International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Palestine

Demonstrators outside the International Criminal Court call for the Israeli army to be prosecuted for war crimes, The Hague, Nov 2019. (photo: Peter de Jong / AP)
There is sufficient evidence to investigate alleged Israeli and Palestinian war crimes committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, the court has announced.

By Peter Beaumont | The Guardian | Dec 20, 2019

‘In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.’
— Fatou Bensouda, ICC Chief Prosecutor

In a landmark decision, the ICC said it saw “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

The announcement ended years of preliminary investigations into alleged crimes by both Israeli forces and Palestinians, and signaled that the court was preparing to open a formal investigation.

A statement published by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on the court’s website on Friday said her office “has concluded with the determination that all the statutory criteria under the Rome statute for the opening of an investigation have been met.”
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No one in Israel knew they were committing a massacre

Palestinians mourn over the bodies of members of the same family who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, Nov 14, 2019. (photo: AFP / Haaretz)
The Israel Defense Forces claims the target was an “unoccupied shack.”

By Gideon Levy | Haaretz | Nov 17, 2019

‘Why did they do this to us?’
— Mohammed Matar, who had worked in Israel for 30 years, and whose daughter, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren were killed in the bombing

The bomber pilot didn’t know. His commanders who gave him the orders also didn’t know. The defense minister and the commander in chief didn’t know. Nor did the commander of the air force. The intelligence officers who aimed at the target didn’t know. The army spokesman who lied without a qualm also didn’t know.

None of our heroes knew. The ones who always know everything suddenly didn’t know. The ones who can track down the son of a wanted man in a Damascus suburb didn’t know that sleeping inside their miserable hovel in Dir al-Balah was an impoverished family.

They, who serve in the most moral army and the most advanced intelligence services in the world, didn’t know that the flimsy tin shack had long since stopped being part of the “Islamic Jihad infrastructure,” and it’s doubtful that it ever was. They didn’t know and they didn’t bother to check — after all, what’s the worst that could happen?
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Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in violence

A Palestinian receives medical attention in a hospital after being injured during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Sep 14, 2018. (photo: Felipe Dana / Associated Press)
Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

By Associate Press Staff | The Washington Post | Nov 29, 2018

Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands.

A medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system.

Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have been organizing weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence, throwing firebombs at Israeli troops and burning tires.

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Israeli defense officials: Gaza will collapse without an alternative to UNRWA

Palestinian men collect aid food at a United Nations compound in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Sep 1, 2018. (photo: AFP)
Israeli delegation to upcoming conference expected to encourage donor countries to help guarantee continued delivery of food, education services and salaries.

By Yaniv Kubovich | Haaretz | Sep 9, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces warned . . . that if the UN agency’s Gaza operations cease without a workable alternative being found, an escalation in violence is nearly inevitable.

Israeli defense officials agreed in a meeting last week that the government must develop an alternative to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip in order to head off a humanitarian disaster in light of the US commitment to defunding the agency.

An Israeli delegation to a donor conference in New York later this month is expected to encourage donor countries to pitch in to guarantee the continued delivery of food, education services and the salaries of the UN’s 30,000 employees in the Strip. Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, is one of several Israeli defense officials who are scheduled to attend.

In earlier meetings ideas for projects were put forward that Israel wanted to promote, mainly in the realm of infrastructure, but now Israel will now seek ways of funding more basic needs.

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UN Secretary General proposes armed peacekeeping force to protect Palestinians in Gaza

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference , Jun 21, 2018. (photo: Yuri Kadobnov / AFP)

Armed international mission among options floated by Guterres in response to General Assembly request for report on Gaza border clashes.

By Staff | The Times of Israel | Aug 18, 2018


“The targeting of civilians, particularly children, is unacceptable,” Guterres said in the report, adding that “those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable.”
— UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday presented four options aimed at boosting the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.

The proposals were contained in a report requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed during Hamas-led clashes with Israeli troops since late March. Dozens of the dead were members of Hamas and other terror groups, Hamas has acknowledged.

The UN chief stressed that for each of the options, cooperation by Israel and the Palestinians would be necessary. It remained unlikely however that Israel would agree to the proposals . . . .

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Why we continue to march in Gaza

A protestor waves the Palestinian flag during the Great March of Return March near Khan Younis on May 11. (photo: Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
A young man’s a blog posting from Gaza.

By Abdalrahim Alfarra | Electronic Intifada | Aug 17, 2018

Ali requires further surgery. He is still hoping to move his legs again. He is still hoping to defy the treacherous bullet fired by a heartless sniper, and a world that answers Israel’s crimes with shocking silence.

I was sitting behind my desk in my family’s supermarket in Khan Younis on 14 May when my cousin Ali approached. There was going to be another gathering in al-Faraheen for that day’s Great March of Return protest, he said. Would I join him?

“No, I prefer the one in Khuzaa where we usually go,” I said.

Ali insisted to go to al-Faraheen and decided he would do so with his friend Saed. He stayed with me until I closed the shop and we went our separate ways. I called my friend Ahmad to go to Khuzaa.

At the protest, we found the usual: tear gas canisters falling thickly, leaving us barely able to breathe or talk; ambulances and paramedics fanning out everywhere; and the sound of live bullets whizzing past. The sound of a bullet elicits contradictory feelings. All of us know that it will hit someone. But if we hear it, we are safe, just like when we hear shelling it means it has exploded but not on us.

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Palestine is not occupied — it is colonized

Israeli troops screened captured Egyptian troops and Palestinians at the start of the war on Jun 5, 1967, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (photo: David Rubinger / Israeli Governement / Getty Images)

Israel’s colonization began when the 19th-Century Zionist movement aspired to build an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine.

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | Jun 6, 2018

The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.

June 5, 2018, marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 — on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.

The unsurprising death of the “peace process” and the inevitable demise of the “two-state solution” has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.

Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the “Israeli occupation” is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. . . .

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Israeli army frames slain medic Razan al-Najjar as “Hamas human shield”

Palestinian paramedic, Razan al-Najjar, treating an injured man in Gaza. She was killed on Jun 1 by an Israeli sniper. (photo: Palestine Live)

The IDF describes Razan al-Najjar as an “Hamas human shield.” She describes herself as a “shield of safety” protecting the injured.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | Jun 7, 2018

“I am here on the front line acting as a human shield of safety to protect the injured . . . . No one encouraged me [to be] a paramedic, I encouraged myself. I wanted to take chances and help people.”
— slain Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar

Just when you thought Israel couldn’t get any lower — the Israeli army has just released an incitement video, titled “Hamas’ use of human shields must stop,” in which it frames the slain medic Razan al-Najjar as a “Hamas human shield” — two days after it claimed she was killed by accident.

This is more than adding insult to injury. This is adding malice to crime.

The propaganda effort is based on twisting al-Najjar’s own words. I have consulted with three Arabic experts, who have looked at the original Arabic interview from which the IDF took the “human shield” text, and it is clear to them beyond a doubt that the IDF was knowingly and cynically manipulating Razan’s words to mean something other than what she said. . . .

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Killing of Gaza nurse shows how cheap our blood is to Israel


Razan Al Najjar resuscitates a patient in a medical field tent in Gaza. (photo: Getty Images)

We are neither more nor less resilient and steadfast than any other human people in this world. We too feel pain and suffering. We too have a breaking point.

By Muhammad Shehada | Forward | Jun 4, 2018

We Gazans are caught between a rock and an unlivable, uninhabitable place, where the water we drink and the soil in which we plant are poisoning us and our children. Our air, land and sea are completely sealed off by Israel and Egypt’s military might. We Gazans endure humanitarian disaster, generation after generation, and are denied even the most basic right to escape a slow death. We are two million civilian prisoners, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.

On June 1, 21-year-old volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar was shot dead at the Gaza protests while rescuing injured protestors near the separation fence.

Anyone with the smallest modicum of moral decency should be shattered, devastated and overwhelmed by her death, just as they should be devastated by the horrendous improvised projectile that hit a kindergarten in Israel. Both incidents deserve unequivocal condemnation, at the very least, though only one resulted in death (thank God, none of the children were hurt).

But al-Najjar’s murder shows us something else, something horrific that transcends the border shootings. For the systematic dehumanization of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, happens not only at the hands of the Israeli guns and policies but in the media afterwards, in the framing by Israel’s supporters.

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US Ambassador Friedman slams American reporters for critical coverage of Gaza deaths

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks during a reception hosted by the Orthodox Union in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018 (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

Friedman says criticism of recent Palestinian death toll in the Strip is aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” — a seeming reference to Haaretz.

By Judy Maltz | Haaretz | Jun 4, 2018

“I find it curious that an ambassador who repeatedly refuses requests to speak to the media is now criticizing the media. The international media is not a monolithic entity, and for him to generalize like this is simplistic, inaccurate and misinformed.”
— Joe Federman, chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Israel

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Monday accused the media of major bias against Israel in its coverage of the recent violence on the Gaza border, telling reporters to “keep your mouths shut until you figure it out.”

Speaking in Jerusalem, Friedman said his criticism was aimed mainly at “my friends in the United States and one Israeli newspaper I’ve been known to criticize here” –—seemingly a reference to Haaretz, which the ambassador slammed in February after Gideon Levy published a piece criticizing him and his donation of an ambulance to a West Bank settlement.

Friedman claimed that most journalists covering the clashes in recent weeks had never bothered investigating whether Israel had other viable alternatives for defending its border besides using live fire. . . .

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