WAR CRIMES: Israel’s ‘Collective Punishment’ of Gaza Released Amid Palestinian Push for Statehood
The human rights group Amnesty International has charged that Israel was in violation of humanitarian law due to the deliberate destruction of civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip following a brutal siege over the summer dubbed Operation Brother’s Keeper.
According to a recent investigative report by Amnesty International, Israel’s actions were tantamount to war crimes based on their unjustified destruction of buildings in the Gaza Strip between August 23-26 of 2014. Even though there were no civilian casualties during the decimation of those buildings, the advocacy group report states that the ‘collective punishment’ was without justification and in clear violation of the international community.
Predictably, Israel has asserted that the buildings destroyed have been allegedly linked to Hamas and that Amnesty International has fallen prey to a conspiratorial plot crafted by Hamas. However, there has been no definitive proof offered by Israel to prove this claim.
The advocacy group’s report has added fuel to a growing international debate over Israel’s role during the decidedly vicious incursion, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. As the conflict seemed to wind down over this past summer – the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed several large civilian buildings without any justifiable reason according to Amnesty International.
There’s seemingly been a wave of strange stories concerning Israel in the news cycle lately and Amnesty International’s report comes just as there has been several high profile incidents involving the country in recent weeks.
Is this a coincidence, or is there something else at play here?
IMAGE: ‘Gaza bombarded’ – A young Palestinian girl peers out of a severely damaged residence (Photo link thecairopost.com)
Palestinian statehood is being recognized
According to a recent news release from Reuters, a Palestinian resolution will be presented by Wednesday to the 15-member U.N. Security Council designed to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory by November of 2016.
As we recently pointed out here at 21 WIRE,“Palestine’s drive for statehood has been gaining traction in the last few years, prompting many critics of Israel’s brutal bombing campaign over the summertime to strengthen those calls.”
While resolution talks and calls for a Palestinian statehood have cascaded throughout the world, we’ve seen a rash of reactionary violence said to have occurred between Israel and Hamas this past year. As the violent activity has seemingly reached a boiling point, the public should be wary of such activity while officials are pushing for a peaceful negotiation at this time.
Israel is inextricably linked to the creation of Hamas and quite frankly, given the country’s close association to the Islamic group, one should be very careful when examining this conflict at face value.
Back in late August, here at 21WIRE we took a closer look at the Israeli/Hamas lineage:
It has been stated that Hamas itself was in fact an Israeli creation, as a way to strategically weaken the PLO during the late 1980′s and some have associated the following quote with Charles Freeman a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia:
“Israel started Hamas. It was a project of Shin Bet which had a feeling they would use it to hem in the PLO.”
Additionally, we pointed out the possibility of Israeli double agents actively working within Hamas leadership.
Also, in that same report, we outlined the relationship between Turkey and Israel, which has seemingly played out to the benefit of known terror groups including ISIS:
“It should also be noted that Turkey was very supportive of its NATO colleagues that were seeking to attack Syria, a strategy which fit snugly with the policy planning of the US-Israel-GCC alliance. There seems to be a warmth between Turkey and Israel despite the often overplayed icy relationship.”
“In 2012, Turkey was said to have replaced Iran, as a Hamas’ top financial backer according to Israeli intelligence. Additionally, Turkey has had multiple defense contracting bids with Israel in recent years with the support of Turkish PM Erdogan.”
This begs the question: why would Israel be working with Turkey, a known supporter of Hamas, Israel’s ‘makeshift rocket’ foe?
IMAGE: ‘Subliminal imagery’ – A demonstrator holds an ISIS flag on the ancient plaza of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in October (jewishpress.com)
Israel & ISIS
In September, it was reported by Haaretz that the Syria/Israeli border was under control by rebels, according to senior officials in Israel:
“The IDF estimates that around 1,500 to 2,000 armed rebels from three different groups are now across the border from Israel. These groups are the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front and a coalition of forces interested in setting up an Islamist state in Syria that the defense establishment refers to as the Muslim Brotherhood rebels. All three groups are well armed, possessing antitank missiles, artillery batteries and even tanks that were either captured from the Syrian Army or brought by deserters from the army.”
It appears that Israel has benefited from both the recent incursion with Hamas and the violent trek of ISIS, as we know the US-NATO-GCC alliance has backed the various coalition forces seeking to destabilize Syria.
Similarly, the death-theater going on in Iraq also reveals a larger role played by Israel. This was evident when it was reported that Israeli air strikes on Syria over the summer appeared to provide air cover for ISIS, as they moved between the Iraq and Syrian border.
“The Islamic State has also captured “significant quantities” of U.S.-manufactured small arms and has employed them on the battlefield, researchers found.”
“The new research suggests they have also amassed arms after overrunning the moderate Syrian rebels being supplied by the United States and other allied nations.”
Last month according to Israel National News the Sunni-based al-Qaeda offshoot dubbed Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis aka ‘Supporters of Jerusalem’ pledged its alliance to ISIS:
“Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis pledged its allegiance to ISIS in Iraq and Syria, in a bid to boost recruitment and bolster its fight against the Egyptian army, according to analysts.”
Strangely, after the Supporters of Jerusalem Jihadist group in Egypt issued threats to Israel on January 20th, they claimed to have fired a rocket near the outskirts of an Israeli resort city. Around the same time rocket fire was said to have come from Salafist group in Gaza, Israel responded by striking several sites in the Gaza Strip.
Was Israel using the attacks as a pretext to bomb other targets in Gaza?
Terror events sometimes appear in tandem and a doubling effect occurs, often obscuring a persons ability to understand an event, clouding the core intent of such activity.
In a 21WIRE Special Report, just over a week ago, many terror connections between the West and their valued partners – have been confirmed:
“Israel’s strategic partnership with Turkey, a known supporter of Islamic foreign fighters in Syria (see details below), puts Israel squarely in the frame with US and GCC-backed Islamic insurgent fighting groups, including Islamic State terrorist (ISIS/ISL).
Among other sources, the Jerusalem Post reported one testimony from an ISIS fighter confirming that Turkey is funding the Islamic terrorist group. As a NATO member and close ally of the US, it is now widely understood how Turkey has played the pivotal role in helping foreign terrorist fighters and ISIS militants, in its wider effort to help destablize and exact the official US foreign policy of regime change in Damascus, Syria.”
Continuing the report outlined a specific connection between Israel and ISIS:
“Foreign Policy Magazine (CFR) recently published documents admitting how Israel is also treating ISIS terrorists for free in its hospitals, and providing medical care and other unidentified supplies to the insurgents.”
Back in September we noted that the US-Backed Syrian rebels had signed pact with ISIS, “Syrian rebels or FSA, along with ISIS jihadists, have signed a non-aggression pact in the suburbs of Syria’s capital Damascus. The cease-fire deal brokered between so-called ‘moderate’ rebels and the black-clad Sunnis of the Islamic State, have agreed that Assad is their “principal enemy.”
In the aftermath of Operation Brother’s Keeper this past summer, Israel claimed its largest land grab in 30 years, in an area known as Gevaot, as a part of a continued expropriation of land on occupied West Bank land, apparently since 2000. Officially, 988 acres are being designated as ‘state land’ for Israel.
More from RT below….
‘War crime’: Amnesty Intl says IDF destroyed Gaza blocks as ‘collective punishment’
Human rights group Amnesty International accused Israel of the unjustified destruction of civilian buildings in Gaza during this summer’s conflict, branding it a symbolic form of “collective punishment.” Israel says the buildings served as Hamas bases.
The advocacy group has called for an international investigation of Israel’s behavior during the incursion, in which over 2,100 Palestinians and 60 Israelis died. In its latest report, Amnesty particularly noted that in the last – relatively bloodless – days of the war, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) deliberately bombed several large civilian constructions without any apparent necessity.
“While no one was killed during the destruction of the four landmark civilian buildings in the Gaza Strip during the four last days of the war, the attacks are of great significance because they are examples of what appears to have been deliberate destruction and targeting of civilian buildings and property on a large scale, carried out without military necessity,” the group said, referring to three apartment blocks and one shopping center which were bombarded by Israeli shells between August 23-26, for allegedly harboring militants.
“The timing of these attacks and statements by Israeli officials suggest that these were instances of collective punishment, ones with long-term impact on the already perilous economic situation of Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” Amnesty International said.
If Israel’s intent is proven, “it would be a grave breach of the prohibition against such attacks in international humanitarian law (the laws of war), including the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a state party, and therefore amount to a war crime.”
RT spoke with officials from both the Israeli government and Amnesty International, and asked them for their side of the story.
Israel has refuted the contents of the report, saying it is Hamas – Gaza’s leading political and military organization – which should be investigated, and that it purposefully concealed terrorist units in civilian buildings.
“We know for sure that those buildings were used for Hamas as military bases. Now, we have our sources. We cannot reveal our intelligence sources because we are compromising people there who face Hamas, who are trying to avoid the casualties within the civilian Palestinians,” Alon Melchior, deputy spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, told RT.
“Now, the question is why Hamas is using those civilian buildings as terrorist bases – that’s what Amnesty should ask, should investigate why Hamas is using the Palestinian people as human shields,”Melchior said.
Israel has rejected the testimonies of Gaza locals and Amnesty researchers.
“We know for a fact that all the evidence in the report is based on false evidence, no one can question those testimonies over there – no one can check their credibility. There is only one true evidence that we agree on: that no one was killed during those attacks that were checked,” said Melchior.
“We think that Amnesty are victims of Hamas propaganda,” the Israeli official claimed.
Amnesty International’s Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program, responded to the allegations live on RT, calling them “absolutely nonsense.”
“This report is based on meticulous research that has looked into these four airstrikes in particular…it didn’t just take out those buildings, of course, it destroyed hundreds of homes and livelihoods. And the reality is that the evidence that we’ve gathered and that we’ve presented is detailed – and it is based not just on the facts on the ground, but on statements by Israeli military authorities and others at the time of the conflict,” Luther told RT.
According to Luther, “scores of people were injured in neighboring buildings as a result of the attack”and had their homes wiped out, “and this for people who already have a precarious existence because of Israel’s longstanding military blockade on the Gaza Strip.”