Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza: Palestinian Toll Passes 1,000

Image credit: Palestinian Ministry of Health via BBC News.

It's hard to ignore this conflict. I've tried. It's not because I want to avoid it, it's just that so many others have written about it already. Today, though, we've passed a milestone of sorts:

On Wednesday, as the Gaza death toll passed an estimated 1,000 people and concerns about the humanitarian situation inside Gaza grew, nine Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israeli officials had committed war crimes in Gaza. The groups said that tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza had nowhere to flee, the Gaza health system had collapsed, many people were without electricity and running water, and some were beyond the reach of rescue teams.

“This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes,” the groups said in a news conference.

U.N. Building in Gaza Strip Is Hit by Strike From Israel

As the title of the article says, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also bombed a couple of United Nations buildings that they claimed were hideout for Hamas:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel expressed regret for the strike but said that Israeli forces were fired on by Hamas militants from just outside the United Nations compound and then ran inside to take cover, according to Mr. Olmert’s spokesman, Mark Regev. “It is absolutely true that we were attacked from that place,” Mr. Olmert said in broadcast remarks, according to Reuters.

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had told him the strike on the compound was a “grave mistake.” Mr. Ban, who was in Israel Thursday to press fore a cease-fire, said he expressed "strong protest and outrage" to Israel.

U.N. Building in Gaza Strip Is Hit by Strike From Israel

I keep running into people who never tire of explaining how Hamas are just a bunch of terrorists and Israel is an upstanding democracy. Here's yet another indication that Israel has no trouble being duplicitous. They have barred journalists from the combat zone in defiance of their own supreme court. Why should I trust them?

The IDF also hit a U.N. supply convoy last Thursday:

Israeli forces fired on a U.N. aid convoy Thursday in Gaza, killing at least one contract worker and prompting the U.N. to halt some of its operations in Gaza, U.N. officials said.

The U.N. has "lost confidence" in the Israeli military's attempts to allow humanitarian aid into the Palestinian territory, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency's director said.

Israeli Strike Kills At Least 1 Aid Worker, U.N. Says

No doubt terrorists were hiding in the bags of rice.

The plain fact is that for every Israeli killed in this conflict, almost eighty Palestinians have died. The BBC elaborates:

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said 1,013 people have died in the conflict which started 19 days ago.

More than 300 of the dead are said to be children, 76 are women and more than 4,500 people have been injured, of whom 1,600 are children and 678 are women.

Thirteen Israelis have been killed, including three civilians and one soldier from rockets fired from Gaza and nine soldiers killed in fighting in Gaza.

More Than 1,000 Killed In Gaza

When you add up the Palestinian women and children killed in this conflict, and divide that number by the number of Israeli noncombatants killed by rockets, the number is more than 100. The casualties are nearly as disproportionate as those of the Iraqis and allies during the Persian Gulf War.

The IDF have used white phosphorous on civilian targets. This is generally seen as a violation of international law, and is certainly a barbaric weapon to use on unprotected civilians.

Israel extracted their pound of flesh long ago. Their stated aim of ridding the world of Hamas is obviously impossible. It's time for this conflict to end, and for our own government to stop giving whole-hearted support to this continued slaughter.

If you agree, here's on online petition encouraging the President and Congress to speak up to end this conflict.

UPDATE: Oh, my. I just saw this at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

If the BBC is to be believed, IDF soldiers are deliberately shooting women and children in Gaza. Their TV reporting from the scene today interviewed doctors in hospitals who asked the obvious rhetorical question as to why they have children patients with multiple small arms wounds. One child had two bullets in the head. In the head, in the head, not fragments from large caliber weapons. These were small arms bullets. Israeli government spokesmen and demonstraters in New York are still "going on" about the peculiarly humane Israeli way of making war. The protestations are wearing thin. B'tselim, the Israeli human rights conscience is seeking to know whether or not these accusations of inhumanity are correct. I, for one, will accept their judgment.

Real soldiers do not target children

[link is from original] Patrick Lang is a Vietnam veteran and a career special forces officer. Coming from someone with that background, this is especially damning if, as he notes, the story turns out to be true.


Dana Hunter said...

Ugly and awful, and now that they've stopped shooting kids, they're starting a PR war. Unbelievable.

Apparently, they got some idea from us that this behavior is perfectly fine.

Cujo359 said...

They've learned from the best, it appears. Having no sense of shame is a big PR asset in circumstances like this.