Sunday, February 1, 2009

White flag killings military decision

Mc Clatchy: Israeli tanks and bulldozers took up hilltop positions around Abu Freeh's home, and Khaled Abed Rabbo's five-story house in the valley below was one of those in the line of fire. More than 70 members of his family crowded into one apartment for days. On Jan. 7, Abed Rabbo said, the shelling intensified, and they heard an Israeli soldier calling for people to come out of their homes.

Abed Rabbo said he gathered his wife, their three daughters and his mother, Souad. Souad Abed Rabbo said that she tied a white robe around a mop handle and two of her granddaughters waved white headscarves as they walked outside. When they opened the door, they saw an Israeli tank parked in their garden about 10 yards away.

'We were waiting for them to give us an order,' Khaled said last week as he stood in the ruins of his home. 'Then one came out of the tank and started to shoot.'

Souad Abed Rabbo said she was shot as she pushed her son back inside and her granddaughters fell on the stairs. When the shooting was over, she said 2-year-old Amal and 7-year-old Souad were dead.

The allegation is one of at least five such white flag incidents that human rights investigators are looking into across the Gaza Strip... Along with the white flag incidents, Human Rights Watch is calling for an international investigation into widespread charges that Israel prevented medical teams from helping wounded Palestinians trapped in their homes and needlessly demolished hundreds of houses, including dozens in Ezbt Abed Rabbo.

'This was not a rogue unit,' said [Fred] Abrahams [a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch]. 'The needless civilian deaths resulted from concrete decisions made by the military.'

Image via AFP: