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by Stephen Lendman
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 at 8:58 AM
Human Rights Groups Condemn Israeli Gaza War Crimes
by Stephen Lendman
Israel's Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was cold, calculated, premeditated naked aggression against 1.8 million Gazans.
Previous articles explained in detail. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Everything to do with preventing Palestinian self-determination.
Maintaining occupation harshness. Continuing settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land.
Keeping beleaguered Gazans besieged. Sabotaging Fatah/Hamas unity. Preventing diaspora Palestinians from returning.
Having Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. Denying Palestinians all international law guaranteed rights. Continuing to treat them as subhumans.
Amnesty International (AI) accused Israel of war crimes. Said its "forces displayed 'callous indifference' to deadly attacks on family homes in Gaza."
Targeting them "without warning…(K)illing entire families. (B)razenly flout(ing) the law(s) of war," said AI's Philip Luther.
Israel "show(ed) a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians…" AI quoted a Gazan witness to an Israeli attack on a residential home, saying:
"All I can remember are the bits and pieces of bodies, teeth, heads, arms, insides, everything scattered and spread."
Israel remains unaccountable for its genocidal high crimes against peace. Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned them in a report on its attacks on schools used as shelters.
Saying "(t)he Israeli military carried out attacks on or near three well-marked schools where it knew hundreds of people were taking shelter, killing and wounding scores of civilians."
"Israel has offered no convincing explanation for these attacks on schools where people had gone for protection and the resulting carnage."
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel condemned Israeli war crimes. Its fact-finding mission (FFM) reported most deaths and injuries occurred "in, or very close to, (victims') homes or those of relatives and neighbors."
Significant numbers of casualties included "members of the same family and rescuers killed or injured…"
" '(D)ouble tap' or multiple consecutive strikes on a single location led to multiple civilian casualties and injuries and deaths among rescuers."
"(H)eavy explosives were used in residential neighborhoods resulting in multiple civilian casualties."
Medical teams were targeted, killed or injured while attempting to aid injured Gazans.
Civilians were deliberately attacked. In dozens of cases, entire families were killed.
Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Abused and ill-treated them. "(I)ncluding beatings, denial of food and water," and murdering at least one victim "shot dead at close range."
Heavy Israeli bombardments "failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property."
"Such indiscriminate (land, sea and air) attacks…must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government."
Clear evidence shows "serious (Israeli) violations of international human rights and humanitarian law."
B'Tselem's new report is the latest on OPE. Titled "Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014."
On OPE's first day, Israeli forces "attacked the Kaware family home. (It) collapsed. Nine people, including five children aged 7 to 14, were killed.," said B'Tselem
"This was just the first of dozens of air, sea and ground strikes" on civilian targets. "(A)ppalling hallmarks" of Israeli aggression.
"Time and again Palestinian families suffered much grievous loss of life."
"In a single instant, so many families were ruined, with the wreckage of their lives mirroring the devastation of their homes."
"These attacks were not carried out on the whim of individual soldiers, pilots or commanders in the field."
They reflected "policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command."
"These officials (lied claiming) attacks conform(ed) to international humanitarian law (IHL) and eschew(ed) any responsibility for harm to civilians."
"(M)any civilians (not involved in fighting) were killed in every strike in which houses collapsed with their occupants inside."
Culpable Israeli officials "eschewed responsibility for the immense harm to civilians, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hamas."
"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (lied saying) 'Israel's security forces (did) everything in their power to avoid harming civilians and if innocents are hurt, it is because Hamas deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians.' "
"This argument is unacceptable," said B'Tselem. Netanyahu lied. Israel considers civilians legitimate targets in all its wars. Around 80% of OPE casualties were noncombatant men, women and children.
B'Tselem characterized Israeli OPE operations as a "black flag of illegality."
New York Times editors, correspondents and contributors rarely criticize Israeli crimes demanding condemnation and accountability.
Rare exceptions prove the rule. Even then they stop short of full truth and disclosure.
On January 28, The Times discussed B'Tselem's report. Headlining "Israeli Group Says Military Attacks on Palestinian Homes Appeared to Violate Law."
It should have headlined human rights group condemns Israeli war crimes. Instead of saying "appeared in at least some instances to violate provisions of international law…"
Naked Israeli aggression violated international law. No nation may attack another except in self-defense.
Provided Security Council members OK it. Israel launched premeditated aggression. Hamas responded in justifiable self-defense.
Times reports don't explain. Throughout OPE, it was more Israeli apologist than critic.
It remains so. Citing Israeli military officials "insist(ing) (they) acted in accordance with international law…"
Despite indisputable evidence proving otherwise. "Israeli critics immediately denounced the B'Tselem report," said The Times.
Citing NGO Monitor. Calling it "an Israeli watchdog group widely considered to be right-leaning…"
Quoting it calling B'Tselem's report a "distorted political narrative of Israeli guilt and Palestinian victimhood."
Saying B'Tselem "contribut(es) to an (anti-Israeli) campaign…"
NGO Monitor is a Jerusalem-based Israeli front group. Disseminating propaganda, hate and fear-mongering.
Debasing human rights groups, independent journalists and other legitimate Israeli critics. Don't expect Times reports to explain.
Or unequivocally condemn indisputable Israeli war crimes.
B'Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad said its report aimed mainly at the Israeli public. Polls showed strong OPE support.
State propaganda manipulated people to back what demanded condemnation. Media reports echoed official policy.
Weeks ahead of Israeli elections, El-Ad expressed concern about OPE largely absent from public discussion.
He hopes to raise Israeli awareness of what happened. Why it matters.
Hoping it may help prevent future wars. Given Israel's appalling history, chances for equitable peace are virtually nil.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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