Friday, January 23, 2009

Israel's war crimes, old and new

Israel accused of war crimes
Al Jazeera: Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip was indiscriminate and illegal... Human Rights Watch made the accusation on January 10 and the UN has also said Israel has used the munition during its offensive in Gaza.

The Guardian: Abu Shabaan, who was trained in Egypt, Britain and the United States and has been head of the Shifa burns unit for 15 years, said he and his staff had been stunned by the 'unusual wounds' they found... 'It starts with small patches and in hours it becomes wide and deep.'... He described one patient, a three-year-old girl, who was sent for a scan because of a head wound: 'After about two hours she came back, we opened the wound, and smoke came out."... Surgeons used forceps to pull out a substance from the wound that was 'like dense cotton and it started to burn. The piece continued to burn until it disappeared.' The child, who was from Atatra, in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, died... 'I have never seen something like this.'

IPS: Israel's refusal to allow civilians any exit route from Gaza as its defence forces rained bombs down on schools and houses appears unprecedented in modern warfare... Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, described the sealing off of the Gaza Strip in order to ensure that nobody could flee it as 'a distinct, new and sinister war crime. For the first time in a military operation, the civilian population as a whole has been locked into a war zone. No children, women, sick people or disabled people were allowed to leave. For the first time, the option of becoming a refugee has been withheld.'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he expected Israel to provide urgently a full explanation of attacks on UN facilities in Gaza and said those responsible must be held accountable.

The Telegraph: One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air. Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled. He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days. A psychiatrist treating children in the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City... described the deaths as a 'massacre.' Rawya Borno, a Jordanian doctor, said civilians, including children, were rounded up and killed by Israeli troops.

The Independent: Grieving Palestinian says children were killed after family obeyed order from troops to leave Gaza home... Mr. Abed Rabbo stood near the wreckage of his destroyed home... and described how a tank had parked outside the building at 12:50 on 7 January and ordered the family in Arabic through a megaphone to leave the building. He said his 60-year-old mother had also been shot at as she left waving her white headscarf... 'We are not Hamas. My children are not Hamas. And if they were going to shoot anyone it should have been me... What did the kids do to them? What did my house do to them? They destroyed my life.'
Image source here.