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Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza: Voices Grow, Internet Helps [Phosphorus Use, Children as Human Shields]

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Israel Has A New Problem At The International Criminal Court (ICC)

On February 3, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced a preliminary analysis Tuesday into whether Israel committed war crimes during the recent Gaza war.

Normally Israel’s PR blitz machine — which has been on high alert before and after Israel’s massacre — would take care of all the traditional media and silence any noises. Through pressure from the Israeli Lobby in every influential part of the world; a cover-up would be put on genuine and fair media coverage about Israel’s excesses. Israel probably assumed that the ICC issue and its war-crimes in Gaza would once again go unnoticed, just as UN Resolutions were ignored before. Yet what Israel failed to recognize was that the alternative media — just like THIS blog — wouldn’t be silenced into submission or accept Israel’s coined narrative! Even some mainstream voices made some muffled sounds on the power of the Lobby.

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So surprisingly (well, no really so surprisingly), the UK backtracked on preventing war crimes charges against the IDF. Why was such a strange promise that the government made to Israel?

In an unofficial message to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Britain said that as a result of the decline in Israel’s public image following Operation Cast Lead the government believes it will be unable to pass the amendment to the legislation before next year’s scheduled elections.

UN & HRW Are Not Letting Go So Easily Israel’s War-Crimes

The use of phosphorus by the IDF in civilian areas, which clearly violates all international laws of combat, is not going away anytime soon. Whether the official media stays on it or not, the army of amateurs sitting on their blogs, forums and emails, are not walking away until justice is brought.

The recent Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s report (which has even picked up by CNN), has been joined by a United Nations claim that Israel not only used Phosphorus illegally, but also used children as human-shields (see MM picture/story here). Talk about Israel’s official story being blown out of the water. I wouldn’t hold your breath Israel; Amnesty’s report is coming out next and hopefully the ICC will be taking further action as well. See UN report latest to charge Israel with war crimes on Al-Arabiya:

The most recent report, the combined effort of eight U.N. investigators, accused the Israeli Defence Forces of using an 11-year-old boy as a human shield, forcing him to enter suspect buildings first and inspect dangerous-looking bags.

“UNWRA has stated that they have evidence of white phosphorous having being fired into their installations, including the UNWRA school in Beit Lahia. This is also supported by video footage of phosphorous shells being.”

HRW said:

“White phosphorus munitions did not kill most of the civilian casualties in Gaza; many more died from missiles, bombs, heavy artillery, tank shells, and small arms fire, but their use in densely populated neighborhoods, including downtown Gaza city, violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war), which requires taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm and prohibits indiscriminate attacks,” the report underlined.” [Source]


Who Will Stand Up For Israel, The Washington Post?

Of course, Israel continues to be in denial and its implants in newspapers such as Washington Post can be reliably counted on to write articles with headlines stating “Israeli Use of Phosphorus Against Gazans Disputed“.  One would think “disputed” would mean disputed by a third party. Consider this: I go and punch someone openly in the market, but I deny the punching incident. Consider that there were tons of witnesses to my action, in fact clear photos (!) of my punch making contact with the person’s face, and that the police came and did an independent investigation and charged me with assualt. But I continue to deny it. Would this headline make sense, “Amad’s assault of man in market disputed”? I think not, and that is why these foolish headlines, and these foolish reporters who are trying to save face for Israel have ZERO credibility in the eyes of the average sensible person.

So Howard Schneider, the WP author does disservice to his profession by using such language, “Although widely employed by modern armies” (read: Israel is a modern army, so what’s the big deal); “It is not certain how much white phosphorus was used during the conflict. An IDF official said the number of shells was likely in the “dozens.” (read: how could dozens be that bad– it’s like asking the criminal how bad he thinks his crime is).

Alas for Mr. Schneider; WP is only one of the outlets out there, and as far as Israeli coverage is concerned it has ZERO credibility. The more crap like this that WP publishes, the more irrelevant it becomes. If only papers like WP and NY Times take lessons from Haaretz, perhaps then we can have REAL debate about Israel in the MSM. Until then, antiwar.com, HuffPo, blogs and forums, YOU GO boys and girls!

The Israeli Narrative Dying a Slow Death as Details of Abuse Emerge

On NPR, I was shocked to hear a full-length report on Israel’s war-crimes, even though the reporter did his best to only give the official narrative a chance to be aired. But the voices of the Israeli soldiers who directly confirmed their own abuses — including shooting dead an old woman and a women and her two innocent children (examples of pure animal-behavior) — were too strong to mask in the Israel army’s spokesperson’s attempt to bury them by saying they were simply “anecdotal”. Of course, Israel has started an investigation just like the hundreds it has promised before (all of which invariably result in Israel being right and everyone else being wrong). To Hell with those investigations!… it’s time for Israel to admit that its forces acted like savages in Gaza and apologize. This time the world is not going to be so forgiving.

According to the squad leader: “The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them.

Haaretz detailed the abuses in a report a few days ago, and once again does a great service that no US media outlet would dare to do.

Now, even the AP is picking up the Ha’aretz interviews:

In recent testimony, Israeli soldiers told of vandalizing homes they seized to use as army posts, as well as relaxed rules of engagement, including hasty shooting at civilians. The soldiers, who spoke to a military prep school in a closed-door session, described an incident with similarities to the shooting of the Hijeh family.

How The Israeli “Jihad” Is Somehow Considered Okay

Imagine a Saudi Shaykh — who is also a CHIEF OFFICIAL in the Saudi army — instructing people to go attack a helpless people in the name of jihad… wouldn’t this news be all over the wire? Well, the exact thing happened in Israel; just replace ‘Shaykh’ with ‘Rabbi’, replace ‘jihad’ with ‘shoah’, and you are set:

Amazingly the Baltimore Chronicle published a story, “Incriminating Evidence of Israeli War Crimes in Gaza” that brings various sources of Israel’s war-crimes together in a great article, and the roles of OFFICIAL Rabbis in inciting holy war.

On March 21, the London Independent’s Donald Macintyre wrote: “Israelis (were) told to fight a ‘holy war’ in Gaza….a religious war” against Arabs, according to a soldier citing “the martial role of military rabbis during the operation.” In rabbinate literature distributed to the troops, the message was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

According to the Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, IDF head chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, a brigadier general, distributed booklet material saying that it was “terribly immoral” to show mercy to a “cruel enemy” and that soldiers were fighting “murderers.” Imagine rabbis claiming to be men of God, yet violating core Jewish dogma by preaching hate, premeditated murder, and lying about innocent civilians they’re vilifying. Another example of the viciousness of a so-called civilized state, acting like barbarians (in the name of God) and calling it just.

Even the NY Times had to get some of the action. I guess you can remain irrelevant only so much (by being one-sided) . Of course it couches the story as a conflict between the “peace-loving secularists” vs. the religious right (who supposedly don’t control anything despite the strong evidence otherwise even within the story).

In many cases, the religious nationalists have ascended to command positions from precisely the kind of premilitary college course that Mr. Zamir runs — but theirs are run by the religious movements rather than his secular one, meaning that the competition between him and them is both ideological and careerist.

And what are these rabbis teaching (one would believe that there are only Muslim radicals based on the media narrative). Israeli soldiers, be as cruel as you can be, not that you need this official encouragement. :

“He who is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.”

And are these “jihadi” Rabbis only in Israel. Apparently not, if you remember this story we did on MM, where a Florida Rabbi was caught on TV (calmly stating in an interview) calling the Gaza Massacre a biblical prophesy.

Interestingly, while the “Islamic jihad” is full of rules and regulations and protecting even trees (let alone women and children), it seems that Rabbinical jihad called out here is intended to show no mercy to even non-combatants; flying in the face of the “official narrative” of self-defense and taking “great care” in protection of innocent civilians. Not forgetting the fact that stats blow this part of the narrative out of the water, with a ratio of nearly 1:1 to 3:1 of innocent to “militants” killed by Israel (depending on the stats you believe), vs. for instance America’s war in Iraq where the ratio is much lower (not “good”, but since Israel tries to couch its own battles with America’s battles, it is important to point out that even that is not true).

boy-shield-israel-gaza

phosphorus-israel

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. AnonyMuslim

    March 27, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    There can be no doubt that Israel’s PR machine in the US has been faltering the last few years, and particularly since the new administration came to office. I think you would be hard pressed to find any condemnation towards Israeli actions from mainstream US media outlets like you have seen the last few months. That said, going from “zero” to something isn’t the end goal, but it’s a start.

    From the Muslim perspective however, I still think we need to hold Hamas’ feet to the fire for their indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians, indoctrination of Palestinian children, and general abuse of Islamic law with respect to actions of war, i.e. suicide bombing, etc. Regardless of the factual circumstances of the conflict, allowing Islamic groups to operate in this way – unchecked by our Ulama or the moral consicence of the people – will ultimately come back to haunt us.

  2. Amad

    March 27, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    Count on NY Times to be another reliable partner to Israel’s lies:

    Israel Disputes Soldiers’ Accounts of Gaza Abuses

    But officers familiar with the investigation say that those who spoke of the killing of the mother and her children did not witness it and that it almost certainly did not occur.

    Yeah, yeah, NY Times, ignore Human Rights Watch (NOT a Palestinian organization, United Nations (NOT a Palestinian organization), Israel’s OWN soldiers, and forward Israel’s “official” narrative. While you are at it, please also accept Bush and Cheney’s narrative that the weapons of mass destruction were REALLY there.

    But even NY Times, in an editorial, has no choice but to admit that Israel is in serious PR doo-doo:

    Israel is increasingly isolated and facing its worst diplomatic crisis in two decades following its Gaza war.

  3. Amad

    March 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM

    AnonyMuslim, I understand where you are coming from, but I just find it incredibly hard to blame anyone on the Palestinian side for anything… what do you expect when you cage a people… they won’t just die silently.

    I think the time now is to FOCUS on Israel… and not let them get away with one of the most savage crime-spree and terrorism of this century.

  4. muslimah

    March 28, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7960071.stm

    The Ummah needs to unite. We are so divided. :(

  5. Haroon

    March 28, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    Asalaamualaikum

    I was lucky to be one of the brothers who travelled to Gaza on the convoy from the UK. I just wanted you to see one of the pictures taken in Gaza when a phosphorous bomb went off. Take a look at the link:

    http://img14.imageshack.us/my.php?image=55576873.jpg

    InshaAllah maybe I will write about my full experiences of this journey for MM if they want

    wasalaam

  6. Amad

    March 28, 2009 at 11:09 PM

    Haroon, I am sure we would all love to hear your story… please do write to us at info at muslimmatters dot org to share… yours was a heroic journey and we want to be part of it, even in reading about it.

    Btw, concerning white phosphorus, this post on HuffPo has a video too:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/human-rights-watch/israel-white-phosphorus-u_b_179606.html

    Israel, may Allah exact the justice against you for the injustice that you committed in Gaza. Ameen.

  7. stan squires

    February 2, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    I am from vancouver,canada and i wanted to say that the the idea of the israeli gov. investigating its army officers over the use of white phosphuros last year in Gaza is absurd.The real criminal in this case is the israeli gov.This should be dealth with at the world court in the Hague.Thats what that court is there for,although there are very few war criminals ever tried there.Any country that is a friend of the U.S. gov.will never have to worry about its war criminals appearing before that court.Unless something is done about that the world court at the Hague is of no use.

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