Can we really use the term war to describe a one-sided massacre of a civilian population? Last summer’s unconscionable Israeli assault on the defenseless people of Gaza claimed the deaths of 2,300 civilians of which 504 were children. Here’s a country with gun ships, Apache helicopters, Merkava tanks and missiles on another murderous rampage against the penned up people of Gaza.
And now the predictable report which concludes as it always does that this “war’ was “lawful and legitimate. “ This ‘is but another whitewash as Israel refuses to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s inquiry, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as biased.This is a consistent tactic: never allow internationalists into Gaza to see the horrific destruction.
Israel bends periodically when Christian bishops ask to visit the horrific destruction. In January Israel made the Vatican’s Holy Land Tour wait 24 hours outside the world’s largest prison camp before grudgingly allowing the bishops in. Even 6 months after the hard rain descended on Gaza, the shock was palpable. Lydia O’Kane, who was accompanying the group on behalf of Vatican Radio said the bishops were left shocked by what they witnessed. It was a traumatising experience for many of them with one reduced to tears at the sheer scale of destruction saying “there’s nothing left”.
No picture can fully describe the full extent of what parts of Gaza have been reduced to. The bishops’ group has been coming on this visit for 15 years. They have seen bomb sites before. But the looks on their faces said it all, as they walked along streets in silence,” O’Kane reported on Vatican Radio.
Perhaps The most shocking scene of July’s massacre broadcast in front of journalists was the callous killing of 4 children playing soccer on the beach.Peter Beaumont the Guardian’s correspondent in Israel, was sitting that afternoon on the terrace of the Al-Deira Hotel, regularly used by journalists, when the explosion occurred.
“They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime. It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: “They are only children.” In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen’s shacks on the wall were dead.”
The intrepid brave Israeli reporter Gideon Levy wrote with biting irony:
They were four skinny children of fishermen, the beach boys of Gaza, wearing shorts, looking even younger than their years. At the funeral Zakariyah’s mother could not kiss his face; it was torn apart.
The spokesman of the most moral army in the world expressed his regret, while blaming Hamas, of course, for the killing of the children, for “cynical use of them” – Hamas, after all, had sent them to play on the beach. The pilot or the soldier who pressed the button – the firing was apparently from the air – is absolved of responsibility.
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund told amy Goodman of Democracy Now of NPR;
Yes, Israel has investigated itself, and this fits into a very familiar pattern that we’ve seen time and time again, really going back to the early days of the Israeli state. After various massacres, there are investigations, which almost always result in Israel declaring itself completely innocent or finding some minuscule charge to put on people that are, you know, then prosecuted and further have those charges mitigated even after that, to the point where there is nobody held accountable for anything at all. This is a PR stunt, is what it is.
And I think it speaks volumes that that’s the approach that the Israelis are taking, precisely because they know there is no way that they can convince the world that what took place in Gaza last year—you know, wiping out 89 entire families, killing 504 children—that that’s justifiable. They can’t, certainly not, you know, given the fact that this was done through massive weapons of war against a stateless population. That can’t be done. The best that they can hope to do is to obfuscate and to confuse and to cloud people’s perception of the issue by trying to issue a report that attempts to balance out or counteract a report that’s done by an independent entity. If the Israelis believe that the only way that they can get a report that supports the conclusions that they want and finds them innocent of all war crimes is to orchestrate that report by themeless or have it put together by their friends, I think that tells you everything you need to know about Israel’s conduct in the Gaza Strip last summer.
Levy on the shame show expressed his disgust at the report of the israeli Foreign Ministry calling it “pathetic and embarrassing.”
If they think that anyone in the world will take this piece of propaganda seriously, they underestimate the intelligence and the morality of the world. It’s really almost shameful to suggest this kind of report, when, as my friend said just now, when the facts on the ground are streaming, are crystal clear, more than 500 children being killed. You can blame all the killing on the Hamas. Can you really believe that anyone will take you seriously? Really, I mean, it’s every time, again and again—, the Israeli public opinion is totally brainwashed in the recent years—no moral doubt, no discussion, no debate even. I mean, it is very clear to most of the Israelis, if not all of them, that the IDF is the most moral army in the world and that Israel should not be taken accountable for anything it has done in Gaza. This is hardly discussed even. It’s not even an issue in Israel.