Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It's a war crime

Down in the sewer, the usual suspects have lept to the defence of Israel, attempting to argue that their current actions in Gaza are not a war crime. Unfortunately for them, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Territories - begs to differ:

The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.

Those violations include:

  • Collective punishment: The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
  • Targeting civilians: The airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.
  • Disproportionate military response: The airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.
Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza's besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.
Who to believe? Random ranters, or an internationally renowned human rights expert, tasked by the UN with monitoring the implementation of international law in the area? Tough question...

And to add to that, now they're using white phosphorus - but only to produce a smokescreen, of course. Any Palestinian children who have their skins melted off by this horror weapon are simply "collatoral damage"...