14 July 2014 — WashingtonsBlog
Is Israel Trying to Bomb Gaza Back to the Dark Ages?
In response, several commenters accused us of exaggerating the brutality of Israel’s bombing campaign.
But as we noted in 2012, during the last major attack by Israel on Gaza:
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said:
We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads & water.
Or as Haaretz puts it:
Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages ….”
Destroying civilian infrastructure is – of course – a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
The following are also war crimes under the Geneva Convention:
- The indiscriminate or disproportionate use of force
- Collective punishment for the acts of a few
- Targeting civilians
The same year, Gilad Sharon – the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – wrote an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post saying:
“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”
This time around, the New York Times reports that Israel has bombed a mosque in Gaza, a policeman’s house, and a clinic for the disabled … killing 2 residents and a caretaker. There are numerous reports of women and children killed in bombed out apartment buildings and homes. But Hamas rockets have not killed a single Israeli.
And a Norwegian doctor working in Gaza (Dr. Eric Fosse) says that everyone he’s treated at the hospital has been a civilian – with many children – that it appears that civilians are being intentionally targeted, and that DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosives) are being used by Israel:
As Wikipedia notes, DIME is carcinogenic:
The carcinogenic effects of heavy metal tungsten alloys (HMTA) have been studied by the U.S. Armed Forces since at least the year 2000 (along with depleted uranium (DU)). These alloys were found to cause neoplastic transformations of human osteoblast cells.
A more recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study in 2005 found that HMTA shrapnel rapidly induces rhabdomyosarcoma in rats.
The tungsten alloy carcinogenicity may be most closely related to the nickel content of the alloys used in weapons to date. However, pure tungsten and tungsten trioxide are also suspected of causing cancer and other toxic properties, and have been shown to have such effects in animal studies.
In 2009, a group of Italian scientists affiliated with the watchdog group New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC) pronounced DIME wounds “untreatable” because the powdered tungsten cannot be removed surgically.
And as the Jewish Daily Forward reports:
The United Nations human rights chief on Friday voiced serious doubts that Israeli’s military operation against Gaza complied with international law banning the targeting of civilians ….
International law requires Israel to take all measures to ensure that its attacks are proportional, distinguish between military and civilian objects, and avoid civilian casualties, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.
“We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” Pillay said in a statement.