Today 27th December marks the 2nd Anniversary of the massacre of around 1,400 old men, women and children at GAZA in 2008. This war crime was committed by the powerful army of an occupying power equipped with American weapons’ and financed by £1.1 Bn dollars per annum of American military aid.
At 11:30am on December 27, 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of suppressing rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Israel opened the attack with a surprise air strike against the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008. Israeli forces attacked civilians, police stations, schools, universities, mosques, and governmental buildings. Israeli forces attacked civilians and used white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas.
Israel claims that it was targeting Hamas armed fighters and infrastructure, ostensibly in response to the firing of homemade rockets from Gaza into Israel. However, field investigations by the Gaza-based human rights organization Al Mezan show that United Nations-administered schools, mosques, universities, emergency medical crews, private homes and other civilian objects have all been in Israel’s sights.
Among those killed on the first day of bombing, when more than 100 tons of bombs were dropped on the tiny coastal enclave, included police officers who were attending a graduation ceremony, school children heading home after a day of study, and other Gazans killed without warning as they were conducting their normal business.
Entire families have been wiped out during the air strikes and shelling, including that of Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan who was extra judicially executed along with his family in their home in a Gaza refugee camp. More than 40 were killed on 6 January when Israeli forces shelled the United Nations-administered Fakhoura School in the Jabalia refugee camp, where families who had been displaced by the bombing were seeking shelter. The UN has demanded an independent investigation and its spokespersons assert that GPS coordinates of all UN locations were given to Israel to prevent such an atrocity. Israel recanted its claim that resistance fighters released fire on Israeli soldiers from the school, which has been categorically denied by UN officials.
The bloody operation in Gaza came after the expiration of a six-month-long ceasefire between Israel and resistance groups in Gaza, including Hamas. Israel had broken the ceasefire on 4 November, when it extra judicially executed six Palestinians in Gaza whom it said was digging tunnels to Israel. During the five previous months of the ceasefire, Hamas had refrained from firing rockets and prevented other groups from doing so. However, Israel failed to ease the nearly two-year-long embargo on the Gaza Strip that has crippled economic life and brought the area to the brink of a humanitarian crisis — one of Israel’s obligations under the ceasefire.
On January 18, 2009, the war ended in a ceasefire, Israel completed its withdrawal on January 21. Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and other 5500 were injured while 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers, were killed.
As I have pointed out before the democratically elected Hamas administration in Gaza has had a brilliant master stroke in appointing the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as its recruiting sergeant. Rarely has an organisation had a more effective recruiter in a territory which has been systematically destroyed by Israel (The Airport, Port, Hospitals, Factories, Government offices, power generators, etc 😉 in flagrant breach of International Law including the Geneva Conventions on administration of occupied territories, protection of non-combatants and two UN Resolutions.
Let us not forget in our PC world why Gaza exists is two words never used in Israel; Ethnic Cleansing. Gaza exists because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.
The Wikileaks cables show the complete lack of concern by American diplomats for the people of Palestine, they confirm that America is acting in this region with no moral purpose when it come to the Palestinian people and that it is utterly uninterested in the so called “Two States Solution” allowing Israel to set 100% of the agenda to stop a Palestinian State being a reality. Better to withdraw its 1.1 Bn Dollar military aid to Israel which is totally contrary to the US’s strategic interests. Better to withdraw its 1. 0 Bn a year aid to Egypt which allows the Pharaoh Murbarak and the military elite to run a repressive farce pretending to be a democracy. Why, America will really be surprised when Egypt implodes and the US loses another great ally? Far better to cut both these payments by America’s hard pressed taxpayer and divert the resources to addressing the results and righting the wrongs of the 1948 ethnic cleansing and making the “Two Nation” solution a reality.
The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility…
It [the UN mission] also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.
(source: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, UNO, Sept. 15, 2009)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
The opening lines of the United States Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776
We must never forget what happened to GAZA two years ago or to the people of Palestine in 1948.
For the background to Nakba – The ethnic cleansing of Palestine see;
Free Gaza, Free Palestine, Free the Palestinian People.