Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 6th, 2018

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts
Flechette shell darts
 An image provided by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights of darts from a flechette shell it says the Israeli military fired in Gaza last week.

The Israeli military is using flechette shells, which spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal metal darts, in its military operation in Gaza.

Six flechette shells were fired towards the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, on 17 July, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Nahla Khalil Najjar, 37, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. “As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation, describes a flechette shell as “an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from a tank. The shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 37.5mm in length, which disperse in a conical arch 300 metres long and about 90 metres wide”.

The munitions are Not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

Flechette shell darts embedded in a wall in Gaza
 A image taken in 2009 of darts from a flechette shell embedded in a wall in Gaza. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

The legality of flechette munitions was upheld by the Israeli supreme court in 2002, and according to an Israeli military source, they are particularly effective against enemy fighters operating in areas covered by vegetation.

The source said a number of armies around the world deploy flechette shells, and that they were intended solely for use against legitimate military targets in accordance with international law.

The IDF has deployed flechette shells in Gaza and Lebanon before. B’Tselem has documented the deaths of nine Palestinians in Gaza from flechettes in 2001 and 2002. Flechettes have also killed and wounded dozens of civilians, including women and children, in conflicts between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military deployed artillery shells containing white phosphorous in densely populated areas of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, causing scores of deaths and extensive burns.

It initially issued a categorical denial of reports of the use of white phosphorous, but later admitted it, saying the weapon was only used to create smokescreens.

Human Rights Watch said its use of the munitions in Operation Cast Lead was indiscriminate and evidence of war crimes.

In response to a legal challenge, the IDF said last year it would “avoid the use in built-up areas of artillery shells containing white phosphorus, with two narrow exceptions.” The exceptions were not disclosed.

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Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 121

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Europeans are claiming Christianity to be the foundation for Europe’s new trend for “mercy, forgiveness, and kindness” . Trying to attach these attribute to Europeans) forget that for many centuries the strongest faith in Europe was the taste for violence such as in the Inquisition, the chasing out of the Moslems and Jews from Spain, the Crusading campaigns, the conquest of overseas lands with the benediction of Papal Rome, the division of the conquered lands among the European monarchs by Papal decrees, the religious mass massacres among the Christian sects and factions with Papal consent…

In many wars in Europe where the Catholic Church was an integral party, and the worst of all the Dark Age in Europe that lasted from 400 to the 15th century, because the central religious power in Rome was apprehensive of rational thinking and forbade the influx of scientific works that might rob it of its temporal power.

The 7 lessons that the “Arab people” have long learned and that the “Arab States” should have finally grasped from the Western imperialism behaviors and strategy in the Middle-East are:

1. The Western powers never gives up their drive to control the Middle East, whatever the setbacks
2. Imperial powers can usually be relied on to delude themselves about what Arabs actually think
3. The Big UN veto Powers are old hands at “beautifying” client regimes to keep the oil flowing
4. People in the Middle East don’t forget their history – even when the US and Europe do their best to erase violent colonial past from history books
5. The West has always presented “Arabs”, who insist on running their own affairs, as fanatics
6. Foreign military intervention in the Middle East brings death, destruction, and the game of “divide to rule”
7. Western sponsorship of Palestine’s colonisation is a permanent block for normal relations with the Arab world

For decades, the “white” Israelis were riding on their high horses: About time they re-learn to walk, and walk the walk. Same suggestions applied to these thousands of “Royal” Saudi princes and princesses.

“What if” questions are Not the exclusive domain for Artificial Intelligence programmers: They are the secret weapons of imagination for serious authors since writing was invented.

Three different ideas, positions or attitudes  might be insignificant and ridiculous, but the common links among them are of higher quality.

Serious authors are far obsessed with death than the common mortals: you get to bare with many of their confabulations (affabulations).

There are books you cherish reading as you wake up. Kind of prelude to the gun shot before the marathon of the day.

Will Saudi Kingdom liberate Saad’s family in exchange of his properties in the Kingdom? Comme Ogeh “bail” de sortie? Tradition of keeping hostages is still strong and the rule?

Time is of the essence: Will president Aoun re-visit Elysee to investigate Saad PM?

Waking up to eat shit? Not enjoying their morning. First, they need to smell the roses, after they pissed and did their shit. After smelling the roses, lighting a cigarette is the best way to start the grueling day

 Si le Liban, depuis des décennies, ne traite pas ses propres poubelles, cela n’est pas la faute de Saudi Kingdom, de Téhéran, d’Israel ou de USA. 

Swapping wives in Saudi royal family. It is all done within the Wahhabi religious sect forms: The monarch or an emir from Al Saud divorces his wife and marry her to his brother and then may reclaim his former wife…

Yemenis: sieges and economic blockades harvest more casualties than field battles.

Due to famine, malnutrition, dissemination of diseases, lack of medicine, high infantile mortality, polluted and infected water supply, and the casualties are essentially non-combatant people. Cholera and diphtheria epidemics adding to destruction of infrastructure and hospitals Yemenis are dying like flies.

The root of mouktada is “kada” (died): raahet 3alayna bi “nanzor bi mouktadaha” min al Riyadh, la Paris, la medreh wayn

Loubnan leissa moustahdaf wa en raahat 3aleih: collateral casualty, as usual.

3am ye 2oulo ennak zeer nissa2. Mazbout. Fi new trend in Lebanon: al isha3aat al helweh sari3at 

Esmeh Adonis ya 7elweh_- Ba3ref- bta3rfeh esmeh aw innaki 7elwat?- El tnayn. wa hal yakhfa al kamar? Tfadalou, 3melo a7ssan.

7elween. shou? hawdeh elleh bi shoufo. 3ouyouni? 7elo al confience. bta3mleh compliment la 7alek.

Leish kel ha tot7eer bil Petanque? kella sha2fet 700 g wa bt3otbo ketf wa dahr? Ghayro al technique wa cochonneh between 6-10 m, Bi kaffi macho behaviors

Is Israel deliberately killing Gaza protesters?

Note: Israel announced it has shot in the legs 7,200 Palestinians marching for a homeland: this violent tactics is to prevent the injured Palestinians from demonstrating again within a month. Israel plans to shoot in the legs 25,000 Palestinians, excluding those shot in the head and the abdomen.

Mahmoud al-Masri,, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Photo shows crying women waving their hands at shrouded body of young man being carried on stretcher
Mahmoud al-Masri, killed the previous day in confrontations with Israeli troops, is mourned during his funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 9 December. Mohammed Dahman APA images

Sometimes you have to put horrific images at the back of your mind.

During Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, I saw tens of dead bodies. The worst thing I witnessed was the targeting of a car about 10 meters from where I was standing. I could see its driver take his last breath before he died.

At that moment, my whole body went cold. For several days, I could not think of anything but that appalling scene. I was unable to sleep for about a week.

Events moved fast that summer. I tried my best to forget about the incident and to get on with my life.

More than three years have passed. And despite my efforts to put that experience behind me, I know that the mental scars it left have not healed. Like so many other people in Gaza, I am vulnerable.

That was proven on 8 December last, when protesters in Gaza expressed their rage at Donald Trump’s announcement two days earlier that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud al-Masri was among the protesters killed by Israeli troops that day.

I had looked on as Mahmoud ran towards the fence separating the Khan Younis area of Gaza from Israel. Mahmoud was brave and defiant. He kept running despite that Israeli forces were firing tear gas canisters in his direction.

Mahmoud climbed the fence, waving a Palestinian flag. He was shot in the back by Israeli soldiers.

When Mahmoud fell down, the Israeli soldiers kept on firing. He lay on the ground, bleeding for around an hour before the shooting had stopped. By the time anyone could offer him assistance, Mahmoud had lost consciousness.

“We reached Mahmoud when he was taking his last breaths,” Musab Abu Shawish, a paramedic, told me. “We were not able to do anything for him, except give him some oxygen.”

Helpless

Photo shows young man sitting on chair looking out onto sunny street
Mahmoud al-Masri (via Facebook)

The killing of Mahmoud left me feeling helpless. But it was not the sight of his dead body that upset me most – I was not standing close enough to Mahmoud to see his face.

Instead, it was a video that showed his father, Abd al-Majeed, saying goodbye to Mahmoud in a mortuary.

“Please leave me with my son,” Abd al-Majeed told the people around him. Observing his pain, my whole body shook and I started to weep uncontrollably.

I did not know Mahmoud personally but I have learned about him from his father.

Mahmoud, aged 29, had been a construction worker. He was hoping to set up his own carpentry business and raise enough money so that he could join his brother Ahmad, who emigrated to Sweden a few years ago.

Mahmoud “always hated injustice,” his father told me. “He was very kind and helpful.”

There are strong indications that Mahmoud knew he would be killed on 8 December.

The previous evening, he wrote on Facebook: “If we die seeking martyrdom, we die standing like trees.”

The banner image on his Facebook page featured a photograph of Yasser Arafat and a quotation attributed to the late leader on how Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle.

Mahmoud was in many respects typical of the young people who have protested against Trump’s announcement.

Nayif al-Salibi is another young man with dreams and ambitions. He is now studying civil engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza. Once he graduates, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Germany.

No negotiations on Jerusalem

He took part in the same demonstration as Mahmoud on 8 December. When I met Nayif, his eyes were stinging from the tear gas fired by Israel. Along with many others, he was picking up tear gas canisters fired by Israel’s military and throwing them back at the soldiers.

“I’m here to show the world that we refuse to put our holy city [Jerusalem] on the negotiating table,” he said. “No one but Palestinians can make decisions related to Jerusalem.”

Israel’s use of tear gas – a chemical weapon – was examined in a study recently published by the University of California, Berkeley. It found that the amount of tear gas to which Palestinians are exposed is “likely beyond the level that has been found elsewhere around the globe.”

Although the study focused on the Bethlehem area of the occupied West Bank, it is also relevant to the use of tear gas in Gaza. People exposed to tear gas here have suffered similar symptoms to those noted in the study.

Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said that around 60%of people injured during recent protests had symptoms related to tear gas inhalation. They included severe coughing, respiratory problems and accelerated heart rates.

Many people in Gaza also believe that Israel is deliberately shooting at protesters so that they will sustain major injuries or even die – eight Palestinians were killed during demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel boundary in December.

Life goes on

About 40% of injuries by live fire during the recent protests in Gaza were in the head and upper body, according to al-Qedra.

Sharif Shalash, 28, died on 23 December after being injured in protests a few days earlier. He had been shot in the stomach by the Israeli military.

Sharif had confronted the Israeli military directly on a number of occasions. He was “an expert on the border area [with Israel],” said his friend Ahmad Hassaballah. During protests, Sharif had organized young people into groups and advised them about how to throw burning tires and other objects towards Israeli troops. He had also tried to cut holes in the Israeli fence.

His final wish, according to Hassaballah, was that he be shrouded in a Palestinian flag when he was buried.

I sought to speak with Sharif’s wife Yasmin.

Yet when I arrived at her home, a woman came out and apologized on Yasmin’s behalf. “She is too tired,” the woman said. “She has just come back from the hospital and we have just learned that she is pregnant.”

It was a powerful reminder of how life continues despite all the pain caused by the Israeli occupiers and their supporters in Washington.

Hamza Abu Eltarabesh is a journalist from Gaza.

Note: Palestinian human rights group accuses Israel military of using flechette shells in Gaza. Shells that spray out thousands of tiny and potentially lethal darts


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