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9540Israeli War Crimes: Israel Shelling Gaza With Banned Weapons + other news

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  • Zafar Khan
    Jul 12, 2014
      Israel Shelling Gaza With Banned Weapons
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Thursday, 10 July 2014 00:00


      GAZA CITY – As death toll exceeded 70 over three-day Israeli offensive on besieged Gaza strip, Palestinian health ministry officials have warned that Israeli is using internationally-proscribed weapons which were apparent in incinerated and torn out bodies of victims.

      "Israel used internationally-banned weapons in its two previous wars on Gaza," Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, July 9.

      "The same weapons are being used now."

      Al-Qodra warned that Israel was deploying weapons that destroy the bodies of their victims, noting that the bodies of most victims had been incinerated, while others had been completely torn apart.

      He added that a preliminary survey of victims' bodies has revealed the horrific nature of the weapons being used in Israel's ongoing onslaught on Gaza.

      Some activists posted photos of victims online, advising the fainthearted not to look at them.

      Photos showed Palestinians whose limbs had been blown off and others whose bodies looked as if they had been subject to chemical attack.

      Palestinian doctors say the Israeli airstrikes had incinerated the bodies of a large number of Palestinians, while a number of others had lost limbs.

      They added that the conditions of victims admitted to hospital revealed that Israel was using internationally-proscribed weapons in its current war on the embattled Gaza Strip.

      Israel has been launching relentless airstrikes against Gaza since Tuesday in which more tan 77 have been killed and over 500 injured in the tiny coastal strip.

      Israel has claimed that its new war on Gaza, under the title Operation Protect Edge, was a response to the rocket attacks being carried out by Hamas.

      It added that its offensive is intended to halt rocket fire at its cities from the Gaza Strip.

      There have been no Israeli casualties from the hundreds of rockets that have been fired by militants in Gaza.

      World Reaction

      Amid increasing death toll of Palestinian civilians, United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the crisis on Thursday morning, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon due to give the latest about the situation on the ground.

      "Gaza is on a knife edge. The deteriorating situation is leading to a downward spiral which could quickly get beyond anyone's control," he said.

      "The risk of violence expanding further still is real. Gaza, and the region as a whole, cannot afford another full-blown war."

      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank, also denounced the offensive on Wednesday.

      "This war is not against Hamas or any faction but is against the Palestinian people," said Abbas, who entered a power-sharing deal with Hamas in April after years of feuding.

      Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also vowed that Turkey would continue to speak out against Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people.

      "While Israel is bombarding defenseless Palestinian people in Gaza, Turkey cannot remain silent and impartial," says Erdogan.

      Gaza toll soars as Israeli raids continue
      At least 121 Palestinians killed by five days of bombardment as Israel brushes off pressure for ceasefire.
      Last updated: 12 Jul 2014 08:54


      A total of 121 Palestinians have died in Israel's five-day bombardment of Gaza as Hamas continued to launch rockets into central Israel and the US offered to help broker a truce.

      A dozen Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks overnight on Saturday in the occupied Gaza Strip, emergency services said. A total of 920 people have been injured since Israel began its campaign on Tuesday.

      Gaza medical sources told Al Jazeera that three handicapped children and a nurse were killed in the bombing of the NGO, Mercy Givers for Handicaps, in Jebaliya.

      The AFP news agency also reported two dead at a charitable association for the disabled in Beit Lahiya, three deaths in the eastern Tufah area of Gaza City, and three others killed in western Gaza City.

      The US said it remained "prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities", but the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not end his campaign until Hamas rocket fire stopped.

      "No international pressure will prevent us from striking, with all force, against the terrorist organisation which calls for our destruction," he told a news conference in Tel Aviv.

      "I will end it when our goals are realised. And the overriding goal is to restore peace and quiet. No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power."

      Netanyahu added that he was in touch with numerous world leaders, including the US president, Barack Obama, and the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Canada.

      However, the UN's top human rights official on Friday said the air campaign may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of civilians.

      "We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," said Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

      "Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law," she said.

      Israel said on Saturday that 680 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since Tuesday, injuring nine Israelis.

      A woman slightly injured late on Friday in the southern city of Beersheva was the latest injury reported.

      Disabled Palestinians unable to escape Israeli air strike on home
      Two killed and three injured in deadly blast as international criticism grows over rapidly rising civilian death toll in Gaza
      Peter Beaumont in Beit Lahia
      The Observer, Saturday 12 July 2014 14.36 BST


      I watched Israeli police beat my American cousin. Most Palestinian victims don’t even get that much attention.
      By Tamara Essayyad July 9
      Tamara Essayyad is a Palestinian-American attorney and policy commentator based in Washington, D.C.


      [WARNING: This story links to graphically violent video.]

      The scene opens with two masked men kneeling over what looks like a rice sack, one man holding it down, the other man repeatedly raising his right fist and pounding it. The fisted man stands up, giving us a clearer view, and begins stomping on the figure. Then it moves and we see a head and small body writhe in pain: The rice sack is a person. Long after the figure goes limp, the men continue the assault.

      The unmoving rice sack was my cousin, 15-year-old Palestinian American Tarek Abu Khdeir from Tampa, Fla. The two masked men are Israeli police officers.

      Videos and pictures of Tarek hit international mainstream and social media within hours — perhaps because he is tied to the brutal revenge kidnapping and murder of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khieder, or perhaps because he is an American. Tarek’s family, who live in communities across the United States and in Jerusalem, was lucky: Calls from journalists (about what high school he goes to and what his hobbies are) helped get him released from an Israeli jail and sent to a hospital.

      The problem is that Tarek is not alone. This week’s violent attacks on two teenage boys, and an entire Jerusalem village, are not outliers. This is how Israeli security forces work, both inside and outside the Palestinian Territory.

      State-sanctioned Israeli brutality toward local Palestinian populations is a regular occurrence in Israel and the West Bank. As a result of the disappearance of three Israeli teens hitchhiking in the West Bank (they were later murdered), Israel’s response was to kill six Palestinians, arrest some 700, invade 1,600 homes, schools and businesses and bomb over 30 sites.

      Israeli PM vows there will be more air strikes on Gaza
      Netanyahu shrugs off foreign criticism after top UN human rights official warns that air strikes could violate international law
      Julian Borger and Peter Beaumont in Gaza
      The Guardian, Friday 11 July 2014 18.58 BST


      The UN's top human rights official has called for an investigation into Israeli air strikes on Gaza, on the grounds that the targeting of Palestinian homes – resulting in a high death toll among civilians, particularly children – could violate international law.

      The warning from Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, came on the fourth day of Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip and a rocket barrage of Israel by Islamic militants.

      However, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said his government would not be deflected by criticism from abroad, refusing to rule out a ground offensive and vowing there would be more air strikes. So far more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, including at least 23 children. More than 670 have been injured. There have as yet been no Israeli fatalities.

      Pillay said her office had received "deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes" in Gaza. "Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

      Pillay added that the "indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza" could also constitute a breach.

      "Every alleged breach of international law must be promptly, independently, thoroughly and effectively investigated, with a view to ensuring justice and reparations for the victims," she said.

      Netanyahu shrugged off foreign criticism and said the Israeli bombing would continue unabated. "No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power," he said, claiming to have had "good conversations" with several world leaders in recent days, including Barack Obama and European heads of government.

      He claimed Israeli planes and drones had attacked more than 1,000 targets in Gaza so far this week, adding, "there are still more to go". The Israeli prime minister said Israel had already struck Gaza with twice the force used during the last offensive of its kind in 2012, and he would not rule out following the air campaign with an incursion by ground troops. "We are weighing all possibilities and preparing for all possibilities," he said.

      Israeli forces have been warning of imminent air strikes with the use of mobile phone texts and warning shots on the roofs of targeted buildings, but children are believed to constitute such a high proportion of the dead partly because they are often the most afraid to leave their homes while their neighbourhoods are being bombed.

      When Pillay visited Gaza and Israel in 2011 in the wake of a similar exchange of fire, she said that both Hamas and the Israeli government should be held liable for war crimes and that Israeli forces had committed crimes against humanity.

      "Israel, Hamas, and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have been down this road before, and it has led only to death, destruction, distrust and a painful prolongation of the conflict," Pillay said on Friday. UN officials said the current air strikes would have to be investigated further before a judgment on potential war crimes could be made.

      Israel was reported to have been hit by 809 rockets and 61 mortars from Gaza this week. While nobody has been killed, according to local media reports, nine Israeli civilians have so far been hurt in the scramble to take cover after air-raid sirens.

      Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told journalists: "More than 340 housing units in Gaza have been severely damaged or completely destroyed. As a result, more than 2,000 people have been displaced.

      "Our aid workers on the ground report that people in Gaza are gripped by fear, the streets are empty and the shops are closed."

      Toll mounts as Israel steps up Gaza air raids
      Eight members of Palestinian family, including five children, among 98 dead so far, with no deaths on Israeli side.
      Last updated: 11 Jul 2014 06:35


      Palestinian journalists under Israeli fire
      The death of Hamed Shehab on Wednesday in an Israeli air strike has triggered fear and anger among journalists in Gaza.
      Mohammed Omer Last updated: 11 Jul 2014 08:01


      Gaza City - With tearful eyes, the Al-Aqsa TV anchorman announced the death of Palestinian journalist Hamed Shehab on Wednesday evening, hit by an Israeli air strike while driving home on Omar al-Mukhtar street.

      Shehab, 27, was working for local press company Media 24. He was driving a car that had the letters "TV" affixed to it in large, red stickers when it was struck by an Israeli missile. The bombing, carried out on one of Gaza City’s busiest streets, has triggered fear and rage among journalists in Gaza.

      "Such [an] attack is meant to intimidate us. Israel has no bank of targets anymore, except civilians and journalists," Abed Afifi, a cameraman for the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV channel, told Al Jazeera.

      Afifi said Shehab was an independent media professional, and was not affiliated to any political party.

      Israel's deadliest Gaza air strikes yet kill five children from same family as Palestinian rocket barrage continues
      ADAM WITHNALL Author Biography Thursday 10 July 2014


      The exchange of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket fire has continued to escalate into a third day, as health officials in Gaza reported that the deadliest pre-dawn bombardment yet has killed five children from the same family.

      Pictures from the embattled district of Khan Younis showed Palestinian police picking through the rubble of two adjacent houses which had been the home to an extended family – eight of whom are now dead, the health ministry said.

      The Palestinian death toll has now risen to at least 75, according to a count from Associated Press reporters. There have been no casualties on the Israeli side.

      There are fears that the Israeli offensive could be scaled up to a full ground invasion in the coming days. Tanks and armoured personnel carriers have been seen massing close to the Gaza border.

      Israel’s military says it is acting to stamp out the persistent barrage of rockets fired on its southern territories by Gaza militants. It said at least 320 had been fired since the campaign began on Tuesday, and defence spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner tweeted this morning using the hashtag “IsraelUnderFire”


      Toll mounts as Israel steps up Gaza air raids
      Eight members of Palestinian family, including five children, among 98 dead so far, with no deaths on Israeli side.
      Last updated: 11 Jul 2014 06:35



      Israel: A proportionate response?
      There is a very real risk of a situation already at boiling point, exploding.
      Last updated: 04 Jul 2014 09:02


      Gaza hit by Israeli air raids after clashes
      Eleven wounded in air raids in Gaza, after worst clashes in East Jerusalem for months following death of Palestinian.
      Last updated: 03 Jul 2014 11:51


      Palestinian demonstrators clash with police after Palestinian teenager found dead
      Police use teargas on hundreds of protesters a day after Palestinian teenager seen being bundled into car in East Jerusalem was found dead
      Peter Beaumont in Shuafat, East Jerusalem
      theguardian.com, Wednesday 2 July 2014 12.23 BST


      Palestinians clash with Israeli troops amid claims teenager was murdered by Jewish right-wing extremists in 'revenge killing'
      HEATHER SAUL Author Biography Wednesday 02 July 2014


      Israel bombs Gaza after settlers found killed
      Air raids come hours after Israeli PM blames Hamas for deaths of three missing settlers.
      Last updated: 01 Jul 2014 14:16


      Palestinian teen killed in West Bank clashes
      Israeli soldiers kill 15-year-old Palestinian, medics say, as search for missing teenagers sparks clashes.
      Last updated: 20 Jun 2014 07:26


      “My dearly loved Nadim was murdered in cold blood by Israeli soldiers”
      Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Sun, 06/15/2014 - 20:04


      One month ago, 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara was fatally shot in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank town of Beitunia.

      “My dream of seeing my little son a grown man by my side will never come true. His death came too soon,” Nadim’s father Siam Nuwara says.

      But with no justice system available for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, Nuwara has launched a public campaign and petition called “No Visas for Killers” to urge the US and Europe not to allow Nadim’s killers to travel into their territory.

      There are already more than 20,000 signatures on the petition.

      This brutal end to a young life was caught on security cameras and by CNN, along with the fatal shooting of Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 16, and the serious wounding of 15-year-old Muhammad al-Azzeh.

      Siam Nuwara took the agonizing decision for his son’s body be exhumed for an autopsy that proved beyond doubt that the teen was killed with live ammunition.

      Human Rights Watch has called the shootings an “apparent war crime.”

      Siam Nuwara’s explanation of his campaign is moving and tough to read, and worth reading in full. Like the voices of so many other parents of children murdered by Israeli forces, his must be heard:

      My dearly loved Nadim was murdered in cold blood by Israeli soldiers. He was only 17. My dream of seeing my little son a grown man by my side will never come true. His death came too soon.

      But his killing was caught on security cameras for the whole world to see. Watching how my son was killed is so painful – you see Israeli soldiers joking and laughing as if they were making a hunting bet while firing at prey, and then they shoot. The film is extremely painful to watch, but could bring justice.

      Before my child was killed I was so happy to watch him grow up into a strong young boy. He helped me with everything, he was such a loving son, and he was so sweet to his mother and sister. He never walked into the house without giving us all hugs and kisses. He filled the house with laughter and happiness all the time. I based so much hope on him. Beautiful, innocent, amazing and well-behaved.

      But suddenly, in minutes, time stood still in the hospital fridge at 2:30 AM as I dressed him for the last time. I looked at him with such sorrow. I couldn’t believe my little angel was dead. The next day I had to lay him in his grave and the pain was unbearable. My heart ached for my wife, daughter and little baby boy, Nadim’s youngest brother, who was crying “I want Nadim!”

      I was lost and couldn’t believe that my son, the love of life, my little boy with the most beautiful smile in the world, the athlete, the sweet animal lover won’t be by my side ever again. I never expected that I would ever walk into the house, his room, and not find him there.

      It has been a month since my boy was killed. Now I am suffering more than ever because we have to take his little body out of the grave for an autopsy to show the truth of what happened to him because Israel denies that he was killed by a live bullet, even though I found the bullet in his blood-drenched school backpack that he was wearing when he was shot.

      I want justice, I believe in justice, and I will pursue justice for my son with all that I have left. I write today in the hope that all the people in the world who believe in the goodness of humanity and who believe in justice will help me achieve it. But I also know that the Israeli system is not just. Israeli soldiers have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, but in the last 14 years only six soldiers have been charged with wrongdoing, and the toughest sentence imposed on any of them was seven and a half months in jail.

      The soldier and commanders who murdered my son may never be imprisoned for their crime. But my friends have told me that countries around the world ban those responsible for violence from entering their countries. I don’t want my son to be another number, and I want to make sure no family suffers like ours is suffering now. If you help me we could make sure those who killed my son are banned from Europe and the US until we can push for real justice.

      I plead for your help in this. I want to make sure the criminals who killed the joy of my life know that they cannot go on murdering children. And I need you on my side to ensure that humanity prevails.

      With hope and determination,

      Siam Nowarah [also spelled Nuwara]

      Palestinian boy's autopsy: wounds consistent with live ammunition
      Israeli military denies using live rounds on the day Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Salameh were killed at demonstration
      Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem
      theguardian.com, Thursday 12 June 2014 10.32 BST


      A postmortem examination of the exhumed body of one of two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli forces at a demonstration last month has reportedly identified wounds consistent with live ammunition, despite the Israeli military's denial that it used live rounds that day.

      The killings of 17-year-old Nadeem Nawara and 16-year-old Mohammad Salameh caused international outrage and calls from the US for a full investigation after their deaths were caught on video camera footage that made clear the boys posed no threat to Israeli forces at the time of their deaths.

      This week Human Rights Watch issued a report suggesting that the killing of the two boys was a war crime. "The wilful killing of civilians by Israeli security forces as part of the occupation is a war crime," said Sarah Leah Whitson, the group's Middle East and North Africa director.

      "Israel has a responsibility to prosecute the forces who targeted these teens, and also those responsible for assigning the use of live ammunition to police a demonstration."

      Israeli security forces have consistently denied that border police present at the Nakba Day demonstration used live ammunition, insisting only plastic-coated steel rounds were used. It said it was continuing its investigation.

      According to leaks from the autopsy team, forensic scientists identified entry and exit wounds as well as bullet fragments in Nadeem's body consistent with live ammunition.

      Nadeem's family had sought permission from religious authorities to have the boy's body exhumed and examined on Wednesday by a joint forensic team, including the head of the Palestinian forensic institute and two senior Israeli forensic scientists.

      Although Nadeem's father, Siam, told the Guardian on Wednesday that he had not received an official autopsy report, details began leaking out later in the evening.

      According to Israeli military sources quoted by Israel's Channel 10, one possibility under examination was that officers interviewed over the killings had lied to military investigators about the fact that live rounds had not been deployed.

      The wounds identified by the forensic scientists were said to be consistent with images taken at the hospital and seen by local NGOs showing an exit wound in Nadeem's back from a bullet that had entered his chest close to his nipple.

      The case gained international prominence because the video footage of the two teenagers' fatal wounding appeared to clearly demonstrate that neither of the boys posed a threat to Israeli soldiers at the time they were targeted, and that one was walking away from Israeli troops when he was shot.

      Anonymous senior Israeli military officials quoted in the local media attempted in the aftermath of the killings to suggest the footage had been forged or a mystery Palestinian gunmen had actually killed the boys – shooting four rounds over a period of more than two hours, apparently without being noticed by several dozen Israeli soldiers and police.

      Stories from an occupation: the Israelis who broke silence
      A group called Breaking the Silence has spent 10 years collecting accounts from Israeli soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories. To mark the milestone, 10 hours' worth of testimony was read to an audience in Tel Aviv. Here we print some extracts
      Peter Beaumont Tel Aviv
      The Observer, Sunday 8 June 2014


      The young soldier stopped to listen to the man reading on the stage in Tel Aviv's Habima Square, outside the tall façade of Charles Bronfman Auditorium. The reader was Yossi Sarid, a former education and environment minister. His text is the testimony of a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces, one of 350 soldiers, politicians, journalists and activists who on Friday – the anniversary of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land in 1967 – recited first-hand soldiers' accounts for 10 hours straight in Habima Square, all of them collected by the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence.

      When one of the group's researchers approached the soldier, they chatted politely out of earshot and then phone numbers were exchanged. Perhaps in the future this young man will give his own account to join the 950 testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence since it was founded 10 years ago.

      In that decade, Breaking the Silence has collected a formidable oral history of Israeli soldiers' highly critical assessments of the world of conflict and occupation. The stories may be specific to Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories but they have a wider meaning, providing an invaluable resource that describes not just the nature of Israel's occupation but of how occupying soldiers behave more generally. They describe how abuses come from boredom; from the orders of ambitious officers keen to advance in their careers; or from the institutional demands of occupation itself, which desensitises and dehumanises as it creates a distance from the "other".

      In granular detail, the tens of thousands of words narrated on Friday told of the humdrum and the terrible: the humiliating treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, shootings and random assaults. Over the years the Israeli military's response has been that these stories are the exceptions, not the rule, accounts of a few bad apples' actions.

      "What we wanted to show by reading for 10 hours is that the things described in the testimonies we have collected are not exceptional, rather they are unexceptional," says Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of the group and a former soldier himself.

      Shaul breaks off to greet the European Union ambassador and a woman soldier who served in his own unit whom he has not seen for years. We talk about the solitary soldier in the square, now talking to the researcher. "We'll get in contact. See if he wants to talk. Perhaps meet for coffee. Then, when we interview people, we ask them to recommend us to their friends. We might get 10 phone numbers, of whom three will talk to us."

      It is not only word of mouth that produces Breaking the Silence's interviews. At the annual conferences that soldiers leaving the army attend to prepare them for the return to civilian life, researchers will try to talk to soldiers outside. Shaul explains why he and his colleagues have dedicated themselves to this project, why he believes it is as necessary today as when he first spoke out a decade ago about his own experience as a soldier in Hebron. "In Israeli politics today the occupation is absent. It's not an issue for the public. It has become normal – not second nature; the occupation has become part of our nature. The object of events like today is for us to occupy the public space with the occupation."

      His sentiments are reflected by the Israeli novelist and playwright AB Yehoshua, who gets on the stage to read a comment piece he had written the day before to mark the event. "The great danger to Israeli society," Yehoshua explains, "is the danger of weariness and repression. We no longer have the energy and patience to hear about another act of injustice."

      A man appears holding a handwritten sign that condemns Breaking the Silence as "traitors". Some of those attending try to usher him away while others try to engage him in conversation. A journalist asks Shaul if the man is "pro-army". "I'm pro-army," Shaul answers immediately. "I'm not a pacifist, although some of our members have become pacifists. I'm not anti-army, I am anti-occupation."