Israel closes investigation of those responsible for al Samouni family massacre, no legal action taken

Israel/Palestine
on 75 Comments

From Haaretz:

Israel’s military prosecution announced Tuesday that no legal steps will be taken against those responsible for the killing of 21 members of the Samouni family during the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

A letter was received by the human rights group B’Tselem from Major Dorit Tuval, Deputy Military Advocate for Operational Matters. Tuval said that the case has been closed after the investigation has found that the attack on the civilians, “who did not take part in the fighting,” and their killing were not done knowingly and directly, or out of haste and negligence “in a manner that would indicate criminal responsibility.” . . .

Attorney Yael Stein of B’Tselem said in response, “It cannot be that in a well-managed system no person will be found guilty of the army operation that led to the killing of 21 people who were not involved in combat, and resided in a structure on the instructions of the army – even if the attack was not done purposefully,” she said.

“The manner in which the army rids itself of responsibility in this case… again illustrates the need for an investigatory body outside of the army.”

For background on the al Samouni case see here and here.

It should be remembered that Richard Goldstone held up the Israeli investigation of the Samouni attack as exemplary, but a March, 2011 UN followup committee thought otherwise:

The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni. This is of considerable concern: reportedly 24 civilians were killed and 19 were injured in the related incidents on 4 and 5 January 2009. Furthermore, the events may relate both to the actions and decisions of soldiers on the ground and of senior officers located in a war room, as well as to broader issues implicating the rules of engagement and the use of drones. There are also reports indicating that the MAG’s decision to investigate was opposed by the then Head of the IDF Southern Command. Media reports further inform that a senior officer, who was questioned “under caution” and had his promotion put on hold, told investigators that he was not warned that civilians were at the location. However, some of those civilians had been ordered there by IDF soldiers from that same officer’s’ unit and air force officers reportedly informed him of the possible presence of civilians. Despite allegedly being made aware of this information, the officer apparently approved air strikes that killed 21 people and injured 19 gathered in the al-Samouni house. Media sources also report that the incident has been described as a legitimate interpretation of drone photographs portrayed on a screen and that the special command investigation, initiated ten months after the incidents, did not conclude that there had been anything out of the ordinary in the strike. As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial. The same officer who assertedly called in the strike reportedly insisted that ambulances not enter the sector under his control, fearing attempts to kidnap soldiers.

75 Responses

  1. Avi_G.
    May 1, 2012, 1:28 pm

    I always found it absurd that the military would investigate itself. What is more absurd is that such a farcical system is considered by the Israeli public as an objective, credible one.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    May 1, 2012, 1:38 pm

    There you go. So after the next firecracker rocket from Gaza, I’m sure the zios will be satisfied with the response that any damage was “not done knowingly and directly, or out of haste and negligence ‘in a manner that would indicate criminal responsibility.’”

    • Kathleen
      May 1, 2012, 3:17 pm

      I could hardly click and read. The lack of justice and accountability that the Palestinians have continuously had to deal with in regard to past and ongoing crimes is enough to drive individuals into depression and violence. Or both. Will any other international body be taking this issue up?

    • asherpat
      May 2, 2012, 1:06 pm

      Woody, question to you: would you have your family live under a possiblility to be “fireracked” by these “firecrackers” from Gaza? Yes/no answer wud suffice.

      • American
        May 2, 2012, 1:38 pm

        Woody, question to you: would you have your family live under a possiblility to be “fireracked” by these “firecrackers” from Gaza? Yes/no answer wud suffice”..asherpat

        Well, the obvious answer from an Israeli would be yes.
        They did and do ask for it after all, by what they do in and to Palestine.
        try doing the same thing to people who actually have the wherewithall to really fight back and see what you get.

        • asherpat
          May 2, 2012, 10:19 pm

          @American, I asked Woody about HIS family, not “from an Israeli”. If you be so kind as to reveal your thoughts, pls answer too, about YOUR family, yes/no pls.

        • American
          May 3, 2012, 9:47 am

          ”@American, I asked Woody about HIS family, not “from an Israeli”. If you be so kind as to reveal your thoughts, pls answer too, about YOUR family, yes/no pls.”

          There isn’t a yes/no answer for my family because I would never allow a member of my family to commit or support acts that oppress other people to begin with. If one did he would have to answer for it and take his medicine for his own sake as well as his victims. It would be impossible for me to tolerate that from someone in my family, emotionally devastating as it would be to have to do something about it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 2, 2012, 4:53 pm

        asherpat:

        If I were Jewish, I would not live in Palestine at all, but would move to the land where I came from, wherever that was.

        If I were born in Palestine, I would move to whatever country my ancestors immigrated from a generation or two ago, as I would not want to take part in the hideous den of theft and colonialism that zionism has turned the Israeli state into.

        If my ancestors had been in Palestine for a number of generations, I would not choose to live in a colonial-theft enclave, like S’derot, or an ethnically cleansed land haunted by the Nakba, like Ashkelon.

        And regardless of wherever I chose to live, I would always remember that the hell that the Israelis puts Palestinian men, women and especially children through every single day is thousands upon thousands of times worse than everything the Palestinians have inflicted on Israel in retaliation for Israel’s acts, and would vote accordingly.

        I hope that suffices.

        • asherpat
          May 2, 2012, 10:25 pm

          @Woody – “If I were born in Palestine, I would move to whatever country my ancestors immigrated from a generation or two ago”

          And how wud you do that? Woody, this your comment shows that you probably live in some cosy Western democracy with open borders (Shengen, etc) and apply the same logic to your views. But outside the state of Israel, where Palestinians are second class citizens (yes), in the rest of the Middle East, Palestinians are not citizens at all, how exactly would you “move” to let’s say Syria or Lebanon, where you, as a Palestinian of course, would not be allowed to own land (outside of the “refugee camp”) and hope that you are not a doctor, a lawyer etc. cos Palestinians are not allowed these professions, except in Apartheid Israel.

        • Woody Tanaka
          May 3, 2012, 11:57 am

          asherpat,

          In my answer, the assumption I made was that I was a Jew born in Palestine. (i.e., in “Israel,” the colonial entity created by Europeans in Palestine.) If I were a Jew born in Israel I would return to my real homeland (i.e., Germany, Poland, USA, Russia, whereever it was that my ancestor a generation or two came from to participate in the crimes in occupied Palestine). If I was unable to got there, I would seek someplace like the US or UK and work for the freedom of the Palestinians from their bondage and oppression.

          Obviously, since Arabs were ethnically cleansed in the Nakba and later, by Jewish terrorism operations and the land around the Gaza strip was made Arabrein by the Jewish brownshirts, the idea that I could be a Palestinian living in any of the areas where the Gaza firecrackers land is preposterous. And even if your Jewish terrorists didn’t commit (and continue to commit) that massive crime against humanity and war crime, if I were Palestinian, I would not live in that area, because it is full of people who are hard-core anti-Arab bigots. No one is his right mind would want to live among those barbarians and I would fear for my life and that of my children at their hands.

      • ritzl
        May 3, 2012, 1:36 am

        The short answer is Yes. BUT, in doing so, I would do (and/or insist upon with my vote) four things:

        1) That a sincere (heretofore unexplored) non-military solution be pursued vigorously. Avoid at all costs a subscription to the racist view that Arabs/Palestinians are intrinsically violent and/or want the destruction of Israel (whatever that means). Subscribe to/embrace the view, with all my/your heart that Palestinians DO “love their children” and proceed from there as a fundamental guiding principle. Take a risk, given new information.

        2) (Or maybe 1a) Acknowledge that bombing (starving, depriving, demolishing, humiliating…) people into submission doesn’t work and hasn’t worked. Palestinians are never going to leave and/or move on. Your own history tells you that. Seek another path. Solve the problem.

        3) Travel to the WB and/or Gaza and live like a Palestinian. For a month, not just a day trip. You would be accepted, though you would almost certainly be feared as well. Maybe the latter would be gratifying in a certain self-diminishing sense, but it would be only one miniscule part of a complex path to understanding how to solve this problem, and the net result would expand, if not blow, your mind.

        4) Re-examine your damn founding mythology. Personally and publicly. Embrace the reality of the intransigency of the problem.

        I’m amazed at how few Israelis do any, let alone all, of these things. If my government was pursuing a good-faith, negotiated path to solving the rocket problem, I would gladly endure, because I would see a positive outcome. The fact that there is NO good-faith effort to solve this non-militarily (like it could be solved militarily as we are learning in the US) would cause me to move on, if I had options.

      • Blake
        May 6, 2012, 3:17 am

        asherpat: Perhaps you should go further back and ask would you have your family live in open air prison and just for the heck of it a little further back and say would you consent to be occupied and oppressed and ethnically cleansed away for a foreign ideology?

  3. justicewillprevail
    May 1, 2012, 3:08 pm

    So the message is: Israelis can carry on killing with impunity. A show trial for the foreign press will be conducted, but no charges or admission of responsibility for the deaths of innocent people will ever be made. After all, Palestinians aren’t people like Israeli Jews, they are not allowed rights or any status, they are relegated to the category of nobodies, they are fit for wanton destruction and slaughter, because what Israeli could care less about the original inhabitants of their shabby state? Disgraceful doesn’t get anywhere close, callous indifference and utter lack of humanity is slightly closer to their spectacularly supremacist heartlessness.

  4. Kathleen
    May 1, 2012, 4:37 pm

    Whitewashing the Slaughter of the al-Samouni Family

    link to newsgroups.derkeiler.com

    Samouni Family Responds to Goldstone Backtrack on Israeli War Crimes – April 4, 2011 – Ken O’Keefe

    link to youtube.com

    One Year After Israeli Assault on Gaza, Survivors from Samouni Family Remember the Tragedy that Killed 29

    link to democracynow.org

  5. Shingo
    May 1, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Israel’s military prosecution announced Tuesday that no legal steps will be taken against those responsible for the killing of 21 members of the Samouni family during the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza

    Something to remember every time the Fogel familiy murder is brought up.

    • asherpat
      May 2, 2012, 1:13 pm

      @Shingo,

      your barbaric response about Fogel family only gives fuel to Israeli extremists.

      You shud be ashamed of yourself for inciting hatred rather than promoting peace. But perhaps peace is not what you want, you cudnt care less about Palestinians in general nor Samouni family in particular. What you really after is Israel vanquished, isnt it?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 2, 2012, 1:31 pm

        your selective outrage is impressive/NOT

        • American
          May 2, 2012, 1:42 pm

          Ditto.

          asher should worried about the hatred barbaric Israeli actions incite.

      • Shingo
        May 2, 2012, 4:24 pm

        your barbaric response about Fogel family only gives fuel to Israeli extremists.

        Of course, how could I have been so willing to give fuel to Israeli extremists? It’s obviously now the massacre of the Samouni family that gives fuel to Israeli extremists, it’s the fact that I am traling about them and comparing that massacre to the murder the Jews, and as we all know, it’s an outrage to even consider such an equivalence right, my racist, ethnosupremacist, apartheid lovign friend?

  6. eGuard
    May 2, 2012, 6:24 am

    Richard Goldstone held up the Israeli investigation of the Samouni attack as exemplary

    Very confusing writing. This could be “Goldstone Report” (September 2009) or “Goldstone Retracts” (April 2011). I had to research the links to start understanding.

  7. OlegR
    May 2, 2012, 7:10 am

    /”Attorney Yael Stein of B’Tselem said in response, “It cannot be that in a well-managed system no person will be found guilty of the army operation that led to the killing of 21 people who were not involved in combat, and resided in a structure on the instructions of the army – even if the attack was not done purposefully,”/

    Basically what the attorney says is that even though that attack was not done purposefully she still thinks that someone should be punished for it just for the sake
    of punishment.
    In this shows complete disregard to the whole nature of armed conflict.

    If the attack is not purposeful then sad as it is no blame can be assigned to soldiers
    who ordered or executed the attack.
    War is not a game and it’s not humane and can’t be judged by the standards of civilian law.

    The basic argument that you guys use is 21 people were killed–> someone should be punished.

    • eGuard
      May 2, 2012, 7:27 am

      OlegR: even though if that attack was not done purposefully

      Just start qouting right before concluding.

      • OlegR
        May 2, 2012, 7:50 am

        That’s even worse.
        If Betzelem has evidence that the attack was done purposefully
        they should present them because then the perpetrators should be punished.
        What they are doing is arguing that
        no matter what happened somebody should be punished.

        • eGuard
          May 2, 2012, 7:58 am

          OlegR in short: Whatever

          You quoted verbatim, and then the first words you reproduce by yourself are wrong. Why should I care about the logic you build from there?

        • OlegR
          May 2, 2012, 8:00 am

          If you are not interested in my argument then why are you commenting
          on it wasting precious bytes and time…

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 8:16 am

          In this shows complete disregard to the whole nature of armed conflict.

          I agree. Cast Lead was a war crime from start to end. Israe’s leaders should be in the Hague.

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 8:22 am

          Lies and Israeli propaganda are like dust and mould Oleg. It’s unsightly and unpleasnt, but if you don’t deal with it right away, it becomes a health hazard.

        • Sumud
          May 2, 2012, 8:36 am

          If Betzelem has evidence that the attack was done purposefully
          they should present them because then the perpetrators should be punished.
          What they are doing is arguing that

          Are you proposing that the entire Al Samouni family were herded into one house and missiles then dropped on that house accidentally?!

        • OlegR
          May 2, 2012, 9:15 am

          /Are you proposing that the entire Al Samouni family were herded into one house and missiles then dropped on that house accidentally?!/

          Do you have evidence that it was not the case ?
          Other then your own “common sence” ?

        • Sumud
          May 2, 2012, 9:31 am

          Do you have evidence that it was not the case ?

          I’ve quoted the relevant sections of the UN Fact Finding Mission to Gaza Report down below. Read it and make your own conclusions.

          It does not sound like an accident to me.

          Compare this case with the attack on the Al Daya House from January 6, which killed a similar number of people: 22 members of a single family including 12 children. This case is examined in the UN FF Report in paragraphs 844–866. In that case Israel at least claimed it had missiled the house in error; that it had meant to attack what the IDF believed was a house containing weapons next door.

          No such claims were made in the case of the Al Samouni massacre.

        • Sumud
          May 2, 2012, 9:33 am

          And Oleg – it’s rude to answer a question with a question. I’ll ask again:

          Are you proposing that the entire Al Samouni family were herded into one house and missiles then dropped on that house accidentally?!

        • Winnica
          May 2, 2012, 10:06 am

          Shingo -

          You’ve just rejected the fundamental principles of the laws of war. These postulate two separate issues. Jus ad Bellum deals with the justification for being at war, while Jus in Bello deals with the behavior while at war. Theoretically a country can be at war for justifiable reasons or unjustifiable ones, while behaving in what is defined as a just or unjust manner – and there’s no necessary connection between either.

          The consensus at Mondoweiss is that Israel is never justifiably at war, since its very existence is regarded as unjust and unaceptable. Even so, the test of particular actions is a distinct matter, to be tested empirically. Which means, that even the Mondoweiss community must accept that the determination of the legality or illegality of a specific IDF action has nothing to do with the justness of Zionism, ad everything to do with the specific details of each particular event.

          If you reject that, you’ve rejected the entire underpinning of international humanitarian law – which is not what most Mondoweiss writers seem eager to do.

          To the best of my knowledge, the only entity so far which has investigated the specific details with legal tools is the IDF. One may dislike their findings, but the only way to discredit them is to follow the same path and present either contradictory facts, or legal considerations as to why the facts ned to be interpreted differently.

        • Winnica
          May 2, 2012, 10:37 am

          Sumud,

          The present decision of the IDF comes after the Goldstone report, and represents precisely such a claim. You may choose to dislike it, but you can’t say no such claim was made.

        • mig
          May 2, 2012, 10:57 am

          Situation with Israel and palestinians can’t be called as war.

        • justicewillprevail
          May 2, 2012, 11:14 am

          What ‘legal tools’? do you mean the veneer of legal jargon to cover their limp excuses and prevarications? Btw the ‘consensus’ is not what you claim. When is Israel ‘at war’ legally in Gaza?

        • stevieb
          May 2, 2012, 11:23 am

          Ah yes.. those precious bytes…so scarce and valuable…no sir, don’t waste the bytes my friend. And don’t get me started on ‘time’..

        • stevieb
          May 2, 2012, 11:30 am

          No, Oleg. Betzelem is not arguing that ‘no matter what happened somebody should be punished’. Can you provide the relevant quotes that indicate that to be ‘Betzelem’s’ position? Thanks….

        • Sumud
          May 2, 2012, 11:32 am

          The present decision of the IDF comes after the Goldstone report, and represents precisely such a claim. You may choose to dislike it, but you can’t say no such claim was made.

          Quote & source please.

        • Winnica
          May 2, 2012, 11:39 am

          Huh, Sumud? The UN report came out in 2010, and the IDF investigation was completed just recently, in 2012. It rejects previous findings – go read the item at the top of this thread. That’s the whole point of the discussion, isn’t it?

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 4:37 pm

          You’ve just rejected the fundamental principles of the laws of war.

          The fundamental principals of the laws of war all come under the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremeberg principals.

          Jus ad Bellum deals with the justification for being at war, while Jus in Bello deals with the behavior while at war.

          The Nuremberg Tribunal determined that wars of agression are the other fo all war crimes and unique insofar as they include all the ctimes that stem from them. Thus, whatever crimes eventuates from such wars fo agression are equally the reponsibility of the agressor. That means, the agressor cannto start a war and then make the claim that it is subsequently acting in self defense.

          Theoretically a country can be at war for justifiable reasons or unjustifiable ones, while behaving in what is defined as a just or unjust manner – and there’s no necessary connection between either.

          No it cannot, becasue once it is at war for unjustifiable reasons, it remains the guilty party, reposnsible for all the subsequent crimes that ensue.

          The consensus at Mondoweiss is that Israel is never justifiably at war, since its very existence is regarded as unjust and unaceptable.

          Nice straw man, but that’s a munumental FAIL! Yes, the consensus at Mondoweiss is that Israel is never justifiably at war, becasue apart from the 1973 war, Israel has started every war and done so with the aim of territorial conquest. Seeign as conquest and exapsionistm has nothing to do with Israel’s existence, that makes you a liar.

          Even so, the test of particular actions is a distinct matter, to be tested empirically.

          We have done that repeatedly and exahaustively, which is why it can safely be stated that Israel started every war since and including 1948, with the exception of 1973, which in reality, was a continuation fo the 1967 war (which Israel started). The justness of Zionism has nothing to do with this argument, unless you agree with Max Blumenthall and others, that land theft and exapsionism lies in the DNA of Zionism.

          If you reject that, you’ve rejected the entire underpinning of international humanitarian law – which is not what most Mondoweiss writers seem eager to do.

          PLease drop that stick and step back from the dead horse. You clealy are over your head on this topic.

          To the best of my knowledge, the only entity so far which has investigated the specific details with legal tools is the IDF.

          Yeah, just like Al Capone doing his own tax returns.

        • Sumud
          May 3, 2012, 4:57 am

          Huh, Sumud?

          Winnica – pls read my comment before replying next time.

          I wrote specifically about the Al Daya family massacre. Israel claimed at the time (in 2010) they had killed all those people by accident because they targeted the wrong house – they meant to drop a missile on the one next door. It’s not a very convincing story but it wasn’t an explanation that took two years to concoct.

          The Al Samouni family massacre was different. There was no plausible reason for herding 100 family members into one house and then launching missiles at it. There was no adequate explanation in 2010 or after. We still only have “it was an accident” but no better explanation – which is exactly what I wrote:

          This case is examined in the UN FF Report in paragraphs 844–866. In that case Israel at least claimed it had missiled the house in error; that it had meant to attack what the IDF believed was a house containing weapons next door.

          No such claims were made in the case of the Al Samouni massacre.

          To which you responded and told me there was an explanation made just like that:

          The present decision of the IDF comes after the Goldstone report, and represents precisely such a claim. You may choose to dislike it, but you can’t say no such claim was made.

          I see no such claim, only “it was an accident”. You tell me there was.

          I’m asking what it is. “It was an accident ” is not an adequate explanation.

          Pls quote the relevant text from the report and provide a link.

    • Shingo
      May 2, 2012, 8:12 am

      In this shows complete disregard to the whole nature of armed conflict.

      Especially armed conflict of choice, when Israel starts a war just for the sake of havign a war.

      If the attack is not purposeful then sad as it is no blame can be assigned to soldiers
      who ordered or executed the attack.

      The attack on Gaza was entirely purposeful and the massacre of civilians (which was innevitable), therefore fully intended.

      War is not a game and it’s not humane and can’t be judged by the standards of civilian law.

      It is judged on the stardards of war crimes and international law, and starting a war of agression is the greatest war crime of all.

      The basic argument that you guys use is 21 people were killed–> someone should be punished.

      Whereas Israel uses the arguments that:

      1. Even though our actions constitute acts of war, any retaliation to those acts of war require a response.
      2. Someone fired a rocket, therefore, everyone should be punished.

    • stevieb
      May 2, 2012, 11:14 am

      “The basic argument that you guys use is 21 people were killed–> someone should be punished.”

      Unless any of those 21 people were members of your family, or maybe your personal friends – maybe your wife or sister, Oleg. Or maybe your child.

      In that case nobody should be punished. Agreed?

      • Winnica
        May 2, 2012, 11:47 am

        Stevieb -

        The discussion is about legal proceedings, not emotions. Legal proceedings must start with empirical evidence that will plausibly convince a court, and they end once the court (or the top level court if there are appeals) rules as to whether the evidence was convincing or not. Not only are emotions such as bereavement or a relationship to the victims not acceptable, judges who have them are expected to recuse themselves.

        In cases where the judges find insufficient evidence to convict, no-one will be convicted and certainly nooe will be punished, no matter how heinious the original action may have been.

        Would you wish to live in any orther sort of country than one that operated by such rules?

        • Shingo
          May 3, 2012, 2:07 am

          Legal proceedings must start with empirical evidence that will plausibly convince a court, and they end once the court (or the top level court if there are appeals) rules as to whether the evidence was convincing or not.

          In whuch case, the Samouni family massacre would be an open and shuit case of war crimes. The trouble is of course that the political pressure exerted by the US to prevent such cases being referred to the ICJ has prevented such an outcome.

          Would you wish to live in any orther sort of country than one that operated by such rules?

          The Palestinians live under such rules every day of their lives.

        • stevieb
          May 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

          That’s not the point, Winnaca, that I was making.

  8. Sumud
    May 2, 2012, 9:18 am

    I will quote the relevant sections of the UN FF Mission to Gaza Report on the killings of the Al Samouni family. Pls excuse the long quote but I think it is worth reading.

    The sequential numbers interspersed through the text are footnote numbers – I’ve left them in. Some of the most chilling & grotesque facts are in the footnotes, e.g. footnote 394:

    Graffiti left by Israeli soldiers in the house of Talal al-Samouni, which were photographed by the Mission, included (a) in Hebrew, under the Star of David: “The Jewish people are alive” and, above a capital “T” [referring to the army (Tsahal)], “This [the letter T] was written with blood”; (b) on a drawing of a grave, in English and Arabic, “Arabs 1948-2008 ”; and (c) in English: “You can run but you can not hide”, “Die you all”, “ 1 is down, 999,999 to go”, “Arabs need to die” and “Make war not peace”.

    The relevant paragraphs in the report are 706–735.

    They appear in the Report under the heading “XI. DELIBERATE ATTACKS AGAINST THE CIVILIAN POPULATION” and one of the prior establishing paragraphs (705) includes the following [my emphasis]:

    The Mission investigated 11 incidents in which serious allegations of direct attacks with lethal outcome were made against civilians. There appears to have been no justifiable military objective pursued in any of them.

    In many of the incidents, the Israeli armed forces allegedly obstructed emergency medical help to the wounded.

    This is what Goldstone tried to walk back.

    Paragraphs 706–735:

    A. Attacks on the houses of Ateya al-Samouni and Wa’el al-Samouni in Zeytoun, resulting in the death of 23 members of the al-Samouni family

    706. To investigate the attacks on the houses of Ateya and Wa’el al-Samouni, which killed 23 members of the extended al-Samouni family, the Mission visited the site of the incidents.394 It interviewed five members of the al-Samouni family and several of their neighbours on site.395 Two members of the extended al-Samouni family, who were eyewitnesses to the incident, Messrs. Wa’el and Saleh al-Samouni, testified at the public hearing in Gaza. The Mission also interviewed PRCS ambulance drivers who went to the area on 4, 7 and 18 January 2009, and obtained copies of PRCS records. The Mission finally reviewed material on this incident submitted to it by TAWTHEQ as well as by NGOs.

    707. The so-called al-Samouni area is part of Zeytoun, south of Gaza City, bordered to the east by al-Sekka Street, which in that part of Gaza runs parallel and very close to Salah ad-Din Street. It is inhabited by members of the extended al-Samouni family, which gives its name to the area, as well as by other families, such as the Arafats and the Hajjis. Al-Samouni area is more rural than urban, houses used to stand next to small olive and fig groves, chicken coops and other small plots of agricultural land. A small mosque stood in the centre of the neighbourhood. These no longer existed at the time of the Mission’s visit in June 2009. The Mission saw very few buildings left and a few tents standing amidst the rubble of collapsed houses and bulldozed land.396

    708. The Israeli ground offensive from the east reached al-Samouni neighbourhood around 4 a.m. on 4 January 2009. In addition to the ground forces moving in from the east, there were, in all likelihood, heliborne397 troops that landed on the roofs of several houses in the area. Residents told the Mission that there was shooting in the neighbourhood in the night of 3 to 4 January and again the following night, but denied having seen any Palestinian fighters.

    1. The killing of Ateya al-Samouni and his son Ahmad

    709. During the morning of 4 January 2009, Israeli soldiers entered many of the houses in al-Samouni area. One of the first, around 5 a.m., was the house of Ateya Helmi al-Samouni, a 45-year-old man. Faraj, his 22-year-old son, had already met Israeli soldiers some minutes earlier as he stepped outside the house to warn his neighbours that their roof was burning. The soldiers entered Ateya al-Samouni’s house by force, throwing some explosive device, possibly a grenade. In the midst of the smoke, fire and loud noise, Ateya al-Samouni stepped forward, his arms raised, and declared that he was the owner of the house. The soldiers shot him while he was still holding his ID and an Israeli driving licence in his hands. The soldiers then opened gunfire inside the room in which all the approximately 20 family members were gathered. Several were injured, Ahmad, a boy of four, particularly seriously. Soldiers with night vision equipment entered the room and closely inspected each of those present. The soldiers then moved to the next room and set fire to it. The smoke from that room soon started to suffocate the family. A witness speaking to the Mission recalled seeing “white stuff” coming out of the mouth of his 17-month-old nephew and helping him to breathe.

    710. At about 6.30 a.m. the soldiers ordered the family to leave the house. They had to leave Ateya’s body behind but were carrying Ahmad, who was still breathing. The family tried to enter the house of an uncle next door, but were not allowed to do so by the soldiers. The soldiers told them to take the road and leave the area, but a few metres further a different group of soldiers stopped them and ordered the men to undress completely. Faraj al-Samouni, who was carrying the severely injured Ahmad, pleaded with them to be allowed to take the injured to Gaza. The soldiers allegedly replied using abusive language. They also said “You are bad Arabs”. “You go to Nitzarim”.

    711. Faraj al-Samouni, his mother and others entered the house of an uncle in the neighbourhood. From there, they called PRCS. As described below, at around 4 p.m. that day a PRCS ambulance managed to come in the vicinity of the house where Ahmad was lying wounded, but was prevented by the Israeli armed forces from rescuing him. Ahmad died at around 2 a.m. during the night of 4 to 5 January.398 The following morning those present in the house, about 45 persons, decided to leave. They made themselves white flags and walked in the direction of Salah ad-Din Street. A group of soldiers on the street told them to go back to the house, but the witness said that they walked on in the direction of Gaza. The soldiers shot at their feet, without injuring anyone, however. Two kilometres further north on Salah ad-Din Street, they found ambulances which took the injured to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.

    2. The attack on the house of Wa’el al-Samouni

    712. In other cases, the entry of soldiers was less violent than in Ateya al-Samouni’s home. In one instance, the soldiers landed on the roof and descended the stairs to the ground floor, separated men from women, searched and handcuffed the men.399 In another case they broke into a house by knocking a hole in the wall with a sledgehammer.400 At the house of Saleh al-Samouni, the Israeli soldiers knocked on the door and ordered those inside to open it. All the persons inside the house stepped out one by one and Saleh’s father identified each of the family members in Hebrew for the soldiers. According to Saleh al-Samouni, they asked to be allowed to go to Gaza City, but the soldiers refused and instead ordered them to go to Wa’el al-Samouni’s house across the street.

    713. The Israeli soldiers also ordered those in other houses to move to Wa’el al-Samouni’s house. As a result, around 100 members of the extended al-Samouni family, the majority women and children, were assembled in that house by noon on 4 January. There was hardly any water and no milk for the babies. Around 5 p.m. on 4 January, one of the women went outside to fetch firewood. There was some flour in the house and she made bread, one piece for each of those present.

    714. In the morning of 5 January 2009, around 6.30 – 7 a.m., Wa’el al-Samouni, Saleh al-Samouni, Hamdi Maher al-Samouni, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni and Iyad al-Samouni, stepped outside the house to collect firewood. Rashad Helmi al-Samouni remained standing next to the door of the house. Saleh al-Samouni has pointed out to the Mission that from where the Israeli soldiers were positioned on the roofs of the houses they could see the men clearly. Suddenly, a projectile struck next to the five men, close to the door of Wa’el’s house and killed Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni and, probably, Hamdi Maher al-Samouni.401 The other men managed to retreat to the house. Within about five minutes, two or three more projectiles had struck the house directly. Saleh and Wa’el al-Samouni stated at the public hearing that these were missiles launched from Apache helicopters. The Mission has not been able to determine the type of munition used.

    715. Saleh al-Samouni stated that overall 21 family members were killed and 19 injured in the attack on Wa’el al-Samouni’s house. The dead include Saleh al-Samouni’s father, Talal Helmi al-Samouni, his mother, Rahma Muhammad al-Samouni, and his two-year-old daughter Azza. Three of his sons, aged five, three and less than one year (Mahmoud, Omar and Ahmad), were injured, but survived. Of Wa’el’s immediate family, a daughter and a son (Rezqa, 14, and Fares, 12) were killed, while two smaller children (Abdullah and Muhammad) were injured.402 The photographs of all the dead victims were shown to the Mission at the home of the al-Samouni family and displayed at the public hearing in Gaza.

    716. After the shelling of Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, most of those inside decided to leave immediately and walk to Gaza City, leaving behind the dead and some of the wounded. The women waved their scarves. Soldiers, however, ordered the al-Samounis to return to the house. When family members replied that there were many injured among them, the soldiers’ reaction was, according to Saleh al-Samouni, “go back to death”. They decided not to follow this injunction and walked in the direction of Gaza City. Once in Gaza, they went to PRCS and told them about the injured that had remained behind.

    3. The attempts of PRCS and ICRC to rescue the civilians
    in the al-Samouni area

    717. PRCS had made its first attempt to evacuate the injured from the al-Samouni area on 4 January 2009 around 4 p.m. after receiving a call from the family of Ateya al-Samouni. PRCS had called ICRC, asking it to coordinate its entry into the area with the Israeli armed forces. A PRCS ambulance from al-Quds hospital managed to reach the al-Samouni area. The ambulance had turned west off Salah ad-Din Street when, at one of the first houses in the area, Israeli soldiers on the ground and on the roof of one of the houses directed their guns at it and ordered it to stop. The driver and the nurse were ordered to get out of the vehicle, raise their hands, take off their clothes and lie on the ground. Israeli soldiers then searched them and the vehicle for 5 to 10 minutes. Having found nothing, the soldiers ordered the ambulance team to return to Gaza City, in spite of their pleas to be allowed to pick up some wounded. In his statement to the Mission, the ambulance driver recalled seeing women and children huddling under the staircase in a house, but not being allowed to take them with him.403

    718. As soon as the first evacuees from the al-Samouni family arrived in Gaza City on
    5 January, PRCS and ICRC requested permission from the Israeli armed forces to go into the al Samouni neighbourhood to evacuate the wounded. These requests were denied. On 6 January around 6.45 p.m., one ICRC car and four PRCS ambulances drove towards the al-Samouni area in spite of the lack of coordination with the Israeli armed forces, but were not allowed to enter the area and evacuate the wounded.

    719. On 7 January 2009, the Israeli armed forces finally authorized ICRC and PRCS to go to the al-Samouni area during the “temporary ceasefire” declared from 1 to 4 p.m. on that day.404 Three PRCS ambulances, an ICRC car and another car used to transport bodies drove down Salah ad-Din Street from Gaza City until, 1.5 km north of the al-Samouni area, they found it closed by sand mounds. ICRC tried to coordinate with the Israeli armed forces to have the road opened, but they refused and asked the ambulance staff to walk the remaining 1.5 km.

    720. Once in the al-Samouni neighbourhood, PRCS looked for survivors in the houses. An ambulance driver who was part of the team told the Mission that in Wa’el al-Samouni’s house they found 15 dead bodies and two seriously injured children.405 One of the children had a deep wound in the shoulder, which was infected and giving off a foul odour. The children were dehydrated and scared of the PRCS staff member. In a house close by, they found 11 persons in one room, including a dead woman.

    721. The rescue teams had only three hours for the entire operation and the evacuees were physically weak and emotionally very unstable. The road had been damaged by the impact of shells and the movement of Israeli armed forces, including tanks and bulldozers. The rescuers put all the elderly on a cart and pulled it themselves for 1.5 kilometres to the place where they had been forced to leave the ambulances. The dead bodies lying in the street or under the rubble, among them women and children, as well as the dead they had found in the houses had to be left behind. On the way back to the cars, PRCS staff entered one house where they found a man with two broken legs. While they were carrying the man out of the house, the Israeli armed forces started firing at the house, probably to warn that the three-hour “temporary ceasefire” were about to expire. PRCS was not able to return to the area until 18 January.

    722. On 18 January 2009, members of the al-Samouni family were finally able to return to their neighbourhood. They found that Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, as most other houses in the neighbourhood and the small mosque, had been demolished. The Israeli armed forces had destroyed the building on top of the bodies of those who died in the attack. Pictures taken on 18 January show feet and legs sticking out from under the rubble and sand, and rescuers pulling out the bodies of women, men and children. A witness described to the Mission family members taking away the corpses on horse carts, a young man sitting in shock beside the ruins of his house and, above all, the extremely strong smell of death.406

    4. Factual findings

    723. The Mission found the foregoing witnesses to be credible and reliable. It has no reason to doubt their testimony.

    724. With regard to the context in which the attacks on the houses of Ateya al-Samouni and Wa’el al-Samouni took place, the Mission notes that there is some indication that there might have been a presence of Palestinian combatants in the al-Samouni neighbourhood during the first hours of the Israeli ground attack. A witness told the Mission that when he heard the first shots in the vicinity of his house in the night of 3 to 4 January, he at first thought it was Palestinian fighters. An NGO report submitted to the Mission states that a Palestinian combatant, reportedly a member of the Islamic Jihad, was killed in the al-Samouni area around midnight between 3 and 4 January.407

    725. The Mission considers, however, that the testimonies of the witnesses strongly suggest that already before daybreak on 4 January 2009 the Israeli armed forces were in full control of the al-Samouni neighbourhood. The Israeli soldiers had taken up position on the roofs of the houses in the area. According to several witnesses, the soldiers on the street spoke to residents who had ventured out of their houses.408 In some cases (for instance, at the house of Saleh al-Samouni and at the house Iyad al-Samouni was in, see below), they entered the houses non-violently after knocking on the door. According to Saleh al-Samouni, the prolonged identification of all the persons present in his house (his father identifying each family member in Hebrew for the soldiers) took place outside. The soldiers appear to have been confident that they were not at immediate risk of being attacked.

    726. The Mission also reviewed the submission it received from an Israeli researcher, arguing generally that statements from Palestinian residents claiming that no fighting took place in their neighbourhood are disproved by the accounts Palestinian armed groups give of the armed operations. The Mission notes that, as far as the al-Samouni neighbourhood is concerned, this report would appear to support the statements of the witnesses that there was no combat.409

    727. Regarding the attack on Ateya al-Samouni’s house, the Mission finds that the account given to it by Faraj al-Samouni is corroborated by the soldiers’ testimonies published by the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence. The assault on Ateya al-Samouni’s house appears to be the procedure of the Israeli armed forces referred to as a “wet entry”. A “wet entry” is, according to the soldier’s explanation, “missiles, tank fire, machine-gun fire into the house, grenades. Shoot as we enter a room. The idea was that when we enter a house, no one there could fire at us.” This procedure was, according to the soldier, thoroughly practised during recent Israeli armed forces manoeuvres.410

    728. The Mission notes that considering the generally calm circumstances that appear to have prevailed in the al-Samouni neighbourhood at the time (as evidenced by the way the soldiers entered other houses after knocking on the door) and the fact that the soldiers had already spoken to Faraj al-Samouni, one of the persons in Ateya al-Samouni’s house, the Mission cannot see any circumstance justifying the violent entry into the house.

    729. With regard to the attack on the five men who stepped out of Wa’el al-Samouni’s house to fetch firewood in the early morning of 5 January 2009 and to the subsequent shelling of the house, the Mission notes that the members of the other families who had been moved by the Israeli forces into Wa’el al-Samouni’s house had been searched by Israeli soldiers, as recounted by Saleh al-Samouni. Everything indicates that the Israeli forces knew that there were about 100 civilians in the house. Indeed, the families had asked to be allowed to leave the area towards a safer place, but had been ordered to stay in Wa’el al-Samouni’s house. The house must have been under constant observation by the Israeli soldiers, who had complete control over the area at the time.

    730. The Mission was not able to determine whether the attack was carried out by missiles launched from Apache helicopters, as Saleh and Wa’el al-Samouni told the Mission at the public hearing in Gaza, or by other munitions. Nevertheless, the fact that a first projectile struck next to the five men soon after they had left the house (at a time at which there was no combat in the area) and two or three projectiles struck the house after the survivors had retreated into the house, indicates that the weaponry used allowed a high degree of precision with a short response time and that the five men and then the house were the intended targets of the attack.

    731. The Mission notes that, four days later, the Israeli armed forces denied that the attack on the house of Wa’el al-Samouni had taken place. On 9 January 2009, an Israeli army spokesman, Jacob Dallal, reportedly told the Reuters news agency that “the IDF did not mass people into any specific building. […] Furthermore, we checked with regard to IDF fire on the 5th. The IDF did not target any building in or near Zeitun on the 5th.”411 The Mission is not aware of any subsequent statement from the Israeli Government which would contradict this blanket denial or suggest that the allegations have been the subject of further investigation.

    732. With regard to the obstruction of emergency medical access to the wounded in the al-Samouni neighbourhood, the Mission notes that four-year-old Ahmad al-Samouni was still alive at 4 p.m. on 4 January 2009, when the PRCS ambulance called by his relatives managed to arrive within what the Mission estimates to be 100 to 200 metres from the house where he was. In fact, he died about 10 hours later, which suggests that he might have had a good chance of survival. Israeli soldiers stopped the ambulance and thoroughly searched the driver, nurse and vehicle.412 Although they did not find anything indicating that the ambulance staff was not on a genuine emergency mission to evacuate a wounded civilian, they forced the ambulance to return to Gaza City without the injured Ahmad.

    733. On 5 and 6 January 2009, following the arrival in Gaza City hospitals of survivors of the attack on Wa’el al-Samouni’s house, PRCS and ICRC requested permission from the Israeli armed forces to go into the al-Samouni neighbourhood to evacuate the wounded. These requests were denied. According to the information available to PRCS, the Israeli armed forces told ICRC that there were combat operations going on in the area. A PRCS ambulance driver who was part of the PRCS convoy which went to the area in spite of the refusal of the Israeli armed forces to grant permission, reported that there were no clashes at the time.413 PRCS and ICRC were not able to evacuate the wounded from the area until 7 January in the afternoon.

    734. The information before it leads the Mission to believe that the Israeli armed forces arbitrarily prevented the evacuation of the wounded from the al-Samouni area, thereby causing at least one additional death, worsening of the injuries in others, and severe psychological trauma in at least some of the victims, particularly children.

    735. These findings are corroborated by the press release ICRC issued on 8 January 2008:
    The ICRC had requested safe passage for ambulances to access this neighbourhood [the al-Samouni area in Zeytoun] since 3 January but it only received permission to do so from the Israel Defense Forces during the afternoon of 7 January.
    The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.
    In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 metres away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israel Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.414

    • OlegR
      May 2, 2012, 9:22 am

      All the findings are based on one sided witness accounts.

      • Sumud
        May 2, 2012, 9:45 am

        All the findings are based on one sided witness accounts.

        That is 100% false Oleg.

        That statement, and the speed with which you replied to me directing you to my quote of the report, tells me that you have not read the text.

        The report used a wide range of sources including witness statements, Palestine and Israel Red Cross statements, IDF spokesperson quotes, Breaking The Silence IDF soldier statements and other NGO reports.

        It specifically states that the Mission members found the witnesses to be credible. Recall that the participants aren’t exactly brain dead – eg. Goldstone is a judge. I think they have some experience in collating evidence and judging the credibility of witness testimony.

        • OlegR
          May 2, 2012, 10:52 am

          In March 2009, Goldstone, Travers and Jilani signed an open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council, calling for those who perpetrated “gross violations of the laws of war,” “gross violations of international humanitarian law” and “targeting of civilians” to be brought to account. The letter concluded: “The events in Gaza have shocked us to the core. Relief and reconstruction are desperately needed but, for the real wounds to heal, we must also establish the truth about crimes perpetuated against civilians on both sides.”[31] The chief rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein and Melanie Phillips asserted that this statement, made before the work of the mission has begun, violated provisions for impartiality of the fact-finding missions.[30][32] Mary Robinson called Goldstone “a dedicated and unimpeachable human rights lawyer and advocate” who “was able to work with the [Human Rights] Council’s president to secure an agreement that he felt confident would permit the mandate to be interpreted in such a way as to allow his team to address the actions taken by both parties to the conflict.”[33]

          In January 2009, before her appointment to the mission, Christine Chinkin co-signed a letter published in the Sunday Times describing Israel’s military offensive in Gaza as “an act of aggression.” The letter also stated that the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings are “contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes.”[34][35] Critics, among them Howard L. Berman, said that Chinkin should have been disqualified to preserve the impartiality of the mission.[36][37][38][39] In August 2009, NGO UN Watch submitted a petition to the UN, calling for Chinkin’s disqualification.[40] In May 2009, Chinkin denied the charges, saying that her statement only addressed jus ad bellum, and not jus in bello.”[41]

          The inquiry members said that the mission investigated whether Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority had unnecessarily harmed innocent civilians, stating “On those issues the letter co-signed by Chinkin expressed no view at all.”[42][43] The members wrote that the fact-finding mission was not a judicial or even a quasi-judicial proceeding.[43] Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, said that the basic standards for international fact-finding missions had been ignored.[44] Goldstone agreed that the letter could have been the grounds for disqualification if the mission had been a judicial inquiry.[45] Two groups, a group of UK lawyers and academics, and a group of Canadian lawyers, said they supported the UN Watch request that Chinkin be disqualified and expressed disappointment that it was rejected.

        • Winnica
          May 2, 2012, 2:58 pm

          Sumud -

          I’ve read the entire report, all 575 pages of it, slowly and carefully. One of its many weaknesses is that it purports to know what the IDF intended, without having any access whatsoever to the decision-making process in Israel. True, Israel didn’t offer the information, but still, the fact remains that the commission didn’t have it. Lacking this information, there is no logical grounding for many of the pronouncements of the commission – and perhaps, for all we know, no factual basis, either.

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 4:20 pm

          I’ve read the entire report, all 575 pages of it, slowly and carefully. One of its many weaknesses is that it purports to know what the IDF intended, without having any access whatsoever to the decision-making process in Israel.

          Clearly you have NOT read the report Winnica, but are basing your understanding on 3rd accounts from those who have also not read it. The Goldstone Report NEVER claimed to determine what the IDF intended. In fact, when Goldstone wrote hsi op-ed retraction denouncing that the IDF had a policy of commiting war crimes, David and Lizzy observed that this was a bogus retraction because the original report never made that claim in the first place.

          I love how you hasbrats step into your own traps.

        • Winnica
          May 2, 2012, 4:47 pm

          Always one for civility, aren’t you Shingo.

          I read it, I wrote about it, and the report consistently claimed that the evidence it had collected must demonstrate Israeli intentions. That was the lynchpin of the entire war-crimes pronouncement. Without proven intent there can be no war crimes.

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 5:29 pm

          Always one for civility, aren’t you Shingo.

          I reserve civility for those not apologizing for uncivilized behavior.

          I read it, I wrote about it, and the report consistently claimed that the evidence it had collected must demonstrate Israeli intentions.

          If you had read it and written about it, you’d have no problem citing examples of such passages.

          Alas, that seems to be a problem.

          That was the lynchpin of the entire war-crimes pronouncement.

          No it wasn’t. The lynchpin was what was actually done.

           

          Without proven intent there can be no war crimes

          Rubbish, of course there is. Wars of aggression are war crimes.

          Oh, and the intent was made abundantly clear. Israel declare they would apply the  Dahiyeh doctrine to  Gaza, which is nothing more than collective punishment and an explicitly stated willingness rot target civilians.

        • eGuard
          May 2, 2012, 5:52 pm

          Winnica: it purports to know what the IDF intended

          Where in the quote above, #706-735?

        • stevieb
          May 3, 2012, 12:27 pm

          There is proven intent.

      • mig
        May 2, 2012, 10:03 am

        Because someone refused to cooperate in case solving. Wonder who it was….

        • OlegR
          May 2, 2012, 10:55 am

          Are you aware of any sovereign nation that would cooperate with such a fact finding mission.
          The US perhaps or Russia ?

        • Shingo
          May 2, 2012, 5:17 pm

          Are you aware of any sovereign nation that would cooperate with such a fact finding mission.

          Yes, Lebanon re the Hariri investigation.

        • stevieb
          May 3, 2012, 12:29 pm

          Irrelevant…

      • Talkback
        May 2, 2012, 10:04 am

        OlegR: “All the findings are based on one sided witness accounts.”

        Also known as the pseudo argument of Holocaust deniers.

        • mig
          May 2, 2012, 11:04 am

          Now i got flashback from 2004. When Israel refused also take part ICJ “security” wall question and didn’t give, when asked, information why wall is necessary & evidence. Yup, instead of evidence Israel managed to pass 135 page essay why this case should’t be in ICJ at all.

        • Shingo
          May 3, 2012, 2:08 am

          Yup, instead of evidence Israel managed to pass 135 page essay why this case should’t be in ICJ at all.

          And in the case of Cast Lead, they argued that the terms which determine war crimes should be changed.

      • talknic
        May 4, 2012, 7:55 am

        WOW… OlegR read all that, then found some other evidence to the contrary, which of course he has not supplied and then replied in less than 4 minutes? AMAZING!

        Idiots for a Greater Israel seem to have an incredible talent for exposing themselves for what they really are

  9. OlegR
    May 2, 2012, 9:21 am

    /Especially armed conflict of choice, when Israel starts a war just for the sake of havign a war./
    No evidence just your own prejudices.

    /The attack on Gaza was entirely purposeful and the massacre of civilians (which was innevitable), therefore fully intended./
    In this case any war no matter what sort of war will include war crimes and therefore
    should be abolished.And all leaders should be brought to trial.
    I am all for that actually.Begin with JWB and BO.

    /It is judged on the stardards of war crimes and international law, and starting a war of agression is the greatest war crime of all./
    Again proof that Cast Lead is a war of aggression and not a defensive operation please other then “It makes sence to me”.

    /Whereas Israel uses the arguments that:
    1. Even though our actions constitute acts of war, any retaliation to those acts of war require a response./
    I am sorry can you repeat that in English so i can understand.

    /2. Someone fired a rocket, therefore, everyone should be punished./
    No every one just those that harbor help and support that someone.

    • justicewillprevail
      May 2, 2012, 9:47 am

      Again. Read the Goldstone Report, instead of posting feeble, unsourced speculative ripostes. They are not one sided, but are corroborated and cross-referenced. You are, in your failure/refusal to understand some basic statements and research. We should believe your idle dismissals, with not a shred of evidence or argument, on the basis that you troll threads you don’t like?

    • Shingo
      May 3, 2012, 2:14 am

      No evidence just your own prejudices.

      Wrong. Wikileaks revealed that Israel’s leaders decided a war was necessary, not becasue of rockets, but becasue the ceasefire was benefitting Hamas politically.

      link to lobelog.com

      In this case any war no matter what sort of war will include war crimes and therefore should be abolished.

      Absolutely. Wars themselves are not legitimate, only acts of self defense are. Perventive wars are not legitimate. And yes, any leader who starts a war without the authority of the UNSC should indeed be brought to trial.

      Again proof that Cast Lead is a war of aggression and not a defensive operation please other then “It makes sence to me”.

      No, it is a documented fact. Haaretz reported that Cast Lead was in teh planning 6 months prior. Wikileaks revealed that Cast Lead was intitiated for political reasons, not security reasons.

      1. Even though our actions constitute acts of war, any retaliation to those acts of war require a response.

      Starting a war to incicte a response is not in itself a “response” but a continuation of that incitement.

      No every one just those that harbor help and support that someone.

      Which for Israel means all Palestinians.

      • asherpat
        May 3, 2012, 10:20 am

        @Shingo “Perventive wars are not legitimate” – does it include wars against Israel? Or is it that fring “firecrackers” on Jewish communities is “self defence”?

        • Shingo
          May 4, 2012, 3:01 am

          @”Preventive wars are not legitimate” – does it include wars against Israel?

          There hasn’t been a preventive war launched against Israel, so that’s a non sequitur.

          Or is it that fring “firecrackers” on Jewish communities is “self defence”?

          A response yes, but they are clearly not self defense.

          Any more rank stupidity?

        • asherpat
          May 4, 2012, 11:25 am

          @Shingo, do I understand that you agree that firing rockets into Israeli communities is not legitimate? After all, you say above that “they are clearly not self defence”. Or is it a “non-sequitur”?

        • Shingo
          May 4, 2012, 5:46 pm

          Of course firing rockets is illegitimate, just as is the occupation, the settlements, the blockade of Gaza etc.

        • asherpat
          May 6, 2012, 2:00 am

          @Shingo, the blockade of Gaza, includes Israel, or just Egypt?

        • Talkback
          May 6, 2012, 6:06 am

          @ asherpat

          The colonial ethno-stratocracy including Egypt. It’s based on their peace treaty and on the Crossings Agreement between the occupier and Palestinian Authority. Imports and exports are only allowed via Israel’s borders.

          Import:
          “… 40% of need, as measured against figures from 2005.”
          link to gisha.org

          Export:
          “… 0.5% of the amount of trucks promised in the AMA. Israel does not allow residents of Gaza to export goods to markets in Israel, the West Bank or Jordan.”
          link to gisha.org

          AMA:
          “3. Link between Gaza and the West Bank

          Israel will allow the passage of convoys to facilitate the movements of goods and persons.”
          link to mfa.gov.il

  10. asherpat
    May 6, 2012, 10:23 am

    @Talkback – Import:
    “… 40% of need, as measured against figures from 2005.”

    So, it was better during the occupation? Perhaps you will look for a reason. Let’s do it together, let’s find a parameter that statistically explains imports and exports from Gaza? How about we fit a curve based on rocket firing and other acts of war from Gaza on Israeli civilian communities. Wow, the fit is statistically significant and probably explains the changes almost perfectly.

    And what exactly is the ethno-stratocastery that you mention?

  11. Talkback
    May 6, 2012, 12:49 pm

    “So, it was better during the occupation?”

    It was better before the blockade. And Gaza is still considererd as occupied. Not only because of the amount of control Israel exercises, but because it is an integral part of the territory Israel occcupies. If Israel was occupied you couldn’t argue that Haifa is not occupied if the occupying troops are camping outside of it’s city borders.

    “Perhaps you will look for a reason.”

    It is very simple. Israel doesn’t let 60% in. That’s the reason why only 40% goes through. It’s not Qassam science.

    “How about we fit a curve based on rocket firing and other acts of war from Gaza on Israeli civilian communities. Wow, the fit is statistically significant and probably explains the changes almost perfectly.”

    Maybe in the Hasbara nebula but not in our universe. Because even during the mull the number of trucks never exceeded 50%, although a significant release was agreed:
    July: 4715,5; August: 3222,5; September: 3707; and October: 2578,5 per month compared to 10,400 trucks before the blockade.
    link to ochaopt.org

    It went from less than a half down to a quarter during the mull! But it didn’t provoke Hamas, so Israel had to kill some of its members. It had no other choice, right?

    (“In July 2002, Israel moved quickly to avert yet another political catastrophe. With assistance from European diplomats, militant Palestinian organizations, including Hamas, reached an accord to suspend all attacks inside Israel, perhaps paving the way for a return to the negotiating table. Just 90 minutes before it was to be announced, however, Israeli leaders – fully apprised of the imminent declaration – ordered an F-16 to drop a one-ton bomb on a densely-populated civilian neighborhood in Gaza, killing, alongside a Hamas leader, 11 children and five others, and injuring 140. Predictably, the declaration was scrapped and Palestinian terrorist attacks resumed with a vengeance. “What is the wisdom here?” a Meretz party leader asked the Knesset. “At the very moment that it appeared that we were on the brink of a chance for reaching something of a cease-fire, or diplomatic activity, we always go back to this experience – just when there is a period of calm, we liquidate.” Yet, having headed off another dastardly Palestinian “peace offensive,” the murderous assault made perfect sense.” link to normanfinkelstein.com)

    And even during all the years of the blockade the number of trucks never exceeded half of the numbers that were needed before the bloackade (see link). And the need then was lower than the need after Israel’s campaign of civilian massacre and destruction.

    Do you find 300 killed Palestinians (every 1.01 day) and 14,000 Israeli artillery shells (every 31 minutes) ALONE IN 2006 “statistically significant”?

    “And what exactly is the ethno-stratocastery that you mention?”

    I wrote “ethno-stratocracy”.

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