Despite there being no evidence to prove this libelous claim, it has been unquestioningly echoed in major media outlets and invoked by US officials to blame Palestinians for their own slaughter. It has even been used to justify genocide against Palestinians in a newspaper ad created by anti-Palestinian extremists Shmuley Boteach and Elie Wiesel.
But the available evidence demonstrates that it is the Israeli army, not Hamas, that has been using Palestinians as human shields in Gaza.
In video testimony released by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, which you can watch at the top of this post, Ramadan Muhammad Qdeih recounts how Israeli forces stormed his home in Khuzaa, where some sixty members of his extended family were sheltering in the basement on 25 July, and forced them to act as human shields.
First, the Israeli soldiers shot dead his 65-year-old father Muhammad Qdeih near the entrance of the home as he tried to alert the soldiers to the presence of women and children while carrying a white flag.
Next, says Qdeih, the soldiers forcibly positioned members of his family, including the children, at the windows of his home and proceeded to fire from behind them.
“They ordered us to take off our clothes and tied our hands up,” says Qdeih. “They took us to one of the rooms and used us as shields, making us stand at the windows as if we were looking outside. I was at one window and three children from my family at another. The soldiers then began firing around us.”
For eight hours, Qdeih’s relatives were denied food and water as they were shuffled from one room to another with their hands restrained behind their backs and forced to stand in front of open windows as Israeli soldiers fired from behind their bodies.
Hiding behind children
Qdeih’s family members weren’t the only Palestinian civilians Israeli soldiers hid behind in Gaza. According to Euro-Mid, for five days Israeli forces used a Palestinian teen as their own personal human shield:
In another incident, on 23 July, 17-year-old Ahmad Jamal Abu Reeda says he was restrained by Israeli troops who threatened to kill him. After harshly interrogating and beating him, the troops ordered Abu Reeda to walk ahead of them at gunpoint, accompanied by police dogs, as they searched houses and other buildings. Several times, they demanded that he dig in places they suspected tunnels to exist. Abu Reeda was forced to remain with the Israeli forces for five days.
This procedure is not new. During Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week bombardment of the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008-2009, Israeli soldiers used an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield, forcing him to walk in front of them at gunpoint and enter potentially booby-trapped buildings to check for explosives.
And these are not isolated cases. Israel has a well-documented history of systematically using Palestinian civilians as human shields, particularly children.
From summary executions to deliberately murdering fleeing civilians carrying white flags and using civilians as human shields, there is no shortage of atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Khuzaa, which was completely flattened by non-stop Israeli shelling in what has been described as a massacre.
After visiting Khuzaa and speaking with survivors, Jaber Wishah, the deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told Gaza-based journalist Mohammed Omer that he believes Israel’s intention was to ethnically cleanse Khuzaa in an effort to split the Gaza Strip in two, north and south, to make it easier to control.
As more information about Israeli criminality in Gaza comes to light, it has become increasingly clear that Israel is spreading lies about Palestinians.
Israel is the one using Palestinian children as human shields. Israelis are the ones celebrating death in Gaza. Israeli officials are the ones declaring a “holy war.” And Israeli leaders are the ones calling for genocide.
IDF Hamas Human Shield Manual a Sloppy Forgery
Total War against Gaza: Israeli Genocide and its Willing Accomplices
Outside of Israel and its organized supporters in the major Zionist organizations, world public opinion and most experts in international law see the Jewish State’s invasion of Gaza and its systematic attack on civilians and basic infrastructure as a crime against humanity.
The purpose of this essay is 4-fold:
1. To identify the nature of the crime – the genocidal character of the armed assault and the sequence leading up to it;
2. To identify the direct perpetrators of the war crimes and their domestic and international accomplices;
3. To explain the ties binding leaders, policymakers, propagandists, accomplices and followers, including their ideologies, material interests and organizational structure which make these crimes not only possible, but met so far with impunity and
4. To identify the larger imperial interests with which Israel allies with the US, and in pursuit of which, the Gaza assault is a horrifying dress rehearsal.
The ‘Morality’ of Prison Guards in a Genocidal State
Policymakers in the genocidal state run a highly militarized society where citizens and soldiers, criminals and professionals, torturers and sociopaths can and do coexist within the same person. Cold rationality is harnessed to mass murder, technology to massive devastation , language to euphemisms and executioners parade themselves as victims (and vice versa). Moral precepts become debased and supplanted by the ethics of mass murder. Moralists, rabbis and ethical philosophers all join to bless the bombs dropped on hospitals and schools and homes and all living things – even the dead and buried do not rest in peace when the cemeteries are bombed.
Rulers, imbued with a genocidal vision, see only military objectives – an oppressed people do not exist – all human existence and institutions in the target areas are to be demolished. The destruction of human life, of Palestinian daily existence has become the ultimate goal of this obscene operation.
The practical decision to exterminate Palestinians was conscious, planned and pursued with implacable resolve at the very top and carried out with savage enthusiasm by Israel’s ‘citizen army’.
The unfolding of this deadly plan began with what appeared a ‘generous’ peace offer. In 2004, Israel’s war criminal Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon ‘granted’ the Palestinians self-government in Gaza and in August 2005 withdrew a few thousand Jewish settlers and their Israeli ground troops. The consequence of this benevolence: Over 1.4 million Palestinians were to be locked and crowded into the most densely open air prison in the world: the largest ghetto in history. This was a sickening reminder of the Nazi roundup of Polish Jews herding them into the Warsaw ghetto . . . where they too were granted ‘self-government’. Once the Jewish settlers were removed (and paid up to $300,000 per family ‘compensation’), Israel’s military closed all of Gaza’s entrances and exits. Land, sea and airspace were blockaded and total control imposed on the entrance of food, medicine, school books and the exit of Palestinians for medical treatment, university studies, normal travel and commerce of any kind. This mirrored the Nazi policy toward those trapped in the Warsaw ghetto. Palestinian farmers were shot tending their fields, acts of brutality reminiscent of the Nazi starvation blockade of Leningrad… And the world was appalled!
Gaza and the Ghetto were first set up to be open-air prison camps . . . temporary measures to mask the real plans. Gaza’s young population had grown to over 1.8 million entrapped human beings by 2014. Obviously, if the Gazans could not travel, farm, fish and trade by normal means, they would dig tunnels for supplies and fight against their relegation to the status of caged animals by the Israeli state. The next steps after the successful enclosure would be systematic and pre-meditated: the Zionists, like the Nazis, launched total war against the inevitable acts of resistance by the oppressed. They sent planes, tanks, missiles and bombs to level populated areas, especially neighborhoods where young fighters rose up to resist this unendurable cruelty. The heroic young fighters of Gaza, like their Warsaw predecessors, resisted their totalitarian enemies time and again. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Israeli Jews cheered the devastation while claiming to be the victims and young overseas Jews volunteered to join the IDF in its slaughter of the Palestinians, just as the German population celebrated, along with the overseas German Bund, their leaders’ totalitarian crimes. Their responses were almost identical although in different times and places: Chosen People and Arians of the world have united against what they both termed ‘terrorists’ claiming their tunnels will become their graves!
In line with this super race mythology, Israel’s killing machine is really most effective at murdering unarmed civilians– invalids who cannot run, doctors who stay to care for the wounded and mothers and children in their flimsy shelters– and rather pathetic when it confronts face to face determined armed resistance fighters. As of 8/6/14 the Israeli Air Force, Navy and artillery slaughtered 1,594 Palestinian civilians –via long distance high tech warfare -compared to 3 civilians in Israel (one Bedouin, one Thai farm worker and an Israeli Jew), a mind-boggling ratio of over 1,500 Palestinian civilians to one of the ‘Chosen’. But when it came to ‘ground fighting’, 64 Israeli soldiers were killed compared to 281 Palestinian partisans, a 4.4 to 1 ratio. Despite all the Israeli air cover support and high tech protective gear, the Israelis took heavy military casualties when their invasion came down to a more level fighting field where poorly equipped partisans are willing to die for their homes and liberation.
The War Criminals: Who are They and What are their Crimes
Clearly the commanding officers of the Israeli armed forces, the self-styled Israel Defense Forces, who are responsible for the systematic land, aerial and maritime attacks on civilians, hospitals, schools, refugee sanctuaries are first in line for the war crimes docket. They should be joined by Israeli military strategists and policy makers who systematically and criminally targeted homes, neighborhoods, water purification and sewage plants, electrical grids and power plants in a deliberate planned effort to destroy any possibility of normal daily existence for almost 2 million Palestinians: They have committed grave Crimes against Humanity, according to the Geneva Conventions and legal standards established at Nuremberg. There is eye-witness testimony and documentation showing middle and lower rank soldiers engaged in wanton shootings of school children, shoppers and mothers with babies fleeing combat zones. War crimes prosecutions cannot be confined merely to a few dozen senior officers – these crimes were committed at all level of the IDF.
Political leaders and policymakers, starting with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet, leading Party and Knesset members, who were the prime movers in launching the blitz against Gaza and justified the massive civilian killings, clearly should be at the center of any International War Crimes Tribunal.
But what about the Israeli public, the great mass of Israeli Jews, who view themselves as morally above world public opinion despite a near-universal revulsion over Israel’s crimes? More than 90% of Israeli Jews gave unstinting support to the ongoing blood bath, knowing, indeed cheering daily from grandstands erected on hills overlooking Gaza, the criminal consequences of their support – they also are an essential part of this criminal enterprise. They celebrated the carnage and they violently attacked the few Israelis who openly questioned this ‘war’. Israelis have no claim to ‘innocent ignorance’; they cannot call this a “tragic conflict between two peoples”. No Israeli can absolve himself by claiming ignorance of the nature of the crimes committed in their name – nor do they want to claim ignorance! The majority of informed Israeli Jews demanded this war from the beginning, many joining racist marches with banners and chants demanding ‘Death to Arabs’! They wear their endorsement of the Gaza holocaust as a badge of honor. Ninety percent of the Jewish citizens in Israel rejected any humanitarian ceasefire: Newspaper columnists and the vast majority of letter writers in the daily press argued openly for extermination! Self-declared war criminals are feted as Israeli heroes by their overseas brethren who hasten to endorse or even join the slaughter. Gidon Levy, Haaretz’s lonely dissident journalist, is spat upon in all the fashionable cafes and has to take his coffee at home now.
What can be said about the ‘moralists’, the famous chief rabbis, who have no qualms in piously urging on the mass slaughter: is there a High Court of Religious Authority to hold these “holy men” accountable for their incitement of war crimes? What about the worldwide network of international Zionist organizations who secure billions of dollars of the murderous arms shipments from the corrupt and craven US Congress and Executive? Are they not accomplices to genocide before and after the fact?
However, it is a blatant, conscious lie and fabrication to claim, like some phony critics on the ‘Left’, that ‘America shares responsibility’ for the Israel’s crimes against Gaza. Who asked the American people to endorse this slaughter? When did the American people organize a “lobby” to buy Congressional votes? Did the American people organize multi-million dollar fundraisers at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria where Republican and Democratic elected leaders pledged to give an additional $225 million dollars in missiles and tanks to Israel, to resupply its arsenal used up in razing thousands of homes and obliterating entire families in Gaza? Any serious researcher, who has looked at American domestic politics, knows that the Presidents of the 52 Major American (sic) Jewish Organizations are complicit in Israel’s terror bombings of Gaza. And polls show that a majority of young Americans sympathize with the rights of the Palestinians…’
Is there any clause in the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal proceedings which can bring charges against the overseas accomplices to war crimes? What about prominent leftist academics and ‘progressive’ journalists who cover-up for the overseas accomplices by falsely accusing “America” (and implying the American people) in this slaughter?
The Ties that Bind
We have identified a chain linking Israel’s political elite, military command and the mass of the Israeli public directly to war crimes and genocide with the active material complicity of overseas Zionist organizations. They act as one cohesive force plunging forward into the blood and gore of total war against the Palestinians – the original inhabitants and rightful owners of what is now called ‘Israel’.
The question arises: What unites them in this horrible undertaking? What moral blindness so afflicts them that they ignore the bookshelves cluttered with the writings and humanist teachings of Spinoza, Kant, Babel, or Buber? Are these tribal loyalties derived from Old Testament tales of vengeance and infanticide? Are these expressions of an ethno-religious fanaticism linked to the quest for a regional empire and plunder?
Racist ideology and its virulent expression both from high office and the “Jewish Street” are wide-spread and open. Degrading Palestinians, while claiming to be a superior race above the laws of the rest of the world, serves to justify all crimes against the people of Gaza. Near and far, this expression of “collective Jewish identity and solidarity”, based on ethnic-religious superiority always threatened by hostile, inferior ‘native’ people, accounts for the unflinching support by top Hollywood moguls, Ivy League professors, French intellectuals, British peers and prominent investment Wall Street bankers.
Ideological affinities and ethno-religious loyalties aside, many Israeli Jews also have a major, material stake in robbing and expelling the people of Palestine: Seized Palestinian lands result in new cheap subsidized housing, swimming pools for Jews only, developments on lands where olive groves once flourished and extended families had lived and died. Middle and working class Jews obtain free housing; real estate speculators seize choice ocean front properties for luxury condos and tourist destinations. Building contractors secure lucrative construction contracts from the state. Pillage forms an important material basis for Israel’s high standard of living, many times higher than that of Palestinians, much higher that that of Israel’s non-Jewish population and higher even than the Americans who have been forced to subsidize the ‘Jewish State’ for almost 50 years.
Equally important, Israel’s assault on Gaza serves as a testing ground for its weapons of mass destruction and its anti-missile Dome. In this regard, the slaughter in Gaza serves as a dress rehearsal (and a graphic warning) for new wars across the region in association with the US and its clients. NSA analyst Edward Snowden’s latest documents reveal that Israel works in tandem with the US throughout North Africa, the Middle East, The Persian Gulf, South Asia and Islamic countries in choosing targets and making war plans… Greater Israel is no longer the crackpot dream of Jewish visionaries: it is underway and its bloody beginnings in Gaza foreshadow bigger and bloodier wars against humanity in the future.
Israel’s total war against Gaza has provoked condemnation from millions of people around the world, greater outrage at their crimes against humanity, and calls for an international war crimes tribunal. If such a tribunal were to be convoked, the question arises of how wide the net should be cast – where to draw the line between leaders, soldiers, masses and complicit overseas supporters, all implicated to one degree or another? How many ‘willing accomplices’ to mass murder should be investigated and tried?
The rising horror and indignation has isolated Israel from the greater majority of mankind, including from thousands of Jews – but it has hardened its leaders and aroused its powerful core of influential supporters, especially in the US.
Bitter-enders, in their luxurious suites, are on the counter-offensive. Leading Hollywood producers denounce the morally outraged actors who have dared to criticize Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, labeling them ‘anti-Semites’ and threatening them with a lifetime of blacklists from any further work in ‘film or on stage’. Powerful Zionist organizations, not only secure US opposition to any UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli war crimes, but unanimous (100%) Congressional and White House approval and an ‘emergency allocation’ of over $250 million tax-payer dollars’ to re-supply Israel with the bombs and missiles it had dropped on the people of Gaza. The hardliners, who speak for the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish Organizations, have not relented in their support for Israel’s carnage even in the face of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marching around the world to support the rights of the people of Palestine. The hardliners openly flaunt their blind support for Israel’s war crimes. These fanatics are convinced that every critic of Israel’s war crimes, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or atheist, is an anti-Semite, a pervert or terrorist to be censored or crushed! Inside the Zionist bunker there is an iron-fisted reinforcement of loyalty to Israel, while outside, there is the smooth outpouring of propaganda which minimize Israel’s war crimes and vehement denials of overseas complicity with genocide.
Epilogue: A Dialogue between Zionists
The Right Zionist says to the Left, “Crimes at the service of Greater Israel are virtues.” The Left replies “There are crimes but America is ultimately responsible”.
shrewd old Zionist observer comments with approval: “It’s our division of labor: the Right Zionists defend Israel and the Left Zionists confuse its critics.”
Israel Murders Gazan Health Workers
Israel wages genocidal wars without mercy. Even doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and other health workers are targeted.
Civilians are as vulnerable as combatants. It’s longstanding Israeli policy.
On August 7, Amnesty International (AI) headlined “Mounting Evidence of deliberate attacks on Gaza health workers by Israeli army.”
Former prime minister Ehud Barak once outrageously called it “the most moral army in the world.” It’s a lawless, ruthless killing machine.
Morality is not part of its mandate. Mass slaughter and destruction are prioritized.
AI urges an immediate investigation of Israeli war crimes. Disturbing testimonies alone from doctors, nurses and ambulance personnel reveal a snapshot of overall Israeli ruthlessness.
According to AI’s North Africa Director, Philip Luther:
The harrowing descriptions by ambulance drivers and other medics of the utterly impossible situation in which they have to work, with bombs and bullets killing or injuring their colleagues as they try to save lives, paint a grim reality of life in Gaza.
Even more alarming is the mounting evidence that the Israeli army has targeted health facilities or professionals.
Such attacks are absolutely prohibited by international law and would amount to war crimes. They only add to the already compelling argument that the situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Throughout Operation Protective Edge, medical workers were targeted, murdered or injured.
Others were prevented from reaching wounded Palestinians to rush them for treatment.
Jaber Khalil Abu Rumileh supervises Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital ambulance services. He described one Israeli shelling attack on his facility as follows:
It was 3pm and I was working in the emergency unit. I heard bombing that shook the hospital. It was a shelling that had hit the fourth floor, the pregnancy and caesarean unit.
Then there were a few more hits. People were terrified. Patients ran out. Doctors could not enter to help the injured and remove the dead.
Then the third floor was hit and four people were killed. I saw one women come running with the child she just gave birth to. Some women gave birth during the shelling.
Ambulance driver Mohammad Abu Jumiza is one of many Palestinian victims.
“We were on our way back to Nasser hospital, driving with the lights and sirens on as always,” he said. “The ambulance was clearly marked as such.”
The doctor, nurse and I were all wearing medical uniforms. When we reached the Islamic University I heard an explosion right next to us and the front and back windows of the car fell out.
As I was turning another missile hit next to us, and then a third one. When the fourth missile hit, I lost control and we crashed.
So we ran out of the car and found shelter in a building. Then there were two more missiles fired and some people were injured.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), at least two of its ambulance workers were killed. At least another 35 injured.
Seventeen health vehicles were damaged or destroyed by Israeli attacks.
“Our ambulances are often targeted although they are clearly marked and display all signs that they are ambulances,” said PRCS.
“The army should be able to distinguish from the air that what they targeting are ambulances.” They know precisely what they’re targeting.
Israel shot ambulance worker Mohammad Al-Abadlah multiple times. He bled to death.
He was traveling in a clearly marked ambulance wearing his medical uniform. Colleagues trying to help him were also shot.
Overall conditions in Gaza are catastrophic:
- entire neighborhoods destroyed or damaged;
- entire families murdered in cold blood;
- according to UN officials, around 450 Palestinian children killed;
- the official Palestinian death toll tops 1,900.
- with many bodies under rubble to be found and fatalities from grave injuries ahead, a more accurate figure easily tops 2,000;
- as many as 10,000 wounded; some too gravely to save;
- no power;
- inadequate water, food, essential drugs and medical equipment; and
- impossible to understand nightmarish human misery beyond comprehension except for Palestinians experiencing it.
Fact: Israel continues committing one of history’s great crimes.
Fact: Palestinian deaths and injuries mount.
Fact: No end of conflict looms.
Fact: The world community yawns and does nothing to help beleaguered Palestinians.
Fact: Washington fully supports Israel’s killing machine.
Fact: US tax dollars pay for death, destruction and human misery.
Fact: A war on truth accompanies hot war.
Fact: Non-combatant civilians suffer most.
Fact: The vast majority of Gazan victims are civilian men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm.
Fact: Israel considers them legitimate targets.
Fact: Cold-blooded mass murder and destruction reflect official Israeli policy.
Fact: Where things end, who knows!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour