Will Israel be held accountable for War crimes?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012

The question above is one that always comes to mind whenever a more powerful military force uses its might to destroy livelihoods anywhere in the planet. In the case of the Israeli regime, its despise for live, especially that of Arab people is simply horrendous, and that is why it is just fair to ask. During the latest attacks carried out by the Israeli army, almost 50 percent of innocent victims are children and women.

The sum of civilian deaths in Operation Defensive Pillar continues to rise inexorably. On Monday morning there was a score, and throughout the day another dozen were killed in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The total number of deaths already exceeds one hundred.

“What is happening here is a war crime,” said Salah Abed Alaty, a representative of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the north of the Gaza Strip. “The international community can not remain indifferent to a massacre like this, especially women and children,” he adds, when suddenly leaps up to feel the rumble and flare caused by a Qassam rocket launched from a hundred yards of the Omar el Moktar Avenue.

Statistics are never the best way to provide an account of the damage and destruction caused by war, but according to the numbers compiled by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, most of the fatalities in the territory are children, women and the elderly. The same three groups are also an important minority among the wounded, which already hit 700. The indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza caused the official condemnation by the UNICEF and international NGOs present in the area. Such condemnation has never been heard so publicly in the past, which is why is relevant to ask whether this time, the murder carried out by the Israeli army will be punished.

On  Monday, four members of a family, including two children under four years of age, were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. “Although a senior officer of the Qassam Brigades Ezadín had been in the building, there was no justification to destroy it,” said Abed Alaty, a lawyer who witnessed the attack. In his opinion, the alleged “extrajudicial execution” of a militia leader of Hamas is not enough to launch several missiles at the  building in which he was assumed to be.

Israel’s Air Force bombed a second time the building in Shuruq, Gaza City, which until Monday harbored Al Aqsa TV, which was linked to Hamas. In the same venue also operated crews from foreign channels such as Sky News and Al Arabiya.

Palestinian sources reported that at least two people died, one Ramiz Harb, leader of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said in a statement that Harb was “responsible for the propaganda” of the militia. At least three other people were injured, including two journalists.

The tower was converted into a column of black smoke, and in dozens of soil and debris from broken glass objects. On Sunday, the tower next to the Al Shawa, which also hosted television producers serving international channels, was hit by an air to land missile. The director of the press office of the Hamas government, Ihab Al Ghusain says that the antennas were used exclusively for television. “The Israelis say masts served as the communications signal of our security forces,” he says. “But that’s silly, because these antennas are in the barracks and police stations, which are also being systematically bombed,” the spokesman stressed.

“We have come to the Beach Hotel,” said Mahmoud Jaber, the CEO of Palestinian Media Productions, the production company that was attacked on Monday for the second time. The new headquarters is a constant bustle of journalists, some are quick to come out with cameras, others stay glued to computer screens and connected to the radio, the most reliable source of information on the Strip.

“We believe that hotels are the safest, as host to foreign journalists and aid workers, so we have temporarily changed to Hotel Beach” concluded Jaber. The crisis is generating great benefits for the many direct connections prompted for foreign television. From the hotel, journalists follow the last-minute attempts in Cairo to reach a ceasefire through Egyptian mediation. The leader of the political wing of Hamas abroad, Khaled Meshal, and other members of the intelligence apparatus of the military require guarantees that Israel’s bombings will be halted.

Palestinians also called for an end to targeted killings against members of their militias and other armed groups in Gaza. The Israelis want to maintain control over the security zone near the border with Israel, which covers between 300 meters and a kilometer, but Hamas leaders have refused to accept such a request.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Israel attacks Gaza and mercilessly murders innocent Arabs

The Israeli army uses white phosphorus bombs on the Arab population.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 19, 2012

While Israeli warships bombarded Gaza from the sea, other Israeli forces pounded the headquarters of several media outlets in Gaza. In the meantime, from the West, usual supporters of the murderous Israeli leadership, have been warning that more attacks against defenseless Arabs on the Gaza Strip will result in more deterioration of the Jewish cause in the world. Both London and Washington asked the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

However, the United States has also said that Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists, such as Hamas. This support from Washington has emboldened the Israeli leadership to take its military offensive to another level. The destruction of the Gaza Strip advances at a fast pace, as numerous and more frequent attacks pound the civilian population.

A supposed ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians gave some hope that the attacks against Gaza would stop, but Israel not only did not stop its large-scale attacks, but also enhanced the scope of its military operation called Defensive Pillar. Late last week, Egypt itself said it would stand with the Arabs in this conflict, but has not issued any direct warning about what will the country do if Israel does not stop the murder of Arabs in Gaza.

After Israel lit the match that made the latest round of attacks turn into a blood bath on the Arab side — with children bearing the brunt — by striking and killing a leader of Hamas last week, the terrorist organization initiated attacks that sought to avenge the death of its leader. In the last few hours seven Arab children have been killed by bombs, four of which were members of the same family. They are part of at least 26 Palestinians, many of them civilians, who have died this Sunday during the latest terrorist campaign by the Israeli regime on the population of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian rockets have again flown over the border separating Israel from the Palestinian territory, in the direction of Tel Aviv. The attacks have gone from being scarce and localized to turning into a shower of rockets that arrive from almost anywhere in the Gaza Strip. The number of people dead or injured in Israel is not even close to the result of the attacks led by the Israeli army, and neither is the destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Cabinet ministers that he is may unilaterally “expand the operation.” He did not offer many details, but the possibility of a ground invasion is gaining strength as the hours go by. In the afternoon, you could see clouds of soldiers hanging around southern Israel. The military has called some 75,000 army reservists to take part of the operation.

Operation Defensive Pillar also includes the mobilization of  tanks which are being loaded on trucks to be transported to the border. The  sound of sirens when a Palestinian rocket is shot from across the border warned Jewish people it was time to seek shelter, which at times turns the cities located near Gaza into ghost towns. The Palestinian people do not have the luxury to run underground and so more innocent civilians are so exposed to Israeli attacks. Both territories are now war zones.

The  British foreign secretary, William Hague, has warned Israel of the danger of launching a ground invasion in Gaza. Hague said that such action would put Israel in a very uncomfortable position in the eyes of the International community. A ground attack of Gaza would certainly increase the number of civilian casualties. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, who reiterated his support for Israel also considered it “better” if Israel kept its heavy artillery inside its own territory.

News of a possible ground incursion caused the neighbors to the north of the Gaza Strip to flee in terror. The streets of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia, northern territory, offered on Sunday a ghostly image. There was not a soul. It was as if a bomb had fallen. A little further south, on the outskirts of Gaza City, was where the
Israeli air force had destroyed the house of Mohamed Dalu, a suspected member of the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza and whose leaders are seldom heard of these days. Nine members of Dalu’s family died with him, including four children.

The Israeli armed forces amounted to fifty the number of targets hit on Sunday. These “underground stations and tunnels are used for terrorist purposes”. In
total, at least 72 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since Wednesday, which shows the disproportionate levels of the Israeli attacks. There are also more than 500 people wounded in Gaza, according to Palestinian hospital sources.

The Israeli chief of staff, Benny Gantz, had ordered the bombing to be intensified on Sunday over the Gaza Strip, amid rumors of a possible imminent ceasefire mediated by Egypt. The facts on the ground contradict — at least temporarily — what has been allegedly said from Cairo. What happened in Gaza on Saturday night and into Sunday was definitely nothing like a truce. The Israeli army attacked by sea and air. The bombings of the F-16 he accompanied the bombing of the Israeli navy, whose ships were just off the Gaza coast. Attacks on Gaza arrived in rounds of three or four shots, which after a few moments were followed by the impact of the bombs over Arab territory.

Israeli  Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a news conference that after talks with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, he made it clear that the first
condition for any ceasefire agreement is the complete cessation of rocket attacks against Israel.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.