Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Human rights violations must be investigated for Both sides

If IDF claimed that Palestinians had used Medical Personnel as cover,
let someone else prove it. Surely there are witnesses and IDF have
sophisticated equipment in order to gather evidences.

Giving excuses that just because there are incidences of Palestinians
using Ambulances as cover, all Ambulances are to be destroyed on sight
is against Human Rights and War Criminal laws.

Similarly for ordinary Palestinians. Just because some Palestinians
uses terror tactics to fight IDF, it means that all Palestians are
armed and dangerous, including old women and children and ALL MUST BE
EXECUTED on sight. Just by admitting this means that IDF has commited
a War Crime.

The only way to resolve this is by having a third and netural party to
investigate both incidences and both must be punished according to the
existing laws, including that of illegal occupations.


Israeli army faces fresh criticism
Among the offences listed by the PHR are Israel's attacks on medical
personnel and facilities [EPA]

Israel's army violated codes of ethics and international law during
the war in Gaza by attacking medics and refusing to allow the
treatment of wounded, a human-rights group says.

In a report published on Monday, the group Physicians for Human Rights
(PHR) calls for an independent body to investigate the military's
conduct during its 22-day war on Gaza, which ended on January 18.

The actions reflect a "demonisation of Palestinians [which] bears a
heavy price for Israeli society".

In its defence, the Israeli army said it had not yet concluded its
investigation, but that fighters from Gaza's ruling Hamas had fought
under the cover of ambulances and medical facilities.

'Indiscriminate attacks'

Among the offences listed by PHR are "attacks on medical personnel;
damage to medical facilities and indiscriminate attacks on civilians
not involved in the fighting".

The report further says: "Israel placed numerous obstacles in the
course of the operation that impeded emergency medical evacuation of
the sick and wounded and also caused families to be trapped for days
without food, water and medications.

In depth

Analysis and features from after the war

"The actions ... violate directives of international law which forbid
attacks on medical centres and medical teams during fighting" and
"blatantly violated codes of ethics."

The PHR report is the latest in a string of accusations relating to
the conduct of the Israeli army during the Gaza offensive.

Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel's army chief of staff,
dismissed on Monday allegations that civilians were killed during the
assault, based on soldiers' testimonies published last week.

"I do not believe that IDF troops hurt Palestinian civilians in cold
blood," he said in a speech.

"We will wait the outcome of an investigation, but my impression is
that the IDF acted morally and if such cases did take place they were

Family tragedy

During the offensive, Israeli fire killed 16 Palestinian medical
personnel and wounded 25 others while eight hospitals and 26 primary
care clinics were attacked, according to figures from the United
Nations and the PHR.

Among the specific incidents cited by the PHR report is that of a "Mr
Shurrab" whose two sons were shot by Israeli forces while they drove
towards the southern city of Khan Younis on January16.

"We have noticed a stark decline in IDF morals concerning the
Palestinian population of Gaza, which in reality amounts to a contempt
for Palestinian lives"

Dani Filc
Physicians for Human Rights, an Israel NGO
"One of the sons died immediately, the other bled to death for 12
hours," PHR said.

"All that time the Israeli soldiers were within a short distance from
the Shurrabs but did not provide any assistance despite the father's
repeated requests."

PHR condemned the Israeli army, which it said "flaunts its morality",
for "declining to help evacuate injured civilians and trapped
families, when soldiers acted in a trigger-happy manner as they opened
fire on ambulances, medical installations and medical personnel".

Dani Filc, PHR's chairman, said: "We have noticed a stark decline in
IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] morals concerning the Palestinian
population of Gaza, which in reality amounts to a contempt for
Palestinian lives.

"It is critical that the investigation of Operation Cast Lead is
completed by a neutral, external investigator without ties to the

The Israeli army said it is investigating the claims in a "thorough"
manner. It insisted that soldiers were instructed to "act with the
utmost caution in order not to cause harm to medical vehicles and
medical facilities".

Hamas blamed

In a statement, the Israeli army blamed Hamas for putting health
personnel and medical facilities in harm's way.

"Throughout the fighting, Hamas methodically made use of medical
vehicles, facilities and uniforms in order to conceal and camouflage
terrorist activity, and in general used ambulances to carry terror
activists and weapons," it said.

"Hamas used ambulances to "rescue" terror activists from the
battlefield and used hospitals and medical facilities as hiding

Such actions "greatly complicated the co-ordination of rescue and
medical evacuation", the army said.

"It must be emphasised that under international law, the protections
afforded to medical teams or "protected institutions" ... cease to
exist when these medical teams or institutions are not used for
humanitarian purposes rather for carrying out actions intended to harm
the state of Israel".

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