Independent investigation details Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments

A new independent medical fact-finding mission in Gaza has detailed Israel’s deliberate killing of Palestinian civilians in its summer 2014 attack, codenamed Operation “Protective Edge.” Acts documented in the investigation include the use of human shields, close-range murder of civilians, targeting of medics, and more.

The report, based on fieldwork and research conducted by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel), in conjunction with several other human rights and medical organizations, sits at a bulky 237 pages. PHR-Israel, in its words, “recruited eight independent international medical experts, unaffiliated with Israeli or Palestinian parties involved in the conflict,” leading specialists in numerous medical, health, and human rights fields. Jennifer Leaning, the Director of the Center for Health and Human Rights Department of Global Health and Population in Harvard University’s School of Public Health, was among those chosen to oversee the report.

The investigation was also supported by a wide array of prominent international organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Science and Human Rights Program, the British Shalom-Salaam Trust, Christian Aid, the Open Society Foundation, and many more.

In its executive summary, the fact-finding mission estimates that, in Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza,

  • over 2,100 Palestinians were killed;
  • at least 70% of those killed were civilians;
  • over 500 children were killed;
  • more than 11,000 were wounded; and
  • at least 100,000 were made homeless.

The Electronic Intifada published a summary of the investigation’s findings, drawing particular attention to an incident in the Gazan village of Khuzaa, in which the Israeli military shot into a crowd of civilians who were fleeing Israel’s siege and carrying white flags while shouting “peaceful, peaceful.”

This attack, nonetheless, pales in comparison to those disclosed in the report. PHR-Israel reported Israel did the following in its Operation Protective Edge:

  • used civilians as human shields;
  • shot civilians dead at close range;
  • left mortally wounded children on the ground to die, even after soldiers made eye contact with them;
  • conducted multiple consecutive strikes on a single location (“double taps”), killing injured survivors and those attempting to rescue them;
  • bombed medical clinics that were acting as shelters for civilians and the wounded;
  • “deliberately” attacked hospitals;
  • prevented emergency medical evacuation, even by international organizations such as Red Cross;
  • killed and injured “many” medical teams that were evacuating the injured;
  • refused to allow civilians to exit areas being attacked;
  • targeted civilian escape routes;
  • shelled ambulances;
  • attacked civilians attempting to flee areas under fire;
  • physically beat civilians;
  • denied civilians food and water;

and more.

The report additionally documented Israel’s use of unconventional and experimental weapons, resulting in injuries local doctors characterized as “strange or inexplicable.” Among those used were

  • flechette munitions (which doctors reported surgically removing from the faces of children);
  • “explosive barrel” bombs, referred to as “Tzefa Shirion” weapons, that were made to be used to clear mines, but were dropped on civilians;
  • what are suspected to be DIME weapons, leading to “unusual burns” and “unusual amputations,” with “charred” black skin that did not smell like burning flesh and black “tattooing” around cauterization-like stumps of amputees;
  • weapons that left “‘computer chips’ with Sony markings embedded as shrapnel in people’s bodies”;
  • and “a gas of unknown type,” a white-colored substance with a “sewage-like smell” that burned skin and caused respiratory problems and could be seen and smelled from 500 meters away.

The medical fact-finding mission notes that the “overwhelming majority of injuries causing death or requiring hospitalisation … were the result of explosion or crush injuries, often multiple complex injuries.” Roughly half of interviewed Gazans were attacked in their homes. Entire families were killed in the attack.

A graph from the report illustrating the most common locations in which Gazans were injured

A graph from the report illustrating the most common locations in which Gazans were injured.

A graph from the report illustrating the most common locations in which Gazans were injured

The report states that Israel’s

attacks were characterised by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighbourhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.

It also indicates that “there was no guaranteed safe space in the Gaza Strip, nor were there any safe escape routes from it.” The experts accused Israel of “serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

The Aftermath

These findings are based on extensive interviews with victims, witnesses, healthcare professionals and human rights workers, local government officials, and representatives of international health organizations. Forensic, medical, and other material evidence was also collected to scientifically verify these oral testimonies.

PHR-Israel spoke with 68 hospitalized patients who were injured in the attacks, and includes transcripts of these discussions in its report. The majority of Gazans interviewed after the attacks suffered from:

  • insomnia,
  • flashbacks,
  • nightmares,
  • depression,
  • weight loss,
  • loss of appetite,
  • unstable emotional states

In the wake of the attack, the fact-finding mission reports

  • strains on and a lack of resources in Gaza hospitals;
  • problems with sending patients from Gaza hospitals to outside hospitals outside for treatment;
  • long-term displacement because of the partial or total destruction of approximately 18,000 homes;
  • long-term psychosocial and mental health damage; and
  • a dire need for rehabilitation services with insufficient resources to meet them.

Potential War Crimes

In its recommendations, PHR-Israel et al. call upon international actors, including the UN, the EU, and the US, to “ensure that the governments of Israel and Egypt permit and facilitate the entry of investigative teams into Gaza, including experts in international human rights law and arms experts,” revealing that this “has not yet been done, months after the offensive.”

Israel prevented the world’s leading human rights organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, from entering Gaza in August 2014 to investigate. This medical fact-finding mission may be the first large-scale independent investigation conducted in Gaza since the summer attacks.

PHR-Israel also encourages the international community to support investigations conducted by local Palestinian civil society groups in their “efforts to collate evidence in Gaza, in order to proceed with legal and/or other remedies as well as to seek justice and/or reparations.” It suggests that the evidence presented in the report “be used for the purposes of legal determination of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Israel of committing war crimes in its summer 2014 attack on Gaza. Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has shown that most of those killed in Israel’s approximately 70 attacks on Gaza homes were women, children, and the elderly, and says the IDF’s targeting of homes may constitute war crimes.

Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on 1 April 2014. In January 2015, the court’s prosecutor launched a preliminary probe into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel, and its US allies, often refer to the Israel Defense Forces as “the most moral army in the world,” leading some, such as esteemed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, to criticize what they see as hypocrisy, in light of documented attacks such as these. In July 2014, in the midst of Operation “Protective Edge,” Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer insisted that the Israel Defense Forces deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for the “unimaginable restraint” they practiced in Gaza and that Israel earned “the admiration of the international community” for its purported caution. This report appears to indicate otherwise.

About Ben Norton

Ben is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications, and he is presently a politics staff writer at Salon. His website can be found at BenNorton.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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36 Responses

  1. DoubleStandard
    January 29, 2015, 11:17 am

    I have very little interest in what this “independent” investigation “uncovered.”

    The idea that Israel intentionally kills civilians sounds so facially stupid I wonder what exactly you mean when you say “Israel intentionally kills civilians.”

    Are you suggesting that it does it for sport and pleasure or that it just simply doesn’t care and has no qualms about killing them for limited military objectives?

    • John O
      January 29, 2015, 1:35 pm

      If you’re not interested, why post?

      Since you are clearly interested: “Are you suggesting that it […] just simply doesn’t care and has no qualms about killing them for limited military objectives?” Well, yes, actually, that is exactly what this report implies.

    • justicewillprevail
      January 29, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Correct. The evidence is overwhelming. They are not even ‘limited military objectives’, but deliberate punitive actions, or collective punishment. A Palestinian life means nothing to the Israseli government or the IDF, who kill people with impunity. It is part of the wider strategy of making Palestine unliveable for ordinary people – no free movement, limited water and resources, and no security of your own home or land. They do not distinguish between Palestinian civilians and militia, thus every Palestinian is conveniently classified as a military target, and deemed suitable for punishment or elimination. It is normally called fascism.

    • eljay
      January 29, 2015, 1:44 pm

      >> DoubleStandardeee: The idea that Israel intentionally kills civilians sounds so facially stupid …

      No, not really. After all, this is the same religion-supremacist state – a state with highly-advanced weaponry – that for over 60 years and with impunity has been committing land theft, occupation, colonization, destruction, torture, murder and other (war) crimes.

      • ritzl
        January 29, 2015, 11:25 pm

        “… that for over 60 years and with impunity has been committing land theft, occupation, colonization, destruction, torture, murder and other (war) crimes.”

        Exactly eljay. That’s the known path of escalation. There’s probably even a latin name for the process.

        Annie made an observation a couple of months ago that the legal definition of Genocide is narrow at the front end precisely because of the escalation and the need to prevent it. You all are so right.

        Far from “facially” or otherwise stupid, the drafters of the post WWII definition of Genocide, imho, specifically pointed to this kind of a pattern/progression of societal behavior as non-hypothetical (can/does happen anywhere), identifiable (early warning signs), symptomatic and predictive of worse to come, and sadly, all too familiar (1940s) to them.

        This report shows that Israel is past the non-hypothetical part, and well into the identifiable part. The worse-to-come part remains to be seen, but as I think you imply, ain’t nothing standing in the way of it.

        I hope the authors of this report, and the report itself, don’t get Goldstoned. The Israelis don’t need any more political encouragement.

    • oldgeezer
      January 29, 2015, 2:01 pm

      “or that it just simply doesn’t care and has no qualms about killing them for limited military objectives?”

      Oh it does it quite intentionally. That’s not only obvious from it’s actions but from the statements made by various GoI members over the years. Make life so intolerable that the Palestinians leave.

      Israel represents the type of state that was specifically envisaged when IHL was created. An abomination and scourge.

    • amigo
      January 29, 2015, 2:11 pm

      “I have very little interest in what this “independent” investigation “uncovered.” DS

      Of course it is independent.Israel always refuses to co operate or take part.You think the world should stop turning because Israel wants to get off.Clearly an ” independent “, “Israeli ” , “investigation” would “uncover “the “facts” eh DS.And I am sure Israel could conclude such an investigation in say —two hours, unlike those time wasting Jew hating antisemites from the UN.

      You zionists are such a hoot.It is so much fun watching you twist and turn and tie yourself into ever increasing knots.

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2015, 10:43 am

        “amigo” I sense there is ‘competition trolling’ going on. The macher minyan is assembled.

    • Kris
      January 29, 2015, 3:10 pm

      @DoubleStandard: “The idea that Israel intentionally kills civilians sounds so facially (sic) stupid I wonder what exactly you mean when you say “Israel intentionally kills civilians.”

      Really, to deny that Israel intentionally kills civilians is what is “facially (sic) stupid.”

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2015, 4:05 pm

      Now there’s a guy, that “Double Standard” who keeps parodists and satirists in the unemployment line, by doing the job himself. And hardly leaving any room for elaboration.
      I’ve never seen anything quite like this, and right underneath that picture, too. What a guy.

    • just
      January 29, 2015, 4:08 pm

      No surprise that you “have very little interest in the truth”, well- named ‘DoubleStandard’!

      Of course they intentionally killed Palestinian civilians! Many of us watched with horror as they were slaughtered, targeted by snipers, and tortured…. and remain in abject misery, thanks to the GoI and its supporters.

      Incontrovertible/indisputable truth.

      link to youtube.com

    • John Douglas
      January 29, 2015, 4:58 pm

      Word meanings slip and slide. A result of my action is intentional if I know the action will cause it, I have a choice and I act. If know there are ten civilians in a building plus an enemy combatant and I bomb the building, I have intentionally killed ten civilians. DoubleStandard doesn’t want to call it intentional unless I rejoice in the civilian deaths. If I approve the amputation of a limb to save my life the amputation is intentional. I will hardly rejoice over it. In today’s war, very little “collateral” death will be unexpected. So what is the moral difference between deaths from terrorism and civilian collateral damage?

    • cioppa
      January 29, 2015, 8:10 pm

      It’s part of Israel’s military strategy called “collective punishment”:–a form of terrorism in which no distinction is made between civilian military targets. The same strategy they used in Gaza

    • talknic
      January 30, 2015, 9:49 am

      @ DoubleStandard “I have very little interest in what this “independent” investigation “uncovered.” “

      Of course. I understand your need. You need to raise that double standard high.

      “The idea that Israel intentionally kills civilians sounds so facially stupid I wonder what exactly you mean when you say “Israel intentionally kills civilians.”

      Are you suggesting that it does it for sport and pleasure or that it just simply doesn’t care and has no qualms about killing them for limited military objectives?”

      There is no Internationally accepted formula for calculating allowable collateral when pursuing a military objective. The man in the field purposefully assesses the value of the military target, civilian collateral is or should be purposefully factored in and the slaughtering equipment is then purposefully dispatched. All civilian collateral where they are considered, is purposeful.

      BTW Although it gave forewarning, Israel had all the crossings closed, under the 2005 agreement with Egypt, (only possible to have such an agreement as an Occupying Power), thereby preventing civilians from fleeing a war zone, BEFORE attacking, which is illegal under Geneva Convention 1V…Section II..Occupied territories..Art49…The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Civilians could not even flee into the sea, because Israel controls the Palestinian territorial waters.

    • docarbuckle
      February 1, 2015, 8:07 pm

      It is obvious from your user name double standard what you think. After all the Israeli army has used double standards for years. Israelis are civilians and Palistinians are fighters all of them including children according to the IDF forces.

  2. David Doppler
    January 29, 2015, 12:40 pm

    It will be interesting to see the extent to which Jennifer Leaning receives the support, or condemnation, from the Harvard Faculty, as this criticism of Israel is run through the usual hasbara response.

    We shall see if Harvard’s motto has changed from “Veritas” to “Chutzpah.”

  3. amigo
    January 29, 2015, 1:00 pm

    I am unable to view the percentages clearly.Must be my Laptop.

    In any case , the pie chart shows the true story.

    2 % were carrying weapons. So 98% were either ,

    1, Evacuating 7%.
    2, Out in the street 27%
    3, Hospital 1%
    4, UN shelter 2%
    5, At Home 49%
    6, At the home of a neighbour or relative 13%
    7, Hazardous site 1%.

    So a total of 65% were injured while inside.So much for pin point ops.This was clearly an intent to kill as many as possible through a policy of widespread bombardment that was achieved from the air and the use of artillery and tank shells fired indiscriminately.Notable also is the 27% figure for people out in the street.So the most moral army must have bombed or shot at random to harm that number of people.Apparently it did not matter if they were women old people or children.

    About the Hazardous Sites figure, it seems to me that all of Gaza during Protective slaughter was a hazardous site

    The evidence increases in spite of Israel,s attempts to keep the world out of their “internal affairs”.

  4. oldgeezer
    January 29, 2015, 1:00 pm

    Self defense my ass.

    The sad part is that there is nothing surprisimg in there. This has been the Israeli m.o. for a number of decades. Despicable as are the supporters of that state.

    • cioppa
      January 29, 2015, 8:17 pm

      Sadly, we are a supporter of that state to the tune of 10 MILLION DOLLARS A DAY!!

  5. Whizdom
    January 29, 2015, 1:01 pm

    Israel’s Awlaki says:

    “Therefore, during war the attacked people are allowed to punish the enemy population in any punishment it finds worthy, such as denying supplies or electricity and also to bomb the whole area according to the discretion of the army minister and not to just simply endanger soldier’s lives but to take crushing deterrence steps to exterminate the enemy.”

    link to 972mag.com

    • RoHa
      January 29, 2015, 5:52 pm

      The full argument isn’t given on that site, just appeals to authority.

      There is a reference to the Torah:

      “The Torah of Israel guides us in all walks of life, private and public, on how to behave during war and also how to keep moral standards.”

      There is a reference to a Rabbi:

      “The Maharal from Prague (Rabbi Judah Loew – A.K.), in his book Gur Arye, clearly writes that… in all wars the attacked people are allowed to attack fiercely the people from whom the attackers came from and they do not have to check if he personally belongs to the fighters.”

      But nothing to indicate how that Rabbi came to that monstrous conclusion.

      Tell me again about the great Jewish ethical tradition people keep mentioning.

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2015, 10:48 am

        “Tell me again about the great Jewish ethical tradition people keep mentioning.”

        RoHa, as a steady reader ( if a somewhat sporadic commenter) I’ve been noticing that over the past year, mentions of the Jewish ethical tradition are growing fewer and fewer.

      • seanmcbride
        January 30, 2015, 11:54 am

        On the issue of ethics:

        MOOSER: “RoHa, as a steady reader ( if a somewhat sporadic commenter) I’ve been noticing that over the past year, mentions of the Jewish ethical tradition are growing fewer and fewer.”

        From the Observer today:

        “The founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, lost his father, Rabbi Eliezer, at the age of five. The last thing Rabbi Eliezer said before he died was, “Yisrolik, fear nothing but G-d alone. Love every single Jew, without exception, with the full depth of your heart and with the fire of your soul, no matter who he is or how he behaves.””

        “Battling Jewish Titans Alan Dershowitz and Ronn Torossian Make Up” link to observer.com

  6. Chu
    January 29, 2015, 1:25 pm

    I haven’t been following closely enough to the media anymore, since so much dis-information emanates from it’s echo chambers, but the 2014 summer slaughter of Gaza was much worse than January 2009’s Operation Cast Lead. There was so much more obvious cruelty inflicted on the Gaza prison camp, as the 2014 Israeli military operation (killing spree) targeted hospitals this time around (I recall about 9), as opposed to 2009 when it only targeted the singular flour mill in Gaza. That flour mill was something Judge Richard Goldstone wrote about in his extensive report, but retracted his report due to pressures inside the Jewish world.

    The Israeli military destroyed nearly 1/4 of the infrastructure of Gaza, aided by it’s government while the cheering public watched from the distant hills. This recent destruction has led to the recent deaths of Gazan babies freezing to death. The feeling of destitution must be unimaginable, as politics play out with AIPAC greasing all the US poiticians and politicos. And of course here, the Liberal Zionists will tell you how they really understand the conditions of Gazans, because they’ve had grandparents who survived similar prison camp experiences, and very well know the quality of suffering all the while, defending the occupiers who continue to take the lives and livelihood of Palestinians because they somehow deserve it more.

  7. Cliff
    January 29, 2015, 3:23 pm

    All the idiot hasbarats have nothing to say except to whine.

  8. just
    January 29, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Disgusting:

    “Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beitinu chairman Avigdor Liebermen criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, for the latter’s response more a Hezbollah attack in northern Israel that killed two IDF soldiers on Wednesday.

    “Containing the event and the lack of an Israeli response means that Israel is agreeing to terms set by Hezbollah,” noted Lieberman on his Facebook page. “It’s a serious blow to Israel’s deterrence capabilities.”

    Lieberman also criticized remarks made by Netanyahu on Wednesday after the attacks, in which he called on Hezbollah to recall the results of Operation Protective Edge. “Anyone that holds up Gaza and Operation Protective Edge as an example of deterrence is actually showing the exact opposite of deterrence, and how terror organizations should be dealt with,” said Lieberman.

    “Deterrence achieved against Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War is beginning to crack, because of what was seen during Protective Edge. If we do not immediately respond with force, the terrorist organizations will understand that Israel cannot effectively overcome terror. They too know that words and declarations cannot defeat terrorism, that only harsh and steadfast actions can destroy the foundations of terror,” wrote Lieberman on his Facebook page.

    According to Lieberman, those who would prefer not to escalate the situation effectively allow Hezbollah to build up its strength along the border with Syria, and send large amounts of terrorists and lethal weaponry there, in order to strike out against Israel from that area at any time.

    “A proportional response in accordance with the ‘rules of the game’ is exactly what the terrorists want, because it drags us into a war of attrition,” wrote Lieberman.

    “A proportional response shows the terrorist leaders that they have immunity, that their rule isn’t going to be toppled, that their ammunition won’t be targeted, and that they will be continue to be allowed to recruit and train new terrorists. Those who want to contain this situation agree to let the terrorist organizations get stronger at the expense of Israeli citizens’ safety.””

    link to haaretz.com

    • RoHa
      January 29, 2015, 6:54 pm

      So the Israeli position is to set aside the rules of war to defeat the terrorists. They might regret that later.

      “William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

      Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

      William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

      Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

      And they want to buy security by killing indiscriminately. They may not regret that, but it will cost them their souls nonetheless.

      “Sir Thomas More: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”

      (Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons)

  9. just
    January 29, 2015, 6:03 pm

    Wow. I just linked to Ayman Mohyeldin’s interview wrt the 4 little boys on the beach that were targeted and killed by Israel (above), and then I read this via Max B.’s twitter:

    “For criticizing American Sniper, MSNBC’s @AymanM bombarded w/Islamophobic hate speech and calls for his violent death”

    link to twitter.com

    If you read here, Ayman~ much respect to you, and stay safe!

    • Teapot
      January 29, 2015, 6:17 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the people calling for his death had only recently been tweeting “Je suis Charlie”. The hypocrisy when it comes to free speech always boggles my mind.

    • DavidDaoud
      January 31, 2015, 8:57 am

      JUST, I echo your comment to Ayman. Much respect, stay safe.
      I cannot for the life of me understand the “thinking” of some Americans.

  10. ritzl
    January 29, 2015, 11:49 pm

    OT, but where did the Gaza water supply article go? I can still get at it from my comments and search, but it’s gone from the display.

    That article was about a practice/crime that is as dark and sinister as it gets, imho. Even more damning that this article.

    1.8M people/city dwellers in the most congested area on the planet (now doubly congested) living in and among ruins are without regular water and sanitation, by Israeli design and as a tool of subjugation.

    AND they are not allowed to fix anything.

    AND the world watches it happen.

    You can not live without water. Without it, nothing else matters.

    Soulless.

  11. just
    January 30, 2015, 1:24 am

    “Political tensions are running high in Gaza in the wake of an UNRWA notice that rebuilding of homes partially destroyed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge is being put on hold, due to the failure of donor states to come through with their pledged donations. The United Nations special coordinator, Robert Serry, announced that the UN is reviewing its operations in the Strip following a violent protest that took place near his office there.

    With rising political tension, the danger of internal violent conflict becomes ever more possible, which only adds to the local populaces’ reasons to fear.

    The UN agency’s notice on Tuesday led to a public political crisis – unprecedented in its severity – between Hamas authorities and the UN’s political office in Gaza, which houses the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO). Serry, along with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs, formulated after the war a procedure for transferring construction materials to merchants and contractors in Gaza, as well as homeowners whose houses were destroyed during the last war.

    The complicated procedure, which was aimed to enhance the reconstruction of Gaza, allows for Israel to rather invasively supervise every Gaza resident, and was criticized as slowing down the reconstruction effort. several meetings between Serry and Hamas officials, some points of the procedure were altered, and others, more stringent restrictions, were lifted.

    But following Serry statements, on Thursday, the Economy Ministry in Gaza ordered contractors and merchants to cease cooperating with UNSCO’s procedures – which practically means a halt of their share of the reconstruction effort.

    On Wednesday, after a pre-announced protest outside of the UN headquarters, some of the demonstrators burned tires near the gates of the UN compound, in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza city. A press release issued by Serry said a number of protestors climbed the perimeter walls and entered the compound, “causing damage to United Nations premises and property”.

    Serry noted that thanks to precautionary measures in the complex, no UN staffers were harmed. He also noted that he was outraged, and that the de facto ruling authorities in Gaza, Hamas, did not take the appropriate measures to defend the compound, and that it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of UN personnel, until the Palestinian unity government and its security agencies effectively takes control. The statement further said that “the special coordinator is conducting an urgent review of operations in Gaza.”

    A source close to Hamas told Haaretz that protestors did not break into the compound, and that Palestinian police officers arrived on the scene immediately to extinguish the burning tires.

    Serry’s declaration sparked immediate complaints from Hamas. Moussa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, criticized Serry’s announcement, labeling it political intervention. However, Abu Marzouk promised that Hamas security personnel would continue to guarantee UN employees’ safety. Salah al-Bardawil, a Hamas spokesman, also lashed out against Serry’s remarks, denied that demonstrators broke into the complex, and called on Serry to understand the public’s outrage, rather than casting blame.

    Independent observers in Gaza, on the other hand, noted that it is impossible to hold protests without Hamas’ permission, and that the demonstrations in front of the UN facilities are in fact a Hamas initiative.

    The consensus government in Ramallah, headed by Rami Hamdallah condemned the attack on the compound, but mistakenly placed the attack at UNRWA facilities in Gaza. An UNRWA representative told Haarertz on Thursday that its facilities were not attacked. On Thursday, protests were in fact held at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’ facilities, but no violence was reported.

    The tensions between Hamas and the UN play into two additional cycles of tension. The first is between Hamas and Fatah, over the listless unity government, failure to pay employees’ salaries and a series of attacks against Fatah personnel in Gaza, for which Hamas has been thus far unable to find the parties responsible.

    The second cycle of tension is internal, among the Fatah movement. Mahmoud Abbas arbitrarily, and illegally, decided to stop payment of salaries and benefits to a few hundred security personnel in Gaza (including retirees), who are known to support his political rival, Mohammed Dahlan. The decision was made some two months ago, but was only made apparent last week, when December salaries were dispensed. In effect, only 60 percent of all salaries were paid, due to the financial strain created by the fact that Israel has not transferred taxes it has collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.”

    link to haaretz.com

    The UN and other entities (the US et al) need to “pony up” and apologize. Yesterday. Serry and the UN are also at fault.

  12. talknic
    January 30, 2015, 10:34 am

    Pin point accuracy demo 101 for high tech US funded human slaughtering equipment

    “Welcome to the pinpoint accurate human slaughtering device demonstration General”

    “Thanks. Where’s my kick back and I should stand in that concrete bunker, right?”

    “LOL. No no General, these are pinpoint accurate human slaughtering devices and it’s just a demo. Just stand where you are and we’ll make sure you get all the kick back you deserve!”

    “You want me to stand here? But don’t these things explode?”

    “Yes General but they’re delivered with pinpoint accuracy. That’s the point of his demo today. The device is fired from complete safety miles away and with pin point accuracy it will land within inches of your feet, so to speak . He he he, a little play on words. Within inches of your feet. LOL … Ahem”

    “Uh? Would it land near my feet in metric? Say, if they’re pin point delivered, they still explode, right?”

    “Well, er, yes General, of course, but this is only a demonstration, it’s not the real thing.”

    “You mean there’s no civilians?”

    “That’s right General it’s only a demonstration”

    “They still send shrapnel in all directions, right?”

    “Well, er, yes General, of course”

    “And the explosion shatters glass and bricks and concrete sending it in all directions, decapitating, disembowelingdismemberingburningdisfiguringmaimingbloodgutsgoremoreblood’nguts…”

    “Calm down General. Calm down. You’re dribbling all over your medals. Here wipe your chin. I’ll help pop your tongue and eyes back in. Yes of course, all those things General, but no civilians today, perhaps another time. Now you do want your kick back don’t you, so we really must get on with the demonstration”

    “Yeh yeh. Do it. Do it doitdoitdoit boombamblampowripshred … “

    “Ok General. I’ll just step into the bunker …. ready?”

  13. Kathleen
    February 2, 2015, 8:15 am

    U.S. tax dollars paying for these war crimes. Contact your Reps…cut U.S. aid to Israel

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