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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gaza War Crimes - Israel/Palestine

This powerful report looks at the alleged Israeli war crimes committed during the Gaza War. We show blindfolded children being used as human shields alongside innocent civilians and medics being targeted.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crime and Punishment

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 23:42:54 GMT | PressTV | By Kian Mokhtari
The UN special rapporteur on human rights, Richard Falk.

Thanks to new, alternative and unbiased satellite news channels, the plight of Gaza's Palestinian population under the recent Israeli military attack was for once brought to the attention of the world at large. The appalling brutality and savagery of the Israeli military high command's onslaught against Palestinian civilians brought tears to countless eyes around the world and instilled in the international community a new sense of purpose to punish war criminals and thus finally introduce a new chapter worthy of 21st century humanity into the world justice system.

And as if to bring the point home with absolute clarity, the torch bearer in the struggle to bring Israeli war criminals to book is none other than a person of the same faith. The UN special rapporteur on human rights, Richard Falk, has declared that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza and called for an independent inquiry into the matter. Falk has also reiterated that Israeli conduct in the Gaza Strip necessitates the world to introduce a new law.

He has elaborated that Tel Aviv enforced a crippling siege on Gaza while attempting to devastate the territory in its 22-day war against the tiny strip. Falk has argued that this action prevented civilians from fleeing "from the orbit of harm". He is insisting that such conduct constitutes a new form of crime against humanity.

According to figures presented by the UN investigator, Israeli army killed 1,434 Palestinians including 960 civilians in its three-week carnage against the Gazan population. Thousands of others have been maimed for life and will need long-term special treatment and attention to remedy the multitude of injuries they sustained via Israel's use of unconventional weapons.

Falk describes the operations against Gaza as a "military assault with modern weaponry against an essentially defenseless society".

For all of Mr. Falk's efforts however a minor snag might in the end serve to allow Israeli war criminals to go free and remain untouched by the will of the international community to bring them to justice.

Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. In fact both Israel and the United States unsigned the Rome Statute in 2002. This complicates matters for the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it can only bring criminals from signatory countries to stand trial.

The alternative route is for the UN Security Council to order the war criminals from none signatory countries brought to justice. But with the current run of things at the UNSC the chance of Britain and the US not using their right of veto to protect Israel is pretty nonexistent.

This maybe why the lunatic extremist fringe in Israel has been emboldened to even throw the two-state solution into the face of the world's most powerful man, the President of the United States. The Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) has sent emails to President Obama questioning "the wisdom" of the US administration.

An announcement by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her visit to the region set the establishment of "a Palestinian state" as a priority for the Obama administration; and that seems to have set the cat among the pigeons. UCI's Knesset member Aryeh Eldad told Clinton that "most Israeli citizens" do not want the establishment of a Palestinian state and accused Washington of "planning to appease the Iranians, Syrians and Palestinians by paying with 'Israeli currency'."

Though it would be cruel to dash UCI's day dreams, the international community has come to realize that the Israeli-Palestinian issue must be resolved via a two-state solution. So the prevailing political winds do not give a "shekel" for Aryeh Eldad and his loony gang's protestations.

HRW: Israel use of phosphorus proof of war crimes

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 23:44:34 GMT | PressTV

Israel's use of white phosphorus over densely populated areas in Gaza "was indiscriminate and evidence of war crimes," a rights group says.

In a 71-page report, titled "Rain of Fire" published on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells in populated areas of Gaza was not incidental or accidental, but revealed "a pattern or policy of conduct".

"In Gaza, the Israeli military didn't just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops," said Fred Abrahams, a HRW senior emergencies researcher.

"It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren't in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died."

"First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF [Israeli Army] was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens," the report added.

According to the rights group, although "white phosphorus munitions weren't illegal when deployed properly in open areas", the IDF repeatedly used them "unlawfully over populated neighborhoods, killing and wounding civilians and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital."

Human Rights Watch called on the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of violations of international law in the Gaza war by the Israeli military.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Iran urges Israel trial over Gaza attack

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 08:34:47 GMT | PressTV

Iran's ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaei
Iran's ambassador to the UN has called on the international community to bring Israeli officials behind the recent attack on Gaza to justice.

Mohammad Khazaei told the UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday that the international body, including the UN and the Security Council, had to take 'immediate' action against what Tehran defines as Israel's crimes against Palestinians.

"Israel continues the expansionist and belligerent policies it started 60 years ago against Palestinians," Khazaei said at the session, adding that Israeli officials must stand trial for their three-week onslaught on Gaza.

Israel has been under fire for committing 'war crimes' and 'crimes against humanity' as well as using unconventional weapons in its massive three-week-long military strike on the Gaza Step, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians, injured thousands and destroyed houses, schools and hospitals.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a 71-page report titled "Rain of Fire" published on Wednesday that Israel's repeated use of white phosphorus in densely-populated areas was not accidental but revealed "a pattern or policy of conduct."

The report also said that the Israeli army "was aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians."

During the UN meeting, Iran's envoy also said that Israel was continuing to breach the basic principles of human rights by threatening Palestinian lives, destroying their homes and expanding Israeli settlements.

Khazaei also condemned Israel for using an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the Gaza war, calling it 'just one example of the thousands of Israeli crimes against Palestinians'.

A group of UN human rights experts said on Monday that Israeli soldiers had used the boy as a human shield to protect themselves from being targeted by fighters in the Gazan neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa.

According to Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary-General's envoy for protecting children in armed conflict, Israeli soldiers ordered the boy to walk in front of them and enter buildings to assure the safety of the troops.

Human Rights Watch has called on the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of violations of international law in the Gaza war by the Israeli military.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

UK to Israel: War crimes law unchangeable now

Sun, 22 Mar 2009 07:48:06 GMT | PressTV

In 2005, Doron Almog managed to avoid arrest in Britain by remaining on board a plane at Heathrow airport
The British government says it cannot change for now a law that allows for the arrest of Israel's visiting authorities over war crimes.

In an unofficial message to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Britain said that due to Israel's public image in the country following its massive strike against the Gaza Strip, London believes it will be unable to pass an amendment to the legislation before next year's elections, Haaretz reported.

The Israeli offensive, namely Operation Cast Lead, triggered a wave of outrage worldwide as it left more than 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians, killed and thousands more injured.

Suspected use of forbidden ammunitions, such as white phosphorus and depleted uranium, testimonies by Israeli officers on racist and religious motifs among their comrades, and UN reports of wanton killings of civilians raised protests to Israeli war crimes and 'even crimes against humanity' during the 23-day-long onslaught.

Under British law, UK citizens can press war crime charges against foreigners, who could be arrested upon entry into Britain once an indictment has been issued.

In 2005, Maj. Gen. Doron Almog flew to London but decided not to leave the plane when he was informed British police were waiting to arrest him.

An arrest warrant had been issued against him for his role in the controversial demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah.

Almog remained on the aircraft and returned to Israel but his case has caused senior Israeli army officers in both active and reserve service, including former chiefs of staff and cabinet ministers (Ehud Barak and Shaul Mofaz), to avoid traveling to Britain ever since.

Britain's government, first under former premier Tony Blair and recently under his successor Gordon Brown, had promised to pass changes in the legislation so that private citizens would first have to obtain the approval of the chief prosecutor to be able to press war crimes charges.

While Israeli diplomats are seeking support for such an amendment from Conservative lawmakers, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor on Saturday urged London to find a way to fulfill its promise.

But the British Foreign Office described the measure as "a complex legal issue".

Friday, March 20, 2009

Israeli soldiers fought 'religious war' in Gaza

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 19:29:47 GMT | PressTV

Israeli soldiers say they thought they were fighting a holy war in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers believed they were fighting a "religious war" against gentiles in January's Gaza offensive, a commander has revealed.

The Israeli army commander said military and non-military rabbis had circulated pamphlets among the battlefield troops, describing the operation as a "religious war" and that they were carrying out a "religious mission".

"Their message was very clear," he said. "We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land."

The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier's identity, was published in the second day of shocking revelations that have rocked the Israeli military, Reuters reported.

"Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion," he added.

On Thursday, Israeli soldiers confessed to the wanton killing of civilians as well as intentionally destroying civilian property during the Gaza war.

The testimonies include the killing of a Palestinian mother and her two children by an Israeli sniper and the case of an elderly Palestinian woman who was killed as she was walking 100 meters (yards) from her home.

The shocking accounts are seen as evidence to war crimes and the massive violations of human rights by the Israeli army during the three-week war on the Gaza Strip.

International organizations and UN human rights investigations claim that the Israeli army deliberately used forbidden arms, such as depleted uranium and deadly white phosphorus shells, in densely populated civilian areas.

Other charges against Tel Aviv include the "reckless and indiscriminate" shelling of residential areas, the use of Palestinian families as human shields by Israeli soldiers and the unrelenting attacks on several medical facilities and UN compounds in the area.

UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has said that most Israeli actions against the population of Gaza "appear to have all the elements of war crimes".

Despite countless allegations, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has yet to take action against Israel over its military conduct in Gaza.

UN sees grave war crime in Gaza war

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:18:42 GMT | PressTV

Richard Falk is an American
law professor at Princeton University
A United Nations human rights investigator says the Israeli military action on densely populated Gaza Strip constitutes grave war crime.

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said under the Geneva Conventions if warring forces cannot distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians, "launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law."

"On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion," said Falk's annual 26-page report to the UN Human Rights Council.

He accused Israel of a "massive assault on a densely populated urbanized setting" and subjecting the entire civilian population to "an inhumane form of warfare that kills, maims and inflicts mental harm". He also gave the same death toll from Israel's offensive -- 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians -- as the Palestinian human rights center.

Falk further noted the blockade of the coastal sliver (imposed by Israel and reinforced by Egypt ) added to the severity of the onslaught as the sealed borders did not allow for the civilians to "escape from the orbit of harm." This denial of people's right to flee the war zone as refugees may also constitute a crime against humanity, he said.

UN investigator called for an independent experts group to probe possible war crimes committed by Israeli forces and look into Israeli allegations against the Islamic Hamas movement, which runs the Gaza Strip.

During the 23-day war, Israel targeted schools, mosques and ambulances while many experts and medics voiced fears that Israel used internationally banned weapons including white phosphorus and depleted uranium, in response to Hamas's firing of rockets at southern Israel.

Falk said that Israel's blockade of the coastal strip-- which started after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and has been affecting some 1.5 million people-- violated the Geneva Conventions and this suggested further war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

An independent investigator for the UN Human Rights Council and a law professor at Princeton University, Falk said the aggression was not legally justified and may represent a "crime against peace" -- a principle established at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.

He said the Security Council might set up an ad hoc criminal tribunal to establish accountability for war crimes in Gaza because Israel has not signed the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Jewish Falk was denied entry to Israel two weeks before the attack started on December 27 and had to abort a planned mission to Gaza, what he called an "unfortunate precedent" for treatment of a special rapporteur.

On Monday, he will formally present his report to the Human Rights Council, a 47-member forum comprising of Islamic and African countries backed by China, Cuba and Russia. Neither Israel nor its closest ally the United States are members

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Israel forced to open face-saving probe

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:18:04 GMT | PressTV

Israel has been accused of turning Gaza into a testing lab for "extremely nasty" weapons and a devastated slum similar to the Warsaw Ghetto.
The political debacle prompted by the confession of Israeli military personnel about their conduct in Gaza has forced the launch of a probe.

With Israeli armed forces having themselves confessed to the wanton killing of civilians as well as immoral behavior in the Gaza Strip and the issue spilling into politics, the Israeli military has been forced to take action.

Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit on Thursday ordered the Military Police Investigation unit to launch a probe into the testimony of Israeli veterans of the three-week war.

Israeli soldiers have confessed that they knowingly relaxed the rules of engagement and hastily killed Palestinian civilians and destroyed civilian property as they were confident that they had the full protection of echelons in Tel Aviv.

The head of a special military course, Danny Zamir, told the Ha'aretz daily that he was "shocked" by the confessions and relayed the reports to higher authorities because he feared serious ethical lapses among troops.

"Those were very harsh testimonies about unjustified shooting of civilians and destruction of property that conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians," Zamir told public radio.

The issue has become intensely political as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has expressed confidence that the Israeli army is the most "moral" one in the world.

"We have the most moral army in the world," Barak told Israel Radio. "The most moral army in the world stands ready to take orders from the government of Israel. I have no doubt that every incident will be individually examined."

Israeli human rights groups have also touched on the issues surrounding Israeli war crimes and criminal conduct.

"Until today, about six weeks since the end of military operations in Gaza, not a single criminal investigation has begun despite hundreds of testimonies which raise suspicion about violations of international law and of war crimes," Yesh Din said in a statement.

Israeli war crimes include but are not limited to the use of deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza -- as revealed in an investigation by The Times in January.

While Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, later mounting evidence forced Israeli officials to admit to having employed the shells.

"If these orders were given as described in the testimonies, then both the issuing of the orders and their implementation are criminal offences. If Israel does not investigate its own offences, other countries will have to," the human rights group added.

Tel Aviv unleashed Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza Strip on December 27. Three weeks of ensuing airstrikes and a ground incursion killed over 1,350 Palestinians and injured nearly 5,450 people. Most of the victims were civilians.

The carnage also inflicted more than $1.6 billion in damages on the Gazan economy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Justice experts urge prompt Gaza War probe

Mon, 16 Mar 2009 02:55:11 GMT | PressTV

The world's leading judges and justice experts have sent a letter to the UN chief, urging a prompt and impartial probe into the Gaza war.

In an open letter supported by Amnesty International, the 16 signatories stressed the need for an investigation into 'all serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties of the conflict'.

The letter argues that the UN investigation 'should not be limited only to attacks on UN facilities'.

The distinguished signatories -- who have led investigations of crimes committed in former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Darfur, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, East Timor, Lebanon and Peru -- say they were 'shocked to the core' by the events in Gaza.

"Allegations of serious violations of the laws of war have emerged throughout the latest Gaza conflict, relating to conduct and actions by both the Israeli military and by the Palestinian armed groups," said the letter distributed by Amnesty International.

"A prompt, independent and impartial investigation would provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed and provide recommendations on how those responsible for crimes should be held to account."

They also reached out for world leaders, calling for 'an unfaltering signal that the targeting of civilians during conflict is unacceptable by any party on any count'.

The signatories include Richard Goldstone, the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and Antonio Cassese, the first president of the International Criminal Tribunal and head of the UN Inquiry on Darfur.

On December 27, Israel launched a full-scale 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip, in a bid to oust its archenemy, the Islamic Hamas movement, which controls the coastal sliver. The onslaught left more than 1,340 Palestinians killed and some 5,450 others wounded, devastating hundreds of homes and buildings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Family of 29 massacred Gazans sues Israel

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 10:52:05 GMT | PressTV

29 members of the Samouni family were killed and 45 were injured in the war on Gaza.
A Palestinian family has filed a lawsuit against officials responsible for the three-week Israeli war on the population of the Gaza Strip.

The Samouni family of the southern Gazan suburb of Zeitoun has filed a suit against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Ha'aretz reported on Wednesday.

The Samounis are demanding some 200 million dollars in compensation for the loss of 29 family members during Israel's December onslaught, which killed nearly 1,350 Palestinians and injured 5,450 others.

Some forty five members of the family have also been injured in the attacks, the report adds.

The suit filed at a court in the northern Arab-Israeli town of Nazareth, accuses the Israeli military of "criminal negligence" by killing innocent civilians who were seeking refuge in their home and a shelter.

In the early hours of January 4, the family's three-story building was targeted by an Israeli tank shell, instantly killing seven civilians.

Their apartment was burnt down completely, forcing the remaining survivors to take refuge at a nearby shelter, only to be targeted for a second time resulting in the death of 22 more civilians.

Investigations have revealed that Israel committed various war crimes in Gaza, including the use of deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas.

The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol) on Tuesday said that it is reviewing a request to issue international Red Notices for 25 Israelis suspected of committing war crimes during Tel Aviv's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

"We were reviewing a request to make sure it did not breach rules that prevent the body from making any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character," Interpol said in a statement.

A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant but a request to national police forces to identify or locate suspects with a view to arrest and extradite criminals.

Interpol: Israel war crimes case pending

Wed, 11 Mar 2009 06:37:32 GMT | PressTV

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are reportedly on the list of Israelis charged with committing war crimes that Iran gave Interpol.
Interpol has confirmed that Iran has asked for help in tracking down 25 senior Israeli officials involved in the recent war on Gaza.

Tehran Chief Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi announced earlier that Iran had asked Interpol to issue international arrest warrants for 25 Israelis charged with committing war crimes during Tel Aviv's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol) said in a statement on Tuesday that it "was reviewing the request to make sure it did not breach rules that prevent the body from making any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character."

In December, Tehran announced that it had set up a court to put the Israelis on trial for attacking Gaza and is seeking the arrest of over 100 individuals.

Interpol said Iran wanted to issue 25 so-called Red Notices for senior Israelis but did not provide any names.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are reportedly on the list.

A Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant but a request to national police forces to identify or locate suspects with a view to arrest and extradition.

The legal move was made in response to the three-week Israeli onslaught on the densely populated coastal strip that left nearly 1,350 Gazans dead.

Mortazavi expressed hope that the 187 member states of Interpol would take "effective measures" to mete out justice to the Israeli war criminals.

ICC zeroing in on Israeli war crimes?

Tue, 10 Mar 2009 19:11:07 GMT | PressTV

A mosque in El Atatra, Gaza, that was destroyed by the Israeli military.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor is exploring ways to launch an investigation into Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the Hague-based ICC, said he is mulling over the prosecution case of Israeli officials responsible for the suspected crimes committed during the recent offensive in Gaza.

"We are in the analysis phase. I have not yet decided whether we will launch an investigation, but it is a possibility," Moreno-Ocampo told the Argentinean newspaper Perfil.

Israel is suspected of committing war crimes including the use of the deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas, as revealed in an investigation by The Times in January.

While Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, later mounting evidence forced Israeli officials to admit to having employed the shells.

The International Criminal Court, a treaty-based court, was created in 2002 to allow legal action against war criminals that committed offences after its inception.

The Hague, however, has no jurisdiction over non-signatories to the treaty which created the court. Under such line of argument, Moreno-Ocampo had initially refused to consider the appeal, saying he lacked the legal basis to examine the case.

However, since the Palestinian Authority signed a commitment on January 22 and recognized the court's authority, the prosecutor has appeared more open to study the case.

The announcement by the ICC prosecutor came shortly after the court issued an international arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Iranian Deputy Judiciary Chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeesi touched on the matter and criticized The Hague on Monday, saying the warrant was issued while the court has shown utter contempt for Israeli war crimes.

Raeesi described the ruling by The Hague on the Sudanese president as politically-motivated, adding that "the ICC has issued its ruling under the influence of global hegemony".

The Iranian official went on to say that the ruling on al-Bashir had been given priority over the case of Israeli crimes against the Gazan civilians despite loud international protests on the matter.

On the same day that the ICC issued the arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, an international conference opened in Tehran to press Interpol to help Iranian prosecutors arrest 15 Israeli leaders on war crimes charges related to the recent war in Gaza.

The ICC has received more than 200 requests from individuals and organizations, including Amnesty International and the Arab League to look into allegations of war crimes during the Israeli war on the Palestinian territory.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Israeli 'wanton destruction' turns heads

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 19:15:26 GMT | PressTV

Donatella Rovera (L), the Amnesty International researcher on Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories
Amnesty International has accused the Israeli army of engaging in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during its Gaza offensive.

The head of the Amnesty's fact-finding mission to the West Bank and Gaza says the use of mines to destroy homes contradicts Tel Aviv claims that the Israeli army acted in accordance with international law during the three-week war on Gaza.

The Israeli army emphasizes that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and its infrastructure were the target of Operation Cast Lead, and not the civilian population in Gaza, said Donatella Rovera, who argued the claim saying the methods used by Israeli forces raise concerns about war crimes.

Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, she told the BBC news website.

The BBC report also cites Breaking the Silence -- an Israeli NGO that gathers and circulates the testimonies of Israeli soldiers on incidents of unnecessary violence and oppression -- saying that its findings from the Gaza war suggested many demolitions had been carried out when there was no immediate threat.

"From the testimonies that we've gathered, lots of demolitions -- buildings demolished either by bulldozers or explosives -- were done after the area was under Israeli control," said Yehuda Shaul, one of the group's members.

A Palestinian girl carries her sister in front of a destroyed house in northern Gaza Strip
On December 27, Israel started a huge military operation on the densely-populated coastal sliver, which saw the death of over 1,330 Palestinians and left thousands of buildings, civilian houses and mosques reduced to debris.

Rovera expressed Amnesty's deep concern over the "large scale destruction of homes and other civilian properties" during the conflict. "The destruction was, in our view, and according to our findings, wanton destruction - it could not be justified on military grounds," she said.

The Amnesty official said her team found fragments of anti-tank mines in and around destroyed properties. This together with remains of houses, collapsed in on themselves -- as if blown up from below, rather than from above as in an air strike -- suggested that Israeli troops had left their armored vehicles to plant them and set up the detonators, she said.

"Unless those operating on the ground felt not just 100 percent but 200 percent secure -- that the places were not booby trapped, that they wouldn't come under fire -- they could not have got out of the vehicles," she said, concluding that the use of the method cut short claims about the kind of danger that might have made it lawful to destroy some of those properties.

"Wanton destruction on a large scale would qualify as a war crime," she said.

Arab League probes Israel for 'war crimes' committed in Gaza

By Amira Hass Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent

A committee of jurists hired by the Arab League completed a six-day tour of the Gaza Strip on Friday. The fact-finding mission was meant to investigate alleged war crimes as well as crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel during its offensive against Hamas earlier this year.

Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa appointed the committee which is expected to submit a detailed report on its findings and conclusions. This report will then serve as the basis for any future legal proceedings the league plans to initiate.

The panel consists of six experts specializing in international law and international humanitarian law. At the outset of the mission, the delegation said its task was "to gather information on the responsibility of the state and the responsibility of individuals, according to international law, for every violation of international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws, including crimes against humanity and war crimes."

The delegation visited areas which were targeted by the Israel Defense Forces. The lawyers also met with residents who managed to avoid harm but whose family members were killed during the operation. Among those who gave statements to the committee were wounded Palestinians and eyewitnesses to various attacks, doctors, a German expert on armaments, and representatives of Palestinian and international non-governmental organizations.

The panel also met with Hamas officials and other Palestinian representatives. The head of the delegation, Professor John Dugard, who once served as a special United Nations envoy investigating human rights in the territories, said that his team sent two letters to Israeli authorities and that he was hopeful for a reply to questions it posed.

Members of the delegation also investigated the circumstances in which armed Palestinians launched rockets into Israel. Dugard told Haaretz that one of the questions raised during the trip was the proportionality of the IDF response to the rocket fire. Dugard said it was impossible to accurate gauge the matter without investigating the Palestinian side.

Dugard is being assisted by criminal attorney Gonzalo Boye, a native of Chile who currently resides in Spain. Boye was involved in filing a complaint against six senior Israeli officials, among them former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, over their role in the deaths of 14 Palestinian civilians killed in the attack on senior Hamas operative Salah Shahadeh in July 2002.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Iran Urges Interpol to Arrest 15 Israeli “War Criminals”

02/03/2009 | Batoul Wehbe | almanarTV

International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol) begins studying Iran's request to arrest 15 senior Israeli officials who were involved in the “war crimes” committed during the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, drawing on the organization's charter and Israel's violation of the Geneva Conventions.

In a Monday statement, Iran's judiciary said that it has asked Interpol to issue an international Red Notice security alert for the 15 Israeli officials who were involved in the 22-day Israeli offensive on Gaza. The statement added that the judiciary was also looking into complaints made against 100 other Israelis, with top military and government posts.

"In the current week, we have completed our investigations about 15 individuals who were among those criminals," Tehran's Public Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi said at a news briefing. "Based on our investigation and according to article 2 of the Interpol charter, we asked the international body to arrest these suspects." "Governments of 180 countries have received the information necessary for identifying the suspects," he said.

Furthermore, Iran's Chief Prosecutor Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi called for the arrest of 34 Israeli political leaders and military commanders as well as 115 others involved in the war on Gaza.

Dorri-Najafabadi charged the group with committing war crimes, aggression, occupation, threatening regional and international peace and security, crimes against humanity, genocide and blatant, repeated and organized violation of the human rights as well as open breaching of war laws and the Geneva Conventions.


The Iranian move comes in the framework of international efforts to bring Israelis who committed massacres to justice.

Many international NGOs and human rights organizations, Palestinians wounded in the Gaza onslaught, more than 5,700 Iranian lawyers and attorneys in the Iranian Bar Association along with a large number of medics were also among those who filed complaints against Tel Aviv, Mortazavi said.

The whole campaign is important in that it may form public opinion and support especially among European elites, Ibrahim Hershi, an official at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, told Al-Manar website.

"The law suit will be followed by several actions like holding a conference in Tehran on Wednesday," Hershi said. 'Resistance, Law and Judiciary Committee' is the name of the panel formed by the Iranian government that includes Iranian judges, political figures, party leaders and lawyers headed by Dorri-Najafabadi. The committee's complaints, according to Hershi, are based on documents, observations and tangible evidences of the Israeli crimes in Gaza.
Israeli atrocities, particularly in the past five years, have triggered the anger of the international public opinion both in Muslim and non-Muslim countries with scores of international lawyers calling for The Hague based International Court of Justice to bring to dock Tel Aviv rulers for the ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ they perpetrated in Gaza.

HOKOK, the International Coalition against Impunity, represented by its president May El-Khansa and other Spanish lawyers will submit on March 11 a complaint before the ICC over Israeli crimes against Gaza and Lebanon, supported by names of Israeli officers holding European nationalities.

Israel’s attack against Gaza began December 27, 2008, and left more than 1,300 martyrs more than half of which are children and women. Around 5,000 others were injured and mutilated by internationally banned weapons like phosphorus and DIME. The attacks also left tens of thousands of already besieged Gazans homeless.


1- Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
2- Defense Minister Ehud Barak
3- Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
4- Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
5- Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force Ido Nehoshtan
6- Commander of the Gaza war -- Operation Cast Lead -- Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant
7- Head of Military Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
8- Commander of Battalion 13 in the Golani Brigade Lt. Col. Oren Cohen
9- Deputy to the Givati Brigade Col. Ron Ashrov
10- Commander of the Israel Paratroopers' Brigade in Gaza Col. Hertzi Halevy
11- Commander of 401st Armored Corps Brigade convoy Col. Yigal Slovik
12- Commander of the 101st Battalion in the Paratrooper Brigade Lt. Col. Avi Blot
13- Lt. Col. Yoav Mordechai, who served as a commander of the Golani infantry brigade's 13th Battalion in Gaza
14- Givati squad commander Col. Tomer Tsiter
15- Brigade commander in Battalion 51 Col. Avi Peled

Iran prepares to try Israeli war criminals

Mon, 02 Mar 2009 08:31:32 GMT | PressTV

Gazan children playing in the ruins of buildings, reduced to rubble by Israel's 23-day war.
Iran adds the final touches to a criminal case against top Israeli officials, bringing Tel Aviv's war crimes in Gaza further to the fore.

While evidence is stacking up that the Israeli military committed war crimes during the three week-long war on the Gaza Strip, Iran's Chief Prosecutor Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi, sought criminal charges against twenty-nine Israeli political and military leaders on Sunday.

“The charges brought against Israeli officials include undue aggression, disproportionate use of military force, threatening world peace and security, crimes against humanity, genocide, and blatant violations of human rights and international law,” said Dori-Najafabadi. Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, Chief of the General Staff of the IDF Gabi Ashkenazi, and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz are reportedly among those facing the court case.

The case will go to trial in Tehran in near future.
Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 with the declared goal of “self-defense” and toppling the Hamas government. More than 1,300 Palestinians, including a large number of women and children, were killed in the conflagration.

With nearly two months after Tel Aviv declared an alleged ceasefire, further revelations of the Israeli army's massive violations of human rights has set the wheels turning on an international war crime case.
During the offensive, Israel reportedly shelled three clearly GPS-designated UN schools and opened fire on hospitals, ambulances, medical personnel, and civilian homes.

UN human rights investigations have exposed that the Israeli army deliberately used white phosphorus ---which is prohibited "in all circumstances" under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons ---on Palestinian civilians.

The most shocking eye-opener, however, came on January 4 when Israeli troops evacuated some 110 Gazans --- half of which were children --- into a single-residence house in the Zeitoun neighborhood and warned them to stay indoors.
Twenty-four hours later, the soldiers shelled the home incessantly, killing more than 30 of the people inside the house. UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, recently declared that most

Israeli actions against the shell-shocked population of Gaza "appear to have all the elements of war crimes".

Tel Aviv has not ratified the 1998 Rome Statute, therefore Israeli leaders cannot be brought before the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Signatories to the Geneva Convention, however, can prosecute those involved in the 23-day assault on Gaza as culpable for war crimes.