Posts Tagged ‘IOF’

PCHR: Confirmed figures reveal the true extent of the destruction inflicted upon the Gaza Strip; Israel’s offensive resulted in 1,434 dead, including 960 civilians, 239 police officers, and 235 fighters. (more…)

Amnesty Int’l document summary on suppliers of Gaza war calling for the US and all other suppliers to impose an “immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups”. (more…)

Palestinian Centre  for Human Rights’ weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (12-18 Feb 09). (more…)

Daily Kos

“You’ve also got to understand the distinctiveness of Jewish anxiety about annihilation, which is real… But at the same time, anti-Semitism should never be a blinder or an impetiment of understanding the suffering of Palestinian people under occupation and the difficulty of having any serious bridge building when you are an occupied people.”

-Dr. Cornel West

The Newspeak out of Israel is that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip.” and Israel is targeting Hamas, not the Palestinians.

If so, they’re doing a great job of missing their targets, to say the least.

Hypothetically speaking, were Hamas to target an Israel military installation on a Palestinian settlement and wound a child, the Newspeak would be that ‘Hamas is killing children’ out of Israel. When Israel targets a Hamas operative and kills 20 Palestinian civilians, the Newspeak stinks of “collateral damage” that we’re just supposed to accept as a necessary evil of self-defensive war.

The conundrum in this Newspeak is another ‘it’s wrong when they do it to us, but not when we do it to them that loses its transparency as its repeated by our leaders [sic] in the West, giving the Newspeak illegitimate credibility.

The best way to battle Newspeak is with fact (from our YouTube playlist, “Israel Attacks Gaza”):

al Jazeera – “Nowhere to Run for Those Trapped in Gaza” – 30 Dec 08 (3:11):

al Jazeera – “B’Tselem Questions Israeli Account of Attack” – 1 Jan 09 (2:38):

al Jazeera – “Gazans Struggle to Survive Amid Onslaught” – 1 Jan 09 (2:41):

ei – “Civilians are Paying the Price in Gaza” – Haider Rizvi reports from the UN:

International aid groups, including several United Nations agencies, are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza if Israel does not stop its military action there immediately.

“The consequences of [further] military action by Israel would be disastrous,” said Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, a London-based aid organization that is providing food and water for Palestinians affected by the Israeli blockade.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza depend on Oxfam and other international aid agencies for the basics of life — clean water, food and sanitation. Before the recent Israeli bombing campaign, Gaza had been cut off from the outside world for 19 months.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also expressing similar concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The group says hospitals are “overwhelmed and unable to cope with the scale and type of injuries that keep coming in.”

At the time this article went to press on 30 December, more than 300 Palestinians are reported to have been killed — and nearly 1,000 wounded — since the Israeli air force began bombing Gaza Saturday….

Before the recent attacks on Gaza, aid organizations had repeatedly stressed that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was hindering their efforts to reach out to Palestinians who were in dire need of food and medicines.

Currently, nearly half of the population in Gaza does not have enough food to meet its basic needs. A majority of the population are refugees who were driven out of their homes by the Israeli occupation in 1948.

“The blockade is illegal and constitutes collective punishment of ordinary men, women, and children,” said Diakonia’s Christoffer Sjoholm, who, although critical of Palestinian rocket attacks, condemned Israel’s plans to carry out further attacks on Gaza….

On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concerns about the impact of the Israeli aerial attacks and demanded that the self-declared Jewish state must allow the humanitarian supplies to enter.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also called for Israel to take such actions.

“The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in particular, its effects on children who are more than half of the population, troubles me greatly,” Ban said. “I have continuously stressed the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law.”

A statement released Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that many more deaths are likely as hospitals in Gaza are lacking sufficient medical supplies.

“The ability of the hospitals to cope with a problem of this magnitude, if the situation continued unchanged, will result in surge in preventable death,” a UNICEF spokesperson said in a statement. “Civilians are paying the price for a long blockade.”

In recent days, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has repeatedly expressed its concern over the Israeli efforts to stop aid supplies. The agency stresses that days and weeks before the current military action the blockade was already hurting some 1.5 million people.

In a statement, UNRWA’s head Karen AbuZayd said she was horrified by the current situation in Gaza and wanted the Israeli government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment of Gaza.

ei also relays a press release from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights:

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has continued its military operation in the Gaza Strip for the fifth day. Today, it targeted an ambulance and its medical crew with a missile, killing a doctor and an orderly and critically injuring its driver. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring, the number of Palestinian casualties since the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at 11:30am on 27 December 2008 has risen to 315, of whom 41 were children and nine women. At least 939 people have been injured, including 85 children and 52 women. The number of civilian objects that have been destroyed is as follows:

  • Seven mosques have been completely destroyed from direct air strikes;
  • 38 private industrial and agricultural enterprises have been completely destroyed;
  • 16 schools have been damaged;
  • Nine CBO offices were completely destroyed;
  • Eight private vehicles were destroyed;
  • 16 governmental facilities were destroyed.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts, according to its monitoring of the situation on the ground, that the IOF has perpetrated grave breaches of the international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the course of its military actions in Gaza. The Center also asserts that the vast majority of IOF’s targets in Gaza are civilian targets that must not be deliberately targeted. This includes houses, mosques, police stations and at least one ambulance. Most of the casualties are not combatants and were not involved in any hostilities when they were targeted by IOF. This behavior reflects a blatant disregard of civilian life and of the international law that is supposed to protect it.

Al Mezan Center condemns the IOF’s violations of international law applicable in times of belligerent occupation and armed conflict. In particular, the violations by IOF of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Protocol I have caused extreme suffering as well as loss of civilian life. Articles 15-19 of the Convention prohibit the disruption of the working of health facilities during times of conflict. Article 20 requires respect and protection of the persons who are involved in the search for civilians, the sick, the wounded, the elderly and mothers and care for them. IOF violates international humanitarian law by imposing a strangulating blockade that disrupts, and sometimes prevents, the provision of humanitarian aid to the population of the Gaza Strip.

Despite The New York Times bad paraphrasing, the quote from the UN official estimates “a minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians and it may well be far higher.”

Another interesting Newspeak tool is to manipulate the meaning of “civilian.” Targeting Hamas and killing Gazan police officers make the police officers more “collateral damage,” but they are left out of civilian fatality estimates. The common term is “non-combatant” and that statistic is never reported.

ei:

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training.

Ha’aretz:

“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.”

Battles between authorities, especially when one or more authorities are the State admist an election season, always harm those already oppressed under the illegitimate authority more than those dominating the oppressed. Those in power have the primary objective (meaning over all other objectives) of maintain and strengthening the power of their institution. This is the cynical nature of institutions — even those that are generally benign because were the benign institution to lose power, clout, resources, etc., the institution would struggle to exist.

The Palestinian people do not have a legitimate amount of clout in the authorities that govern them, yet are being destroyed more than their most direct dominators: Hamas, Fatah, and Israel.

A 0.29 second Google News serach of “Gaza children” wields almost 15,000 results; the first page of which can make your head spin and question the legitimacy of the governments issuing tacit consent to the TerrorState of Israel.

Tariq Ali could sum this up best:

“There is no other way. And Israeli citizens might ponder the following words from Shakespeare [The Merchant of Venice] that I have slightly altered:

“‘I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…the villainy you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.’”



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]