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UN report on Gaza war includes stories of civilian executions, attacks on ambulances and targeting of humanitarian facilities

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The 51-day summer war between Hamas and Israel was not only “heartbreaking,” but rampant with “possible war crimes” according to a much anticipated United Nations report published Monday.

Infographic released by the UN with the report.

Infographic released by the UN with the report. (Click to enlarge)

Investigators conducted nearly 300 interviews over the past year. All took place outside of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as Israel denied entry to the  researchers. Witnesses and victims—both Israeli and Palestinian—gave testimonies about the targeting of civilians, medical facilities and United Nations shelters, along with the existence of human shields (and the lack thereof), collective punishment, and the proportionality of the attacks.

While the bulk of the report covered alleged violations of international law conducted by Israel, Hamas too was investigated for civilian deaths resulting from rocket fire and the execution of so-called collaborators–the majority of whom were already in prison before the war. It is notable that neither authority complied with the inquiry, refusing to turn over evidence and leaving queries by monitors unanswered.

The report comes as the most definitive account of what happened during July and August in the besieged Gaza Strip during Israel’s ground invasion and air campaign. When soldiers operated inside of Gaza, journalists and human rights monitors often did not have access to the sites where the alleged violations took place. Personal safely, Israeli checkpoints inside of Gaza, and censorship from Hamas officials kept monitors at bay. Heavy bombings and fighting also made such a trip into one of Israel’s “no-go” zones impossible.

With daily death tolls ranging form 50-100 and repeated fire to shelters and schools, instances of apparent war crimes were not sufficiently investigated during the war. There was no time for follow-up to look into army orders, vet soldier testimony and find witnesses. Everyday came with new atrocities. And—often Palestinian families buried their killed relatives before any evidence of war crimes could be recorded.

Execution of civilians

A number of individual cases where civilians were seemingly executed are meticulously complied in the report. In Khuza’a the report investigated the case of Ghalia Abu Reda, a 70-year old Palestinian woman who was shot in the head. Before her killing, Israeli forces photographed the elderly Palestinian as a soldier gave her water. The image was then circulated on social media last January. 

The United Nations interviewed one of Abu Reda’s relatives and found:

“When the witness returned to the family home a few days later, he found Ghalia Abu Reda’s dead body. She had a bullet mark in her head and blood on her face. The doctor who later examined the body told the witness that she had been shot from close range, from a distance of about two metres. Another member of the Abu Reda family confirmed the above allegations to the commission. That witness stated that the house was very close to the Green Line and that, some days or weeks later, an Israeli soldier posted on twitter a picture of another IDF soldier offering water to Ghalia Abu Reda:

The soldiers did this to pretend that they were human. They did not know that Gaza is small, and that the picture would be recognized by the family. When the family returned to Khuza’a they found Ghalia dead!’”

Other civilians were killed in front of witnesses. A doctor employed at Dr. Kamel Qdeih’s clinic in Khuza’a, struck on July 23rd and 24th said,

“Among them was my brother who was killed before my own eyes. He was hit during that attack and collapsed. During that same night, when I was talking to the media, I told them that although this soldier killed my brother, the most precious person for me, I would still treat him (the soldier) just as I would anybody else because he is a human being and no human being deserves to be killed. I felt so much pain. It was the most painful experience of my life, being a doctor and not being able to save my brother’s life. During that same night, I believe I saved the lives of numerous others.”

Human Shields and Detention

One of the more contentious issues of the war is human shields, where a civilian is abducted for the purpose of protecting the life of fighters or forced to carryout military duties. Israel has maintained throughout Hamas used Palestinian civilians as human shields, yet the United Nations found no evidence that this occurred. Even so, the Islamic group was condemned for not adequately protecting civilians.

Yet, there were Palestinian claims of Israelis forcing them to become human shields. A 60-year old woman from a village outside of Dier al-Balah said she was detained on July 24th and forced to become a human shield:

“The soldiers interrogated me repeatedly and detained me in the house for three days, guarding me with a gun. They did not let me use the restroom and they didn’t give me food or water. They took off my veil. I told them I was a widow from a long time and they told me that no one loved me, and that no one would ask about me if I disappeared. I was scared.  I was told that I would remain with the soldiers, and I protested, telling them I was a woman and they were all men.”

Other Palestinians reported they were taken into Israeli custody and transferred to prisons inside of Israel:

“[T]he witness was taken to a small room and interrogated about tunnels and weapons caches. The witness claims to have been beaten during the interrogation. He was then given a nylon uniform to wear and transferred to another location where he spent two weeks. He was reportedly held in a room with no windows and interrogated repeatedly about the same issues. At one point, the witness claims to have been forced to sit in a small seat, which he described as being approximately 20cm x 20cm. The soldiers then placed a bag on his face, which carried a terrible stench. He stated that for three days, the soldiers would throw cold water on his head whenever he tried to sleep. The witness fell unconscious at some point and woke up several hours later, finding himself in a bigger cell with about ten other people. Finally, the witness was transferred to a court in Azabal Ashel [Eshol Prison in Beersheva], where he was sentenced to 28 days in prison. Having served his sentence, he was taken to the Erez crossing. When he asked about the 8500 shekels that had been confiscated earlier, he was told: ‘Ask Ismail Haniya.'”

A man from Khuza’a who was also detained said when soldiers took him into custody they abused his son. They “put a casserole on the boy’s head and four of them started kicking and punching him.  Then one of the soldiers began shooting between the legs of the boy.”


Civilians were also subjected to a barrage of fire during the war. The United Nations found 44% of the Gaza strip was embattled in heavy bombing or shelling, thus dubbed a “no-go” zone, or was designated an evacuation area.  An Israeli member of Knesset, Ofer Shelah, explained the scale of force in Gaza to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq:

“In the first three weeks of the conquest of Iraq, in 2003, the U.S. armed forces captured cities and destroyed 1,600 armored vehicles of the Iraqi army, half of them tanks. In Gaza, the IDF fought against an enemy that had no armored vehicles, and Israeli soldiers probably saw no more than a few hundred armed Hamas militants. On average, an Israeli tank fired seven times as many shells a day as an American tank in Iraq. We fired more antitank missiles from the ground than the Americans, and twice as many Hellfire rockets from helicopters. On average, an Israeli tank fired seven times as many shells a day as an American tank in Iraq. We fired more antitank missiles from the ground than the Americans, and twice as many Hellfire rockets from helicopters.”

It was within Rafah where the war saw it’s heaviest bloodshed. Israeli forces killed 100 in a single day. A Doctor at Rafah’s al-Najjar Hospital said,

“Hundreds of people had returned to their homes because of the declaration of ceasefire. They have been unexpectedly confronted with a barrage of missiles so most of them started fleeing from the eastern parts. They were fleeing in the hundreds, on motorcycles, cars or simply on foot. Entire families, including elderly, women and children were being attacked by tanks. The attacks were indiscriminate. A lot of these attacks happened in Bildesi Street, where many of the people were fleeing. There was an explosion about every 10 seconds. During these hours, we came across hundreds of corpses that had been torn into pieces.”

Attacks on ambulances and protected humanitarian facilities

Infographic released by the UN with the report.

Infographic released by the UN with the report. (Click to enlarge)

Across Gaza, 16 ambulances were “significantly damaged”, and 23 medical workers were killed. “In Rafah, all vehicles appear to have been targeted, irrespective of their civilian or military use,” the United Nation wrote. When I visited Gaza during the fighting last summer there was evidence of attacks on ambulances in plain sight. I saw two damaged ambulences, one in Shuja’iyeh destroyed to its frame. Inside it, there were two oblong piles of human flesh. Witnesses told me the ambulance was targeted directly, along with residents who came to help once the vehicle was under fire. Their remains were outside the vehicle.

Ambulances were also delayed from entering civilian areas. In Khuza’a, north of Rafah,  six -year old Bader Qdeih succumbed to injuries after waiting at a checkpoint.“I don’t want to die. Don’t leave me,” he told witnesses.

Several United Nation shelters were also hit during the war. The United Nation notified the Israeli authorities on numerous occasions of their locations. On July 30th in Jabalia, a United Nations school was fired upon after its location was given 28 times to the Israeli army. Approximately 17 were killed, including three children, and 99 were injured.

“There is nowhere to be safe in Gaza. We thought that the school would be a safe place for me and my family. This was not the case. There is no way for me to get justice, I lost my husband and now I am dependent on my parents’ good will, who have limited means,” said a woman who was at the Jabalia school. Her husband was killed in the attacked and children injured.

Evidence for the ICC

Infographic released by the UN with the report.

Infographic released by the UN with the report. (Click to enlarge)

While the United Nation report gives new details into the experience of war, it makes no legal ruling about the war crimes cataloged. Previously unreported instances of alleged crimes against humanity are laid out only with a suggestion of the laws they violate. The report closes recommending both Israel and the Palestinian leadership should “fully comply” with the current investigation of war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Even so, the Palestinian Authority has stated it will submit the document as evidence to The Hague in an investigation that is on-going.

Israel has immediately rejected the report’s finding. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Monday the United Nations, “has a singular obsession with Israel,” and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said “the purpose of this report was to vilify the State of Israel and the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces], with the ultimate aim of undermining Israel’s right to defend its citizens from attack.”

Conversely, the Palestinian Authority has welcomed the report and once again re-affirmed the creation of a Palestinian state along the pre-June 1967 line.

One Hamas official decried the allegations that his group committed war crimes, yet the organization as a whole released a statement Monday also lauding the report, “This clear condemnation of Israel obligates bringing its leaders to the International Criminal Court.”

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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22 Responses

  1. just on June 24, 2015, 11:52 am

    Thanks so much, Allison.

    Yousef Munayyer:

    “Another important excerpt from UN COI report, this one on use of tunnels”

    Please see:

  2. Kathleen on June 24, 2015, 12:45 pm

    This report is sure not making the MSM. Nope not the report about Israeli massacres filled with hatred. How U.S. tax dollars support these massacres.

    Allison Aipac has page up refuting the report

  3. Donald on June 24, 2015, 12:59 pm

    One bit of propaganda that needs shooting down is the claim that the UN focuses mostly on Israel. I visited the website of the UN Human Rights Council about an hour ago and alongside the Gaza report, they have material on Syria, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, the group Boko Haram and probably others I’m forgetting.

    But you see this all the time, thT the UN only talks about Israel.

  4. a blah chick on June 24, 2015, 1:42 pm

    I remember seeing WITH MY OWN LYIN’ EYES a news report back in the eighties that showed an IDF jeep driving slowly down a West Bank street with a Palestinian boy sitting on its roof.

    No less a pro-Palestinian group than the Israeli courts have documented hundreds upon hundreds of cases of the IDF using Palestinian civilians as human shields. It’s documented, it is a fact. Nevertheless the imaginary human shields in Gaza or more real than the real human shields Israel uses. Go figure.

  5. Bornajoo on June 24, 2015, 4:21 pm

    “In the first three weeks of the conquest of Iraq, in 2003, the U.S. armed forces captured cities and destroyed 1,600 armored vehicles of the Iraqi army, half of them tanks. In Gaza, the IDF fought against an enemy that had no armored vehicles, and Israeli soldiers probably saw no more than a few hundred armed Hamas militants. On average, an Israeli tank fired seven times as many shells a day as an American tank in Iraq. We fired more antitank missiles from the ground than the Americans, and twice as many Hellfire rockets from helicopters. On average, an Israeli tank fired seven times as many shells a day as an American tank in Iraq. We fired more antitank missiles from the ground than the Americans, and twice as many Hellfire rockets from helicopters.”

    And one of the generals who took part in this mass slaughter and cold blooded murder said that Israeli soldiers suffered uneccessary casualties by trying to be too humane! That’s just too deranged to laugh at.

    They really are a complete bunch of psickoes. And they’re working overtime making sure they suppress this (very lenient) report as much as they can. Unfortunately they’ll succeed with that task. Hardly anyone will get to know the real horrorshow truth about what they did.

    Thanks Allison

    • bintbiba on June 24, 2015, 4:56 pm

      The more I read these reports the more I hope that I can get desensitised and inured to the horrors… Then I want to stop because I can’t stand any more. Then I go on , as I know I owe it to the victims of those tormentors to feel their agony and torment with every fibre of my body, mind and soul.

      In the end … the degraders and torturers only degrade and debase themselves as well!!
      I hate to think what happens to them when they go back to their darling wives and babies !

      Allison , many thanks .

  6. JLewisDickerson on June 24, 2015, 4:38 pm

    RE: “UN report on Gaza war includes stories of civilian executions, attacks on ambulances and targeting of humanitarian facilities”

    UN Human Rights Council—Report of Independent Commission
    “Israel’s Ravagement of Gaza”
    by Norman Pollack
    June 24, 2015
    LINK –

    • JLewisDickerson on June 24, 2015, 5:06 pm

      Gaza 2014, a scene of unsurpassed brutality indicting Israel as a war-criminal nation nonpareil, though here, in the Report, pursuant to HRC resolution S-21/S, this is only hinted at despite the overwhelming evidence presented of systematic destruction, wanton murder of civilians, indiscriminate policies aimed at terrorizing a whole people into submission. Yes, Palestinians, too, come in for criticism—the tunnels, mortar firings, border raids—in a tactful show of impartiality, but the actuality of a disproportion in the conduct of operations in which the Israeli Defense Forces were merciless in acting out a scorched-earth militaristic paradigm (far beyond anything Hamas could even have tried, if in fact it were so inclined) is enough of an indelible moral stain as to warrant Israel’s increasingly pariah status in world opinion. The accommodative—indeed, celebratory–response of global Jewry to Israel’s behavior transmogrifies the very identity and historical significance of a religion whose tradition aligned it with radicalism, humane learning and practice, labor rights, respect for all humankind (including in America, as a fading memory now, fighting in the trenches in civil rights and antiwar activity).

      The Report is unusually comprehensive, one reason Israel (which did not allow the Commission into its country or the Occupied Territories, illustrating its contempt for the UN virtually since day one) jumped the gun and published a response before the Report was issued. Cocksure, Israel answers to no-one and acts accordingly. Hence, pummeling with impunity a largely helpless populace, rendered still weaker by an encompassing blockade. . .

      . . . Israelis could whine, as they meanwhile pulverized the Gazans, because to them a Palestinian life was of little value; the death of an IDF soldier would result in massive killings, often sadistic in the pain inflicted. The Report goes on: “Alongside the toll on civilian lives, there was enormous destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza: 18,000 housing units were destroyed in whole or in part, much of the electricity network and of the water and sanitation infrastructure were incapacitated, and 73 medical facilities and many ambulances were damaged.” Not in the Report (a serious omission) is the deliberateness of these attacks, requiring pinpoint accuracy, and we learned at the time that hospitals were overcrowded, the injured filling hallways, those on operating tables—when the electricity went out—made to suffer and die. The water-treatment plants were a favorite target as well. . .

      . . . Israel denounces the Report before its release and brazenly prides itself on the commission of mass civilian deaths (one recalls the citizens of Siderot sitting on the hillside cheering the explosions as they struck Gaza, munchies in hand, couches dragged out for comfort—a searing image of moral depravity). Airstrikes, just the thing to measure national virility: “The commission investigated 15 cases of strikes on residential buildings across Gaza, in which a total of 216 people were killed, including 115 children and 50 women.” The Commission found that in all cases “precision-guided weapons were used,” a finding “corroborated by satellite imagery analysis,” and “many of the incidents took place in the evening or at dawn, when families gathered for iftar and suhhur, the Ramadan meals, or at night, when people were asleep.” The Report states the obvious: “The timing of the attacks increased the likelihood that many people, often entire families, would be at home. Attacking residential buildings rendered women particularly vulnerable to death and injury.” Even the Report has to recur to one of its principles: “With regard to proportionality, given the circumstances, a reasonable commander would have been aware that these attacks would be likely to result in a large number of civilian casualties and the complete or partial destruction of the building.” Why else the attack? . . .

      . . . Ground operations were equally murderous, especially in Shuja’iya; in the three neighborhoods studied a pattern was seen, “large areas of which were leveled to the ground.” I’m sorry, I haven’t the heart for the coverage of more atrocities, this section speaking, as the boldface heading makes clear, of “Use of artillery and other explosive weapons in densely populated areas.” There is in fact much more (the Report should be required reading, I devoutly wish, for all Israelis, not that I think it will change minds), but let me close with the testimony of Talel Al Helo from Shuja’iya: “’I am not a fighter, I am a civilian and I care about the well-being of my family. The attacks were everywhere. Everything was coming under attack, the roads and the buildings; there was no safe haven in Shuja’iya. We walked as the missiles kept arriving. We saw bodies of people in the streets. We came across the body of an acquaintance and several other bodies, of young and old people, women and children.’”

      Today (June 22) Jodi Rudoren’s article in the New York Times, “U.N. Report on Gaza Finds Evidence of War Crimes by Israel and by Palestinian Militants,” appeared, its title—and contents—suggesting equal culpability and destruction. This blatant distortion of the Report and the underlying reality of the Gaza attack prompted my critical detailed Comment in The Times, which was published as number five and then subsequently removed. I protested in an email to the public editor, likely to no avail. So much for NYT’s devotion to honest journalism.

      • just on June 24, 2015, 6:04 pm

        Many, many thanks, John.


  7. Peacekeeper on June 24, 2015, 5:53 pm

    I will have this image burned into my memory for the rest of my life

    “Her stomach was ripped open and the unborn baby was lying there with the skull shattered.”

    …..quote from a witness who described a body he found while digging through the rubble of a bombed Gaza apartment house

  8. James North on June 25, 2015, 8:57 am

    An excellent article from Allison. She actually bothered to read the report and quote from it. By contrast, the New York Times gave as much or more space to Israeli critics as it did to the specifics in the actual report.

  9. just on June 25, 2015, 9:23 am

    Gideon Levy:

    “Another futile report on Israel’s wild adventure in Gaza

    The United Nations Human Rights Council’s report did not tell us anything new. We did not need to wait a year to know that Israel (and Hamas) committed war crimes; there was no need to impanel a committee to know that Israel went wild in Gaza; there was no need to bother judge Mary McGowan Davis in order for her to tell us that it is unacceptable to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood. We have known that for a long time.

    The UN report also did not tell us anything new about Israel’s response. There was no need to publish it to know the scope of unreceptiveness and denial within Israeli society, the low level to which the Israeli media stooped in finally allowing itself to become an agent of propaganda, and the lack of interest that all this killing and destruction in Gaza arouse in Israel. We have known all that for a long time.

    The world knows the fundamental truths, and every commission repeats them like a parrot, and nothing changes: Israel ignores international law. It is convinced that it applies to all countries, except for itself. According to its combat theory, when the life of one Israeli soldier is at stake it is alright to wreak havoc with everything, and when Israel says everything it means everything. There is no chance Israel will change its doctrine of death and destruction, unless it is punished severely. Therefore this report, like all its predecessors, has no value at all.

    If the Goldstone Report, which described in harsher colors a less brutal attack, did not prevent Operation Protective Edge, then why do we need all these reports? If the international community, which knew in real time what the Israel Defense Forces was doing in Gaza, did not respond immediately with actions that would stop it, then there is no reason for these commissions of inquiry after the fact.

    If in the wake of this commission, too, the international community does not take practical steps against war criminals, then there is no further reason for commissions. The next war; the next commission; the next Israeli attack on Gaza will certainly come, and it will be more vicious than the previous one, with McGowan Davis or without her.

    Yesterday the American judge already mumbled: If Israel had only cooperated with her, then the conclusions would have been different. Your honor, are you hinting that your commission did not present the full truth? Would the testimony of a few of those injured by Qassams in Sderot have changed the picture? And is it even right to draw a comparison between a non-state organization, whose weapons are primitive and inaccurate, and the most sophisticated arsenal of weapons in the world which could have hit, or in principle not hit, to its heart’s desire?

    But these pro-Israeli murmurings of the commission did not change, of course, the depth of the Israeli denial: IDF soldiers killed 500 children — and we are having a tea party. They killed 1,500 civilians — and here they are competing to see who will ignore it more. …

    … The report will be quickly forgotten. Gaza will once again remind us of its existence and its distress in the only way it has left, with the only weapon at its disposal, the weapons of war crimes.

    Israel will once again act in the only way it knows how, a way which causes much more terrifying war crimes.

    An Australian judge, a South African professor and a Belgian prosecutor will establish a commission of inquiry, Israel will once again boycott it and in Gaza thousands of bereaved families will once again sit under the ruins of their homes and wail helplessly at the international community, which was supposed to protect them — and instead it establishes commissions.”

    • Bornajoo on June 25, 2015, 9:27 am

      Thanks for posting the Gideon Levy article Just.

      Nobody says it as well as he does

      • just on June 25, 2015, 10:03 am

        You’re welcome, Bornajoo. I read it hours ago and became both incensed and depressed (not unusual when it comes to these issues, btw), so I waited until I could post it without comment.

        And in typical shoot the messenger Israeli fashion, there’s this:

        “JERUSALEM (AFP) – An Israeli cabinet minister said Tuesday that he had barred a local NGO cited in a critical UN report on the 2014 Gaza war from the country’s national service program.

        Israeli rights group B’Tselem was one of 10 human rights groups which wrote to the attorney general last July to raise “concerns about grave violations of international humanitarian law” in the bombing and shelling of residential buildings in the Gaza Strip. …

        The decision by Israeli authorities to ban B’Tselem from the national service program was made because the organization was among the sources for the UN inquiry’s data on the war.

        Israeli citizens excused from the state’s obligatory military draft, mainly on religious or moral grounds, can volunteer for civilian community service instead, giving them benefits similar to those granted to army veterans.

        Uri Ariel, minister responsible for the National Insurance Institute, which supervises the scheme, said on Tuesday he had given orders that volunteering with groups seen as hostile to the state would no longer be recognized as national service.

        “Is the state of Israel supposed to finance those who work against it… against its soldiers? There’s a limit,” he told public radio.

        “It’s not just B’Tselem,” he added. “It’s not just one organization, there may be others and it applies to them as well.”

        B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli told AFP that while the group was quoted “quite extensively” in the UN report, the group had never sent any evidence to the commission.

        “Our material is available online and the commission read it online and took it and used it,” she said.

        “We didn’t actually submit anything to the commission… but we’re very proud of our research into Protective Edge,” she added, using the Israeli name for last summer’s war in Gaza.”

        The truth is “hostile to the state”. Fascism.

        Guess B’Tselem will need some more donations.

  10. lysias on June 25, 2015, 10:40 am

    RT claims the Russians are developing a technical system for jamming satellite guidance. If this is true, and it works, it could neutralize the delivery of nuclear weapons that rely on such guidance, but also cruise missiles, airplanes, and all sorts of other weapons systems.

    I’ve long wondered if there could be a technical means of neutralizing the nuclear weapons with which Israel has been threatening the world. This could be the way to do that.

    • Boo on June 25, 2015, 4:59 pm

      There’s no question that these signals can be jammed and that doing so would have the desired effect. However, I’m inclined to think the claim that such a jammer would have both “tactical and strategic” effectiveness is an exaggeration. No question that these jammers could be effective at the battlefield level. They might also be effective at the theatre level although multiple units would almost certainly be required, and they would have to be appropriately situated to provide the needed coverage. They are bulky and have significant power requirements, which renders them more vulnerable, and of course being active signal sources they’d be easy to target with HARM-type weaponry.

      Now as to your specific question about neutralizing nuclear weapons, in theory this would be possible (at the battlefield or perhaps theatre level). However, satellite guidance is only one means of aiming such weapons at their targets. Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and tactical missiles can certainly carry onboard guidance systems that don’t rely on satellites. Fighter-bombers already have such systems, not to mention the “calibrated eyeballs” of their crew.

      If the warheads can be miniaturized sufficiently, they can even be deployed from battlefield-level weaponry including large-caliber artillery shells. The US demonstrated this in the ’50s. And precise targeting isn’t even that critical for atomic weapons larger than, say, a few kilotons. So I’m afraid even the latest jamming systems such as the one described are not panaceas when it comes to neutralizing nuclear weapons.

      Taking out the satellites themselves with ground-based lasers or particle beams, or even anti-satellite satellites, is a stronger option than jamming, but this only removes one means of guiding nuclear delivery systems and (being offensive in nature) would certainly be considered an act of war.

      • lysias on June 27, 2015, 7:05 pm

        I think the other means that you mention are less accurate, and have vulnerabilities of their own.

  11. just on June 25, 2015, 12:38 pm

    “Palestinian Authority submits first documents on alleged Israeli war crimes to ICC

    Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki says he submitted dossiers on Gaza conflict, Israeli settlements, and treatment of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

    REUTERS – The Palestinian Authority made its first submission of evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court on Thursday, trying to speed up an ICC inquiry into abuses committed during last year’s Gaza conflict.

    The move may leave Israel in a quandary since it must decide whether to cooperate with the ICC investigation or find itself isolated as one of a very few countries that have declined to work with its prosecutors.”

    more @

  12. Donald on June 25, 2015, 1:54 pm

    For anyone who is curious, and I assume that is everyone here, Norman Finkelstein is busy showing what is wrong with the UN report (how they understated Israel’s crimes) over at reddit

    link to reddit

  13. ckg on June 25, 2015, 4:19 pm

    On the point about human shields:Today the US State Department released its 2014 Israel and the Occupied Territories Country Report on Human Rights Practices. The 119 page report mentions “human shield” only once:

    In August 17-year-old Ahmad Abu Raida alleged the IDF captured him on July 23 in the Gaza Strip and used him as a “human shield”–forcing him at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time the IDF interrogated him (including verbal and physical abuse) and deprived him of food and sleep.

    That’s it. On this point, Israel isn’t getting any support from the U.S. State Department.

  14. just on June 25, 2015, 6:25 pm

    Doctor Mads Gilbert has a new book out ~ ‘Night in Gaza’

    “…The book contains dozens of harrowing photographs, many of badly injured children, taken by Gilbert during his stay in Gaza last summer, although the most graphic were excluded. He describes his camera as “my Kalashnikov”, saying that this kind of medical documentation of war is a powerful weapon – and one that is feared by Israel.

    This, he believes, contributed to Israel’s “Kafkaesque” decision to ban him indefinitely from Gaza last October for unspecified security reasons. “They don’t even explain why. It is non-appealable, totally irrespective of international opinion and totally against international law. It is a tiny taste of what it means to be under brutal Israeli rule.” Nevertheless, after 15 years of visiting Gaza, he intends to go back.

    His experiences in Gaza “have totally changed me as a human being”, he says. “The more I see and know, the more I become skinless, sensitive. The human condition affects me more and more.” He has been forced to develop coping mechanisms – what he calls “perceptual focus to shield out the worst stuff” – for dealing with so much physical and emotional trauma. “You have to be very well prepared; this is not a place for disaster tourism. We didn’t sleep much, we didn’t eat or drink [the war began during Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims] – it was extreme endurance.”

    But, he adds, he witnessed an extraordinary “consolidated unity. Medics, cleaners, ambulance crews, patients, families – they were all part of the resistance.” For Gilbert, showing solidarity is his duty as a doctor. “I’m not neutral. My obligation as a doctor is to take the side of my patient – be it a single patient, a family, a village, a community, a nation. In Gaza, if we only give them bandages, we become part of the problem. If you want to be neutral, you end up being part of the problem. We are all complicit, whether we shut up or stand up.”

    ‘The unbearable sound of children shrieking’

    The mood is tense. Everybody is ready to run and meet the next load of casualties.

    The entrance to the emergency department soon fills with stretchers and running ambulance crews. The area begins to swarm with civilians, with and without visible injuries, policemen in blue camouflage uniforms pushing journalists and cameramen out of the way, while medical workers flock around the newly arrived patients. The air is a cacophony of shouts, screams and sharp commands from the senior surgeon in charge of sorting the casualties. Loudest and most piercing is the unbearable sound of children shrieking.

    Two young boys, one aged two or three and the other maybe seven, are lying on a stretcher. They have visible burn injuries and a large number of small, black wounds on their faces and necks, some of them bloody, like traces of shrapnel. Dr Atta al-Mzainy looks at me sharply.

    “We’ve got to take them to the intensive burn care unit. Straight away,” he shouts. “We can take one each. You take the younger one.”

    “OK,” I answer, my heart pounding. Everything is collapsing around us now, I think to myself. The bombing throughout the night, the number of casualties; it all feels like a tidal wave of blood and screams. Insurmountable …

    As I run, I look down at the little boy. His hair is singed on large areas of his head. The skin is loose on his forehead and across the root of his nose. His eyelids are thick and swollen, but his eyes are open, staring out at the world with a wild expression. He has a deep cut above his left eye, and blood is coming from his ear on the same side. Does he have shrapnel inside his skull, or is it a flesh wound? His consciousness is not impaired; quite the opposite. I notice that his arms and legs are constantly moving as I run behind my colleague, terrified of tripping and dropping the boy on the tarmac.

    The Israeli drones buzz above us. Can nobody stop this nightmare?”

    Do yourself a favor and read all of the piece by Harriet Sherwood @

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