Posts Tagged ‘IHL’

The Sri Lankan defense minister has threatened to hang a parliament member, recently resigned from the S.L.A.F., if he exposes the country’s war crimes against the Tamils. The suppression of the war crimes during the country’s quarter-century civil war and the government’s forging alliances have dangerous potential.

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Peter LaVelle’s “CrossTalk” at Russia Today has Professor Norman Finkelstein, Chris Guiness and Mitchell Barak on the panel (26:02):

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Amnesty International documented 714 executions were committed in 2009 onto those formally sentenced to death. The report is clear that China’s secrecy forces them to exclude its numbers, but something else is missing.

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A May 2004 Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) Office of the Inspector General (O.I.G.) report [.pdf] details new revelations of the C.I.A. violating federal statutes and international law in torturing detainees — “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” or “E.I.T.’s” is the Newspeak term. The redacted report was released Monday, due to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.).

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Analysis of the humanitarian crisis, Israel’s responsibility, the US role in the attacks, aftermath, and peace process. (more…)

UN condemns Israel and calls for “full investigation” of its atrocities in Gaza. Two of the world’s leading human rights groups find Israel guilty of war crimes in their usage of deadly chemicals on civilians. (more…)

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Daily Kos

(Follow-up to “The Politics of State Terror” posted yesterday.)

AntiWar.com – “Israel Military Declares Online Media ‘Another War Zone’”:

Across the world, mainstream journalists are expressing increasing disquiet at the way the Israeli government is trying to manage international coverage of its war on the Gaza Strip. Journalists have been barred not just from the strip itself, but the government is now prohibiting journalists from going to parts of Israel near the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Press Association is petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the ban, which is limiting the ability of media outlets to cover the attacks, and forces them to rely on second and third hand reports from Israeli military and Hamas spokesmen regarding the situation on the ground.

As the media struggles to get up-to-date information, television news coverage is narrow, and often relies on interviews with Israeli government officials explaining why the killings are righteous and legitimate expressions of democracy and freedom, more and more people are turning to online news sites (like Antiwar.com) for their war coverage.

The Israeli military has therefore announced that online media and the blogosphere are another warzone for the military to manage. To that end, the military is launching its own Youtube channel to bring the viewing public footage of “precision bombing operations” in the strip.

In ensuring that the only footage of their military operation is provided directly from them, the Israeli military is another step closer to completely managing public perception of the ongoing attacks. The military says the footage will allow the public to “know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel,” which presumably means coverage of the killing of five children in their beds in a refugee camp last night, and the scores of other civilian deaths, will be carefully omitted from the official coverage.

To call Israel’s PR machine as exceedingly cynical isn’t irrational, as have those interpreting Israel’s actions as “electioneering with bombs.”

Even AP analysis says the attacks “seemed inevitable” and could “perhaps benefit leading politicians six weeks before a general election in Israel,” pro-Israel groups are lobbying the US Congress. More from Human Rights Watch via the AFP:

Human Rights Watch said that Israeli bombing of Gaza appeared to be “unlawful” and highlighted three incidents it said had resulted in the deaths of 18 civilians, including at least seven children.

“Additionally, Israel’s severe limitations on the movement of non-military goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war,” the group said.

The fact is that people are dying and when people die, the first question should be concerning why they die on the simplest level followed by who caused their death and why their deaths were caused. This is a basic, conservative view of morality — conservative in the limited willingness to deviate from the standards presented. Amoral behavior can be argued as pragmatic in situations, but when human life is at stake, the utmost scrutiny is justified by people like us and crucial for institutions to legitimize their credibility. The moral relativism in foreign policy should be real and focused on holding yourself to the same standards to those you hold others and the Newspeak extends to the West in indoctrinating the American people every day to keep us in the ‘they have to follow the rules, but we don’t’ lock-step. In the effort to manipulate people, it should be no surprise that the State of Israel has resorted to bombing human rights offices.

As for the Newspeak mantra of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘these things happen in war’, Bibi Netanyahu actually does make an attempt at moral relativism with the “human shield” charge on Hamas — blaming Hamas for civilians being at Israel’s targets and that Hamas put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. Why is that supposed to be a valid argument, but once someone brings up the fact that Hamas rockets have killed 17 Israeli civilians in seven years and Israel has killed well over three times that number of Gazan civilians (not including police officers), the ‘these things happen in war’ crops up again and people presenting that statistic are clouded in ‘illegitmate arguments of proportionality’?

EXCERPT from ei – “Falling into the Moral Abyss” by Titus North – 30 Dec 08:

A state founded by Holocaust survivors should be a beacon of morality, not a black hole for it. Supporters of Israeli policy (and I distinguish between support for the Israeli people and support for its government’s policies) often justify their support by saying that Israel is the only democracy in the region. Leaving aside certain problematic aspects of that claim, I wonder if these people have ever thought of the implications of Israel, as a democracy, being engaged in continual violations of international law and human rights. Israelis, benefiting from a press that is far more open to the truth about government’s policies than the American media, know a great deal about what the leaders they elect are doing, yet they continue to elect them. Thus, the Israeli public has culpability for their government’s crimes that citizens under a dictatorship would not have.

Of course, the Israeli government could never have pursued these policies without the money, weapons, and diplomatic cover provided by the US, in particular the US Congress. After all, it is Congress’s powers over the “purse strings” rather than the President acting as commander-in-chief that has had a more direct bearing on the colonization of Palestinian territories by Jewish settlers. So many members of Congress have taken money from organizations effectively in exchange for supporting Israeli government interests. So many members of Congress have accepted all-expense paid junkets to Israel, ostensibly for educational purposes. With too few exceptions, they are fully complicit in Israeli government crimes, including war crimes.

What about the American public? I would say that the American public is largely in the dark about what is going on, thanks to a media which makes criticism of Israeli policy practically taboo. Of course, this gives the media a special culpability. Still, there are many Americans who do know the score and fail to speak out. This is particularly true with Gentiles. Let’s face it, although Jews make up only a few percent of the US population, the bulk of the outspoken critics of Israeli policy in this country seem to be Jewish-Americans. It may be that Gentiles are afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled “anti-Semitic,” but I say that as long as you are not anti-Semitic then you should not be afraid. In fact, if you are a true friend of the Israeli people then you should stand with those in their beleaguered peace movement. [read the full article]

Robert Fisk inspires the most valid argument against the Israeli Newspeak: let’s reverse the numbers and say Hamas dropped tons of bombs in extremely densely populated areas killing nearly 400 in Jerusalem in response to less than 20 civilians dead in Gaza. The West would condemn Hamas and call it for the terrorism it is.

Until then, Israel merely considers a cease-fire, which is a daily report that’s looking more like efforts to humor the global community calling for Israel to stop their attacks in Gaza.



Israel bombs university in Gaza as hospitals run low on supplies due to pre-existing blockade:

Amira Hass reports for Haaretz:

At 3:19 P.M. Sunday, the sound of an incoming missile could be heard over the telephone. And then another, along with the children’s cries of fear. In Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, high-rise apartment buildings are crowded close together, with dozens of children in every building, hundreds in every block….

“Seventy policemen were killed there, not all Hamas members,” said S., who opposes Hamas. “And even those who supported Hamas were young men looking for a job, a salary. They wanted to live. And therefore, they died. Seventy in one blow. This assault is not against Hamas. It’s against all of us, the entire nation. And no Palestinian will consent to having his people and his homeland destroyed in this way.”

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza:

Reference: 113/2008
Date: 28 Dec 2008

In a Criminal Escalation, IOF Strikes on Gaza Kill and Injure over 900 People as the Siege Continues to Debilitate Health and Other Vital Services

In one of the bloodiest escalations of Israeli military operations, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) initiated a wide-scaled air strike operation against the Gaza Strip. Dozens of targets were attacked from the air simultaneously using heavy missiles and bombs. Mostly, the strikes targeted police and security installations across the densely populated Gaza Strip, which indicative of IOF’s disregard of civilians’ life and wellbeing. Over 900 people have been killed an injured, most of whom are non-combatants. The number of casualties was exacerbated by the timing of the strike, which coincided with the change in schools’ shifts when tens of thousands of schoolchildren were on their way from or to school. Seven of UNRWA’s Gaza Vocational Training Center students were also killed in one of the airstrikes in Gaza City.

According to Al Mezan’s monitoring, at approximately 11:30am on Saturday 27 December 2008, Israeli military aircrafts launched a coordinated series of airstrikes targeting dozens of police, security and other premises across the Gaza Strip. The first wave of attacks lasted for less than five minutes, during which over 100 missiles and bombs were dropped on Gaza. One of the largest strikes targeted the Arafat Police Town, which is located near several UNRWA schools. Dozens of people were killed in this attack, including tens of young men who were undergoing training to join the police. Moreover, Colonel General Tawfik Jabir, who is the Police General Director in the Gaza Strip, and Captain Ahmed Al-Ja’bari, the Director of the Security and Protection Apparatus, were killed in the same attack.

The IOF’s air strikes have been characterized by their unprecedented fierceness. Police stations located in densely populated neighborhoods were attacked, destroying them and causing severe damage to tens of schools and homes and killing dozens of civilians, including children and old people.

Air strikes have continued through the night, targeting houses and other civilian premises, including water-wells, workshops, CBO offices, mosques and communications facilities. A guard of a water-well and three employees of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company were killed in North Gaza. Another two men were killed in a strike that targeted the Al-Borno Mosque near the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The Hospital’s building was damaged in this same strike. Moreover, IOF targeted prisons, including Gaza’s main prison facility of As-Saraya at noon today. Initial reports indicate that many policemen and prisoners were killed and injured in this attack.

Additionally, dozens of homes were destroyed, along with tens of UNRWA and government schools and clinics. Local government offices and private vehicles were also destroyed. Al Mezan’s initial monitoring indicates that at least 257 people have been killed in the IOF’s strikes in the last 24 hours. Of those, the vast majority are non-combatants and civilians; including 20 children, 9 women and 60 civilians. The majority of the rest of the casualties are members of the civilian police who were inside their stations or undertaking training. At least 597 people were also injured, including 35 children whose wounds were reportedly critical. Al Mezan’s believes that the number of casualties is expected to increase as many cases have been buried by their families without being registered at hospitals. Besides, a high number of people lie at hospitals between death and life. Moreover, dozens of people who were lightly wounded and; therefore, not admitted at hospitals were not counted. As the airstrikes continue, more people fall victims of them. This makes this operation one of Israel’s bloodiest, most criminal military actions in Gaza in the past few decades.

This escalation comes amidst unprecedented deterioration of the humanitarian conditions Gaza’s 1.5 million people face owing to Israel’s tight siege which prevents their access to food, medicine and power. Ordinary Gazans have particularly been suffering from shortages in water supplies, cooking gas and foodstuffs. The siege has also impacted on hospitals’ capacity to function under severe shortages in medicines and equipment. Hospitals’ ability to handle very high numbers of casualties in a short time since yesterday has been particularly problematic; and particularly during the first hour after the first wave of attacks yesterday. With the strongest possible terms, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the IOF’s criminal military escalation in the Gaza Strip, which indiscriminately harms civilians and civilian property, and blatantly breaches the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), qualifying as war crimes. Al Mezan particularly condemns the IOF attacks against civilian objects in which children and uninvolved civilians have been killed and maimed; despite the high technological capabilities that the IOF employs in their surveillance of the Gaza Strip.

Al Mezan stresses that police members who do not take part in any hostilities do not qualify as legitimate military targets under IHL and must not be deliberately targeted. It further stresses that, regardless of the soundness of the Israeli justifications of this operation, Israel must respect the rules of international law at all times, particularly when the use of force is involved. A reaction to rocket attacks cannot justify the perpetration of grave breaches of IHL, i.e. war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Al Mezan warns about the continued silence of the international community in the face of Israel’s escalation, which only encourages Israel to further escalate its attacks. Al Mezan calls on the international community to intervene urgently to protect the civilian population in harmony with its legal and ethical obligations under international law. International intervention is required urgently as the IOF’s attacks on Gaza continue, and news about the falling of more casualties mounts while drafting this press release.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “called on Arab states to stop what he called Zionist (Israeli) wolves from committing ‘further crimes’ against Palestinians in Gaza” on Sunday:

He called on the Organization of the Islamic Conference to ‘punish the Zionist regime (Israel) and its leaders (in a war crime tribunal).’

The ayatollah also condemned the United States and President George W Bush who, he said, ‘has just lengthened his war crimes record.’

‘The Europeans also assisted in this tragedy and showed once again their animosity towards Islam and Moslems and proved that their claims on human rights are just lies,’ said Khamenei.

Earlier Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rebuked Israel and urged immediate action to end the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Khabar reported that Ahmadinejad called his Syrian counterpart and the Emir of Qatar, and urged Muslim states to cooperate to end the killing in Gaza.

The Iranian president harshly criticized Israel’s massive weekend airstrikes in the salient, and once more predicted ‘the collapse of the Zionist regime.’

Iran’s foreign ministry earlier condemned the raids as ‘savage, inhuman and contrary to all human rights’ norms,’ and reiterated Iran’s firm support for the Palestinian nation.

The Iranian parliament interrupted its normal session on Sunday and shouted for several minutes ‘death to Israel,’ while Speaker Ali Larijani warned that Israel would soon face a third wave of intifada or Palestinian uprising.

A demonstration was held Sunday against Israel in front of the United Nations headquarters in northern Tehran, and a solidarity protest in front of the Palestinian embassy in the capital.

Khaleej Times“History of Massacre After Massacre in Palestine” by Palestinian researcher, Nizar Sakhnini:

Massacres were part and parcel of the Zionist project in Palestine. They aimed at intimidating the Arabs and make them leave the country.

Dozens of massacres were committed against the Arabs starting with the Massacre at Baldat al-Shaikh in December 1947 and not ending with the massacres in Qana in South Lebanon in 1996 and 2006. Another brutal massacre is being committed in Gaza today. Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs have been killed and/or wounded. Given below, is a list of some of the massacres committed by the Zionists since 1947:

Massacre in Baldat al-Shaikh (31 December 1947): Haganah gang members stormed the village of Baldat al-Shaikh in pursuit of unarmed citizens. The death toll was about 600 people, most of whose corpses were found inside the houses of the village.… [read the full article]