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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 »

UN Report on Ongoing Genocide in Gaza

Posted by terres on January 13, 2009

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Situation Report on the Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip – No. 9
12 January 2009

The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners and authorities involved in the humanitarian response.

General Overview

1. The Israeli military operation has entered its seventeenth day. On 10 January, leaflets were dropped on Gaza City, warning of an escalation of the operation. Israel has since deployed reservist units inside Gaza to support regular troops. With continued fighting, an increasing number of Palestinians are fleeing their homes to seek refuge with hosts or in shelters. The Palestinian casualty rate is also rapidly increasing. Continued air strikes are causing extensive damage to homes and public infrastructure while jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services.

2. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) (as at 1600 hrs local time, 1400 hrs GMT), the number of Palestinian casualties had increased to 910 fatalities, including a high number of civilians (at least 75 women, 292 children and twelve medical personnel). At least 4,250 Palestinians have been injured, including at least 1,497 children and 626 women as of 12 January.

3. As at 1500 hrs (1300 hrs GMT), sixteen rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza including five Grad rockets. Twenty-two rockets were fired from Palestine into Israel on 11 January. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that since 27 December there have been four Israeli fatalities and over 250 Israelis injured.


In this photo released by the Israeli Occupation Forces, Israeli soldiers walk towards the northern Gaza Strip to kill women and children January 12, 2009. [Photo not included in the UN report.]

4. On 12 January, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and accusing it of “grave” human rights violations against Palestinians (see Resolution attached). The Resolution includes the following: a decision, “to dispatch an urgent independent international fact-finding mission…to investigate all violations of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian People…”; “requests the Secretary General of the United Nations to investigate the latest targeting of UNRWA facilities in Gaza”; and “requests the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to report on the violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by…Israel, through a) strengthening the field presence of the office in the occupied Gaza Strip; b) [submitting] periodic reports to the Human Rights Council on the implementation of this resolution…” Thirty-three states voted in favour of the resolution, thirteen abstained and one voted against the resolution.

5. The UN Secretary General will travel to the region during the week of 12 January to meet with leaders and advocate for the expedited implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860. …


Palestinians are reflected in a puddle of blood mixed with water after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 12, 2009. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem. [Image NOT included in the UN report and may be subject to copyright.]

Protection

9. Insecurity continues to constrain access to civilians in need of medical care, as well as the distribution of humanitarian assistance. On 11 January, the ICRC stated that, “the big challenge [in Gaza] at the moment is to have access to the victims in such an unpredictable and dangerous context”. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) suspended activities in the Al Zeitoun and Al Atatra regions as of 11 January, after their ambulances were exposed to gunfire in those regions on 9 and 10 January. Two ambulance personnel were injured and one ambulance was damaged in these incidents. The PRCS further noted that only five of 135 recent attempts to coordinate access to affected areas were successful; however, “in the five cases [the PRCS was] not able to complete [the] humanitarian tasks because of the obstacles and the gunfire…”

10. On 12 January, there was a unilateral suspension of military activity by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) between 1000 — 1300 hrs (0700-1000 hrs GMT).

11. On 11 January, citing the lack of safe spaces for children in Gaza, UNICEF expressed grave concern about the mental health of children who have endured over two weeks of conflict. It was highlighted that UNICEF teams are ready to be deployed to meet children’s psychosocial needs, as the situation allows.

Food

12. Due to shortages in wheat flour, all but 12 bakeries have stopped functioning, and those operating are relying on a loan of 300 MTs of flour from WFP, provided on 11 January. Food for infants and for malnourished children is not available, and fruit and vegetables are scarce because farmers have been unable to harvest due to
insecurity and transport of products from the south has been constrained.

13. Humanitarian agencies continue to face obstacles to the distribution of food aid within Gaza. The three-hour lull is not sufficient for food distributions; to meet urgent needs, agencies continue distributions outside of the lull, thereby exposing them to serious security risks. On 11 January, UNRWA distributed 2,129 food parcels for hardship cases, large families and households that had been stranded for two days, in addition to normal food distributions. UNRWA distributed 92 MTs to 1,273 families and conducted an emergency distribution of 4,200 kilos of bread.

Health
14. Hospital emergency rooms and staff are severely overstretched due to the high number of wounded Palestinians who require treatment. In particular, WHO has warned that an increased number of patients need to be evacuated (through the Rafah crossing or otherwise) in order to free up space in the Shifa Hospital intensive care unit. On 12 January, the PRCS also noted that, “many wounded people are dying as a result of not accessing urgent medical attention”.

15. On 12 January, the ICRC surgical team in Shifa hospital confirmed an increase in the number of children arriving at the emergency room. Furthermore, the ICRC reported that according to the Palestinian MoH on 12 January, almost 50 percent of all wounded people currently arriving at Gaza hospitals are women and children.

16. Primary health care also continues to deteriorate: the World Health Organization reported that 34 out of 56 primary health care centres are open, but there is a 90 percent reduction in visits because the centres cannot be reached due to insecurity.

Water and Sanitation
17. Due to insecurity and a lack of spare parts, none of the damage sustained by the water and wastewater networks has been repaired. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) received initial reports that the Gaza City Wastewater Treatment Plant had leaked 200,000 cubic metres of wastewater, due to damage to the embankment of one of the treatment ponds. Security permitting, assessments will be carried out to confirm the situation at the plant in the coming days. The overflow of wastewater poses serious public health concerns related to the spread of water borne diseases.

18. The PRCS will distribute 500 UNICEF family kits for water purification and 29,952 bottles of drinking water (1.5 litres each), which entered Gaza on 11 January.

19. On 11 January, UNRWA provided 41,000 litres of fuel to municipalities for solid waste collection. The Gaza Municipality estimates that 3,000-4,000 tonnes of rubbish have not been collected throughout the Gaza Strip since 3 January.

Shelter and Non-Food Items
20. The number of people seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters continues to rise: as of the evening of 11 January, UNRWA was accommodating 28,116 people in 36 emergency shelters. During 11 January, the number of displaced persons seeking shelter increased by 2,240, which was the largest increase reported thus far in the Gaza and Kahn Yunis Govornates. To reduce overcrowding in existing shelters, five additional shelters were opened on 11 January and two more were opened on 12 January. Shelters in the North Gaza and Gaza Governorates continue to face a shortage of non-food items.

21. For those who remain in their homes, a shortage of shelter materials, such as plastic sheeting, is constraining the repair of damage, which is necessary to provide protection against the cold.

Infrastructure, Fuel and Electricity
22. Approximately 40 percent of the North Gaza, Gaza and Middle Area Governorates are now receiving power for 8-12 hours per day after the repair of localized damage on 11 and 12 January. GEDCO is awaiting confirmation for safe passage to repair other localized damage and to repair the three damaged electricity lines coming from
Israel.

23. On 12 January, UNRWA escorted five trucks of industrial fuel (235,000 litres) to the Gaza Power Plant; 360,000 litres of industrial fuel remain at the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz pipeline and UNRWA is awaiting confirmation from the Israeli authorities for safe passage to collect this fuel.

Read Full Report Here (.PDF)

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