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Gaza Holocaust Continues …

Posted by terres on March 16, 2009

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Israel is committing  genocide with impunity


Members of the Palestinian Nabhan family live in the remains of their house in eastern Jabalya refugee camp March 14, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis. Image may be subject to copyright.

A group of leading judges and international prosecutors today called  for a “prompt, independent and impartial” investigation into alleged war crimes that are being committed by Israel  in Gaza since Dec. 27, 2008.

The 16 signatories, led by Richard Goldstone, a former chief prosecutor for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  submitted a letter to the secretary general of the United Nations demanding an investigation, Reuters reported.

“Allegations of serious violations of the laws of war have emerged throughout the latest Gaza conflict, relating to conduct and actions by both the Israeli military and by the Palestinian armed groups,” the letter said.

“Without setting the record straight in a credible and impartial manner, it will be difficult for those communities that have borne the heavy cost of violence to move beyond the terrible aftermath of conflict.

“A prompt, independent and impartial investigation would provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed and provide recommendations on how those responsible for crimes should be held to account.”

A Palestinian human rights group said last week reported that 1,434 Gazans were killed during the conflict, including 960 civilians, 239 police officers and 235 fighters. Among the civilians were 288 children and 121 women. Reuters said

Israeli military spokesman said the army had “made every effort to minimise harm to the civilian population”. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the Gaza massacre, mostly by friendly fire, 3 people were allegedly hit by rockets fired from Gaza.

The authors of the letter said they were  “shocked to the core” by the Gaza episode adding that an independent investigation was necessary in compliance with the Geneva Conventions rules concerning conflict.

“The world must vigilantly demand respect for these standards and investigate and condemn their violations,” said the letter,  which was published by Amnesty International.

“It said the commission of enquiry should be established by the United Nations, but not be limited to investigating attacks on U.N. facilities and have the ‘greatest possible’ expertise.” Reuters reported.

The following Editorial was published by the Guardian UK on March 3, 2009

Failed siege

Pledging aid for Gaza is the easy bit. Getting it delivered to Gazans living in tents after Israel’s three-week bombardment is another matter. The $3bn that donors promised in Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday will have to penetrate a labyrinth of barriers and conditions, the complexity of which King Minos of Crete would have been proud. The money will be given to the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, even though the PA’s writ does not run in Gaza. The aid will pass through crossings currently closed by Israel. It will be distributed in such a manner as to avoid ending up in the hands of its governors. But how? This is like trying to spoon a thin gruel into a dying man, without letting it touch any part of his throat.

Forget the difficulty of getting macaroni or paper into Gaza, neither of which fell into Israel’s definition of humanitarian aid. How can the 14,000 homes, 219 factories, 240 schools, which Israel destroyed, or damaged, be repaired without cement? Cement, Israel argues, has a dual use. It can be used to build Hamas’s bunkers and tunnels, although the dual use of macaroni and paper is harder to fathom. But why repair Gaza’s infrastructure, if Israeli warplanes could return at any moment to destroy it again? Operation Cast Lead did not re-establish Israeli deterrence over Hamas and Gaza’s other rejectionist groups. About 120 rockets and mortars have been fired into southern Israel since the army withdrew. Which means, short of re-occupation and putting the leadership of Hamas on a boat to Tripoli, the only way to stop the rockets is political, not military.

There was scant recognition of that yesterday. In her first sally into the region as US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had strong words for Hamas. She said it was time “to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the sufferings of innocent people”. Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which the Quartet supported, is now universally acknowledged to have failed. It has not dislodged Hamas from Gaza. Tony Blair admitted as much on his first visit to the enclave. But no one, as yet, is prepared to contemplate a way around the conditions which Israel and the Quartet attached to ending Hamas’s isolation.

Hamas is not going to recognise Israel. If it did, another and more extreme group would take up the cudgels. But it is equally clear to everyone that Hamas will have to be included in a national unity government for peace to succeed. The only scant chance lies in the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, two groups who currently hate each more than they do their occupiers. Without a fundamental rethink about how to engage Hamas politically, the international community is willing the end while continuing to deny the means. (copyright the author or newspaper).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/03/gaza-israel-aid-hamas-cement

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Posted in Gaza massacre, Geneva Conventions, Jabalya refugee camp, Occupied Palestine, United Nations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Georgia targeted civilians

Posted by feww on October 29, 2008

Georgia committed war crimes in its attack on South Ossetia in August 2008

There are no ifs, no buts, no maybes. Georgia attacked South Ossetia in a war of aggression and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Overwhelmed by besieged by incontrovertible evidence, the BBC has finally admitted that “Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia in August [2008]”

Eyewitnesses told BBC that “tanks fired directly into an apartment block, and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape the fighting.”

Human Rights Watch also told BBC that Georgian military used indiscriminate force, and possibly targeted civilians deliberately.

Alan Tskhurbayev, Institute of War and Peace Reporting)
Dr Marina Kochieva says her car was targeted by a Georgian tank. Source: BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Indiscriminate use of force is a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” BBC said,  “and serious violations are considered to be war crimes.” [As if that has stopped George Bush’s corporate military from committing war crimes and heinous crimes against humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria …]

British Foreign Secretary David [how the heck did you get here] Miliband who called on the EU and Nato to initiate “hard-headed engagement” with Russia in response to its actions in Georgia, has now made a u-turn calling Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia as “reckless”.

David [how the heck did you get here] Miliband said “he had raised the issue of possible Georgian war crimes with the government in Tbilisi.” [BBC reported. But he didn’t state what Tbilisi rplied.]

Alan Tskhurbayev, Institute of War and Peace Reporting)
They went on firing all the next day without stopping. At some point there was a pause, and we saw Georgian soldiers going along the street in their Nato uniforms
Taya Sitnik

Source: BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Georgia unleashed an indiscriminate barrage of heavy artillery,  rockets and ground-to-ground missiles on the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, on 7 August 7,  2008.  Tbilisi first said that it was responding to attacks on its own villages by South Ossetia militia, which of course was untrue. Georgia later changed its story and said the attack was provoked by an earlier Russian invasion, which of course was also a lie.

Eye-witness account (from the BBC report)

Georgy Tadtayev, a 21-year-old dental student, was one of the Ossetian civilians killed during the fighting.

His mother, Taya Sitnik, 45, a college lecturer, told the BBC he bled to death in her arms on the morning of 9 August after a fragment from a Georgian tank shell hit him in the throat as they were both sheltering from artillery fire in the basement of her block of flats.

Mrs Sitnik said she subsequently saw the tank positioned a few metres from the building, firing shells into every floor.

Extensive damage to the five-storey block appeared consistent with her version of events.

She said she and her son were watching television when the Georgian attack began.

“They started firing not from rifles, but from heavy weapons. Shells were exploding.”

“We jumped up straight away, switched off the lights and ran down to the cellar.”

“And we sat here on boxes. We thought it would end, but the firing got heavier and heavier,” she added.

We’re very concerned at the use of indiscriminate force by the Georgian military
Allison Gill
Human Rights Watch

“They went on firing all the next day without stopping. At some point there was a pause, and we saw Georgian soldiers going along the street in their Nato uniforms,” according to Mrs Sitnik.

“Then they started firing again, even more heavily. The Grad rockets were coming over all the time.”

“How can you trust those people now? What possible friendship can there be? Let them all be cursed, cursed for the deaths of our children.”

Neighbours said another resident of the block, Khazbi Gagloyev, also died of wounds received during the attacks.

‘Basements targeted’

The Russian prosecutor’s office is investigating more than 300 possible cases of civilians killed by the Georgian military.

Some of those may be Ossetian paramilitaries, but Human Rights Watch believes the figure of 300-400 civilians is a “useful starting point”.

That would represent more than 1% of the population of Tskhinvali – the equivalent of 70,000 deaths in London.

Allison Gill, director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, said: We’re very concerned at the use of indiscriminate force by the Georgian military in Tskhinvali.

“Tskhinvali is a densely populated city and as such military action needs to be very careful that it doesn’t endanger civilians.”

“We know that in the early stages there were tank attacks and Grad rockets used by Georgian forces,” she added.

“Grad rockets cannot be used in densely populated areas because they cannot be precisely targeted, and as such they are inherently indiscriminate.

“Our researchers were on the ground in Tskhinvali as early as 12 August.

“And we gained evidence and witness testimony of Grad rocket attacks and tank attacks on apartment buildings, including tank attacks that shot at the basement level.

“And basements are typically areas where civilians will hide for their own protection.

“So all of this points to the misuse, the inappropriate use of force by Georgia against civilian targets,” according to Alison Gill.

Human Rights Watch will talk only of the “possible” deliberate targeting by Georgian forces of individual civilians, a still more serious charge, though some Ossetians the BBC spoke to in Tskhinvali claim to have witnessed such cases.

Alan Tskhurbayev, Institute of War and Peace Reporting)

Many Tskhinvali buildings were damaged during the attack. Source: BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Wreckage

Marina Kochieva, a doctor at Tskhinvali’s main hospital, says she herself was targeted by a Georgian tank as she and three relatives were trying to escape by car from the town on the night of 9 August.

She says the tank fired on her car and two other vehicles, forcing them to crash into a ditch.

The firing continued as she and her companions lay on the ground.

She showed the BBC the burnt-out wreckage of the car on the town’s ring-road, riddled with bullet holes and with a much larger hole, apparently from a tank round, in the front passenger door.

Ms Kochieva says a nurse from her hospital was killed while fleeing Tskhinvali in similar circumstances.

She says she counted 18 burnt-out cars on the ring-road on 13 August, at the end of the war, suggesting there may have been more casualties.

Asked if, at night, Georgian soldiers might not have suspected her car of carrying Ossetian fighters, Ms Kochieva said: “Fighters wouldn’t have gone away from town, they would have gone towards town. We were escaping like other refugees.

“The Georgians knew this was the ‘Road of Life’ for Ossetians. They were sitting here waiting to kill us,” she said.

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