Monday, March 23, 2009


The BBC reports that UN investigators have harshly criticized Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for cruelty and war crimes committed during the IDF's invasion and bombardment of Gaza this past January.

Writes the BBC:

"UN human rights investigators have questioned the legality of Israel's Gaza offensive in a wide-ranging report to the UN Human Rights Council.

"One investigator, Richard Falk, asked how a military assault with modern weapons could have been made "against an essentially defenceless society".

"The report found civilians appeared to "have taken the brunt of the attacks" with schools and clinics also hit."

Gaza and the Palestinians living there were not only defenseless, they were not allowed to flee or escape the fighting. Israel had sealed all of its borders with Gaza so that civilians and families and children could not run away from the death and destruction.

Reports the BBC:

"Mr Falk argued that in order to determine if the war was legal, it was necessary to assess whether Israeli forces could differentiate between civilian and military targets in Gaza.

""If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful, and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law," he said in Geneva.

""The overall ratio of deaths, 1,434 on the Palestinian side, 13 on the Israeli side, is suggestive of the one-sidedness of the military encounter," he added.

"Gaza's borders were closed, he stressed, so civilians were unable to flee the fighting.

"Mr Falk called for an independent inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas."

Some other UN investigators cited specific instances of Israeli soldiers firing and killing civilians and children.

The BBC writes:

"Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary general's special representative for children and armed conflict, cited a long series of incidents to back her charges, in her report to the UN Human Rights Council.

"In one, she said, Israeli soldiers shot a father after ordering him out of his house and then opened fire into the room where the rest of the family was sheltering, wounding the mother and three brothers and killing a fourth."

Yes, the world needs to hold Israel and its IDF accountable for the unnecessary and cruel death and destruction they wrought upon the Palestinians in Gaza. The trouble is that it is almost impossible to hold a party like Israel responsible when its allies like the United States and many members of Congress give an imprimatur to Israel no matter what it does or no matter what war crimes it commits.

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