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Testimonies of atrocities in Gaza from the Russell Tribunal

Watch these testimonies

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine convened an emergency session in Brussels last month to examine whether Israel committed war crimes in the besieged Gaza Strip during “Operation Protective Edge,” the summertime military assault that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, injured more than 11,000 and left Gaza in ruins.

Israeli soldiers were ordered to execute any Palestinian witness who could understand the criminal orders of the officers?

After hearing testimony from journalists, eyewitnesses, legal scholars and physicians present during the onslaught, the twelve-member jury, made up of world-renowned intellectuals and international law experts, found Israel guilty of “war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.”

Though it was virtually ignored by both mainstream and progressive media outlets, the tribunal was significant in that it did what the so-called international community has time and again refused to do.

The Russell Tribunal put Israel on trial for its crimes against Palestinians.

Incitement to Genocide

Journalist David Sheen delivered a horrifying presentation on incitement to genocide within Israeli society, which was consumed by genocidal rhetoric from top Israeli government officials to the lynch mobs barreling down the streets of Jerusalem shouting “death to Arabs.”

Sheen’s testimony stunned the jury, concluding that absent outside intervention and accountability, the potential for genocide is likely.

“In light of the clear escalation in the physical and rhetorical violence deployed in respect of Gaza in the summer of 2014, the tribunal emphasizes the obligation of all states parties to the 1948 Genocide Conventionto take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide,” the judges implore in their final ruling.

“It is recognized that in a situation where patterns of crimes against humanity are perpetrated with impunity, and where direct and public incitement to genocide is manifest throughout society, it is very conceivable that individuals or the state may choose to exploit the conditions in order to perpetrate the crime of genocide,” they warn.

And  adding, “We [sic] have a genuine fear that in an environment of impunity and an absence of sanction for serious and repeated criminality, the lessons from Rwanda and other mass atrocities may once again go unheeded.”

Grisly executions

Journalist Max Blumenthal delivered powerful testimony on evidence of war crimes he gathered while in Gaza following a five-day ceasefire in mid-August.

Blumenthal described in vivid detail the grisly executions he documented of civilians, paramedics and fighters carried out by invading Israeli soldiers.

He also highlighted several instances of Israeli soldiers summarily executing older men in Gaza after learning they spoke Hebrew, leading to speculation that soldiers were ordered to eliminate anyone capable of understanding their commands. (The soldiers were to execute witnesses who could understand the criminal orders of the officers?)

Blumenthal posted a transcript of his testimony here.

Kidnappings and human shields

Gaza-based journalist Mohammed Omer described to the jury the crimes he witnessed and reported on in Gaza as well as the hardships of daily life under siege (see video of his testimony at the top of this post).

He cited summary executions, kidnappings of Palestinian men at gunpoint and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields by invading Israeli soldiers in the now obliterated farming community of Khuzaa.

Omer was the only Palestinian eyewitness that made it out of Gaza to attend the session.

Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and filmmaker Ashraf Mashharawi were scheduled to testify but the Egyptian military regime prevented them from leaving through the Rafah crossing.

Deliberate and systematic

Renowned Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert presented the jury with descriptions and photos of the gruesome injuries he witnessed while working at the overwhelmed al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City at the peak of Israel’s latest bombing campaign, which marked the fourth time since 2006 that Gilbert has operated in Gaza during an Israeli military attack.

Outlining the devastation inflicted on Gaza’s health sector, Gilbert emphasized his admiration for the medical workers who risk their lives repairing the bodily damage caused by Israel’s “deliberate, systematic attack on the Palestinian civilian society.”

Taken together, the testimonies presented at the Russell Tribunal (all of which can be viewed here) demonstrate a clear pattern of intentional destruction of Gaza and its people by an increasingly extreme settler-colonial state “primed for genocide,” as Max Blumenthal put it.

Genocide does not happen overnight or in a vacuum.

There are warning signs, many of which were raised at the Russell Tribunal.

Israel has been destroying and erasing Palestine for more than six decades in an effort to consolidate and maintain a demographically engineered Jewish majority in an area that is historically Palestinian.

As long as countries including the United States continue to unconditionally shower Israel with weapons while shielding its leaders from accountability on the international stage, Israel’s destruction of Palestine will not only continue, it will intensify.

So the question becomes, how bad do the atrocities need to get before the world puts a stop this madness?

 

Butchery in Rafah. The dead are kept in vegetable refrigerators

#GazaUnderAttack

As Gaza stranglehold tightens, full morgues have forced people to store dead bodies in refrigerators

Corpses of the dead stored in a vegetable refrigerator in Rafah (Twitter / @FoolowGaza)
Mohammed Omer's picture
Mohammed Omer posted this Saturday 2 August 2014

Abu Taha, a farmer in Rafah, opened the refrigerator he normally keeps his potatoes and carrots in.

In it were the corpses of children, young men and women lying on top of one another, soaked in blood. Many were impossible to identify and only a few have been placed in white burial shrouds.

Such was the savagery of Israel’s bombardment in Rafah, such was the quantity of dead bodies, that there was simply no other option but to use vegetable refrigerators as makeshift morgues.

The closure of hospitals which came under bombardment led to a cascade of corpses. It started when medical staff were forced to abandon Rafah’s main hospital Abu Yousef al-Najjar which came under constant bombardment by artillery shelling from the east of the city.

They evacuated the injured to Kuwaiti Hospital, a facility totally ill-equipped to deal with major trauma injuries from the extended battlefield that the Gaza Strip has become.

Even so, several bodies were left lying on the roads, bleeding for hours without any ambulance crew arriving to rescue them.

Meanwhile, three ambulance crew members have been killed, their bodies were unidentifiable after they were hit by an Israeli tank shell directed at their ambulance.

Several of the cases close to the hospital gate were not reachable by rescue teams, says Abu Ahmed, an ambulance driver. “Each time, I drive through tank shells are fired nearby,” he says while he is a couple of hundred meters from tens of victims bleeding on the road.

Most cases of those killed in Rafah are civilians slain by canon shells that wiped several homes in Hay al-Junina area.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes fired missiles on several homes in Rafah targeting homes of Abu Suliman, Zorb, Alshaer, and Abu Suliman. The death toll in Rafah in the past 24 hours is now 110 killed and hundreds injured.  Medics say there are more bodies they could not reach.

The corpses were taken into vegetables refrigerators in Rafah, which have their own electricity generators. Even burying the dead was full of hazard, as the cemetries in the east of the city have also been under Israeli artillery shelling over the past 24 days.

“We had no option but to put the bodies of tens killed in the refrigerators,” Subhi Radwan, mayor of Rafah told MEE.

Al-Nujjar hospital has only enough beds for a few dozen patients, but evacuation has meant nowhere else to go for victims of the attack.

Radwan says, the war on Rafah is not over, and his staff members are unable to offer any facilities to people on the ground, that includes water and electricity lines which were destroyed by strikes.

“We appeal to the international organizations to step in and help us evacuate injured people lying in the east of Rafah,” he says.

Meanwhile, international groups have tried to help evacuate victims, but to no avail.

Survivors of the 24-hour bombardment said they had seen nothing like it in their lives. They were bombed from the air, sea and ground simultaneously.

“It is terrifying, the Israeli military has gone out of control, they bombed a building of families fleeing and killed 23 innocents,” says Abdelraouf Ayyad, a 33-year old whose home he fled in Hay al-Junina when bombing started 24 hours ago.

“No one is safe; no home, no hospital, no shelter” he says as he runs into Tal al-Sultan to seek shelter at his cousin’s house.

Twenty three family members have been killed by Israeli F16 missile, mostly from families that fled bombing in east of the city to the West of Rafah.

Radwan says, there is no other hospital, and now even the Kuwaiti hospital is under canonfire—journalists and rescue teams were forced to leave the area under gunfire.

Ashraf Al Qudra of health ministry appeals to the international community to allow ambulances to evacuate injured people from roads of East of Rafah and Kuwaiti hospital.

“We need safe routes for ambulance to evacuate victims into other hospitals in Khan Younis.”

Israeli tanks could be seen in the east, overlooking Rafah, home of 180,000 inhabitants in the far south border with Egypt.

“There are tens of cases of people bleeding and the hospital is unable to deal with massive number of victims”

Rafah’s massacre occurred two hours into the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire announced yesterday.

Hamas and Israel exchanged accusations of breaking the ceasefire. However, Israel insisted on carrying out a military ground operation on the eastern border, despite the truce.

Israel announced one missing soldier during its ground invasion, while Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades say they lost communication with some of their members who were in combat with Israeli troops before the ceasefire started.

Qassam Brigades said in a statement that the Israeli soldier was probably killed during in ambush along with Qassam Brigades members.

The death toll across the Gaza strip is 1680 dead and 8500 injured since the war began 27 days ago – the majority are civilians according to the UN. Meanwhile in Israel 3 civilians and 50 soldiers have been killed during the ground attack in Gaza.

Palestinian factions and Israel were expected to travel to Cairo for talks with Egyptian on a long-lasting truce, but the presence of Israeli tanks around the Rafah Crossing point will make this unlikely to happen anytime soon.

– See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gazans-forced-keep-dead-bodies-vegetable-refrigerators-1006544969#sthash.7DTcuIEy.dpuf


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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