The charges came in a report which the rights organization published on Friday with regards to an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in Gaza on November 18, which killed at least 12 Palestinians, including women and children.
“Attacks in which the expected civilian loss exceeds the anticipated military gain are serious violations of the laws of war,” HRW said in the report.
Published: 07 December, 2012, 01:17
Edited: 07 December, 2012, 17:36
The Israel Defense Forces used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse over 250 angry Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron after an Israeli patrol was dragged into a fight with Palestinian Authority police.
On Thursday, Palestinian police “got into a pushing match” with an IDF patrol in Hebron, RT’s Middle East correspondent Paula Slier reported via Twitter, after Israeli soldiers attempted to detain an on-duty Palestinian police officer.
The clash was quickly followed by a protest, when over 250 Palestinians began throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, the IDF said. Israeli troops responded with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.
At least five Palestinians were injured in the clash, report Palestinian media. Israeli authorities are investigating the conflict.
“This is a serious incident. It is being investigated by the army,” an IDF spokeswoman said as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
Hebron is a city in the Palestinian Authority 19 miles (30 km) south of Jerusalem. Following the 1995 Oslo Agreement and 1997 Hebron Agreement, the ancient city is split into two sectors – one controlled by the PA, while the other is under Israeli rule. Palestinians cannot approach areas where Israeli settlers live without special permits from the IDF.
But we agree on other matters of concern to Israel’s security, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin Thursday. On the expansion of Jerusalem and West Bank construction, Merkel said: Israel is a sovereign state and must determine its own policy. “Our relations are unchanged and are strong enough to survive our differences.”
The annual government-to-government session ended in a row of expanded security and economic cooperation pacts. A wide-ranging discussion of regional affairs covered the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria’s chemical weapons, the upsets in Egypt and the Gaza ceasefire.
Dec 6, 2012
I’m beginning to read reports from Gaza that indicate that the IDF may’ve used depleted uranium munitions during its recent assault. A local journalist writes in Electronic Intifada about the grotesque forms of some of the victims’ wounds. He (incorrectly, I believe) associates them with chemical weapons like white phosphorus:
Among those receiving treatment in Nasser hospital in Khan Younis is a man who was hit by an Israeli drone that struck a farm owned by his family in southern Gaza. A friend of his was killed in the attack. “I was hit directly in my abdomen and two legs,” said the man, who is in his thirties and asked not to be named.
Baker al-Derdy, the head nurse in Nasser hospital, said that when this man was first admitted, there was “a strange smell, almost chemical” from him. Al-Derdy pointed to other indications that Israel may have used chemical weapons during its offensive.
“Some of the symptoms we have seen are abnormal,” al-Derdy added. “The type of burns that appear on the bodies suggest that the weapons employed were not conventional. The burns go deep into the skin and the skin itself turns blue. And I can tell you that the burns hit even the third layer of the skin.”
…Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza…acknowledged that some of the burns witnessed were deeper than those associated with conventional weapons.
“We in Gaza and health bodies in the West Bank do not have laboratories where we could properly examine what types of weapons have been used in Israeli attacks,” al-Qedra said. “But according to what we have seen so far, it appears that Israel used some explosive weapons or ammunition that caused burns and deep wounds. In most cases of those killed, we have seen that bodies were either torn apart or completely burnt out. Also, many of those injured have had their lower or upper limbs amputated.”
Making clear that I’m neither a doctor nor a weapons specialist, the general description of these savage wounds reminds me much more of the DIME munition developed by the U.S. and used by the IDF in Gaza in 2006. I posted several times about this horrific weapon. The Gaza Interior Ministry, in the midst of the fighting, released a statement claiming it had recorded high rates of radioactivity at bombing sites, claiming that unconventional weapons were used against a civilian population:
Major Hazem Abu Murad, assistant director of explosives engineering and member of the Committee to document war crimes, revealed that the occupation used radioactive materials in the explosives with which it had bombed the Gaza Strip.
Abu Murad told the Interior Ministry that the weapons with which Israel targeted Gaza contain heavy elements, including the Uranium, tungsten, aluminum and nickel”, and pointed out that these materials raise the temperature in the center of the explosion to 7 thousand degrees Celsius, and boost the destructive ability of the shell.
He also pointed to the types of weapons used by the occupation during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, noting that among those weapons there are three types of ammunition which have been used for the first time.
If true, and I have no way of knowing whether Hamas’ claim was based on scientific testing, tungsten would be indicative of the use of DIME. The presence of uranium might lead in a different direction, as the IDF has weapons that contain depleted uranium. Here are some of its characteristics:
Depleted uranium is very dense…Thus a given mass of it has a smaller diameter than an equivalent lead projectile, with less aerodynamic drag and deeper penetration due to a higher pressure at point of impact. DU projectile ordnance is often incendiary because of its pyrophoric property.
…Depleted uranium is favored…because it is self-sharpening and pyrophoric. On impact with a hard target…the nose of the rod fractures in such a way that it remains sharp. The impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to disintegrate to dust and burn when it reaches air…When a DU penetrator reaches the interior of an armored vehicle, it catches fire, often igniting ammunition and fuel.
Further support for the thesis of its use by the IDF is a report to me from an Israeli source confirming the IDF used depleted uranium in Gaza. My source cannot confirm whether DIME was used or not.
The UN Human Rights Commission has asked member states to curb the use of such weapons and a paper prepared for the body argued that they may contravene numerous international treaties. The European Parliament called for a ban on DU munitions.
Here are some of their health effects:
Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because in addition to being weakly radioactive, uranium is a toxic metal.DU is less toxic than other heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury. It is weakly radioactive but remains radioactive because of its long half-life.
…British Army doctors warned the British…Ministry of Defence that exposure to depleted uranium increased the risk of developing lung, lymph and brain cancer, and recommended a series of safety precautions.
This seems perfectly in synch with the typical practice of the IDF to exploit whatever weapons appear convenient and effective, no matter how controversial or even illegal their use might be, especially against a largely civilian population. This holds true for cluster bombs, white phosphorus and DIME, all of which Israel has employed during attacks on civilian areas of Lebanon and Gaza.
By the way, I’ve read several mainstream journalists claim that less than half those killed in Gaza were civilians. This is not true. Gaza human rights groups have counted 183 fatalities of whom 103 were civilian.
December 5, 2012
In a 174-6 vote, the United Nations General Assembly demanded in a non-binding call that Tel Aviv join the NPT “without further delay,” in an effort to create a legally binding nuclear-free Middle East.
Washington, Israel’s strongest ally, surprised no one by voting against the resolution – but did approve two paragraphs that were voted on separately, which called for universal adherence to the NPT and for all non-signatory governments to join.
The UN body “has lost all its credibility regarding Israel with these types of routine votes that are ensured passage by an automatic majority and which single out Israel,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted by Jerusalem Post as saying.
The Assembly’s call on Israel comes days after a large majority of its members voted to grant Palestine statehood state status and just weeks after the an escalation of violence between Gazans and Israel’s occupation forces. Palmor stressed, however, that since the NPT vote takes place annually, the Palestinian victory is not connected.
Israel is not a signatory to the 1970 Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the main objective of which is to is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. Despite near-universal acknowledgement that Tel Aviv maintains a powerful nuclear arsenal, Israeli officials promote a position claiming their government will “not be the first country to introduce weapons into the Middle East.”
The Middle East’s only democracy possesses as many as 400 nuclear warheads, along with various ways to deliver them. It is also one of four countries known to have nuclear weapons that are not recognized as Nuclear Weapons States by the NPT. The others are India, North Korea and Pakistan.
Israel follows a policy known as “nuclear opacity,” which it sees as a deterrent against its neighbors.
The timing of the Israeli dismissal of the call for transparency comes less than two weeks after Washington’s withdrawal from December’s nuclear-free Middle East conference, to be held in Finland and sponsored by Russia, the UK and the US.
State Department officials said the international effort is being postponed because of “a deep conceptual gap [that] persists in the region on approaches towards regional security and arms control arrangements,” and because “states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions” for the meeting, quotes the IPS.
But many blamed Israel’s refusal to accept the terms as the real reason for postponing the regional nuclear drive.
“The truth is that the Israeli regime is the only party which rejected to conditions for a conference,” Iranian diplomat Khodadad Seifi told the General Assembly on Monday, as he called for “strong pressure on that regime to participate in the conference without any preconditions.”
The meeting is now expected to be held early next year.
There are currently five nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world, according to the UN: Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South-East Asia, Central Asia, and Africa.
RT’s Paula Slier is exploring the controversies surrounding Israel’s nuclear activities.
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