Monday, March 23, 2009

UN: 'Violations too numerous to list'

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques -- IDF fashion 2009
Haaretz: Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques -- these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty... A sharpshooter's T-shirt shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, '1 shot, 2 kills.'

The Globe and Mail: Israeli soldiers used an 11- year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the war in the Gaza Strip. It was included in a 43-page report... and was just one of many verified human rights atrocities... Ms. Coomaraswamy accused Israeli soldiers of shooting Palestinian children, bulldozing a home with a woman and child still inside, and shelling a building they had ordered civilians into a day earlier. 'Violations were reported on a daily basis, too numerous to list.'

Haaretz: One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounded and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued. The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks.

Fresh allegations have come to light that gung-ho leadership inculcated a culture of disregard for Palestinian casualties. The Guardian: According to the group Breaking the Silence, the witness statements of the 15 soldiers who have come forward appear to corroborate claims of random killings and vandalism carried out during the operation made by a separate group of anonymous servicemen during a seminar at a military college... The testimony it has received already suggests widespread abuses stemming from orders originating with the Israeli military chain of command.

The Independent: Alleged violations by Israel include using 155mm artillery and white phosphorus in built-up areas. HRW says it has documented six cases in which troops fired on groups of Palestinians holding white flags. And it claims Israel used an 'unjustifiably expansive definition' of military targets to attack civilian facilities.

IOL: The signatories include former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Trials for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Irish president and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.
Image source here.