Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, February 2009
World needs credible body to pursue Israeli war criminals
By Khalid Amayreh
PIC, [ 07/02/2009 - 12:55 AM ]
On 27th December, Israel carried out a genocidal blitzkrieg against the estimated 1.5 million Palestinian inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, using state-of-the-art of the American technology of death.
These deadly weapons used against the imprisoned Gaza inhabitants include , inter alia, F-16 war planes, equipped with all sorts of lethal missiles including bunker buster bombs, apache helicopters, white Phosphorous shells, flechette dart shells, as well as the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), a deadly weapon recently developed by the United States army to create a powerful and lethal blast over a small area.
DIME is believed to still be in the experimental stage. However, it is widely believed that Israel had received a green light from the Pentagon to use Gaza as a testing ground.
In addition, Israel used all other conventional weapons, including tank and artillery shells against densely populated neighborhoods.
According to David Halpin, a retired British surgeon and trauma specialist, the Israeli army used Gaza as a “laboratory for testing what I call weapons from hell.”
“I fear the thinking in Israel is that it is in its interests to create as much mutilation as possible to terrorize the civilian population in the hope they will turn against Hamas.” (see, Is Gaza a Testing Ground For experimental Weapons, Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 13 January).
By the 23rd day of the criminal onslaught, when Israel halted its blitz, Gaza looked very much like a real concentration camp, with over 10,000 Palestinians dead and mutilated, including more than 300 kids mercilessly killed and five times as many kids seriously injured or maimed.
In addition, the civilian infrastructure all over the Gaza Strip was utterly destroyed. This includes apartment and public buildings, dozens of mosques, college and dorm buildings, businesses, schools, hospitals, power plants, water supply treatment facilities, UN Shelter schools, civilian police stations, farmland, and thousands of homes.
It was a no-holds-barred assault, and many older people who lived through the Second World War have likened Gaza on 18 January with the bombed-out German City of Dresden before the end of the Second World War.
The massive killing of civilians carried out by the Israeli army was done knowingly and deliberately, as Israeli soldiers were instructed not to show any mercy toward the civilian population. This explains the total annihilation of numerous entire families by bombing residential homes.
Israel claims that the offensive targeted Hamas, not the people of Gaza . However, Israeli political and military leaders as well as many intellectuals readily stretched their concept of “Hamas” to encompass virtually the entire Palestinian community in Gaza .
For example, Yaron London, a “left-leaning” Israeli intellectual and prominent media figure told reporters that “The time has come to shock the Gaza population with actions that until now have nauseated us-actions such as killing the political leadership, causing hunger and thirst in Gaza, blocking off energy sources, causing widespread destruction, and being less discriminating in the killing of civilians. There is no other choice.”
He added : “I am referring to both the population and their leadership; they are the same, because the population voted for Hamas. I can’t separate between one who voted for Hamas and a Hamas leader.”
There are actually numerous other quotations by Israeli leaders condoning and even gloating over the crimes the Israeli army has committed in Gaza.
Pornographic war crimes
Israeli officials and spokespersons don’t really deny that war crimes have been committed in Gaza. However, they try desperately to extenuate the severity and seriousness of these crimes by arguing that “things like that happen in war time,” and that “Hamas, too, committed war crimes.”
Non the less, comparing Hamas’s crimes with the holocaust-like blitz in Gaza flies in the face of the dignity of language. It is a verbal promiscuity, a sort of fornication with words.
Indeed, using Israeli crimes and Hamas’s “crimes” in the same breath would be as absurd and corrupt as equating the Nazi atrocities with the resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe.
The crimes committed in Gaza by the Israeli Occupation Forces are not questionable or controversial and don’t require much efforts to ascertain them.
The factuality of these crimes, which transcend reality, is not only established by the naked physical reality, but are also further ascertained by Israel’s confused efforts to cover up these crimes.
Indeed, Israel has embarked on quiet but massive efforts to cover up the Gaza war crimes by falsifying the names the alleged war criminals who are numbered in the thousands.
On 5 February, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli army began removing the names and details of army officers involved in the Gaza blitz from legal documents.
“The censor’s office issued sweeping gag orders on the names of all officers who participated in the operation, fearing their identification would expose them to legal action abroad.”
This shows that Israel is trying to evade the consequences of its crimes against humanity by hiding the facts and preventing the relatives of Palestinian victims from knowing the names of the killers.
In light, it is imperative that a credible, honest, a non-political and non-governmental body is established to thoroughly investigate these crimes and pursue the war criminals wherever they may be.
Luckily, the names of many of these criminals are already known.
The criminals include not only soldiers and officers taking part in the genocidal atrocities, but also political leaders who gave the orders and instructions.
It is true that there are no guarantees at the moment that the war criminals will be apprehended, and prosecuted, let alone punished for their crimes, given the international political environment and the absence of the international will to challenge the quasi-Nazi state and her guardian-ally, the United States.
However, if actual prosecution proves difficult, and it undoubtedly is, it doesn’t mean that the war criminals should be allowed to get away with impunity.
Therefore, a comprehensive, professional and highly concentrated effort to amass, classify and authenticate all available evidence should get underway immediately.
The souls of these Gaza children, mercilessly killed and incinerated by the hellish Israeli-American war machine are calling on us to pursue the murderers.
We must not let these vile murderers and child killers sleep quietly.
Indeed, pursuing these human animals will eventually prove instrumental in determining whether the future of our children will be governed by the laws of humanity or the rules of the jungle.
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