Tag Archives: U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry

Day #16 – July 22, 2014 – Bridging the Divide

Gaoliang Bridge at Summer Palace in Beijing

Gaoliang Bridge at Summer Palace in Beijing

A year following the massacres in Gaza, between July 7th and August 26th, 2014, when Israel’s vastly disproportionate military campaign in Gaza killed over 2,250 Palestinians, including over 500 children and over 1400 civilians (73 Israelis also lost their lives, including 1 child and 6 civilians), the battle continues.

The battle for the hearts and minds of the public.

Each side decorates its heroes, and each claims victory (here and here), and each undoubtedly prepares for the next round.

Supporters of Israel want the world to know that she has a right to “defend” herself. Supporters of Palestine want the world to know that Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation.

Both sides sound like broken records and I doubt that they’re convincing anyone to change their opinions.

Zionists are sounding like the drone in this BBC video, constantly buzzing with the same old Hasbara lies.

I want to scream!  LOOK AT THE FACTS man, just the facts!  

Here are some to ponder —– from the report of the U.N. Independent Investigation.

1.  During the 51 day operation last summer, the IDF launched more than 6,000 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. (para. 111) The IDF said it was supplied with more than 5,000 tons of munitions, a 533% increase over the weapons and munitions the IDF used in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. (para. 408)

2.  142 families had 3 or more members killed in the same incident (742 fatalities) because of destruction of residential buildings. (para. #111)

3.  2251 Palestinians were killed, including 551 children, and 11,231 people were injured. (para. 574)

4.  A significant % of civilians killed during the conflict died inside their home as a direct result of air-strikes or artillery shelling of their neighborhoods, making attacks on houses a key-feature of the conflict. (para. 243)

5.  The IDF refused to allow Red Cross ambulances to help victims. In one example, the IDF opened the road to finally allow the ambulance in but then closed the road again and did not allow the ambulance to leave, and so the medics had to carry the injured out on their shoulders. (para. 332)

6.  The family of a 70-year old woman left her behind in her wheelchair when they evacuated the home because they couldn’t take her. When they returned to the house, they found her dead, shot in the head at close range. The IDF posted a picture on Twitter showing a soldier offering water to this same old woman, a sadistic act of propaganda.  (para. 333)

7.  The IDF destroyed entire neighborhoods (Beit Hanoun, Shuja’iya, Khuza’a).

8.  Despite the fact that the International Red Cross coordinated with the IDF in its rescue efforts, the IDF clearly targeted ambulances and medical personnel, killing 23 health professionals. (para. 458 – 462)

9.  18,000 homes were destroyed, and an estimated 80,000 homes and properties damaged. (para. 576)

10.  During the fighting, approximately 500,000 people were displaced, which is 28% of the population in Gaza. (para. 577)

11.  As of May 2015, approximately 100,000 remain displaced. (para. 579)

12.  At least 4 young children died last winter in Gaza because their families were without shelter. (para.578)

13.  63 water facilities in Gaza were damaged, and 23 were completely destroyed. Sewage treatment plants and pumping stations were also destroyed. (para. 584)

14.  One hospital and 5 clinics were destroyed. Fifteen hospitals and 51 clinics were damaged.  (para. 591)

15.  More than 1,500 children were orphaned.  (para. 594)

16.  Almost 800 women were widowed last summer.  (para. 596)

A young Zionist on Facebook claims there is no moral equivalency between the State of Israel and her neighbors — implying that Israelis stand solidly on higher moral ground than do the Palestinians or Arabs in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.  Judging by the actions of the U.S. Congress, it appears many of our elected officials would agree with this young Zionist.

I don’t know what to do with this “moral equivalency” argument.  How does anyone engage with another whose world-view and entire universe is built on a notion of superiority?  Is building bridges even possible?  If not, what is the alternative?





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Filed under Gaza, IDF, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Uncategorized, United Nations, Video

Day #10 – July 16, 2014 – The four Bakr boys

Boys at beach

On July 16, 2014, the IDF killed four Palestinian children playing on the beach, Ismael Mohammed Bakr, 9; Ahed Atef Bakr, 10; Zakaria Ahed Bakr, 10; and Mohammed Ramez Bakr, 11. By this date, more than 200 Palestinians had been killed, including 43 children, in Israel’s so-called “Operation Protective Edge.”

Newsweek reported: Journalists from NBC News witnessed the attack and say that the children were playing soccer with journalists on the beach just moments before the shelling. Three other children survived but were wounded, one critically. Zakaria’s father told NBC News, “He was my only son…. He died with his cousins, they all died together.”

The U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry examined the killing of the Bakr boys.

630.        Case study: One of the criminal investigations closed by the MAG (Military Advocate General) without further legal proceedings had looked into the killing of four children on 16 July 2014. The boys had been playing on a breakwater near the port in Gaza City, when they were hit by two missiles fired by Israeli forces from the air. According to the 11 June 2015 update of the MAG, the MPCID (Military Police Criminal Investigations Division)  investigation found that the incident took place in an area, located on the breakwater, that was known to be a compound belonging to Hamas naval forces and was “utilized exclusively by militants”. MPCID investigators learnt that an intelligence assessment indicated that operatives would gather in the compound to prepare for military activity against the IDF. Aerial surveillance then identified figures running into the compound, who were believed to be militants, and were not identified as children. On the basis of the investigation, the MAG concluded that “the attack process…accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements”.

The (U.N. Independent Commission of Inquiry) also examined the killing of the four boys. Based on its own investigation, the commission found strong indications that the IDF failed in its obligations to take all feasible measures to avoid or at least minimize incidental harm to civilians. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “[i]n order to avoid the erroneous or arbitrary targeting of civilians entitled to protection against direct attack, it is…of particular importance that all feasible precautions be taken in determining whether a person is a civilian and, if so, whether he or she is directly participating in hostilities.” International humanitarian law provides that, in case of doubt, the person in question must be presumed to be a civilian and therefore protected against direct attack. In relation to targeting decisions, the determination of civilian status “will have to take into account, inter alia, the intelligence available to the decision maker, the urgency of the situation, and the harm likely to result to the operating forces or to persons and objects protected against direct attack from an erroneous decision.”

632.        In its evaluation of whether these criteria had been met in this specific case, the commission considered the following elements. Firstly, the boys were aged between 9 and 11 years, and were therefore small in stature in comparison to the size of an average adult. Secondly, there were no IDF soldiers in the area, as the ground operations had not commenced, nor were there any other persons in imminent danger, thus calling into question the urgency of launching the strike. From the information available, it would appear that the IDF could have more exhaustively verified whether those being targeted were taking a direct part in the hostilities or were members of armed groups with a continuous combat function. Thirdly, the compound was located in the centre of a city of almost 550,000 residents, between a public beach and an area regularly used by fishermen, and was visible from nearby hotels, where international journalists were staying. It could therefore not be ruled out that civilians, including children, might be present. These factual elements suggest that by assuming that the individuals were members of armed groups merely on the basis of their presence in a particular location, the IDF reversed the presumption of civilian status. In addition, the commission is concerned that the MAG appears to have validated this incorrect application of international humanitarian law.

633.        Concerning the investigation itself, the MAG explained that testimony was gathered from a large number of soldiers, and supplemented by video footage, media images and affidavits of 3 Palestinian witnesses. International journalists and other eyewitnesses, including Palestinians, do not appear to have been questioned, despite many persons having witnessed the incident. This raises questions about the thoroughness of the investigation.




Filed under Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, People, United Nations