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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 »

Plight of Gazans amid Israel’s Scorched Earth Policy

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

Thousands of Gazans survivors are forced to live in tents after Israel’s three-week murderous campaign of bombing and shelling obliterated their homes. Refugees in their own country, they subsist on what little food Israel allows to reach them, less than a tenth of what they need!

Homeless Palestinians squeeze into tents in Gaza

By Andrew Hammond

HAY AL-SALAM, Gaza Strip, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians are living in tented camps after Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, hoping for a swift end to Israel’s blockade so they can rebuild their homes.

Palestinian women sit in front of tents near their destroyed house in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, February 4, 2009. Picture taken February 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.

Aid workers said on Thursday at least 16,000 people have found temporary accommodation in 10 camps set up in districts laid to waste in a war that local medical officials said left around 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded.

But conditions are cramped, with several thousands of tents held up at border crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Israel has limited supplies into the coastal enclave since Hamas Islamists took control in fighting with the Fatah group of U.S.-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“I worked for 28 years as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates and I put it all into this house,” said Yousef Abu Eida, pointing to a collapsed concrete mass behind the tents in the Hay al-Salam district of Jabalya refugee camp.

“I lost everything.”

Aid agencies have handed out blankets for the cold nights, when the camp residents gather around log fires. So far, latrines have only been installed in some of them.

But with no formal ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas, they say they don’t feel safe. The Israeli border is visible only a short distance away.

“We can’t sleep at night. We’re afraid the tanks will come back. They (Israelis) say they want this area as a ‘safe zone’. People are frightened,” said Bashir Khidr, who shares a tent with 20 other people.

COLLAPSED HOMES

As he talks, children navigate the concrete slabs and twisted iron and steel of collapsed homes.

Building materials are banned because Israel says they could be used for making rockets fired into its south.

“We ask European and Arab countries to open the crossings to allow building materials in and humanitarian needs to give shelter to thousands,” said Diab Dhumeida, a charity volunteer.

He said 450 families lost homes in the Salam district and another 340 tents are needed to give each a space of their own.

Aid pledged by countries around the world has only trickled in pending a deal between Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, which borders Gaza on the south.

Khalil Abufoul, head of disaster management unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said that 800 to 1,000 trucks used to enter the territory daily before the 2007 Israeli blockade.

“During the war it fell to 50 to 60 trucks a day — now it’s about 100 to 120 for different organisations and companies,” Abufoul said. “For me this is not humanitarian access, you need more flow than before but the flow is very little.” (Editing by Samia Nakhoul). Copyright Reuters.

Posted in humanitarian needs, Israeli blockade, Jabalya refugee camp, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Salam district | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »