Nissenbaum: Israel’s skepticism of UN means it will probably only examine reports from its own soldiers
[Note: TRRN replaced their 1st video]
Under attack: how medics died trying to help Gaza’s casualties
by Clancy Chassay
Monday 23 March 2009 15.55 GMT
Medical staff and ambulance drivers who attempted to assist casualties of the Israeli invasion of Gaza have told the Guardian that they were attacked by Israeli forces while trying to carry out their job.
The offensive left 16 medics dead. Nearly all of them were killed by Israeli fire while trying to save lives, and many more were wounded. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of Gaza’s 27 hospitals were damaged by Israeli bombs. Two clinics were completely destroyed and 44 others received damage.
Dr Moawa Hassenein, the head of Gaza’s Red Crescent ambulance teams, said it was the worst assault he had seen on ambulance workers: “I have never seen anything like what happened … Never in all my years have I seen this many health workers and facilities targeted in this way.”
In this week’s show we hear how Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of war crimes for it’s unlawful use of white phosphorous. Mike Kirsch a town in the US where white phosphorous is manufactured and shows locals the true human cost of the weapon.
Survivors of the war in Gaza take legal action and we meet a mother burnt by white phosphorous who tells her story.
Most Jews I know get little pleasure from the existence of Israel; just the opposite. They feel disgusted by the behavior of their tribal kin toward Palestinians. This antipathy doesn’t concern Israel’s right to exist, a phony argument still maintained by hard line Zionists. Israel exists, period. Most of the world recognizes that. Anyone wanting to eliminate it belongs in the loony bin or prison.
Israelis have just elected a right wing majority. The number three vote-getting party, Yisrael Beytenu led by Avigdor Lieberman, will occupy a strong place in the new government. Lieberman will become a Minister in the Netanyahu Cabinet. Last year, Lieberman rammed through Israel’s Central Election Committee a ban on Arab political parties. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional before the recent election. Lieberman also demanded the Knesset expel Arab Members. He went further. If Arab citizens of Israel don’t sign oaths of loyalty to Israel, they should have their citizenship revoked.
My grandfather taught me, growing up during the Holocaust, that Jewish tradition teaches each person to strive to become a pillar of ethics, learn the law and behave so as to answer to God for transgressions – not to rulers of a so-called Jewish state.
Ironically, in the name of all Jews, Foxman and colleagues in AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and other Israeli lobby groups along with right wing and centrist political parties in Israel invoke the Holocaust to justify the very behavior embodied by Holocaust initiators. Israel calls itself a Jewish state. Yet, one fifth of Israel’s population is non-Jewish. I don’t belong to that state and despise its policies of constant war and occupation.
Anthony H. Cordesman, a leading military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has published a “strategic analysis” of the Gaza massacre.(1) He reaches the remarkable conclusion that “Israel did not violate the laws of war.” The report is based on “briefings in Israeli [sic] during and immediately after the fighting made possible by a visit sponsored by Project Interchange, and using day-to-day reporting issued by the Israeli Defense Spokesman.” Cordesman omits mention that Project Interchange is funded by the American Jewish Committee.
Cordesman’s faith in the pronouncements of Israeli notwithstanding, respected Israeli analysts exhibit less confidence. “The state authorities, including the defense establishment and its branches,” Uzi Benziman observed in Haaretz, “have acquired for themselves a shady reputation when it comes to their credibility.” The “official communiqués published by the IDF have progressively liberated themselves from the constraints of truth,” B. Michael wrote in Yediot Ahronot, and the “heart of the power structure”-police, army, intelligence-has been infected by a “culture of lying.”(2) During the Gaza massacre Israel was repeatedly caught lying among many other things about its use of white phosphorus.(3) Recalling Israel’s train of lies during both the 2006 Lebanon war and the Gaza massacre, Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco rhetorically asked, “How can anyone trust the Israeli military?”(4)
The International Criminal Court has been discussing the possibility of war crimes tribunals and the UN are calling for a full investigation into Israel’s treatment of civilians in their war on Gaza. Can Israel be held accountable? And who would be able to do it? Inside Story discusses
My three-year-old son Sammy walked into my room uninvited as I sorted through another batch of fresh photos from Gaza.
I was looking for a specific image, one that would humanise Palestinians as living, breathing human beings, neither masked nor mutilated. But to no avail.
All the photos I received spoke of the reality that is Gaza today – homes, schools and civilian infrastructure bombed beyond description. All the faces were either of dead or dying people.
I paused as I reached a horrifying photo in the slideshow of a young boy and his sister huddled on a single hospital trolley waiting to be identified and buried. Their faces were darkened as if they were charcoal and their lifeless eyes were still widened with the horror that they experienced as they were burned slowly by a white phosphorus shell.
It was just then that Sammy walked into my room snooping around for a missing toy. “What is this, daddy?” he inquired.
Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip lasted three weeks and killed more than 1,300 people. Now there are more accusations about Israel’s use of illegal weapons in the fighting. Just hours after Israeli forces withdrew from the Strip footage has also surfaced showing the tunnels that lead from Egypt into Gaza are still being used to smuggle in supplies. Destroying the tunnels was one of the principal justifications Israel gave for its offensive. Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazely reports.