Posts Tagged ‘Gaza offensive’

Israeli intellectuals seek inquiry into war in Gaza Strip

July 24, 2009

Morning Star Online,July 23, 2009

Prominent Israeli intellectuals have signed a petition calling on Tel Aviv to launch an independent probe into last winter’s brutal Gaza offensive.

The signatories included authors David Grossman and Amos Oz, the organisation Rabbis for Human Rights as well as former Meretz party MP Yossi Sarid and 25 academics, actors, musicians and public figures.

It reads: “We, citizens of the state of Israel, whose army is the IDF, demand to know the truth regarding the fighting carried out in our names, our money and at the price of danger to the lives of our loved ones.”

The petition follows the publication last week of statements from 30 Israeli soldiers who took part in Operation Cast Lead.

The soldiers confirmed that the Israeli Defence Force had a “shoot first” policy, used white phosphorus smoke bombs in built-up residential areas and forced Palestinian civilians to act as “human shields.”

The petition noted that the testimonies made the Israeli military’s official stance, that it is the “most moral army in the world,” appear “detached from reality.”

Israel accused of war crimes over white phosphorus

March 25, 2009

March 25, 2009

A leading human rights group accused Israel’s army yesterday of committing war crimes by using white phosphorus shells in the recent war in Gaza.

With accusations of abuses in the Gaza offensive mounting by the day, the latest report by Human Rights Watch lambasted Israel for its widespread use of the controversial munitions, which are allowed as a battlefield smokescreen but banned from use on civilian areas.

“In Gaza the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, who co-wrote the report, which draws on witness statements, spent shells, satellite images and photography.

“It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” The report, Rain of Fire, said that senior Israeli army commanders should be held accountable “for the needless civilian deaths caused by white phosphorus”.

The use of white phosphorus in the three-week Gaza campaign was first reported by The Times in January. After initial denials, Israel admitted that it had deployed the substance.

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