What we knew of so-called “Israel”’s war crimes during the zionists war on Gaza, what the medics, the victims, the doctors, the witnesses have testified is now gaining growing recognition. The calls for international inquiry are growing, as are the reasons.
“We found Mohammed lying there, cut in half. Ahmed was in three pieces; Wahid was totally burnt – his eyes were gone. Wahid’s father was dead. Nour had been decapitated. We couldn’t see her head anywhere.All six members of the family had been blown to pieces, coating each wall of the narrow enclosure with blood and body matter.” [from Cut To Pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard ]
The Guardian has just published an excellent series of articles and videos on Israel’s crimes of war in and on Gaza. Included in the reports are focuses on attacks on medical workers, Israel’s use of drones to target and kill with pinpoint accuracy civilians, and Israel’s use of civilians inluding minors] as human shields during their military operations.
The drones are operated from a remote position, usually outside the combat zone. They use optics that are able to see the details of a man’s clothing and are fitted with pinpoint accurate missiles. “With a weapons system that is so accurate, and with such good optics, why are we experiencing so many civilians being killed? There should be no excuse for these numbers.” “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries.
“Without a proper investigation there is no deterrent. The message remains the same: ‘Its okay to do these things, there wont be any real consequences’.”
[from Cut To Pieces…]
The article and video on attacks on medics highlights the killing of medic Arafa Abd al-Dayem, the targeting of medic Hassan al-Attal, the killing of 16 medics and the damage to numerous hospitals, ambulances and medical facilities.
The offensive left 16 medics dead. Nearly all of them were killed by Israeli fire while trying to save lives, and many more were wounded. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of Gaza’s 27 hospitals were damaged by Israeli bombs. Two clinics were completely destroyed and 44 others received damage.
Physicians for Human Rights Israel said there was “certainty” that Israel had violated international humanitarian law, with attacks on medics, damage to medical buildings, indiscriminate attacks on civilians and delays in medical treatment for the injured.
I picked myself up and found Arafa kneeling down with his hands up in the air and praying to God, his body was riddled with darts,” he said. “The patient was in pieces, his head was missing. I was hysterical.”
In one incident, a Red Cross-led convoy of 13 ambulances carrying wounded to Egypt was fired on, despite Israeli clearance for the journey.
The convoy was forced to turn back and two of the wounded died after being unable to receive treatment.
People in Gaza were very acutely aware of the lethal drones, without having to be told thus by formal groups or experts. At new year’s the sordid text message about zanana (drone) missiles spread in a dark attempt at humour. We knew they were deadly.
In my work with the Red Crescent, and my follow-up reporting after, I came across many cases where civilians were torn apart or seriously injured by drone missiles. The sound of drones is distinctive, and the pattern of a first missile followed minutes later by a second missile is a deadly pattern that repeated throughout Israel’s war on Gaza leaving countless injured and killed.
The most haunting for me is the man mourning his wife just assassinated by such a missile. He helped to load her body, in pieces, onto a stretcher and into our ambulance, alternately stopping to sob, all the while shrieking, wailing like I’ve never heard. She had rushed to the area where a family member had been just been killed by the first drone missile, only to herself be caught by the fatal second missile minutes later.
Radjaa Abou Dagga rode with ambulances during the attacks on Gaza and has produced a short but incredibly vivid and important documentary on Israel’s targeting of ambulances and medical personnel, in violation of the Geneva Conventions which stipulate access to the injured.
During the war, Al Jazeera released footage on attacks on medical personnel, in which the updated version counts 21 medics killed by Israeli attacks.
Ha’aretz first published testimonies of Israeli soldiers conduct during the war on Gaza. Since the story broke, many more stories and testimonies have emerged, including that of the t-shirts depicting children and pregnant women [“1 shot, 2 kills”] in snipers’ targets.
Yet, the Israeli army was three weeks late in declaring there would be an investigation into the allegations, doing so only after the Ha’aretz expose.
[the Independent] Israeli human rights organisations, including B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, called for an independent investigation and complained that the military police inquiry had only been announced after Haaretz published the story, “three weeks after the relevant materials reached the Chief of the General Staff. This tardiness follows a pattern of failures to investigate suspicions of serious crimes”.
“When we entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey… I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them. I asked myself – how is this reasonable?”
“That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”
Gaza Medics in the Line of Fire
Inside Story – Israeli war crimes in Gaza – 22 Mar – Part 1
Inside Story – Israeli war crimes in Gaza – 22 Mar – Part 2