Israel maybe committing war crimes in Gaza, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says. Speaking in Geneva, Navi Pillay said house demolitions and the killing of children raise the “strong possibility” that Israel is violating international law.
Opening an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, she citied cases of Israeli air strikes and shelling hitting houses and hospitals in the coastal enclave: “These are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” she said.
She hit out at both sides concerning their conduct during the conflict, which is now in its 16th day, having started on July 8. Some 643 Palestinians, many of them children and civilians have died in the conflict, including a seven-year-old hit by a shell in southern Gaza early on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Smoke is seen after an Israeli strike over the Gaza Strip July 22, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
The Israeli army has been accused of targeting civilian areas, as well as using flechette shells during its offensive in Gaza, which can cause widespread harm and death to civilians. Some 29 Israeli soldiers have been killed, including a tank officer shot by a Palestinian sniper early on Wednesday.
“Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
Dermer’s comments followed a statement issued by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Sunday said that the IDF is the “most humane and bravest army in the world.”
Now meet the ‘most humane and bravest army in the world’:
The situation in Gaza has crossed beyond the rabbit hole (or perhaps in this case, tunnel) and has entered the surreal zone.
Consider, from Reuters: “Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 600 lives.“ On the other side, Israel’s military announced that the total number of army fatalities have risen to 29, three times as many as were killed in the last ground invasion of Gaza, in a 2008-2009 war.
Among the Gaza targets: five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the deceased Hamas military chief. But why is Israel targeting what are clearly civilian locales? “Israeli military accuses Hamas militants of firing rockets from the grounds of Gaza hospitals and seeking refuge there.” Remember, this was supposed to be a “pinpoint military operation.”
Four Palestinian’s have been killed and dozens wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.
Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the third floor housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters. Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.
A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.
“There is still shelling against the hospital,” he said speaking to AP. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.
In one of the most uncomfortable (and must-see) interviews, UK Channel 4’s John Snow ‘discusses’ Israel’s bombing raids and policies towards Hamas with Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. The interview starts with a punch, “How does killing children on a beach contribute to your purpose of protecting Israeli civilians?” Regev ducks and weaves from question to question, flummoxed when Snow jabs, “if you couldn’t tell these were 4 young Palestinian children playing football on a Gaza beach, you need better equipment,” only to be slammed towards the end with, “why not be brave and talk directly to Hamas? You haven’t got the courage.” Not the kind of interview one is likely to see on US TV.
The 4 children hit by Israeli shells while playing on the beach
Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory under international law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UN’s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers – see “Rain of Fire” by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, and many others, Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.
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