‘Timely UN report says IDF soldiers likely committed war crimes and worse against Gaza’s march’, Josh Ruebner, March 13, 2019, justworldeducational.org, (all content Creative Commons)
A few outtakes:
“At the end of February, a Commission of Inquiry established by the UN’s Human Rights Council issued a preliminary report on Israel’s response to the first nine months of the Gaza-based Great March of Return that stated that it had reasonable grounds to believe that during the march, “Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” some of which “may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity…”
The 3-member Commission was headed by Santiago Canton of Argentina. It urged Israel to investigate all the killings and injuries inflicted by its soldiers against participants in the march. But it also urged the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the dossiers on alleged perpetrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other bodies.”
The final report was published on March 18, 2019 at the OCHR website in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. The page features more info-graphics, videos, and a list of B-roll for broadcasters.
Warning: video contains disturbing scenes of protesters being shot and killed.
“In the preliminary version of the report, the Commission noted that during the period March 30 through December 31, 2018, Israeli soldiers had killed 189 unarmed demonstrators, 183 of them with live fire, and had injured 9,204 others, two-thirds of them with live fire. During the demonstrations, four Israelis soldiers were injured with stones or explosives.
Release of these two versions of the Commission’s report is extremely timely as March 30 will see several big actions in various locations to mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return (GMR), a massive campaign of nonviolent citizen protests that demand the lifting of the siege that Israel has maintained around Gaza for 13 years, and the implementation of the Palestinians’ Right of Return.
Or, consider the fact that the commission received testimony from many young Palestinian men and women whom Israeli snipers shot in the lower abdomen and groin, rendering them incapable of having children. Was this pattern a coincidence or did certain Israeli soldiers view Palestinians in such a dehumanized and racist fashion as to judge their reproductive capacity a “demographic threat” to continued Israeli Jewish supremacy? [snip]
“The deadliest day
On May 14, 2018, hundreds of US and Israeli officials and dignitaries jubilantly gathered outside of 14 David Flusser Street in Jerusalem to witness the Trump administration make good on a key campaign promise: to move the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That move upended seven decades of a bipartisan US policy that had consistently refused to recognize any country’s claim to sovereignty over the city and enraptured Trump administration figures, GOP donors, Members of Congress, and Bible-thumping televangelists who attended the ceremonial opening.
Just 60 miles away, in the Israeli-occupied and -besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, an entirely different and horrific scene was unfolding. An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 Palestinians protested at 13 sites throughout the enclave in the planned culmination of the GMR, which had initially been planned to last only six weeks.
The GMR protests that day took on added urgency and intensity as the Palestinian demonstrators were also protesting the US putting its imprimatur on Israel’s exclusivist claims to Jerusalem and preparing to commemorate 70 years of the Nakba (“catastrophe”), the dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian population and colonization of Palestinian land that has characterized Israel’s policies since 1948.” [snip]
“Will Israel be held accountable?
The Commission concluded that Israeli forces “killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither directly participating in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat,” which is a war crime. Moreover, these killings occurred “in the context of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy,” and may, therefore, constitute crimes against humanity as well, according to the commission.
It is no wonder that Israel refused to cooperate with the work of this Commission, as it previously refused to provide access to previous UN fact-finding missions investigating Israel’s earlier military assaults on the Gaza Strip and the seaborne attack Israel launched against a flotilla of civilian ships attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies.
However, Israel’s efforts to derail this Commission did not inhibit the Commission from conducting a comprehensive investigation. The Commission conducted 325 interviews with victims, witnesses, government officials and members of civil society and reviewed more than 8,000 documents, including affidavits, medical reports, open source reports, social media content, written submissions and expert legal opinions, video and drone footage, and photographs.”
Ruebner briefly chronicles the Obama administration’s efforts to collude with Israel to bury UN recommendations to hold Israel accountable for atrocities committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead (including Susan Rice) and allowed Israel to investigate its own crimes during the 2010 Mavi Marmara aid for Gazans ship raid.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)