Israeli attacks on Gaza/Dirty war against the Palestinian civilian population

by Astrid Essed Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM

By their unlawful and systematic character,combined with the blockade of Gaza, housedemolitions and extrajudicial executions, the Israeli attacks on Gaza are a dirty war against the Palestinian civilian population

Israeli attacks on Gaza
Dirty war against the Palestinian civilian population

''For destruction, destruction
For destruction of the race of men
'A new power is rising
It's victory is at hand"
"There will be no dawn for men"

''TO WAR''

Saruman: Lord of the Rings II, The Two Towers

''This is a war without mercy''

Mr Barak, Israeli minister of Defense


Dear Editor and Readers,

In the first place I want to wish you personally a happy, healthy, joyful 2009
May the struggle against injustice, war, occupation, poverty, and human rights violations of all human beings, regardess descent, political conviction or committed crime, continue!

Like you, I was very shocked about the Israeli air-attacks on Gaza, which started dd 27-12, lasted the whole week, even on Newyearsday

Just on the 3th of january, the Israeli groundoffensive in Gaza was started, sowing further death and destruction in Gaza
Recently, according to Palestinian medical sources, the dearh toll was 786

Since the Israeli army offensive is going on and on, more are to be feared.

According to Dr M Hassanin, the director of the Emergency and Ambulance department in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, among those killed so far there were 230 children
There were 3300 wounded, among them 500 in critical conditions


In the meantime, due to the Israeli Blockade of Gaza, the hospitals are lacking medicines and the people don't have even the first needs of life, like food and water.

On Israeli side, eleven people were killed, among them 3 civilians
26 people were wounded, among them two due to rocket-attacks from Southern-Lebanon

As was to be expected, the Israeli army defied the UN Resolution which called on a cessation of fire
Also Hamas has launched rocket-attacks since than

The UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, showed his disappointment to the Israeli prime minister, Mr Olmert
Since there are no diplomatic contacts with Hamas, the same message however would be conveyed to the political resistance organisation indirectly.

Like with all Israeli military offensives, there is no consideration at all with the Palestinian civilian population, since in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, without any protection of the civilian population, real or alleged Hamas-targets have been bombed

To launch a modest protest against those Israeli attacks, which are, besides war-crimes, a dirty war against the Palestinian civilian population, I have written underlying article

It is however encouraging, that all over the world, solidarity demonstrations have taken place in behalf of the Gazan civilian population

I give you the link to a demonstration dd 27-12, at Amsterdam on the Dam Square which I have attended too

Further I thank you for your activities last year, promoting a better world and your solidarity with Gaza

May the struggle for justice go on
May all parties to the conflict realise, that civilians, whether from Palestinian or Israeli side, never may be the target of milittary attacks

For a free Palestine!

Kind regards

Astrid Essed

The Netherlands



''Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to
spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the
object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives. ''

Fundamental rule of the International Humanitarian Law

"I have witnessed this army [Israeli, addition Astrid Essed] demolishing, shooting and humiliating people whom I did not know… It hurts me when people, Palestinians, are being so brutally assaulted, and it hurts me when they later turn their hatred towards me because of it. I wasn't born to serve as a soldier who occupies another… My responsibility is to refuse."

Raz Bar-David Varon, Israeli teenager, who refuses to serve in the Israeli army

With great respect and admiration for those Israeli young people, who have the courage to refuse in an occupation army.


In remembrance of 16 Palestinians, among who 11 children, who have been killed by an Israeli air-attack dd 1-1-2009 NEWYEARSDAY, on the house of Mr Nizar Rayyan, a leader in the Hamas resistance-movement, in the Jabaliya refugee camp
In remembrance of all known and anonymous victims

49-year-old Nizar Abdul-Qadir Rayyan
40-year-old Nawal Ismail Rayyan
46-year-old Hyiam Abdul-Rahman Rayyan
45-year-old Iman Khalil Rayyan
25-year-old Shirin Said Rayyan
2-year-old Asad Nizar Rayyan
3-year-old Usama Nizar Rayyan
3-year-old Aiysha Nizar Rayyan
4-year-old Reem Nizar Rayyan
5-year-old Halima Nizar Rayyan
5-year-old Meryam Nizar Rayyan
6-year-old Abdul-Rahman Nizar Rayyan
12-year-old Abdul-Qadir Nizar Rayyan
12-year-old Ayia Nizar Rayyan
15-year-old Zainab Nizar Rayyan
16-year-old Ghassan Nizar Rayyan

Take a minute of silence for them please, before reading the article
They are symbolising all civilian Palestinian victims

However, I don't forget the Israeli civilian victims, especially the children, because all civilians have the right on protection and on life

Dear Editor and Readers,

With deep shock and deep indignation I have witnessed the Israeli attacks of Gaza, which have started dd 27-12, one day after Christmas, and have since costed a great number of Palestinian lives.

The attacks took place on a great number of targets, parlty civilian

Under the targets were the parliament building and other government-facilities, a police building, several Mosks, the University of Gaza, a television-Station, homes,, tunnels, which supply the population of food, markets and refugee-camps, two UN Schools
EVEN AMBULANCES have been hit..

Regrettably, more is yet to come

Especially children paid a huge price, as already mentioned
At least 230 have been killed

Since in the beginning of the attacks [27-12] children were victims, since witnesses, living in Gaza and Palestinian newsmedia testified, that one of those air-attacks took place, when the children were from school on their way home, with as consequences a great number of dead and wounded children. [1]

The murderous air-attacks, in the first week, have been ''supported'' by the groundoffensive with air-support.

Gaza city is still besieged, there are continuing and have attacks on Rafah and Israeli troops are marching to Khan Younis

The already mentioned death toll is untill now [10-1] at Palestinian side 786, among who 230 children
There are 3300 wounded, among who 500 critical
At Israeli side 11 people were killed, under who 3 civilians
There are 26 wounded, under who two slightly wounded by rocket-attacks from Southern-Lebanon

According to the Red Cross, wounded people are dying in the streets, waiting for ambulances

On Israeli side there are approximately 24 wounded

However, since the continuing battle the death toll will now lay higher

International reactions:

The international reactions on the attacks on Gaza were predictable:

While the Arab and islamic world, the African Union, some Third World Countries, South Africa and of course the Palestinian Fatah president Mr Abbas were condemning the Israeli attacks, the USA, besides after some cautious remarks about the Israeli army ''to spare the civilian population'', laid the major responsibility at the shoulder of the attacked party, namely Hamas

Japan, Russia and China condemned the Israeli attacks, but also urged to Hamas to end the rocket-attacks on Israeli cities and villages

The EU, as usually condemning without any consequences for Israel, stated by EU Foreign Policy Chief, Mr Solana, a direct cessation of ''military actions on both sides''
Later the EU presidential country, the Chech Republic, has alleged, that the Israeli groundoffensive were ''defensive''

The French president Sarkozy, who wants to force a cessation of fire, left for a trip to the Middle-East, for meetings with the Egyptian president Mubarak, the Israeli authorities, the Fatah Palestinian president Abbas and for the Lebanese and Syrian authorities.
As already expected, the Israeli authorities have refused to stop their attacks, continuing to sow death and destruction

The Secretary General of the UN, Mr Ban Ki Moon, initially stated to be ''very concerned'' about the ''heavy violence and bloodshed'' in Gaza
Later he called on as well Israel as Hamas to stop the military activities and also calls on Israel to permit humanitarian supplies in Gaza

After defying the UN Security Council regarding a cessation of fire, he showed his disappointment to Israel directly and to Hamas indirectly.


Another reaction, worth mentioning, came from the newly elected president, Mr Obama, who uttered his concern about the great number of civilian death in Gaza.


As has already being said, the USA, Germany and The Chech Republic called the Israeli attacks on Gaza ''self-defendent''

It is a shame and disgrace, that also the Dutch prime-minister, Mr Balkenende has showed ''understanding'' for the position of Israel, because of the firing of Palestinian rockets on Israeli civilian goals
Also the Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr Verhagen, fanatical pro-Israel hawk, has stated, that the Dutch government doesn't find it ''necessary'' to take sanctions against Israel

Also the Dutch parliament didn't want to condemn Israel, by which occasion Mr Verhagen had the nerve to state, that Israel ''is maintaining the International Humanitarian Law''

By reacting like that, he, in line with Germany, Chech and the USA, Mr Balkenende and Mr Verhagen are denying the character of the Israeli attacks, which are war-crimes

Meanwhile, the Israeli attacks on Gaza, combined with the groundoffensive, are continuing, taking many innocent civilian lives, on this very moment, this is written


The Israeli authorities are justifying the largescale attacks on Gaza with the argument, that the ''terroristic Hamas attacks on Israeli civilian goals must be stopped''
Further, the authorities have declared, that they have ''informed'' the Gazan civilian population of the attacks
Also they have laid the whole responsibility for the attacks at ths shoulder of Hamas.

As I shall make clear in underlying, those Israeli allegations are not only cynical and inhuman, but make no sense at all

Namely it is the obligation of any attacking party according International Law, to protect the civilian population with any means against the consequences of the attack
Just to ''inform'' or ''warn'' the civilian population, doesn't relieve the attacker from her responsibility for the consequences of the attack [3]

Further it is evident, that the attacker alone [in casu the Israeli army] is responsible for the consequences of the attack and not the other party to the conflict, in casu Hamas.


According to International Humanitarian Law, it is a fundamental principle, that in an armed conflict, at all times distinction must be made between combatants [military and fighters] and non-combatants [civilians]
Of course this is applicable on all parties of the conflict, in casu as well Israel, as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Palestinian Liberation Front and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, or other resistance groups [4]

When this disctinction isn't made, whether by direct attacks on civilians or civilian goals, or by indiscriminate attacks, war-crimes are committed
Also the use of anti-personal weapons like clusterbombs and artillery, which can't make that distinction, are war-crimes [
According to sources in the Times, Israel has used the internationally forbidden phosphorusbombs in Gaza
According to the Haaretz and other newspapers, likewise the internationally forbidden clusterbombs have been used


As being said, direct targeting civilians or civilian goals are forbidden according to International Humanitarian Law
However, mosty and certainly in the case of Gaza, the situation isn't that clear, since the often presence of fighters in civilian areas.

When an attack is then launched, it is only permissable, when all precautions are made by the attacker to protect the civilian population. [6]
When, however, the attacker is not capable or willing to do that and attacks nevertheless, he is responsible for war-crimes, since he knew what risk had been taken with the civilian population

Attacking thus is called an ''indiscriminate attack'', since it isn't possible to make any disctinction between combatants and non-combatants

Not only in respect to those recent attacks, but also in nearly all Israeli attacks in Gaza, indiscriminate attacks took place with as a result a high death toll, Gaza being one of the most densely populated areas of the world.


Besides those indiscriminate attacks, Israeli army also has launched attacks on direct Gazan civilian goals like houses, public buildings, the UIniversity of Gaza, a TV Station and two Mosks, which are apparently war crimes


As being commented before, each military attacker has the responsibility to protect the civilian population against the consequences of his attacks, as well regarding the choice of the attacking-location, as in the choice of arms [anti-personnel weapons are not permitted in a civilian area]
So the remarks of the Israeli authorities of the ''warning'' of the civilian populations makes no sense, since they have to protect the civilian population [7]

Also it is nonsense, to hold Hamas or other resistance groups responsible for the consequences of the Israeli attacks

However, in sofar Hamas and other groups have a responsibility, that it is their obligation according to International Law, to avoid being located in a civilian area .

But apart from that, that doesn't relieve Israel from her also existing obligation to protect the civilian population with all feasible means, being responsible for her own attacks.


One of the principles of International Law states, that the one illegal deed [in casu the Israeli indiscriminate attacks] is no justification whatsoever for anothet illegal deed [the Palestinian rocket-attacks on Israeli cities and villages]

Of course I can have have understanding for the Palestinian motives for launching the rockets, which are lying in the unbalance of power, the struggle between the occupator and the oppressed and the fact that the diplomatic route is no option, since Israel has no respect for International Law and the continuing Western support for Israel

However, regardless the party of the conflict, military attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks are forbidden

We must not forget, that also the Israeli inhabitants of the referred cities [Ashkelon, Sderot etc] have a right on life. [8]

Just like the declaration of the Israeli minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Livni, that Hamas is responsible for Israeli attacks, makes no sense, Palestinian rocket-attacks can't take place under the pretext, that Israel is responsible.


Recently the Red Cross has sharply cricitized Israel, as well for the lack of their cooperation to make the Red Cross access the Gaza strip to give medical assistance, the hindrance to reach the victims and the firing at ambulances
Recently a Red Cross ambulance has been hit and also an UN Convoy was hit.
The driver died [8-1]

Lack of cooperation by entering Gaza and continous obstruction to help the victims

Only after repeated requests [since 3-1], the Israeli authorities have granted the Red Cross permission to enter Gaza dd 7-1
After entering in Gaza, they met horrible scenes, like a house with 12 corpses and four little children by their mothers corpses
The Israeli army had done nothing to help them

Later they met a house with 15 survivors, but get orders from the Israeli army to leave the area

The team refused to leave and mamaged to evacuate wounded people and the survivors [among them, the children], but due to lack of cooperation of the Israeli army, making obstacle everywhere they had to bring the people with donkey-cars to the ambulance!OpenDocument



The reason, why I have qualified the Israeli military attacks on Gaza as a ''dirty war against the civilian population'' is the structural and systematical character of the indiscriminate attacks, the housedemolitions and the depriving of the innocent Gazan civilian population of the bare necessities like food and medicines, by the continuing blockade of Gaza, which is a crime against humanity [9]


Israeli attacks on Gaza:

Over the years of the conflict, the character of the Israeli attacks were either directly targetted against civilians or civilian goals, or indiscriminate, which have costed the lives of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, as well in Gaza, or in the occupied West-Bank and Eastern Jerusalem [10]


Liquidations of Palestinian leaders and activists:

Yet apart from those military attacks, there are the Israeli liquidations of Palestinian leaders and activists, since the end of the sixties of the former century.

Those liquidations, as extrajudicial executions in contrary with International Law [they don't take place during combat], are being executed in densepopulated civilian areas like crowded streets, marketplaces, flatappartments and refugee-camps, with as a consequence, that there are a great number of civilians under the victims.

C Housedemolitions:

Another illegal practice refers to the housedemolitions of familymembers of real or alleged suicide-activists or other Palestinians, who are considered as ''terrorists'' by to the Israeli authorities [11]

Those housedemolitions are as a ''collective punishment'' huge violations of International Law, yet apart from the inhumanity
Furtherm, the house demlitions are also contrary with article 53, 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids the destruction of property of ''protected persons' [people, who are living under an occupation]



Blockade of Gaza:

Another aspect of the ''war against the civilian population'' is the Blockade of Gaza, depriving the Gazan population from the bare necessities like medicines and foodsupplies
Sometimes there is a temporary Israeli permission to receive medicines and foodsupplies, before closing Gaza again

Dd 7-1 Israel has llaunched regarding the siege of Gaza-city, a ''pause in battle'' from 12-15 o'clock to give free access to medicines and food-supplies for the civilian population, after having opened the border.
However, this is no ''favour'', but an obligation according to International Law,hich states, in fact, that at all times, there must be free acceess of mediicines and food-supplies for the civilian population..

Blockading the Gaza border is, yet apart from the utter inhumanity, this is according to International Law, a crime against humanity [13]


Gaza is still occupied territory

It is important to realize, that not only the principles of the International Humanitarian Law, but also the 4th Geneva Convention, which is referring to the protection of civilians during an occupation, is still applicable, since Gaza is still occupied territory

Now there is a military offensive, but so that the future is uncertain, but anyway, with the withdrawal of the Israeli army out of Gaza, in 2005, the occupation didn't stop, since Israel continued [and of course still does] the air and borders of Gaza

According to the regulations of the Hague Convention dd 1907, a thus border and air control means an occupation [14]


In the beginning of the article I have stated, that EU foreign chief, Mr Solana, has appealed to a cessation of fire between Israel and Hamas and that Mr Sarkozy went to the Middle-East with that purpose

In this respect, however, it is of main importance, that the EU openly and clearly condemns the present Israeli attacks, which have led to a great number of war-crimes and as such, are a dirty war against the Palestinian civilian population.
The EU has the means to launch political presure Israel, by suspending or ending the Association-Accord [which implies advantageous trade conditions for Israel] with Israel or to launch a boycot or sanctions.

The crux of the comtemporary Middle Eastern confict, however, is the more than 41 years Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories [West-Bank, Gaza and Eastern-Jerusalem], despite UN Resolution 242, dd 1967, which summoned Israel to withdraw its troops out of the areas, she had conquered after the june-war dd 1967

Untill the day of today, Israel has refused to do that.

Like any other occupation in the world. of course this occupation has led to oppression, humiliations and hige human rights violations
Where opression is, is resistance, which is the universal right of any population

In this case, the resistance has been uttered in a lawful [miliutary actions against the Israeli army] and an illegal [suicide attacks or rocket-attacks against Israeli civilians or civilian goals]

The countries of power, like the EU and USA, have the international obligation, as well out of humanity, as according to International Law, to launch political pressure on Israel to end the occupation, dismantle the illegal settlements in the occupied territories and tear down the illegal Wall, the conflict will go on, with all humanitarian consequences for BOTH parties. [15]

For those consequences, as well as the EU, as the USA will be co-responsible


However, there are actually no signs, the political pressure will be launched.

So the Palestinians will have two choices, to be further humiliated, oppressed and killed
Or to launch a liberation battle against the opressor, which is the universal right of any population, who is oppressed.

Following that line, I I agree with the Hamas-summon for a Third Intifadah, when diplomatic pressure is not launched, or results to the freedom, on which the Palestinians are waiting for so long

Hopefully directed against the Israeli army only.

Because we must never forget, that civilian victims at all costs must be spared, whether on Palestinian, or on Israeli side.

Astrid Essed

The Netherlands

See for the source of the Israeli air-attack and names of the people who were killed

Images of the Israeli New years air-attack:


"Israeli missles tore through a children's playground and busy market in Diere Balah, we saw the aftermath - many were injured and some reportedly killed. Every Hospital in the Gaza strip is already overwhelmed with injured people and does not have the medicine or the capacity to treat them. Israel is committing crimes against humanity, it is violating international and human rights law, ignoring the United Nations and planning even bigger attacks. The world must act now and intensify the calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; governments need to move beyond words of condemnation into an active and immediate restraint of Israel and a lifting of the siege of Gaza"

- Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British) Free Gaza Movement


See for further international reactions:


I refer to the Human Rights comment on the Israeli attacks on Lebanon dd 2006, when the Israeli autorities also declared, that they had ''warned'' the Lebanese civilian population

I quote Human Rights Watch:

''While international humanitarian law requires effective advance warning to the civilian population prior to an attack where circumstances permit,[164] those warnings do not relieve Israel from its obligations at all times to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm. ''

See the source:

From the report ''Why they died''



The use of artillery

The use of phosphorusbombs

The use of clusterbombs in Gaza



The socalled ''warnings'' of the Israeli army, trying to release themselves from their obligation to the civilian population, is no ''incident'' in Gaza, since it has also been practized in the Israeli attacks on Lebanon dd 2006
See the documentation under [3]





I say ''considered as terrorists'', since the Israeli authorities have a very broad definition of the terminoligy ''terrorist'', since they also consider the Palestinian military attacks on the Israeli army being ''terrorist'', which is nonsense and in contrary with International Law

According to International Law only military attacks on civilians or civilian goals are ''terroristic''

In all other cases, parties to the conflict are legitimated to attack the military goal of the adversary, and certainly in the situation of Palestine, since this is resistance against an occupation army

[12] … troy-homes

See also

Article 33, 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids collective punishment
Article 53, 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids the destruction of the property of ''protected persons'' [people, who are living under an occupation

According to International Law, Gaza is still occupied area, since Israel is actually controlling the frontiers and air

See Human Rights Watch, Q and A on hostilities between Israel and Hamas

Part of the text:

''The treaty law, most importantly Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which Israel is a party, sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a non-international armed conflict - that is, between a state and a non-state armed group. Also relevant is law on occupation found in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which remains applicable in Gaza because of Israel's ongoing control of many aspects of life there despite the withdrawal of its troops. ''


See 4th Geneva Convention:

See the source:

See also the the Hague Convention dd 1907



According to the Hague Convention dd 1907, an area is occupied territory, when it;s air and borders are being controlled by a foreign State
This is applicable to Gaza, since Israel is actually controlling its borders and air, after the withdrawal of the Israeli army in 2005

See the Hague Convention 1907

See also:

Human Rights Watch, Q and A on hostilities between Israel and Hamas

Part of the text:

''The treaty law, most importantly Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which Israel is a party, sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a non-international armed conflict - that is, between a state and a non-state armed group. Also relevant is law on occupation found in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which remains applicable in Gaza because of Israel's ongoing control of many aspects of life there despite the withdrawal of its troops. ''



According to International Law [article 49, 4th Geneva Convention], all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are contrary with International Law

See the 4th Geneva Convention:

According to the Hague Convention dd 1907, nothing may be undertaken to change the geografical character of the occupied area

The Hague Convention 1907

Concerning the illegality of the Israeli Wall, with a route across occupied Palestinian territory:

Dd 9-7 2004, the ICJ declared the building of the Israeli Wall illegitimate, since it is crossing through Palestinian occupied territory



The Red Cross:!OpenDocument

Amnesty International



Human Rights Watch: