Human Rights Watch Findings on Gaza Massacre
By Robert Barsocchini
At this point in Israel’s massacre in Gaza, almost 800 Palestinians have been slaughtered, overwhelmingly civilians, including 24% children. 34 Israelis have been killed, all but 2 of them soldiers.
Today, Israel bombed a marked UN school, for which it had the GPS coordinates, killing 15 and wounding at least 150 people. This is a repeat of Israeli terrorism against UN humanitarian facilities in Gaza in Israel’s 2009 Gaza massacre:
- In 2009, Israel sprayed clearly marked UN humanitarian relief centers with lethal white phosphorous. They did this after the UN provided the Israeli army with the GPS coordinates of the center, and while the UN was on the phone with the Israeli army telling them not to bomb the center because civilians were sheltering there and there were no militants present. Human Rights Watch confirmed that there were no militants present. For details on this, see Rain of Fire: Israels Unlawful Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza, by Human Rights Watch.
- Israel also sprayed several other civilian shelters, including hospitals and schools, with white phosphorous, and Human Rights Watch likewise confirmed that no militants were present.
- White phosphorus burns at 1,500 degree Fahrenheit and sticks to the skin, burning to the bone. The chemical properties can also cause organ failure and death.
Human Rights Watch, which was founded as a private American NGO and has a major revolving door with the US government, has a well-documented pro-Israel bias, as illustrated here by leading expert on the conflict Dr. Norman Finkelstein.
However, even Human Rights Watch is forced, during these Wounded Knee-style massacres by Israel, to document some of Israel’s atrocities.
Here are key findings from one of the organization’s latest reports:
Human Rights Watch investigated:
- A missile attack that killed four boys on a Gaza City pier and wounded three others
- Multiple strikes over several days on a hospital for paralyzed and elderly patients
- Attacks on an apparent civilian residence and media workers car, and four previously documented strikes
“In many, if not all, of these cases, Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military target.”
“Israeli forces may. have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians, such as young boys, and civilian structures, including a hospital.”
HRW on the Israeli strike that killed four fleeing children on the beach:
- Evidence at the scene indicates that the attack was carried out with Spike missiles, which have sensors that allow the operator to see the target even after the missile is fired and divert them mid-course if the target is not clearly military.
HRW on “an Israeli airstrike in Rafah on July 11 [that] killed five members of the Ghannam family”:
- Human Rights Watch visited the home three days after the attack and found no evidence that it was being used for any military purpose
- Israel has not provided a reason for this strike, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine.
Israeli Attack on Wafa Hospital:
- Based on photographs of recovered munitions Human Rights Watch viewed, the remnants appear to be sabots from tank-fired projectiles.
- Tank fire is line-of-sight, direct fire, and Israeli tanks have accurate targeting systems.
- The repeated Israeli attacks using accurate missile and tank fire that hit the hospital indicate that Israeli forces targeted the hospital intentionally and not accidentally
- [There was] no justification to hit the hospital
HRW, in this same report, on Israel’s 2008/09 Gaza massacre:
- The last ground offensive in Gaza, from December 2008 to January 2009, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, many as the result of unlawful air and artillery attacks, and the unlawful destruction of civilian property.
- Israel prosecuted only four military personnel for offenses during that conflict, and the heaviest sentence handed down was a seven-and-a-half-month prison term for credit card theft, heightening concerns of continuing impunity in the current fighting.
HRW on what to do:
- If the international community wants to prevent civilian suffering, it should urgently put the parties on notice that war crimes during this Gaza escalation will not get a free pass.
- The US and other countries should stop pressuring Palestine not to go to the ICC pressure that is both misguided and, as evidence of serious violations mounts, hostile to the need for justice.
This HRW report came out on July 22nd.
On July 23rd, the USA was the only country in the world to veto a UN proposal to carry out an investigation of Israel’s ongoing war crimes in Gaza.
As Jason Ditz points out, the UN investigation of Israel’s 08/09 massacre in Gaza found that “far from self-defense, the Israeli war was meant to ‘humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.‘”
The several page HRW report also includes two paragraphs on the crime, by Palestinian forces, of using unguided projectiles, as Palestinians have no guided projectiles. This is a fair balance of reporting on the two sides, because:
Israel is the aggressor.
Israel is illegally occupying and colonizing Palestine.
The overwhelming amount of violence and crimes are being committed by Israel.
The UN vote every year in favor of the legally required end to Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine usually goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel.
Thus, we must keep in mind that shows such as this one on RT that offer one or two voices defending Palestine and counter it with one or two voices defending Israels presence in the OPT are imbalanced, and present a false depiction of reality. To correctly portray the actual balance on the issue, one would have to have 165 defenders of the world consensus for every two defenders (such as this crackpot) of the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine.
This is similar to the issue of reporting on climate change. Since 1991, there have been about 13,950 peer-reviewed articles published that affirmed human-caused climate change, and only about 24 that tried to deny it.
Thus, the BBC was recently criticized by British MPs for presenting a fifty-fifty balance on the issue, which is, as in the case of the Israel/Palestine conflict, an incorrect portrayal of reality, both in terms of the global consensus on resolving the Israel/Palestine issue and the amount of violence perpetrated, which is disproportionately and overwhelmingly carried out against Palestine by Israel.
Please sign this petition to help Amnesty International bring about a UN-imposed, comprehensive arms embargo on Israel and Palestine. Dr. Norman Finkelstein also supports the comprehensive embargo against both sides.
For more information on Israel and Palestine, see:
Israel’v. Gaza: The Big Picture – by Washingtons Blog
Confused About Hamas, rockets, war in Gaza? Those plus: Israeli occupation, lawful versus unlawful war, Israel illegal weapons, targeting hospitals – by Carl Herman
Knowing war law exposes ALL US/UK/Israel war reasons as BS propaganda; Oaths require leaders arrests – by Carl Herman
Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine
View the original article at Washingtons Blog