Watch to designate Israel’s bombardment a war crime.
According to some Israeli newspapers, former Israei navy commander Eli Marom – in charge during Operation Cast Lead and the attack on the Mavi Marmara – was detained at Heathrow for interrogation; they imply this was related to possible charges of war crimes. Maron phoned the justice ministry in Israel for help.The more level-headed Anshel Pfeffer suggests that Maron was merely subject to the same questions as any other foreign entrant to the UK.
The Israeli state has this defence against the crimes it has committed against Palestinians – so far with impunity: it is in a state of “armed conflict short of war” with Palestinians whom it has killed or imprisoned without due process. Al Haq and the PCHR have now urged the International Criminal Court to launch its own investigation into such crimes, thus helping free the people of the oPt from their ‘black hole’.
General Benny Gantz is in London this week for confidential talks with the UK’s chief of staff – which the government has designated a ‘special mission’ to protect him from arrest. Meanwhile, Major-General Doron Almog, who has been accused of war crimes in Gaza, has cancelled his trip to a charity in London because he was not offered such protection and could be prosecuted by the DPP, though no longer by a private citizen.
As this paper, produced in 2009 by the Palestine Society at SOAS, points out, there is nothing odd about universities serving state interests. But Tel Aviv University (TAU) is uniquely entwined with the shaping and development of Israel’s biggest industry – military materiel and strategies – including the one that says the primary goal of the IDF is to ‘leave the enemy floundering in expensive, long term processes of reconstruction’.
No political authority in Israel or Gaza has held to account any agent of the war crimes detailed in the Goldstone report. Now three international human rights NGOs have joined with three Palestinian rights NGOs to call on the UN Security Council to refer the crimes committed by both sides to the International Criminal Court
B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, responds to last week’s violence with a charge against ‘Palestinians’ (1st) of actual war crimes and a warning to the IDF (2nd) of potential crimes. Its data of Palestinian attacks covers a seven year period.
Former Chairman of Canadian commission for combatting anti-semitism says criticising Israel for war crimes may be distasteful but it’s not anti-semitic. Irwin Cotler is not the only defender of Israel who is impatient with this glib charge
An article in Ha’aretz discusss the contradictory position of the Israeli state towards its soldiers accused of crimes, followed by an excerpt from the Lords and Commons Human Rights Joint Committee dealing with international crimes and private prosecutions
David Shulman, a prominent Ta’ayush activist often working in the South Hebron area, reviews the recent Breaking the Silence publication. He says of the testimonies collected here: “To read them is to see the profound moral corruption of the occupation in all its starkness.”
Gideon Levy writes: “The voice of joy, the voice of rejoicing is heard in Israel: The Americans and British have also committed for war crimes, not only us. WikiLeaks’ revelations have inflamed all our noisy propagandists: Where is Goldstone, they rejoiced, and what would he have said? They were relieved. If the Americans are allowed to do it, so are we… Our rejoicing propagandists have changed their tactics now: no longer “the most moral army in the world,” a contention any reasonable person can see is ridiculous. Now they say: “We are terrible, like all the rest.” “
Veteran South African journalist Allister Sparks writes: “AFTER carrying out its own investigation into last year’s Gaza War, the Israeli military has finally confirmed several of the most serious incidents committed by its troops in that 22-day assault, which a United Nations commission of inquiry, headed by our own Judge Richard Goldstone, reported on last September…”
In a major investigation in the Independent Ben Lynfield discusses new evidence that suggests that General Almog, Israel’s Gaza commander at the time, was implicated in a cover-up of the circumstances of her murder…
Israel’s latest response to the UN on its investigations into alleged violations of international law by its forces in Gaza a year ago is totally inadequate, Amnesty International has said. The organisation believes that crucial questions about the conduct of attacks in which hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands were made homeless are not credibly addressed in Israel’s update to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon […]