PCHR: Weekly Report 8-14 January, 2009: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

No. 02/2009
08- 14 Jan. 2009
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Have Continued Their War on the Gaza for the 3rd Consecutive Week under International Silence

IOF Offensive on the Gaza Strip

  • 1,042 Palestinians have been killed.
  • The victims include 698 civilians and 166 civil police officers.
  • The civilian victims include 230 children and 76 women.
  • IOF attacked medical and civil defense crews, killing 7 medical personnel.
  • IOF attacked UNRWA vehicles, killing a driver.  
  • 3,901 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 1,101 children and 552 women, have been wounded.
  • 343 houses have been targeted and destroyed and hundreds of houses and flats have been damaged.
  • 20 mosques have been destroyed.
  • 46 workshops and industrial facilities have been destroyed.
  • 41 security sites and public buildings have been destroyed, including those of ministries, governorates, municipalities, the Palestinian Legislative Council, and educational institutions.
  • IOF have attacked two media institutions and a medical center
  • A state of compulsory mass displacement of civilians has prevailed in border areas as a result of continuous air strikes.  
  • Access to food and medicines is extremely difficult, and electricity is completely cut off in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip.

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PCHR: 19th Day of Continuous IOF Attacks Across the Gaza Strip

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD (non profit)

Press Release
Ref: 13/2009
Date: 14 January 2009 Time: 12:40 GMT

  • 47 Palestinians killed during reporting period, including 40 civilians:
  • Victims include 11 Children and 3 Women:
  • Overall Gaza death toll mounts to 983, including 673 civilians, of whom 225 are children:
  • IOF continue to fire incinerating bombs across the Gaza Strip:
  • IOF continue to destroy houses and raze agricultural land, forcing families to flee their homes;

As the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continue their indiscriminate attacks across the Gaza Strip for the nineteenth consecutive day, the number of Palestinian civilian deaths continues to rise. Civilians constitute approximately 85% (or 673) of the total number of IOF victims during this ongoing IOF military operation, and 35% (or 225) of the civilian victims are estimated to be children. The current civilian death toll also includes at least 69 women, 167 civil police officers (who are classified as civilians), seven medical personnel, and three Palestinian journalists.

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Petition: Growing outrage at the killings in Gaza

This remarkable petition in today’s Guardian makes me wonder when American academics and literary figures will have the courage and decency to do the same.  How many wars must we witness before our intellectuals will say enough?

The Guardian, Friday 16 January 2009

The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources. Israel’s war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

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Press Release — Calling to Prevent War Crimes is Not Breaking the Law

Press Release
Shraga Elam, journalist (shraga-elam.blogspot.com/)

Journalist Shraga Elam call upon the Israeli Attorney-General to reject the complaint, filed by the radical, right wing organization “Legal Forum for the Land of Israel,” to prosecute an Israeli attorney on charges of incitement to rebellion for his appeal to Israeli soldiers to actively prevent the commission of war crimes in Gaza. This complaint is devoid of any legal basis, and constitutes a malicious attempt to squelch internal dissent.

“While the war mongers occupy themselves with threats and intimidation, we  are concerned with an effort to save the lives of thousands of civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian,” states Shraga Elam. “We call on Israeli soldiers to obey international law and  Israeli law which prohibit violations of the laws of war and international humanitarian law. Israeli soldiers must prevent the commission of war crimes because it is their legal and moral obligation to do so.”

Dozens of human rights organizations worldwide, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused Israeli civilian and military leaders of prima facie war crimes. Even Israeli human rights groups called for an investigation into whether Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes in Gaza. The Israeli army’s indiscriminate bombing of residential neighborhoods, hospitals, clinics, police and fire stations, and civil administration buildings and the mass killing of civilians may constitute war crimes in many countries in Europe, and even “rank-and-file soldiers” may be prosecuted. Indeed, these actions may be prosecuted in any country, such as the United States, which applies the doctrine of universal jurisdiction.

We propose a lawful and moral solution to Israeli soldiers who are concerned about being held accountable for war crimes: actively refuse to commit war crimes.

We note that that our appeal to prevent war crimes is supported by peace activists from all over the world, among them many Jews, including Meir Margalit, a former member of the Jerusalem city council, Geri Mueller, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Swiss Parliament, and thousands of individuals and organizations who have signed the following calls to Israeli soldiers:

1. Jews Call on Israeli Soldiers to Stop War Crimes
2. A Call on Israeli soldiers to Stop War Crimes – International

In view of the detailed opinion of the Israeli attorney, the appeal to Israeli soldiers to actively and effectively stop the commission of war crimes is mandated by international law, Israeli law, and basic principles of morality.

By VIJAY PRASHAD: An African-American in Gaza

16-18 January, 2009

The United Nations Equals Zero

For C. M. Naim.
UN-Shmum ([Israeli slang] United Nations =Zero).

Israeli contempt for the United Nations begins in the 1940s and continues to this day. On March 29, 1955, the Israeli cabinet sat for six hours, debating whether to invade the Gaza Strip (then under Egyptian control) to curtail cross-border attacks. Prime Minister Moshe Sharett pointed out that the United Nations resolution 181 (1947) created Israel. David Ben-Gurion, who had recently returned to the Cabinet as Defense Minister, interrupted him, “No, no, no. Only the daring of the Jews created the state, and not any oom-shmoom resolution.” Most of Israel’s leadership (Moshe Dayan, Shimon Peres, Golda Meir, Yigal Allon, and even Abba Eban) accepted Ben-Gurion’s position; all this long before the 1975 UN General Assembly resolution which equated Zionism with racism. That simply provided more fodder for a well-established contempt for the United Nations within Israel’s ruling circles. When Likud won the elections in 1977, it made hay of the UN resolution on Zionism. Responding to the first invasion of Lebanon (1978), the UN created the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) through resolution 425. The Israeli government brushed this aside, invading the country once more in 1982, remaining south of the Litani River for the next eighteen years – in contempt of resolution 509 (1982) which demanded that Israeli forces “forthwith and unconditionally” withdraw. Prime Minister Menachem Begin told the Israeli press that the United Nations “cannot be objective” because “the majority of the UN General Assembly is definitely anti-Israel, and the majority of the members of the Security Council do not even maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.” The United Nations, oom-shmoom, does not matter.

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Jonathan Cook: Israeli assault injures 1.5 million Gazans

16 January, 2009 The Electronic Intifada

This week the death toll in Gaza passed the 1,000 mark, after three weeks of Israeli air and ground attacks. But surprisingly, no one has reported an even more appalling statistic: that there are some 1.5 million injured Palestinians in Gaza. How is is possible that such an astounding figure could have passed the world’s media by?

The reason apparently is that they have been relying on the highly unreliable statistics provided by official Palestinian sources. It appears that the Palestinian health ministry only records as wounded those Gazans who need to stay in hospital because of the severity of their injuries.

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Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza By Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada

2 January 2009

My visit back home to the Galilee coincided with the genocidal Israeli attack on Gaza. The state, through its media and with the help of its academia, broadcasted one unanimous voice — even louder than the one heard during the criminal attack against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza.

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Gaza-bound medical supplies hijacked by Israel

This report was received today [16 January, 2009] from one of the participants in this event. She asked that the report be distributed as far and wide as possible. Apparently, even PHR were stunned by the hijacking.


Physicians for Human Rights (Israel) (www.phr.org.il/phr) were given permission to enter Gaza with a cargo of medicines and medical equipment (“Humanitarian Aid”) contained in two trucks, one from central Israel (Tel Aviv area) and the other one from the Palestinian town of Tai’ba (within the borders of pre-67 Israel).  PHR called their supporters to come in 3 buses and accompany the trucks to the border with Gaza (at the kibbutz of Kerem Shalom) and stand there as a silent demonstration.

We did not think that they would let us get to the border, but we were hoping we could go with the trucks at least to Yad Mordechai. Our buses arrived in Ashkelon, where the buses were stopped by hysterical police forces who stopped us from continuing. We were told that as far as they were concerned, the road, for us, was blocked south  of that point.  Of course, other cars were allowed to continue, after all, it is the middle of the country.

The police confiscated the drivers’ licenses of the bus drivers and hijacked the buses back to Tel Aviv under police escort. The drivers, scared of losing their licenses, took the passengers back, and their licenses were given back to them only in Tel Aviv.

The police officers admitted that what they did was totally illegal but they said there was “no choice”. This was sheer hijacking. Passengers were not allowed to get off the bus. I’d like to remind those who read this, that we live in “the only democracy in the middle east”.

When we got back to Tel Aviv, we found out that the trucks themselves never reached Gaza. One of them was still waiting at the “border” crossing and the other was never allowed to leave Tai’ba because the Gazan truck that was supposed to receive the supplies on the other side of the border crossing, was bombed.