Horrified anew at Israel’s massive crime against Gaza

3

February 2, 2009 by theradicalmormon

This is beyond words.  An Israeli soldier recounts what his marching orders were in the invasion of Zeitoun:

“Fire on anything that moves in Zeitoun” – that was the order handed down to Israeli troops in the Givati Shaked battalion, who reduced the eastern Gaza City suburb to little more than rubble in a matter of days.

According to Israeli soldiers who took part in the three-week offensive, the destruction of the area, a known Hamas stronghold, was designed to send a wider message to Gazans. “We pounded Zeitoun into the ground,” an Israeli soldier who was deployed in the area, told The Times.

Now we can understand why so many children were killed in Gaza.  This is a massive war crime.  This reminds me of the words of Kissinger with regards to the bombing of Cambodia when he said:

Anything that flies, on anything that moves.

http://theradicalmormon.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/nixons-murders-in-cambodia-anything-that-flies-on-anything-that-moves/

The words “war crime” together are a strange combination for me anyway.  It’s like saying “murder crime.” 

The stories that have emerged from Zeitoun have been some of the most shocking of the war. The Samuni family said they lost 29 members after soldiers forced them all into one building that subsequently came under fire. Survivors said that the initial shelling killed 22 people, while others slowly bled to death after being denied medical care for nearly three days.

Others, including the Helw and Abu Zohar families, have similar accounts of watching loved ones dying of their wounds and coming under fire after emerging from their homes carrying white flags.

Now one can understand how these crimes occurred.

“Having interviewed dozens of victims and witnesses and, having examined the ballistic evidence from north to south, we are convinced that Israel did not do everything possible to minimise civilians’ harm and death,” said Fred Abrahams, of Human Rights Watch.

“The rules of engagement were exceedingly loose, and they dropped the bar on the laws of war. This allowed civilian casualties to rise.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5601177.ece

I’ve got to go back to this “war crime” issue.  The International Criminal Court describes war crimes thusly:

  1. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:
  2. Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
  3. Torture or inhumane treatment
  4. Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property
  5. Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power
  6. Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial
  7. Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer
  8. Taking hostages
  9. The following acts as part of an international conflict:
  10. Directing attacks against civilians
  11. Directing attacks against humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
  12. Killing a surrendered combatant
  13. Misusing a flag of truce
  14. Settlement of occupied territory
  15. Deportation of inhabitants of occupied territory
  16. Using poison weapons
  17. Using civilians as shields
  18. Using child soldiers
  19. The following acts as part of a non-international conflict:
  20. Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture
  21. Directing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
  22. Taking hostages
  23. Summary execution
  24. Pillage
  25. Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution or forced pregnancy

You can find information about the Geneva Conventions, which are the basis for what is considered a war crime, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions

Still,  it is exceedingly odd to me that we have rules that govern wartime behavior.  It seems to me that the whole affair ought to be called a massive crime and be done with it.  I can think of very little good that ever comes out of war.  I agree with the framers of the Nuremberg principles who stated that the waging of an aggressive war is:

essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”[2]

I pray for the day that these crimes may no more polute our planet.

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3 thoughts on “Horrified anew at Israel’s massive crime against Gaza

  1. joeland7 says:

    Yes the world know that war crimes were committed in Gaza. All the Israeli soldiers will have nightmares for the rest of their lives. The orders that they received were barbaric and Israel should be charge with war crimes.

  2. Mark says:

    Incredible the level of scrutiny and bias against israel. What of Hamas? Hamas launches rockets at israel, knowing they will eventually provoke a response. They shack up in civilian structures, booby trapping schools and homes so any strike by israel ignites an inferno. They openly use civilians as human shields. They openly shoot and imprison fellow palestinians who they view as rivals (like Fatah members). They refuse to recognize israel’s right to exist.
    There was indeed a “massive crime against gaza”. But it was perpetrated by Hamas, who knowingly put the entire civilian population in harms way by a)continuously and aggresively launching rockets at israeli population centers b) refusing to recognize israel’s right to exist, therefore making negotiation impossible and c) openly using palestinian civilians as human shields.
    And yet we see posts/articles like the one above about how “horrified” people are at Israel. What would you have israel do? As a standard, they call ahead to warn civilians where they are going to attack or bomb. What other country does that? While it is true civilians were killed, it is beyond clear that isreal (unlike hamas) didn’t target civilians. They went to extraordinary measures to avoid civilian deaths. But when an enemy embeds itself in a civilian population, civilian deaths are unfortunately impossible to avoid.
    Where is the “horror” at what Hamas has done and is doing to its own people? At its irresponsibility? At its open desire to destroy israel and create a fundamentalist muslim states where christians would be slaughtered as well?
    Until they are held to the same moral standards as israel, your arguments are ludicrous. Isreal has every right to defend itself, Hamas and palestinians must be held to some moral standards.

  3. theradicalmormon says:

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for stopping by. I’ll explain a few things by addressing your points.

    “What of Hamas? Hamas launches rockets at israel, knowing they will eventually provoke a response.”

    Did you know that there was a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel? Did you know that Hamas was determined to make the ceasefire stick and sought to punish any other groups in Gaza that fired rockets on Israel? The ceasefire started June of ’08. It was immediately broken by Israel with the murder of two Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank. Hamas didn’t retaliate. Israel then killed an unarmed man near the fence in Gaza. Hamas didn’t retaliate. Israel continuously fired on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and continued their cruel embargo/blockade against Gaza in violation of the ceasefire agreement. Hamas didn’t retaliate. Then, November 4th, Israel murdered 6 or 7 Hamas men inside Gaza in flagrant violation of the ceasefire agreement. Finally, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel again. Were they trying to provoke a response? Or, were they lashing out desperately after Israel had broken every agreement with them?

    “They shack up in civilian structures, booby trapping schools and homes so any strike by israel ignites an inferno.”

    These allegations never cease to amaze me. Shacking up in civilian structures is the main allegation I’m speaking of. The old “using human shields” allegation. It is reminiscent of what Israel accused Hezbollah of in 2006. In fact, the UN and Human Rights Watch found later that Hezbollah was away from civilian structures, waiting out in the open to fight Israeli troops the vast majority of the time. Instead of meeting them, Israel bombed the civilian structures, apparently intent (in their own words) on teaching Lebanon a lesson. Israel, on the other hand, openly built their military bases in the middle of Israeli towns and cities. Israel has often used Palestinian civilians as human shield and the IDF was taken to court and ordered to stop that practice by an Israeli court. Hamas is not a military with the types of resources that Israel has. Hiding all over the place is not optimal, but it would be senseless if they were to gather in the open to be blasted into smithereens by an enemy that they can neither see nor fight back against.

    “They openly shoot and imprison fellow palestinians who they view as rivals (like Fatah members).”

    Did you know that the CIA and Israel were arming Fatah to oust Hamas before Hamas beat them out of Gaza? How do traitors get treated in wartime?

    “They refuse to recognize israel’s right to exist.”

    And Israel refuses to recognize the Palestinian’s right to exist. Why should the occupied be expected to recognize the right of their occupier and oppressor to exist on their own land? Did you know that Taiwan doesn’t recognize China officially?

    “And yet we see posts/articles like the one above about how “horrified” people are at Israel. What would you have israel do?”

    Good question. As a starter I would expect them to respect the international consensus that they go back to pre-1967 borders and remove their illegal walls and checkpoints. Then, they can release the thousands of prisoners they keep. Then they can reimburse Palestinians for the land they stole from them in the 1948 Naqba or allow Palestinians the right to return as the UN demands as a condition of Israel’s membership at the UN.

    “As a standard, they call ahead to warn civilians where they are going to attack or bomb.”

    That’s funny. Did they call the UN school where they massacred dozens of people before they bombed it after telling civilians to flee to it in the first place? I heard reports that the warning calls were being used as a type of terrorism in itself, calling and not bombing to frazzle the people. Besides, many had nowhere to run to. Gaza is an open-air prison where the borders were completely shut on purpose so that civilians couldn’t flee. Every other war has open borders so that the innocent can flee. Not Gaza though.

    “While it is true civilians were killed, it is beyond clear that isreal (unlike hamas) didn’t target civilians. They went to extraordinary measures to avoid civilian deaths. But when an enemy embeds itself in a civilian population, civilian deaths are unfortunately impossible to avoid.”

    As the above article points out (and maybe you missed the point so I’ll state it here again), when you give an order to shoot anything that moves, you are NOT using extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties. You are murdering people not knowing what you are shooting at. Shoot first and ask questions later. Did you not read the post?

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