Friday, January 09, 2009

Israel faces UN war crimes probe

Mother and child, Zeitoun, south-east Gaza.

First the Israeli army drops the leaflets warning Palestinians to get out of their homes because there will be an air raid. Then they pack 110 of them, half of whom are children, into a single-storey house in Zeitoun, south-east Gaza, "for their safety". Then they bomb the house. Repeatedly. Then they refuse to allow medical teams to evacuate the wounded.

Israel faces UN war crimes probe
The UN, which has called for an "immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli ground troops from Gaza" (Security Council Vote 14-0, US abstaining), has called for an investigation.

The Guardian totals it up :

"The UN put the Palestinian death toll at 758, of whom it said 42% were women and children – 60 women and 257 children. Around 3,100 Palestinians have been injured.
Three Israeli soldiers were killed bringing the Israeli death toll to 13, of whom three were civilians.

"There is no safe space in the Gaza Strip – no safe haven, no bomb shelters, and the borders are closed and civilians have no place to flee," said a report from the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs. It said three quarters of Gaza's 1.5 million people had now been without electricity since Sunday, and 800,000 Gazans had no running water.

"The UN relief and works agency, by far the largest humanitarian agency in Gaza, suspended its operations yesterday, after Israeli forces opened fire on a UN-contracted convoy collecting food aid from the Erez crossing in north Gaza. One man was killed and two others injured. Later , a marked UN convoy of two armoured vehicles was hit by Israeli troops when they stopped to try to recover the dead body of a Palestinian UN staff member during a scheduled three-hour ceasefire."

I wonder what was so difficult to figure out about a white truck with a big red cross painted on the roof. Perhaps that 14-0 UN resolution for complete withdrawal from Gaza was to blame.

The Guardian again :
"15,000 Gazans are sheltering in UN schools because they have been forced to flee their homes in the face of the Israeli air and ground offensive, or even ordered out by Israeli troops. The UN has opened 27 of its schools as shelters."

So far Israel has bombed two of them, despite the UN giving the GPS coordinates to the IDF, claiming they were countering mortar fire from the vicinity of the school. However as we read inthe Israeli paper Haaretz :

"UN: IDF officers admitted there was no gunfire from Gaza school which was shelled ... all the footage released by the IDF of militants firing from inside the school was from 2007 and not from the incident itself. "

And what's the reaction in Canada?
Michael "empire-lite" Ignatieff in The Star yesterday:
"Liberal leader echoes Tory government, blames Hamas for `organizing, instigating rocket attacks'
"Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says Israel is justified in taking military action to defend itself against attacks by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
"Canada has to support the right of a democratic country to defend itself," he told reporters in Halifax yesterday after speaking to a forum of business leaders on the economy.
"Israel has been attacked from Gaza, not just last year, but for almost 10 years," Ignatieff said. "They evacuated from Gaza so there is no occupation in Gaza."

Horrifying and disgusting, I know, but not particularly surprising and all points we dispensed with yesterday.
Blog reactions to Iggy's tripe were swift : POGGE , PSA at Canadian Cynic, Dr.Dawg, Runesmith, Beijing York
Iggy actually did have more nuancey things to say than CP and the Star suggest, as transcribed by supporter James Morton, but Iggy's pro-Israel lines are the familiar AIPAC quotes that the Canadian press will recognize and parrot.

So where are we getting our Gaza news, apart from a Canadian pro-Israel press and "The Megaphone"?
And where is the outcry from journalists that they have been denied access to Gaza?
If you follow no other links here today, please be sure to click this one at Sudbury Against War and Occupation - Justin Podur : Turn Off the Canadian Media, Please :

"Modern Western armies, like those of Israel, the US, and Canada, think of information as part of warfare. They expend tremendous time and resources mobilizing support for their violence. They do this by controlling information, disallowing independent journalists (as Israel is doing), using embedded journalists, and running a massive public relations machinery designed specifically to deliver arguments and propaganda for the foreign press and for foreign consumption.

There is a special machinery just for Canadians, and a special strategy to sell war in Canada. There was one for the Iraq war, there is one for the Afghanistan war, and one for Israel's wars as well. What is so unusual about the media environment today is that all this expense, all this media machinery, can be circumvented by anyone in its target audience by the simple click of a mouse. So click away."

Good advice and excellent alternative recommendations to be found there.

P.S. Signed the Amnesty International Canada petition yet?
Speak out for peace and the people in Gaza because the ConservaLiberals aren't going to.

Cross-posted at Creekside

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