Physicians and human rights activists say evidence shows Israel used internationally banned weapons against civilians during its recent military offensive against the Gaza Strip, Press TV reports.
According to international experts and physicians present during the most recent Israeli onslaught on Gaza, Tel Aviv once again used Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), which are usually carried by US-made Hellfire rockets, against Gaza’s heavily-populated residential areas.
Injuries caused by DIME bombs, also used during Israel’s 2009 offensive, are distinguishable from injuries caused by other weapons.
“Most of the weapons that were used to kill hundreds of civilians in Gaza contained depleted uranium. They also used new weapons that even international experts were unable to figure out their types,” Gaza Bomb Disposal Squad’s Ahmad Abudayyah said.
Reports indicate that Israel also used armor piercing (AP) bombs, causing massive explosions resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties, including many women and children.
Thermobaric weapons were also used to burn down entire residential buildings in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said millions of kilograms of explosives were indiscriminately dumped on civilians in Gaza.
Experts also say that Israeli forces used internationally banned munitions like Flechette shells, which contain depleted uranium and other chemical agents.
During a recent summit on Gaza, internationally renowned Gaza-based Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert said Israeli soldiers intentionally targeted and killed Palestinians children.
Israel started pounding targeting the enclave on July 7, inflicting heavy losses on the Palestinian land. Almost 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children and the elderly, were killed in the 50 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday put to rest any lingering speculation or hopes that the long-comatose two-state solution might ever be revived.
All of a sudden, the prime minister’s refusal to discuss borders or maps in negotiations with the Palestinians makes sense. After all, why negotiate over a map you have no intention of ever compromising on?
“I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Netanyahu said in a televised statement about the current Gaza military operation, the Times of Israel reported.
Yes. You read that right. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister for the coming years (unless he is unseated by a political opponent who outflanks him from the right) said that there is no way he would ever pull the Israeli army out of the West Bank.
It’s official. Not that this should really surprise anyone, as long as Netanyahu is the Israeli prime minister the occupation is forever and there will be no sovereign Palestine.
So when PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas takes his next international diplomatic step aimed at advancing Palestinian statehood and claiming a seat among the community of nations, remember why he is doing so. (Abbas is reportedly discussing joining the International Criminal Court.) It is not because negotiations broke down over some minor details, a clash of personalities or just bad timing.
No. It’s because at the negotiations table, Abbas was the only one even talking about a two-state solution. It’s now clear why U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was unable to draft an acceptable — to Israel — “framework” document in his efforts to budge negotiations along just a few feet further. Netanyahu outright rejects the most fundamental piece of the puzzle: the land on which it lays.
Denouncing the current violent escalation between Israel and Hamas Friday night, Mahmoud Abbas said: “The only solution to the current crisis is a diplomatic one, but I don’t have a partner for a two-state solution,” Haaretz reported.
And remember, if there is no two-state solution, and assuming a one-state solution isn’t around the corner either, then the occupation is forever — and that seems to be okay with most Israelis.
If Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas succeeds in his bid to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Gaza, investigators will doubtless visit Khuza’a, a village where 10,000 people lived, most of them from the Najjar and Qdeih families. At least 73 Palestinians were killed there in late July.
Khuza’a has been called the Ground Zero of the war. As you enter, the broken minaret of a destroyed mosque lies beside the road, facing the wreckage of a petrol station. The Israelis rolled over cars in their Merkava tanks. Some houses were crumpled by F-16 fighters, some gutted by tank shells, some blown up by ground troops.
On August 4th, Human Rights Watch (HRW) relayed reports that Israeli troops had opened fire on civilians in Khuza’a. In separate interviews, refugees gave consistent accounts of Israeli troops shelling civilian buildings, opening fire on and killing fleeing civilians and denying medical care to the wounded. The fact that Israel had earlier made general warnings that villagers should leave did not exonerate them, HRW said: “The failure of civilians to abide by warnings does not make them lawful targets of attack.”
A week after the ceasefire, some Khuza’a residents have returned to live in the ruins. They get three hours of electricity daily and fight to buy 20-litre jerry cans of water.
When the Israelis began shelling Khuza’a, Sousan Najjar (37), her husband and five children sought shelter with 80 neighbours in a large, ground- floor room, partly below street level. At dawn on July 25th, a tank shell crashed into the basement, killing two old men and wounding 15 people.
“There was panic. Everyone ran into the street,” she says. “The Israelis were shooting at us and bombs came from everywhere like rain. My husband was badly wounded in the head. He ran ahead of me, carrying Motassem. I saw Motassem’s head explode.”
Six-year-old Motassem had been asking who would take him to his first day of school.
Skinny, serious child
“We were buying clothes and books for him,” says Najjar. A relative shows me a photograph of Motassem at his kindergarten graduation, wearing a mortarboard, clutching a diploma. He is a skinny, serious child.
“When we were in the shelter, Motassem was worried about me. He kept wiping my face with a damp cloth,” Najjar continues.
“With five children it’s difficult to give each one enough attention. If I’d known Motassem was going to die I would have given more to him.”
In the chaos that morning, Najjar screamed: “I want my son. Bring my son with me.” Neighbours convinced her to save herself and her other children. She placed Motassem’s body on a metre-high stack of tiles beside a house and tried to cover him with sand. The villagers waved white clothes as they began the trek to Khan Younis.
“I thought of my son every night,” Najjar says. “I thought: ‘Are you lonely? Are you cold? Did the dogs come to eat you?’ I had feelings I cannot describe.”
Motassem lay decomposing for nine days. When they returned, “The smell was terrible. His body was full of maggots. We wrapped him in a blanket and didn’t let Sousan see him,” says a relative.
Around the corner, Shehda Najjar (44) lies on a thin mattress on the floor, recovering from his war wounds. A tank shell exploded in his family’s kitchen and bathroom.
“The tank was in the street outside. They came in the house, shooting,” he says. “They said, ‘Take your clothes off and come out, one by one.”
He was hit in the jaw and arm by exploding bullets. He says the Israelis used some 30 villagers, including him, as human shields for nine hours. “I was bleeding. I kept asking for an ambulance. They made me kneel on the ground and put my hands behind my head. Eventually an officer came and asked, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ The soldier said, ‘We shot him by mistake.’ An hour later an ambulance arrived.”
Twenty-two of the 30 human shields were taken to Israel for four days, Najjar says. Two old men who were freed were shot as they walked away. Four other men from Khuza’a were taken to Israel and have not been heard from since.
“When I was bleeding, I told the soldiers: ‘I worked in Israel for 26 years, building your buildings.’ A soldier said: ‘We asked you to leave and you didn’t leave.’ I didn’t receive any warning. We live 1.5km from the border and I thought it would just be a few days, like the wars before. This is the worst war in my life… I don’t hate anyone. I just want a solution.”
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