Archive | Human Rights

Thousands of displaced Palestinians take shelter on the fringes of Gaza City

The el-Algan family taking shelter in a construction site in Gaza City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

The el-Algan family taking shelter in a construction site in Gaza City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

In Gaza City thousands of Palestinians have taken shelter outside of United Nations facilities out of fear of air-strikes targeting the civilian sanctuaries. They live in rented rooms, in the backs of stores, in half-erected building and on the streets. If they interact with local or international non-governmental organization, they are counted in the log of displaced persons. Yet many from the northern regions which are now a flattened abyss of exploded homes are not recorded. They inhabit the fringes of Gaza City.

The el-Algan family has joined over 550,000 displaced Palestinians across the besieged Gaza Strip. They fled nearly two weeks ago from their home in Zeitoun near Shuja’iyeh, a northern town that today is a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland of bombed out buildings where bodies are still trapped under rubble. “I built it new eight years ago,” said Hussein Mohammed Ali el-Algan, 50, of his former home.

“When the tanks started shooting, that was it. We realized we couldn’t live there anymore,” said el-Algan while seated on a plastic chair next to the sidewalk. “When we left, we left all of us together,” with each adult carrying one of the smaller children. Even his 15-year old daughter carted a youngster as they walked aimlessly toward the sea, looking for a hideout from the shelling. “It was very hard there and we have to live and we have to survive.”

The el-Algan’s have insulated themselves inside of a three-story concrete frame of an incomplete building with another family, the Zenad’s. Together they hope to ride out Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, now in it’s 28th day. Their entire living space is a mere 250 square meters.

Shireen Zenad. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Shireen Zenad. (Photo: Allison Deger)

The ten members of the Zenad family who also reside in the construction site include three mentally disabled adults. Shireen Zenad, 33, crouched on cinder blocks stacked into makeshift stairs. She tearfully howled, still traumatized from the evening before. El-Algan explained that the night before, she and Ashraf Zenad, 37, and Asra Zenad, 18, fled into the Gaza City’s dark streets illuminated by artillery smashing into nearby buildings. The other family members chased after them, an unfortunate daily pattern of braving Israeli F-16s and drone strikes in order to retrieve their loved ones from danger.

“The Israelis, they tried to make a road for their tanks so they demolished their house,” said el-Algan of the Zenad home. His days are now filled with waiting out artillery fire and rushing to a local store to fill a one-gallon yellow water tank during the respites of ceasefires. Through a generator hooked up to a neighbor’s house el-Algan has outfitted his shelter with four hours of electricity per day. He uses it to play a radio, which has become his primary source of news. When I spoke to them on July 25th, they had not eaten or drank for days. While the Zenad’s know that their home in Shuja’iyeh was destroyed by Israeli fire, the el-Algan’s have not been able to travel back to their town to check on their belongings. The trip is dangerous and long, about an hour and a half by foot.

Children's sleeping space in the el-Algan's construction site shelter, Gaza City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Children’s sleeping space in the el-Algan’s construction site shelter, Gaza City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Gaza City is serving as an effective refugee camp for those fleeing the more war-torn regions to the north and east. Like many displaced Palestinians the el-Algan family decided not to relocate to a United Nations shelter. The UNRWA operates over 100 shelters with more than 80 people living in each classroom of the converted schools. Disease has started to spread—skin rashes and scabies—and so el-Algan prefers his construction site. While there are no real walls, cinder blocks and fabric drapes the openings. There is a semblance of “the most simple things like privacy and privacy during bathing,” said el-Algan’s brother-in-law, Ahmad el-Algan, 38. Still, residing outside of a designated shelter comes with uncertainty. “Even here there’s no security,” said Ahmad el-Algan explaining the night before the building behind their shelter was struck with missiles. The explosion damaged part of the structure they use as sleeping quarters.

Situated a short walk from the el-Algan’s shelter is a lush green square, a park honoring Gaza’s unknown fallen soldiers. Outside of wartime, the garden is a playground with children rushing monkey bars. But since Israel’s ground invasion began nearly four weeks ago the park has doubled as a shantytown for refugees who could not find space in shelters, afford to rent a flat elsewhere, or have family to host them. In a corner shaded by trees Rada Zaheles, 40, sits on a dirt square with her 13 children, her sisters and her sister’s children. Together there are 30 children. Her youngest is three years old. Beside Zaheles, her sister Naima Zaheles holds her nine-month old daughter.

“I prefer to die next to my house than to live here like this,” said Zaheles reaching her hands out as she spoke. “There’s no money, nothing. When people leave from the schools and the hospitals they bring us food.”

The Zaheles family, also from Shuja’iyeh split apart two weeks ago. It has become common in Gaza for families to separate under the logic that if an air strikes falls on them, the whole family will not be wiped out because others are taking shelter elsewhere. “Some are in Shifa hospital, some are in the school and we are in the park,” said Zaheles, continuing. “Why did this happen to us, we were in our house and now all we want is some privacy.”

If the el-Algan’s days in the construction site are bleak, the Zaheles’s are hellish. Gaza’s climate is warm, much warmer than Jerusalem in the summer, and sitting outdoors for long hours without food or water, starvation was a concern. The family of women had no spare clothing for the children, not even a pad to sleep on. “All I want to do is to start screaming and crying so that people will come and stand beside me,” wept Zaheles.

Posted in Gaza, Human Rights, Palestine Affairs0 Comments

New testimonies from Palestinian children tortured by Nazi Gestapo’s ”Shoah”

New testimonies from Palestinian children tortured by Israeli authorities

(Photo: Activestills)

(Photo: Activestills)

Yesterday, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), released a press release titled “Adalah to Attorney General: Shocking testimonies from Palestinian children who were tortured during arrest and interrogation.” The byline of the release serves as a chilling introduction to a recent investigation’s horrific findings:

[Israeli] Investigators threatened children with beatings, isolation, torturing their fathers and raping their mothers and sisters; children were denied food for dozens of hours unless they confessed to the charges against them.

Adalah has sent an “urgent letter” to Israeli Attorney General (AG) Yehuda Weinstein, “demanding an end to the practice of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment against Palestinian children from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) during their arrest and interrogation by Israeli security personnel,” and calling for open criminal investigations so that those responsible can face due punishment for their serious crimes.

The letter was sent on 1 June 2014. As of the writing of this present article, no response has been received (or, if a response has been received, it has not yet been made public).

In its letter, Adalah relays the findings of a recent investigation conducted by Defense for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI/PS). The organization’s lawyers compiled 21 testimonies made by Palestinian children who had been arrested, interrogated, and tortured by Israeli authorities. In its press release, Adalah writes

The dangerous practices described in the testimonies constitute serious criminal offenses such as assault, damage, threat, sexual harassment and other unlawful activity committed by security authorities, ranging from soldiers, to GSS interrogators, and to prison wardens.

It goes without saying such practices are in blatant violation of both Israeli and international law. Adalah’s attorneys also noted that Israel is in direct violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) treaty, to which it is a signatory. The CRC dictates that authorities immediately inform the child and any relatives as to what exactly is being charged against them (Israel regularly ignores this basic, fundamental right for many Palestinians, regardless of age—even Palestinian legislators). The CRC furthermore prohibits the use of physical or physiological pressure in interrogation and explicitly “forbids children’s exposure to any type of abuse, torture, humiliation and inhuman treatment.”

To those who pay close attention to Israel’s internal affairs, this investigation may not necessarily be surprising. Just last year, in its periodic review of Israel’s child rights record, the CRC expressed “its deepest concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police, and about the State party’s failure to end these practices in spite of repeated concerns expressed by treaty bodies.”

The CRC corroborated much of what we will see in the following testimonies, including systematic “physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, restricted access to toilet, food and water.” The CRC report even explained that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) used Palestinian children as human shields multiple times.

What this new investigation does offer us, however, is a more detailed picture of what many Palestinian children in occupied Palestine must go through, based on first-hand accounts of the brave young survivors themselves.

The following is a collection of points made in the children’s testimonies, as outlined in Adalah’s press release:

- The majority of arrests were made during late-hour night raids.

- Palestinians’ homes were “violently broken into by dozens of soldiers who intimidated both the children and their families.” In 100% of the testimonies, children said they were bound and blindfolded, before being transferred hundreds of meters away in military vehicles.

- In many of the testimonies, children revealed that soldiers went into their rooms, “aggressively woke them up, and shackled their hands and feet while they were still in bed.”

- In one testimony, a child who had been sleeping in his bed when the “brutal kicks of the soldiers” woke him up, had to have his finger amputated. Israeli soldiers ignored his wounded finger, tying up his hands and feet, for over 12 hours, leading to an inoperable infection.

- When family members inquired as to why exactly their young children were being harassed, assaulted, bound, blindfolded, and taken away in the middle of the night, Israeli soldiers often replied by beating and insulting them.

- In the preponderance of the arrests, neither children nor their families knew why they were being taken away. Family members would not be allowed to accompany the minor, and they would not be informed as to where Israeli authorities would be taking them.

- While soldiers were transferring the detained children to interrogation sites, soldiers regularly “used extreme physical and verbal abuse against them, including beatings, smashing the child’s head against a wall, threats of violence, and threats of sexual assault and rape.”

- In one testimony, a child was separated from his family so that soldiers could interrogate him. When finished, the soldiers ordered in four of the child’s friends, to see their peer being beaten before their eyes. In this torturous event, the detained child “confessed” that he, along with his friends, had thrown stones. Later, however, the same child admitted he had only confessed in order to stop the beatings, and he withdrew his “confessions.”

This is what Israeli officials do to Palestinian children who they think threw a few stones.

Adalah’s press release also notes that Israeli investigators, at interrogation and detention sites, regularly employed interrogation techniques that are forbidden under international law:

- 100% of the detained children’s interrogations lasted many hours. A majority said they were denied food, water, and access to a toilet. In some cases, children, who had been denied food for dozens of hours, were told they would only be fed if they confessed.

- 100% of the detained children “were left handcuffed on both their hands and feet while seated on a low chair.”

- Most of the detained children were stripped naked and strip-searched numerous times. Those “who refused to be strip-searched while naked were violently assaulted by the wardens.”

- 0 of the investigations were conducted in the company of a lawyer or relative, in flagrant violation of Israeli law.

- When children asked to meet with a lawyer, investigators told them it was “forbidden.”

- 100% of children were held in solidarity confinement for multiple days, and in some cases even weeks. One child testified that he had been held in uninterrupted solidarity confinement for 28 days.


- 100% of children “described their cells as being in very poor conditions.” Cells were windowless and incredibly small; they held only a small mattress and a foul-smelling toilet. It was not permitted that children lean on the rough walls. The cells were also lit 24 hours per day by a bright light. This light “hurt the children’s eyes” and made it difficult for children to fall asleep; from this forced sleep deprivation, children lost a sense of time, and presumably suffered from other ailments associated with sleep loss.

This is by no means the first time Adalah has contacted Israel’s Attorney General. On 22 March 2007, the human rights organization contacted AG Menachem Mazuz, requesting a criminal investigation. Israel’s General Security Services’ (GSS) had been tampering with political and legal documents published by Arab Israeli NGOs and scholars.

Two months later, Mazuz responded to the letter. He defended the GSS’s actions, saying they were “undertaken in coordination and consultation with the relevant parties within the legal apparatus,” reaffirming the GSS’s own insistence that it “is required to thwart the subversive activity of entities seeking to harm the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, even if their activity is conducted through democratic means.”

A year before that, on 13 August 2006, Adalah placed an ad in Haaretz. The somewhat unconventional ad was an open letter to AG Mazuz. In it, the organization wrote

We wish to draw your attention to the judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which convicted senior commanders and politicians for killing civilians and the destruction of villages and houses, among other charges. The Tribunal imposed sentences of between 15 and 45 years’ imprisonment.

This provocative ad followed another, published in the same paper—Israel’s oldest newspaper, and the most widely read English-language Israeli publication—only 10 days before. In this bold public warning, somewhat reminiscent of cigarette warning labels—an arresting, vibrant red border contrasting strikingly with drab black and white text—a variety of Israeli human rights organizations, including Adalah, Amnesty International, the Arab Association for Human Rights, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, called

upon the Israeli government to act urgently towards the declaration of a ceasefire that will lead to the end of killing and destruction in Israel, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and remove the threat hanging over the lives and property of every civilian …


employing military force against civilian targets, bombing residential areas, turning thousands of people into refugees, and causing long-term damage to civilian infrastructure is


Adalah’s most recent letter might lack the panache of its missive brethren, yet its substance is just as worrisome.

We patiently await Yehuda Weinstein’s response. If history is any indicator, nevertheless (and it almost always is), the reply will not be positive, and the Israeli Attorney General—the individual in charge of the legal system of what is often called “the only democracy in the Middle East”—will fail to do his job. Israel will still be a country in which Palestinians live under a completely different set of laws.

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Sexualization of Palestinian children


(Photo: Activestills)

By: John Friend’s

Sexualization of children by the International Criminal jew Mafia

Israeli newspaper removes blog post openly calling for Palestinian genocidePosted: 02 Aug 2014 09:23 AM PDT

The Times of Israel, a popular online Israeli news outlet, featured a blog post the other day entitled, “When Genocide is Permissible,” which, as you can imagine, openly called for the genocide of the Christian and Muslim Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with the brutal Jewish occupation of Palestine knows that what the Jewish state of “Israel” has done and continues to do to the indigenous Palestinian people amounts to genocide. The Jewish state was founded on murder, terrorism, and genocide, and what we are seeing it do today to Gaza and other parts of occupied Palestine is nothing new. The Zionist Jews in “Israel” and their supporters around the world are murderous psychopaths, plain and simple.The Times of Israel released an official statement yesterday announcing that they removed the “unacceptable blog post” from their website, and will no longer feature the author’s blog.

The Times of Israel on Friday removed an unacceptable blog post, entitled “When genocide is permissible.”

This blog post, which was described by our Ops & Blogs editor as both damnable and ignorant, blatantly breached The Times of Israel’s editorial guidelines.

We have discontinued the writer’s blog.

The Times of Israel maintains an open blog platform: Once we have accepted bloggers, we allow them to post their own items. This trust has rarely been abused. We are angry and appalled that it was in this case, and will take steps to prevent a recurrence.

We will not countenance blog posts that incite to violence or criminal acts.

You can read the full text of the removed article here.

As previously stated, what the Jews are currently doing to the Palestinians in Gaza – namely, indiscriminately murdering innocent and defenseless men, women, and children, along with destroying critical infrastructure – is nothing new. The usurping terrorist Jews illegally occupying Palestine have been engaging in these sorts of murderous killing sprees since the founding of the Jewish state of “Israel”. What is new, however, is the international reaction to the psychopaths over in “Israel” and their unhinged, lunatic supporters around the world, which includes the entire organized international Jewish community and the vast majority of individual Jews.

The time has come for the entire world to finally come to grips with the true nature of Judaism and international Jewry, and deal with them as they deal with the Palestinians

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

“Am I Going to Die, Daddy?” The Child in Gaza Asked



A child injured in an Israeli assault was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday.

Image: Mohammad Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Global Research

by Jon Snow

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — It is the saltwater coming out of the hotel tap that reminds you where you are, as you wake up in Gaza. And then you imagine your room besieged by honeybees. It is the constant whine of the drones that parade up and down Gaza, selecting targets.

On the street, wearing your compulsory and heavy body armor, only children play in small bunches. There seem to be no adults about. No fishermen in the sea. No one on the beach.

If the Israelis have proved anything, it is that there is no such thing as a forensic strike.

In this besieged strip of land, close to 2 million people live so densely packed that any strike — be it from the air, from the sea or on land — will kill someone more than the intended target. And that someone too often is a child.

As of now, 166 children have been killed and 1,310 have been injured, some of them severely.

I was in the Shifa hospital on the two floors packed with child casualties. Nema, 2½ years old, was hit by an F-16 missile and terribly injured. Her eyes were closed by the enormity of the damage to her skull and her nose. Two round red-black saturating bruises hid her eyes.


Two-year-old Palestinian girl Naama Abu al-Foul sleeps after undergoing treatment at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital following an Israeli bombing next to her family’s home on Wednesday.

Image: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Seven died in that attack, eight others were injured. I don’t know how many of them were children. Seven-year-old Maha was hit by artillery fire and severely injured. In that assault, her mother told me, 45 people were injured, many of them children, and two were killed. And then there was 7-year-old Noradin, also badly injured.

Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway, a professor of emergency medicine, says the Shiva hospital, the last one working properly in Gaza City, is suffering a chronic shortage of pain relievers. He told me the outlook for some of these children is very bleak indeed.


A Palestinian child at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

Image: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Can they really be the acceptable collateral of targeting militants?

Channel 4

Can they really be the acceptable collateral of targeting militants?

Even our own translator, cut off from his family, in the south of Gaza, has to listen on the phone as his children weep and his 6-year-old asks: “Am I going to die, daddy?”

He can hear the explosions in the background. There have been two assaults on his wife’s town in the last 24 hours. Some 40 Palestinians appear to have been killed — six of them children.

But you know, despite the bangs, the booms, the screeching jets and the humming drones, you can never lose sight of the consequences of the siege that has been set against this Palestinian entity for the last seven years or more.

Electricity is intermittent, water is compromised, gas, diesel and so much is else is in constant short supply.

I was amazed to find a small sachet of shampoo as I went to a cold shower tonight — salty again. Obviously, you cannot make bombs out of shampoo and so there is no embargo on it. But clearly you can make bombs from paint because there isn’t any. This is the most wretchedly unpainted urban place I have ever been.

And beyond it all, why won’t they talk? This cannot go on. It is the children, tomorrow’s Palestinians, who are paying the price.

Editors’ Note: Getty Images and the Anadolu Agency have verified that the photograph at the top of this article was taken at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday. We had temporarily removed the photograph while we investigated complaints about its authenticity that were sent to the author of this article.


Posted in Human Rights, Middle East, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Watch: Al Jazeera’s Nazi Massacre at Dawn gives glimpse of horror in Shujaiya



Submitted by Shahd Abusalama

My body shakes as tears fall out of control after watching the first minute of Al Jazeera’s 22-minute documentary on the Shujaiya massacre which Israel committed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood a week ago today, killing dozens and flattening the entire area.

Thinking that the footage contained in Massacre at Dawn is just a fraction of the horror makes it even worse. No wonder Israel prevented media from covering the brutality that our people endured there.

(Readers in the United States can watch the documentary with English subtitles here. It can also be watched on Al Jazeera Arabic without subtitles.)

I tried to put myself to sleep as only sleep can give me a break from the pain. My attempts failed. So I got up to share with you the most heartbreaking scenes that keep playing back once I close my eyelids.

“My son is gone!”

The mother’s voice at 3:35 in the video saying, “My son is gone! Mahmoud is gone” echoes in my mind.

The mother was running, escaping death along with her son. Her son suddenly is shot and falls. She stops despite that Israeli forces were still shooting.

She risks her life to rescue him and starts screaming, “My son got injured. My son is dying. Help!” But no ambulances are allowed there. Finally a man comes, carries her son and they continue running. I don’t know if they survived.

Watch the traumatized elderly man at 5:58 who stutters, out of breath, “There was shelling. Everything was bombed.”

“We were stuck in the house while bombings everywhere. My son was killed and my hand got injured,” he says (my translation). “My son is still over there [in the house]. We were sitting together. I went to the toilet. I returned to find blood flooding out of his neck. He has been bleeding since the morning.”

Listen to the cries of the man at 7:00 who tries to prevent the camera from filming him, refusing to appear broken. “Instead of [us] feeding our babies with milk, they sent them rockets!” he exclaims.

The reporter asks him, “Do you have a house here?” He replies, “I have a house and I lost my four kids,” trying to hide his tears from the camera.

“Are they kids? Don’t worry. Speak so the world can see what we’re suffering here,” the reporter says. So the man tries hard to continue with a voice choked with tears, ”They’re kids. I don’t know where they are!” They might be lost, or dead, or under the rubble, some people took them or they evaporated, he says.

Listen to the woman at 8:05 who is running and screaming like mad: “Our house collapsed over us while were inside. We left, miraculously” (my translation).

Orphaned child

Then comes the injured child Bisan Daher on her hospital bed at 9:35, whose condition is like countless others who were the only survivors of their massacred families. She lost her parents and her siblings.

At 10:20, a man is crying with his children: “We were sleeping at the house normally. I don’t know how, the house was shelled all of a sudden. And shelled once again. I got out to find my wife dying in the hallway” (my translation).

His son at 10:35 says (my translation): “Our house was destroyed and my mother was killed. We took her to hospital but she became a martyr. She was looking through the window of my sister’s room when a missile hit the apartment below us and killed her. And our house was destroyed, how will we live?”

At 10:55, the boy’s sister says, “We weren’t doing anything. I woke up after a ‘warning’ rocket hit our house. Only seconds later, we found Mom dying in the hallway. We started screaming, calling for ambulance to rescue her but she was already dead. May she rest in peace.”

“Just like in 1948!”

At 12:28, a man who is fleeing says (my translation), “At al-Mansoura street, we were running in between bodies, torn pieces are on both sides, everywhere. Houses collapsed over their inhabitants. Worse than Sabra and Shatila.”

Another man escaping with his family says at 16:10: ”Just like in 1948! We are fleeing again. Let the world hear this. This is a new exodus.”

Within the scene of people fleeing Shujaiya, an elderly man paralyzed by shock is unable to run. His son retrieves him and carries him on his back, as he says, “May God get revenge of them [Israel].”

‪#‎GazaUnderAttack: As you watch this, just remember that this is just a glimpse of the indescribable horror endured by our people in Shujaiya.

That’s why Israel didn’t want its ugliness to be reported to the world and prevented media from entering the area as they were massacring civilians.

Remember that these people are the voices who had a chance to be heard. They were luckier than others, who suffered and were killed amidst the world’s silence.

Posted in Gaza, Human Rights, Palestine Affairs0 Comments

Multinational doctors slam Nazi war on Gaza


A multinational group of doctors have written an open letter denouncing the Israeli war and crippling siege on the Gaza Strip.

The doctors have voiced their opposition to the relentless onslaught in the blockaded enclave, describing the war on Gaza “a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent and intensity.”

The group says the Israeli war on Gaza has a direct implication on ordinary civilians who are losing their lives and bearing the brunt.

“The massacre in Gaza spares no one,” the doctors said in the letter.

According to the doctors, the Israeli war on Gaza terrifies people and wounds the soul, mind, and body of the young generation.

The group also says that the Israelis are “demolishing their homes”.

They also condemned the Israeli siege on Gaza, saying it has added to the suffering of ordinary civilians who are living under dire circumstances without being able to receive external help.

Israel unleashed its offensive on the Gaza Strip on July 8. Over the past 20 days, Israeli warplanes have been hitting numerous sites in the besieged Gaza Strip, demolishing houses and burying families in the rubble.

Israel also began a ground offensive against the impoverished enclave on July 17.

The Palestinian death toll from 20 days of aerial and ground assaults on Gaza now stands at 1,062, with more than 6,000 people injured.

The Tel Aviv regime confirms that 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the Gaza war. However, Al-Qassam Brigades, which is the military wing of Hamas, says Palestinian resistance fighters have killed at least 90 Israeli soldiers.

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights.

Posted in Gaza, Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Why Nazi legal justifications for ‘Operation Protective Edge’ are wrong

Video of Nazi roof knocking technique in Gaza.

On 8 July Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge” in the Gaza Strip followed, on 17 July, by an ongoing ground invasion. Reminiscent of “Operation Cast Lead” in December 2008 to January 2009 and“Operation Pillar of Defense” in November 2012, there have been violations of international law committed both by Israel and Palestinian resistance groups. Yet, as with previous operations, the framing of “Operation Protective Edge” by both the media and world leaders has not only distanced this latest round of hostilities from the wider context of Israel’s 47 year-old occupation of the Palestinian territory – namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – but has also framed the discourse in a manner that largely legitimises Israel’s violations of international law.

As a Palestinian human rights organisation established to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq has sought to address the widely inaccurate interpretations of international law that appear to justify Israel’s actions during “Operation Protective Edge”.

Why Israel’s “self-defence” justification is misleading

The UN Charter obliges all Members to refrain from the threat or use of force, with the sole exception of the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”. This provision of the UN Charter forms the basis of the jus ad bellum – otherwise known as the body of law that regulates how and when UN Member States can resort to the use of force, i.e. it is applicable before an armed conflict erupts.

“Operation Protective Edge”, however, has been launched within the context of an ongoing occupation. Occupation in itself is a phase in armed conflict in which the previous invasion phase has ceased and authority is exercised and established by the Occupying Power. As such, the applicable body of law is international humanitarian law (IHL), which forms the basis of the jus in bello – otherwise known as the laws that regulate an ongoing armed conflict. Once in the throws of an armed conflict, as Israel has been since it occupied the OPT in 1967, the initial resort to force has already occurred and all ongoing and future use of force must be regulated exclusively by IHL, which does not include a “self-defence” provision. Instead, IHL recognises the reality of armed conflict while seeking to limit the humanitarian cost with a number of fundamental provisions, from which there can be no derogation. The prohibition against intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure and the obligation to take all precautions in attack to avoid civilian casualties are two crucial tenets of IHL.

Furthermore, Israel’s use of the “terrorism paradigm” to justify its attacks on the Gaza Strip is legally flawed. As the Occupying Power, Israel already exercises effective control over the OPT according to the rules of IHL. As such, rockets fired from the Gaza Strip cannot be viewed as an external threat of terrorism, but instead must be addressed within the context of a belligerent Occupant’s duty to maintain order within the occupied State under the laws governing belligerent occupation.

Regardless, the UN Security Council has made it clear that any actions combating terrorism must be in line with international law, particularly international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law. Therefore, Israel’s claim that it is engaged in a conflict to combat alleged terrorism does not absolve it from its obligations as a party to the conflict. As such, IHL and international human rights law (IHRL) remain the applicable bodies of law for any Israeli actions taken in the Gaza Strip no matter the pretext. Furthermore, it must be noted the obligation to respect and ensure respect for IHL does not depend on reciprocity.

Why “knock-on-the-roof” warnings, telephone calls, SMS messages and leaflets do not alleviate Israel’s obligation not to target civilians and civilian infrastructure

FA1 X4 GAZA 2014-03-06 H264-15Mbs from Forensic Architecture on Vimeo.

While the attacking party to the conflict is obliged to take precautionary measures before carrying out attacks in order to spare civilians and civilian objects, this by no means negates the primary obligation not to make civilians and civilian objects the target of attack. In cases in which a building is civilian in nature, Israel’s policy of “knock-on-the-roof” warnings – a procedure in which it fires a small missile at the roof of a building to warn its occupants that a fully armed larger missile attack is imminent – does not transform that building or its occupants into legitimate military targets. Telephone calls, SMS messages and leaflets warning civilians of an imminent attack similarly cannot be considered to alter the individuals’ civilian character nor imply that civilian casualties resulting from such attacks are to be considered ‘human shields’. In addition, when providing warnings, attacking parties to the conflict must ensure that such warnings are meaningful in that they indicate where civilians can take shelter and how much time they have to evacuate the premises. Without such information the warning is rendered ineffective.

Furthermore, Israel’s “knock-on-the-roof” policy in itself has caused damage to civilian property, has injured and killed civilians and generates fear among the civilian population. In this regard, it should be emphasised that in all circumstances it is the attacking party that must to do everything possible to verify that the objective is indeed military and not civilian. In case of any doubt as to the identity of the object or persons, they must be assumed to be civilians; hence the attack must be aborted.

Why the military necessity of displacing thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip must be called into question

Under IHL, the principle of military necessity is the exclusive legal justification for any military operation. As such, belligerent parties must assess whether a military advantage will be gained as a result of an attack against legitimate military targets. Even if the proposed action does not violate other rules of IHL, attacks not intended to contribute to the enemy’s military defeat can never be justified by military necessity, because they serve no military purpose. Following from this definition, military action must be intended towards the military defeat of the opposing forces and must offer a direct contribution towards this goal.

Israel’s policy of urging Palestinians to evacuate their homes in whole neighbourhoods, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, can only be justified if such action is essential for the attainment of legitimate goals, which are in themselves in line with the rules of IHL. If an attack is carried out and it transpires that there was no military advantage to be gained, then it may suggest that the motivation for the attack was to terrorise and forcibly displace the civilian population, in violation of IHL. During “Operation Protective Edge” Israel has issued fake warnings in which it informs families that their homes will be attacked without actually carrying out the attack. Such warnings instil fear into the civilian population of Gaza, unnecessarily contribute to the daily increase in displaced Palestinians and violate the prohibition included in the Fourth Geneva Convention against all measures of intimidation or terrorism.

Why any rejection of ceasefire proposals does not alter the obligations incumbent on the parties to the conflict under international law

The acceptance or rejection of any ceasefire proposal by either party to the conflict is a purely political decision and does not alter the obligation incumbent upon both Palestinian resistance groups and Israel to refrain from targeting civilians and civilian objects. In accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, no agreement between the parties to the conflict can adversely affect the situation of protected persons, i.e. the Palestinian population, nor restrict the rights conferred upon them by the Convention. Any ceasefire should be brokered under conditions that address the root cause of the current situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and that seek to bring to an end the unlawful closure of the Gaza Strip and ensure Israeli compliance with its obligations under international law.

Why “Operation Protective Edge” must be viewed in the context of the 47 year-old occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip

Despite Israel’s unilateral ‘disengagement’ in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains under occupation, as affirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), numerous states and UN bodies. Israel has repeatedly demonstrated that it meets the “effective control” threshold necessary for occupation through its ability to deploy troops into the Gaza Strip, its ability to make its authority felt in the territory and its continuing control over land borders, population registry, airspace and territorial sea.

As the Occupying Power, Israel is under a legal obligation to take all necessary measures to protect the civilian population of the occupied territory and to ensure that the human rights of the population therein are upheld. Israel’s illegal regime of closure imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007 amounts to a form of collective punishment of the population of 1.8 million and has prevented full recovery from the devastation caused by “Operation Cast Lead” and “Operation Pillar of Defense”. The Gaza Strip is entirely surrounded by a concrete wall, a double wire fence, watchtowers and closed crossings and is subject to a naval blockade, allowing Israel to monitor and restrict the entry of goods and materials into the territory, including vital medicine and medical equipment. In the past year, the only departure point from the Gaza Strip, the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, has been frequently closed. These closures of the Rafah crossing, compounded by Israel’s ongoing closure of the territory, have resulted in electricity and fuel shortages.

This ongoing closure, combined with repeated cycles of violence, has a devastating impact on the population’s right to life, health, education, food, water and adequate standard of living – all of which Israel is obligated to provide for under IHRL. Import and export restrictions have severely stunted basic infrastructural development and recovery and have had a particularly negative impact on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors in Gaza. By the first quarter of 2014, this had translated into an unemployment rate of 40.8%.

These continuous violations of international law have provided the background for the current escalation of violence. In order for a just peace to be achieved that puts an end to this vicious cycle of violence, the international community must uphold their obligations under international law, including their own obligations under the Geneva Conventions, in order to end Israeli impunity. Ultimately, Israel’s occupation of the OPT must be brought to an end, as this is the root cause of the violations of international law committed in the region and the ongoing threat to peace and security. The framework for achieving this just peace is found in international law and only through its respect and enforcement can such a peace be achieved.

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Nazi strikes kill 35 members of two Gaza families within hours


Deaths of 25 members of Abu Jamaa clan highest toll for one family in a single strike since launch of Operation Protective Edge.

By Amira Hass and Jack Khoury

The Israel Air Force killed 35 members of two Gaza families in separate strikes made overnight and Monday morning, according to witnesses.

25 of the victims belonged to the Abu Jama’e family east of Khan Yunis, and 10 were members of the Siyyam family in Rafah. The circumstances of the two attacks have not been disclosed.

The Abu Jama’e attack exacted the highest toll of one family in a single incident since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the number of Palestinian fatalities has risen to 508, while 3,150 residents have been injured. Some 85,000 residents have south refuge with the UN Relief and Works Agency.

The home of the Abu Jama’e clan is a complex of eight apartments, in which the extended family lives. Fighter jets blew up the home while the family was eating its Iftar meal to break the daily Ramadan fast. Palestinian rescue workers labored throughout the night to save the injured and pull out the bodies of the victims.

In Rafah, the Siyyam home was bombed after morning prayers and the start of the fast. Palestinians report that there were seven minors and one woman among the dead. The strike also injured 25 people.

Over 100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, according to Palestinian sources, including more than 60 casualties in Shujaiyeh, the site of fierce battles between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas. The other Palestinians who were killed Sunday died during IDF attacks around the Gaza Strip and within Gaza City. Among the dead in Shujaiyeh were at least 17 children and 14 women. Over 200 people were injured in the neighborhood.

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Gaza’s Shejaiya Carnage Fills Shifa Morgue


Palestinian doctors treat a child at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital (Mohammed Asad/MEE)

Palestinian doctors treat a child at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital (Mohammed Asad/MEE)

By Mohammed Omer

“No, it’s not him” says the brother of Mohammed Al Mobayed, as he moves on to the next body searching for his brother. Half of the family is at reception, and the other half at the morgue.

The ambulance arrives, asking crowds to clear the road so as to pass through and offload the casualties and dead. As ambulance doors open, people run forward looking for their missing relatives.

“No, that’s not him, dad” one of the brothers screams to his older father as the ambulance arrives.

A shout comes over the air to all Al Mobayed family, “Here is Mohammed”. The whole family runs to him, thinking he is alive.

But Mohammed’s body arrives with scores of other bodies and mixed bags of fingers, heads, chests, legs and feet.

It’s up to ambulance crews to sort through the body parts to match them correctly for identification before preparation for shroud and burial.

The screams of grief begin among all members of the family—but everyone else is still looking for their own missing loved-ones-hundreds of people are here-and all are looking for different relatives and friends—all are worried that the next ambulances will bring their relatives to the hospital doors.

The human carnage of Shejaiya began this morning when Israeli tank shells started a massive shelling barrage on people’s homes. The heavy tank shells hit houses directly; some of the people able to run away under gunfire, but so many others were hit.

Umm Ahed Al Qanou, 55 years old had to walk 5 kilometers with her 8 children, until she could find transport to take her and the children somewhere safe—here at Shifa hospital, she does not know where her husband is.

She is caught between two fires: her 8 hungry children by her side, and a husband and ninth child she does not know the whereabouts of. One young man helps her look for husband or his body, as may be.

She still hopes he and her other child are alive—but no one knows yet, for sure.

Ambulance crews say they were unable to evacuate bodies, laid out, or throw on the street, by bombs. “It’s a massacre. Dead and injured men, women, children are on the streets, and we are unable to evacuate them because we are being shot at too”, screams the ambulance driver to MEE.

Four Israeli soldiers died last night apparently in a fierce battle with Palestinian armed-resistance involving anti-tank shells and automatic-weapons. At least 100 Palestinians were killed on Sunday and over 300 injured, say doctors at Shifa hospital. The numbers are increasing, as more bodies are dug out from under piles of bombed rubble that used to be homes. The death toll since the start of Israel’s attacks stands at 425 people killed, and 2,900 injured, the majority being civilians, says United Nations.

Red Cross attempted to organize a ceasefire to evacuate bodies, but medics say it’s too short a time, to dig deep for bodies that are not visible on the streets.

This has been the fiercest night since Israel’s war began two weeks ago. Most families were bombed while sleeping, others killed while fleeing their homes in search of shelter, says Osama Al Orbaji, 28 year old.

“We were in our homes, when we heard exchange of fire at 02:30 this morning. I thought it would end soon”.

Just before the sun sets on Shejaiya-east of Gaza City, tank shells started to hit everywhere. On average 14 tank shells were fired in 45 seconds, counts MEE.

“Each time my family and I attempt to get outside, we are faced with tank shells coming toward us, there is no where to escape to”, Al Orbaji says, as he stands searching for bodies or other human body parts identified as cousins.

“I saw the massacre of the Ayyad family, when tank shells hit them over and over again, 12 people were trying to flee, but were blown to pieces,


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Holocaust in Gaza: Shejaiya assault defines grimmest day


Lyse Doucet in Gaza: ”Two patients were killed in their beds”

Every day, for 12 days, the tally of casualties was grim, the details often grisly.

Every day, the rockets kept soaring in a trail of white vapour out of Gaza and Israeli air strikes pounded this blighted sliver of land along the Mediterranean.

Then came the ground offensive which intensified Israel’s campaign. Then came Shejaiya.

Israel’s assault on a densely populated neighbourhood brought the greatest fighting and the grimmest news in this, the third Gaza conflagration in just six years.

Gaza’s list of the dead crossed 500 and keeps climbing, according to figures from the health ministry here. The UN says the vast majority are civilians; many are children.

Israel’s casualty toll was much lower. But confirmation that 13 soldiers were killed in the fight caused grief in a country where everyone serves in the army.

Israel said its troops met “a huge level of resistance” as they moved in to destroy “extensive tunnelling” underground, and the infrastructure for what it calculates as 10% of the rockets being fired into Israel.

Hamas fighters in Shejaiya, 20 July 2014 Hamas fighters were visible on the streets of Shejaiya

In Shejaiya we saw Hamas spotters taking up positions on empty streets, talking into telephones and walkie-talkies as they maintained a lookout.

Colleagues who arrived later in the day saw gunmen with black balaclavas and concealed weapons moving through the neighbourhood. And journalists and medics got caught in crossfire when a two-hour humanitarian truce was shattered in minutes.

‘Where do we go?’

As Israel digs in deeper, the fighting intensifies.

For many days now, Israel’s Operation Protective Edge had almost seemed to be a ghost war. In areas we were able to reach, Hamas fighters had only been visible by the rockets they fired, and through defiant messages on their TV and radio networks.

Almost every day Israel reports that it has thwarted infiltration attempts through underground tunnels.

On the ground it has been women and children who keep emerging from front lines as they flee their homes close to Israel’s border.

It was the same in Shejaiya, only worse.

When we arrived in the neighbourhood in the morning, after a night of Israeli shelling, the streets were largely deserted as black and white smoke billowed on the horizon, amid incessant artillery fire.

Residents were still escaping whenever and however they could. Some families darted out of doorways, one by one, into battered cars when they thought it was safe to make a run; others moved like a human stream flowing away in all directions.

Israel said it repeatedly warned residents to leave the area.

“We asked them to leave again and again,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC Arabic TV.

“We called them up, we texted, and we sent them messages. But Hamas said ‘don’t leave’,” – a reference to allegations that Hamas is using civilians as “human shields.”

“Warning?” said Anas, a 20-year-old university student with a mop of curly black hair who stood on a street corner. “They don’t warn us, they kill us.”

Whenever we ask Gazans that question, they reply: “Where do we go?”

Displaced Palestinians rest at a UN school in Gaza (21 July 2014) Many who fled Shejaiya have taken refuge in schools run by the UN

The UN says 43% of Gaza is now “affected by evacuation warnings” or declared a “no-go area”.

In the past four days, the numbers seeking shelter in UN-run schools shot up by 400%.

The UN is running out of supplies, morgues run out of space, and hospital wards are packed.

On day 13, Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital took in the greatest number of casualties since this war began.

As the day wore on, one family after another huddled on a wooden bench at the entrance waiting for news of loved ones inside the emergency surgery unit.

The ambulances kept screaming in, bringing stretchers with them.

The body of a Palestinian killed in Shejaiya is carried away (20 July 2014) Emergency crews and ordinary civilians helped carry away the dead and injured

By early afternoon it was the turn of four inconsolable girls, who sat with their wailing grandmother unable to offer much comfort.

When their father Nihad joined them, he knelt close to deliver the bad news: their mother, 28-year-old Israa, was dead.

Then, for a moment, the four girls lost their father too. He fainted and lay slumped on the floor as medics rushed to help.

As the days go by, there’s a sad familiar choreography to Gaza’s recurrent wars. As the news gets grimmer, the demands mount for an urgent ceasefire.

And as the chorus of concern grows, both sides know their time may be running out, so military operations escalate, and the human cost deepens.

And this time, mediation is more complicated.

In 2012, neighbouring Egypt, then led by the Muslim Brotherhood, had more clout with Hamas. Now would-be peace-makers criss-cross the region from Qatar to Istanbul to Cairo, looking for the right voice at the right time.

The UN’s top diplomat is already in the region, and Washington’s man has just arrived.

Day 13 is over, and no-one can say whether day 14 will be any better. There is always the fear it could get even worse.

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