Will Israel be held accountable for War crimes?
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 20, 2012
The question above is one that always comes to mind whenever a more powerful military force uses its might to destroy livelihoods anywhere in the planet. In the case of the Israeli regime, its despise for live, especially that of Arab people is simply horrendous, and that is why it is just fair to ask. During the latest attacks carried out by the Israeli army, almost 50 percent of innocent victims are children and women.
The sum of civilian deaths in Operation Defensive Pillar continues to rise inexorably. On Monday morning there was a score, and throughout the day another dozen were killed in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The total number of deaths already exceeds one hundred.
“What is happening here is a war crime,” said Salah Abed Alaty, a representative of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the north of the Gaza Strip. “The international community can not remain indifferent to a massacre like this, especially women and children,” he adds, when suddenly leaps up to feel the rumble and flare caused by a Qassam rocket launched from a hundred yards of the Omar el Moktar Avenue.
Statistics are never the best way to provide an account of the damage and destruction caused by war, but according to the numbers compiled by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, most of the fatalities in the territory are children, women and the elderly. The same three groups are also an important minority among the wounded, which already hit 700. The indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza caused the official condemnation by the UNICEF and international NGOs present in the area. Such condemnation has never been heard so publicly in the past, which is why is relevant to ask whether this time, the murder carried out by the Israeli army will be punished.
On Monday, four members of a family, including two children under four years of age, were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. “Although a senior officer of the Qassam Brigades Ezadín had been in the building, there was no justification to destroy it,” said Abed Alaty, a lawyer who witnessed the attack. In his opinion, the alleged “extrajudicial execution” of a militia leader of Hamas is not enough to launch several missiles at the building in which he was assumed to be.
Israel’s Air Force bombed a second time the building in Shuruq, Gaza City, which until Monday harbored Al Aqsa TV, which was linked to Hamas. In the same venue also operated crews from foreign channels such as Sky News and Al Arabiya.
Palestinian sources reported that at least two people died, one Ramiz Harb, leader of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said in a statement that Harb was “responsible for the propaganda” of the militia. At least three other people were injured, including two journalists.
The tower was converted into a column of black smoke, and in dozens of soil and debris from broken glass objects. On Sunday, the tower next to the Al Shawa, which also hosted television producers serving international channels, was hit by an air to land missile. The director of the press office of the Hamas government, Ihab Al Ghusain says that the antennas were used exclusively for television. “The Israelis say masts served as the communications signal of our security forces,” he says. “But that’s silly, because these antennas are in the barracks and police stations, which are also being systematically bombed,” the spokesman stressed.
“We have come to the Beach Hotel,” said Mahmoud Jaber, the CEO of Palestinian Media Productions, the production company that was attacked on Monday for the second time. The new headquarters is a constant bustle of journalists, some are quick to come out with cameras, others stay glued to computer screens and connected to the radio, the most reliable source of information on the Strip.
“We believe that hotels are the safest, as host to foreign journalists and aid workers, so we have temporarily changed to Hotel Beach” concluded Jaber. The crisis is generating great benefits for the many direct connections prompted for foreign television. From the hotel, journalists follow the last-minute attempts in Cairo to reach a ceasefire through Egyptian mediation. The leader of the political wing of Hamas abroad, Khaled Meshal, and other members of the intelligence apparatus of the military require guarantees that Israel’s bombings will be halted.
Palestinians also called for an end to targeted killings against members of their militias and other armed groups in Gaza. The Israelis want to maintain control over the security zone near the border with Israel, which covers between 300 meters and a kilometer, but Hamas leaders have refused to accept such a request.
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