Category Archives: Zionism

Israeli Drone Strikes in Gaza in November 2012 Attack: Two-Thirds Killed Were Civilians

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Heron Drone

More Palestinians Killed by Drones Alone in eight DAYS than Israelis Killed by rockets in eight YEARS

opednews.com | Feb 6, 2013

By Ann Wright

Two-thirds of Palestinians killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) drones in the November, 2012 attack on Gaza were civilians. 

This statistic means that for the residents of Gaza, the ground-breaking investigation by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights into the civilian impact and human rights implications of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing is very important.

Data taken from reports of two human rights groups in Gaza documented that, of the 162 Palestinians killed during the eight-day attack, drone strikes killed 36 and injured 100. 24 of the 36 killed in Gaza by Israeli drones were civilians. Drone strikes (72) were 5 percent of the total Israeli military strikes (1,350) but accounted for 23 percent of the deaths in Gaza, a very high percentage of deaths from the number of drone strikes when compared with deaths from strikes of jet warplanes, artillery and naval bombardment.

Memo justifies drone kills even with patchy intelligence

The UN team will investigate drone strikes and their effects on civilians around the world, but primarily the United States and United Kingdom’s drone strikes in Afghanistan, the US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines and Israeli drone strikes in Gaza.

The objective of the UN investigation is “to look at evidence to determine if drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing have caused disproportionate civilian casualties and to make recommendations concerning the duty of States to conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations into such allegations, with a view to securing accountability and reparation where things have gone badly wrong with potentially grave consequences for civilians.” The statistics indicate that Israeli drone strikes did cause disproportionate Palestinian civilian casualties.

The Israeli military publicly identified on its website 1,500 targets in Gaza that it intended to destroy in its mid-November, 2012 military operation (named “Pillar of Clouds”). The targets named on its website were 30 Hamas and Jihad leaders, 19 high-level command centers, 980 underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 tunnels used for “terrorist” actions, 42 Hamas operations rooms and bases and 26 weapons manufacturing and storage facilities.

For many years, both the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the Al Mazen Centre for Human Rights have had field workers who investigate the frequent, almost daily, Israeli jet plane, drone, helicopter and artillery attacks, naval bombardment attacks and naval firing at Gaza fishermen. The investigators talk with survivors of the attacks and photograph the destruction caused by the attacks and remains of the ordnance found at the attack site.

Following the 14-21 November 2012, eight-day Israeli attack on Gaza, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights produced a 67-page report titled “Field Report on Israel’s Attacks on Gaza 14-21 November 2012.” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented its findings for this period in its “Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Territories 14-21 November, 2012.”

Both reports provide a region-by-region, day-by-day, attack-by-attack account of individual Israeli military strikes in Gaza. Using information from the reports of both human rights organizations, data documented that the Israeli Defense Forces conducted 72 Israeli drone strikes using 100 missiles during the November 2012 attack on Gaza.

The Al Mezan report documents that at least 162 Palestinians were killed in IDF attacks, including 37 children and 13 women. (Later reports  state that 178 were killed.) Another 1,039 people were injured, including 315 children and 191 women. At least 963 houses were damaged or destroyed, including 92 completely. Of those 92 houses, 52 were directly attacked; including 35 “roof-knocking” attacks to indicate to residents that the house was about to be destroyed by a second attack. Another 179 houses sustained serious damage. Additionally, IDF attacks caused damage to 10 health centers, 35 schools, two universities, 15 NGO offices, 30 mosques, 14 media offices, 92 industrial and commercial facilities, one UNRWA food distribution center, eight government ministry buildings, 14 police/security stations, five banks, 34 vehicles, three youth clubs, three cemeteries, and two bridges.


Scout Drone

Data from the Al Mezan and PCHR reports on IDF drone attacks on Gaza identify that:

Drone strikes killed 36 persons, including 4 children under the age of 16, and wounded 100 persons.

24 of the 36, or two thirds, of those killed by drone strikes were considered to be civilians.

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Senator Rand Paul: What Israel Does With US Money and Weapons is None of Our Business

rand paul
Paul’s late-night trip to the Wall was relatively low-key. Accompanied by the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, Paul spends a few minutes of reflection at the Wall.

Cutting aid to Israel did not come up during his meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or President Shimon Peres.

jpost.com | Jan 12, 2013

By HERB KEINON

As week-long visit to Israel comes to a close, senator says US should not meddle in decisions regarding settlement construction, but on issue of Iran J’lem’s decision making has ramifications for the entire Mideast.

It is “none of our business” whether Israel builds new neighborhoods in east Jerusalem or withdraws from the Golan Heights, and the US should not tell Israel how to defend itself, US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said Saturday night at the end of a week-long visit to the country.

Paul, a maverick libertarian senator known for his advocacy of slashing US foreign aid, said at a press briefing that the issue of cutting aid to Israel — something he advocates as part of a gradual process — did not come up during his meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or President Shimon Peres.

Paul said that he was not interested in the message of his trip being that he came here “touting and spouting “ cutting aid to Israel. “I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America,” he said.

Rand Paul Aligns Himself With Zionist Criminals

The first-term senator’s anti-foreign aid approach does concern some pro-Israel advocates in the US, concerned that he wants to significantly trim Washington’s annual $3billion military aid to Jerusalem.

PHOTOS: Rand Paul Visits The Western Wall

“The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt,” said Paul, adding that a bankrupt America would not be a good ally for Israel. “This does mean that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting death to America. No one is accusing Israel of that.”

Paul said he was not talking about anything different than what Netanyahu said in a 1996 speech to Congress, in which he advocated Israel gradually weaning itself of American aid dollars. Paul said this would benefit Israel and its defense industry, because it would not have to buy all its weaponry from the US, and that a curtailment of US foreign aid would also mean less money for arms for Israel’s neighbors.

Stating that the US gives more foreign aid to Israel’s neighbors than to Israel, Paul said that if the US gives 20 F-16 fighter plans to Egypt, Israel then feels it needs to buy 25; or if the US gives Egypt 200 tanks, Israel feels the need to purchase 300.

Paul stressed that he was worried about giving weapons to Egypt at the present time, especially since he said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is listening to a spiritual leader calling for “the death of Israel and all its friends.” He said he was “very disappointed” that after giving Egypt some $60 billion in aid over the last 30 years, rioters there climbed the roof of the embassy last year, took down the US flag and burned it. “That should never have happened and is inexcusable,” he asserted.

Paul said the issue of his position regarding aid toward Egypt did come up in the conversation with Netanyahu.

Unlike most senators who visit the country, Paul had two public appearances during his week here, an indication perhaps that he is indeed — as has been widely speculated — gearing up for a 2016 presidential bid. He also spent a day in Jordan, meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Paul, a newly appointed member of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, would not comment on the controversial nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, or how he would vote. Regarding the overall direction of the US-Israel relationship in a second Obama term, he said that “even with the problems,” America’s ties with Israel are so strong that they will remain that way “even with the Obama administration not seeming to be going out to dinner with Netanyahu, or playing bridge, or whatever you do with your friends.”

While Paul said the US should not meddle in Israel’s decision making regarding settlement construction or the Golan Heights, he said Iran was a different issue because it had ramifications for the entire Middle East.

The senator, who voted for sanctions against Iran, said the sanctions would have a better chance of success if Russia and China were involved, and advocated using trade leverage with those countries to get them on board. As opposed to what he termed “show votes” on sanctions at the UN, where some countries do whatever they can to show their strong opposition to the US, he advocated “ quiet diplomacy” with China and Russia on the matter.

“We do a lot of trade with Russia, and Iran does some,” he said. “But I think the trade with America is more important to China and Russia, and I think that trade should be used with some leverage to get them to cooperate and help talk Iran down and get them to do the right thing.”

Paul was not the only republican senator in the country over the weekend, and Netanyahu on Friday met another delegation of five republican senators — led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, another Kentucky senator — where Iran was the focus of discussion.

“My priority, if I’m elected for a next term as prime minister, will be first to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the delegation.”I think that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I appreciate the American support and your support for that end. “

McConnell, at the meeting, talked about the storing bipartisan support for Israel, even as Republicans and Democrats are at odds on so many other issues.

“As everybody in Israel knows, there are a lot of things we disagree on in America,” McConnell said. “We’ve had big battles over deficit and debt, but there’s board bipartisan support for Israel, and our agenda in this part of the world is the same as your agenda. You’re one of our best friends, and we’re happy to continue that relationship.”

Gaza children haunted by nightmare of Israeli bombardments bear psychological scars

MIDEAST HAMAS
Young boys pick through the ruins of a bombed building in the Gaza Strip in November during the latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas. (Washington Post file)

In Gaza Strip, children bear psychological scars of conlifct

Washington Post | Jan 5, 2013

By Abigail Hauslohner

GAZA CITY — Fatima still dreams about Ahmed. Sometimes, they’re playing with toys as they used to do. But in other dreams, she’s looking over the edge of the balcony at her brother’s smashed and bloodied body, her father screaming through his tears.

Ahmed was 7 when he was killed by an Israeli airstrike during the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza. Fatima was 8 years old at the time — but “old enough to remember,” said her father, Osama Mohamed Qurtan.

Four years later, Fatima has been through therapy. She has taken what her father calls “strong” medications to manage the flashbacks. The new apartment is darker and more cramped than the old one, but the Qurtans needed to get away from the scene of the trauma, the doctors said.

Fatima’s listlessness and aggression had started to improve, Qurtan said — until war struck again in November.

Gaza’s Children Haunted by Nightmare of War

Besides killing our children in Gaza, a great number of Palestinian children in Occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank get arrested by Israel each year

This time, the explosions felt just as personal as they did the last, the possibility of death just as likely. When Israeli airstrikes rattled the buildings for a week during the Jewish state’s latest confrontation with Hamas, the eight surviving Qurtan children hid in the stairwell, as Gaza schools have taught children to do.

Gazans often talk about the inescapability of war and the symptoms of their suffering. They cast Gaza as a prison — one physical and psychological, where Israeli bombardment comes every so often, and there is little to do but bear it.

There are few places in the Arab world where psychology and trauma are as openly discussed as they are in Gaza. But health professionals here argue that there are few places in the region that contain a population so traumatized, a youth so obsessed with conflict.

Every day on his return home from school, Ahmed Qurtan’s cousin and best friend Zohair sees a banner bearing a portrait of himself, bloodied and bandaged. Hanging next to it, on a wall in the entryway to the family’s building, is a similar portrait of Ahmed in his funeral shroud. Zohair used to be much smarter and more active before suffering a head injury in the same airstrike, said his father, Alaa Mohamed Qurtan.

“He’s not normal now,” the man said.

Psychologists say that few in Gaza would qualify as “normal.” The cramped territory has operated under an Israeli-enforced blockade that has limited the flow of goods and people since the militant group Hamas won an election in 2006. The enclave’s 1.7 million people, half of whom are under the age of 18, have endured two wars in the span of four years. Nearly everyone in Gaza knows someone who has died a violent death.

No one in Gaza wants a return to occupation. But the absence of interaction between Gazans and Israelis has left the younger generation with a different perspective.

Issam Younis, director of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza City, says he and his peers still have some Israeli friends. “We still speak Hebrew,” he said.

“But those young guys, they’re a little bit different from their parents. And the Israelis created them that way,” Younis said. “Those guys — the people under 20 — their only engagement with the Israelis is through the Apache and the F-16.”

Gaza children sufferring psychological problems from Israeli attacks

A survey conducted by the UNICEF showed that the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip affected the psychological health of children very badly.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency | Dec 2, 2012

gazaA survey conducted by the UNICEF showed that the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip affected the psychological health of children very badly.

According to the preliminary results of the survey, the Gazan children suffer from different psychological traumas caused by the Israeli aerial and artillery attacks during the war such as bouts of anger and fears, difficulty focusing  and other related problems.

The survey also found out that more than 90 percent of the Gazan children are afraid of loud sounds that resemble the ones caused by explosions during raids, while about 60 percent under age 12 suffer from nightmares during their sleep.

The age group from 13 to 17 also suffers from the same sound and dream problems, the survey added.

UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said the survey results were obtained after conducting meetings on 24 and 25 November with 545 Palestinian children in Gaza, nearly half of them were male.

Gaza’s children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

gaza

Reuters | Nov 29, 2012

The repeated exposure to violence has left many of Gaza’s children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Children, who account for more than half of the 1.7 million people in Gaza, have been back to school, but there is still a long way for them to be back to normal.

These children, who have lived through two wars with Israel, are still coming to terms with what happened during Israel’s week-long bombardment of Gaza.

Saad Hasanat, 13, who lost six of his cousins, said the memory of seeing their bodies still haunts him.

“When I remember that scene I feel my body shudder. Deep inside I imagine being in their place and people looking at my dead body. It’s too much to bear, it was so terrible,” said Saad Hasanat.

Death and destruction have become part of Gaza’s children’s life and their trauma is exacerbated by repeated exposure.

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“It’s actually very hard to speak about post-traumatic stress disorder when the trauma keeps going on and keeps recurring. So, it’s no longer an event which happens in your life and then you have the time to deal with it but it’s something that keeps happening and that’s what these children keep witnessing,” said Karl Schembri, staff member of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 34 children were killed during the eight day war and hundreds more were wounded. Those who survived are still struggling to piece together what happened.

Mazem Rayyan, 16, and his family were at home when a missile hit their neighbor’s house. The family all managed to escape unharmed but their home was completely destroyed.

“All my life has changed. All, all, all, my life has changed from good things to bad things. You can say from one hundred to zero. It has been destroyed. I don’t know what I will do now. Really, I don’t know,” said Mazen Rayyan.

It will take time for Gaza to repair the damage of war but it will take far longer for the mental scars to heal.

Women, children main victims of attack, says Gaza hospital


Palestinian medic carries a wounded child into al-Shifa hospital, 18 November (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Electronic Intifada | Nov 20, 2012

GAZA (IRIN) – The nurses at al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip have seen bombing casualties before, but never on this scale.

“I was here when the [23-day] 2008-09 war took place, and I think this one is more difficult in [terms of] injuries and the type of demanding work we do,” said Talaat al-Ejla, a 30-year-old nurse.

Nurses work 12-hour shifts, but it is the night-time shifts that have been the hardest these last few days.

“It’s very hard now, with many injured people coming every hour. Women and children outnumbered men, especially with the new wave [of attacks] targeting houses and civilian buildings,” said Ibrahim Jirjawi, a nurse on the orthopedic ward, who has worked here for seven years.

“It’s more dangerous now than before, and we expect that things will be worse if ground operations start,” he said.

So far more than 139 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli bombardment, according to the Ma’an News Agency (“Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 2 children, 12 others”).

“The health ministry [in Gaza] was facing severe shortages of medicines before this recent crisis,” said Mahmud Daher, the current head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) office in Gaza.

Images of Gaza’s dead children force us to face reality

He said the number of injured persons arriving at Gaza hospitals had “dramatically increased in the last 24 hours,” with more than 700 visiting hospital, 252 of them children.

Many of the drugs that have run out are life-saving, according to the WHO (“World Health Organization concerned over the emergency situation in Gaza,” 17 November).
Catastrophic

Meanwhile, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Twitter on 19 November: “We continue to transfer goods & gas to #Gaza,” adding that the previous day 16 trucks carrying medical supplies entered Gaza, while 26 patients in Gaza were evacuated to Israel.

But the head of al-Shifa hospital, Medhat Abbas, said it was still lacking about 40 percent of the drugs needed.

“The shortage, of course, affects the quality of our work. However, our staff are working to the maximum to fulfill needs in this catastrophic situation,” he said.

Outside the hospital, ambulances line up to ferry patients over the Rafah border crossing to Egypt.

The crossing has been open throughout the bombardment, and government officials in Gaza say the Egyptian authorities have said the border will remain open.
Aid in Egypt

The Egyptian interior ministry has deployed ten ambulances at the crossing to receive Palestinian victims of the Israeli air raids. When casualties arrive, they are taken by ambulance to a hospital in al-Arish, the largest town in northern Sinai, close to the Israeli border.

“Palestinian victims have been arriving here since Friday,” said Tarek Khatir, a senior Egyptian health ministry official in northern Sinai.

“When they come to us, we take them to al-Arish Hospital for first aid, then we decide whether they need more treatment at other hospitals, either in Cairo or in other governorates.”

He said two doctors specializing in such emergencies had been sent to hospitals in the Egyptian border region.

Medical aid and food has also been sent into Gaza from the Egyptian side. The Egyptian Red Crescent sent in medical materials and medicines on 17 November.

The Arab Medical Union also sent in medical supplies. Several union members had visited the Gaza Strip in recent days to get first-hand experience of the needs there.

“The teams include orthopedic surgeons and neurologists,” said Ahmed Abdel Razik, medical coordinator with the Arab Medical Union.

Gaza conflict: family’s four children buried as bombardment continues

Dalou children's funeral

Palestinians carry the bodies of the Dalou children to their funeral in Gaza City. Photograph: Wissam Nassar/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Eight members of Dalou family – which had no known affiliation with any militant group – died in air strike on home

guardian.co.uk | Nov 19, 2012

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem

The bodies of four children wrapped in Palestinian flags were carried above a huge crowd from the rubble of their home, destroyed in an Israeli air strike, to their graves on Monday amid mounting anger over the sharply rising toll of civilians in the six-day-old war in Gaza.

Bulldozers, which were clearing concrete and twisted metal from the site of the Dalou family’s home in the hope of finding two bodies still trapped beneath the ruins, stopped work to allow the funeral procession to pass.

“Do these children look like terrorists?” asked grief-stricken relatives and neighbours of the dead. Eight members of the Dalou family, including four children aged between one and seven, were killed when a missile struck their three-storey home at around 2.30pm on Sunday. Two family members are still missing, and two neighbours were also killed.

Related

Gaza innocents as usual suffer the most from Israeli airstrikes

The funeral took place amid a heavy Hamas presence, although the family had no known affiliations with any militant group.

“There has been a drastic change since the beginning of this conflict,” said Hamdi Shaqqura of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza. “There is now a complete disregard for human life, shown by the attack on the Dalou family home in the middle of a residential area. This was not the home of a militant.”

According to the PCHR, there were 31 civilian deaths in the 24 hours to noon on Monday, whereas in the previous four days there had been a total of 27 civilian deaths. “There has definitely been a big acceleration,” said Shaqqura.

At least 18 children have been killed since the start of the conflict last Wednesday, and more than 600 civilians have been injured, he said. The Gaza health ministry said 24 children had been killed.

The total death toll in Gaza topped 100 on Monday following another day of intense bombardment. According to Ashraf al-Kidra of the Gaza ministry of health, the most recent victims included a child killed by flying shrapnel and five farmers. Elsewhere it was reported that a father and son were killed while the man was repairing a water tank on the roof of his home.

Israeli fighter planes targeted a high-rise building containing the offices and studios of local and international media organisations in the centre of Gaza City for a second time. Ramez Harb, the head of Islamic Jihad’s media operations, was killed and at least six were wounded.

Black smoke billowed from the building after it was struck by three missiles. Witnesses reported chaotic scenes as paramedics tried to reach the injured while firefighters tackled the blaze.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the building was a “hideout” used by Islamic Jihad. In a statement it said: “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, who were involved in firing rockets at Israel, were inside the media building when it was targeted.”

The IDF spokeswoman Avital Liebovich tweeted: “The presence of senior Islamic Jihad militants in media building in Gaza demonstrates the ongoing tactic of using civilian [buildings] as shield.”

The reason for the targeting of the Dalou family home remained unclear. Two Israeli papers reported that the IDF had targeted the wrong house, while a third said it was targeted in the belief that a Hamas militant was inside.

Neighbours told reporters that the Dalou family had no connections with militant organisations and that the father – who was not at home at the time of the air strike – owned a grocery shop.

Israeli intelligence tracks militants by their use of mobile phones, informants and evidence gathered by unarmed surveillance drones.

In the first two days of the offensive, Israel focused its firepower on military training grounds, rocket-launching sites and weapons stores. It has since turned to targeting the homes of militants, increasing the likelihood of killing civilians in the densely populated residential areas of Gaza City.

The IDF said it had struck 80 targets in Gaza on Monday. More than 120 rockets had been launched from Gaza, with 42 landing in Israel, it said. Three Israelis were slightly injured.