UN Report on Israel's Summer 2014 Gaza War
by Stephen Lendman
The so-called UN Independent Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Israel's 2014 Gaza war had it both ways in its report
instead of outright condemning what the whole world knows.
Operation Protective Edge (OPE) was cold, calculated Israeli naked aggression on 1.8 million near defenseless Gazans held hostage since 2006 by Israel's blockade - helpless fish in a barrel to mass murder at will.
OPE had nothing to do with Hamas rockets or bogus claims about it being a terrorist organization. It had everything to do with preventing Palestinian statehood and maintaining brutal, illegal military occupation, among other objectives.
Former New York Supreme Court justice Mary McGowan Davis headed the three-member COI after human rights law expert Professor William Schabas resigned under pressure. Israel's Geneva-based UN envoy, Eviator Manor, lied accusing him of a "blatant conflict of interest."
Schabas responded saying his "views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known and very public. This work in defense of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks."
"I believe that it is difficult for the work to continue while a procedure is underway to consider whether the chair of the commission should be removed."
It's unknown whether his presence as COI head would have made a difference. Its report indicated "credible allegations of war crimes in 2014 by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups" when, in fact, Israel bore FULL responsibility for genocidal high crimes.
So-called "Palestinian armed groups" responded to Israeli aggression in self-defense as international law allows. COI didn't explain. At the same time, it was extremely critical of Israeli actions during 51 days of carnage.
"The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come," said Davis.
Israeli aggression included "6,000 airstrikes…and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired," COI said.
The vast majority of casualties were defenseless civilians. "Hundreds…were killed in their homes, especially women and children," COI explained. Devastating air, ground and naval attacks "reduced buildings to piles of dust and rubble in seconds."
"(G)raphic testimony" should shock everyone. A surviving Al Najjar family member said he "woke up…in the hospital, and I later learned that my sister, mother and my children had all died."
"We all died that day even those who survived." Dozens of entire families were ruthlessly slaughtered. All of Gaza was a free-fire zone. There were no safe havens - no place to hide.
"At least 142 families lost three or more members in an attack on a residential building during the summer of 2014, resulting in 742 deaths," said COI.
"The fact that Israel did not revise its practice of air-strikes, even after their dire effects on civilians became apparent, raises the question of whether this was part of a broader policy which was at least tacitly approved at the highest level of government."
Deliberately targeting defenseless civilians is official Israeli policy. Women, children and infants are treated like combatants - murdered in cold blood.
COI expressed concern about "Israel's extensive use of weapons with a wide kill and injury radius." They indiscriminately kill civilians, especially in high-density populated areas.
Israeli ground forces killed "hundreds" of Palestinians and destroyed or damaged "thousands of homes." Ambulance call centers "received desperate appeals for help…(T)hey could hear young children screaming."
A Rafah witness said "(t)here was an explosion about every 10 seconds." Israel "disregard(s)" all rules whenever the safety of its soldiers are at stake.
Hostilities "caused immense distress and disruption to the lives of civilians in Israel," COI said - without explaining Israeli aggression bore FULL responsibility.
Hamas didn't attack Israel. Armed Palestinians responded solely to Israel aggression. COI didn't explain.
From June through August 2014, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli forces killed 27 Palestinians and injured over 3,000 others.
COI expressed concern about Israeli forces "us(ing) live ammunition for crowd control…which raises the likelihood of death or serious injury."
"Impunity prevails across the board for violations allegedly committed by Israeli forces, both in Gaza and the West Bank," COI added. There's nothing "alleged" about willfully committed Israeli war crimes.
"Israel must break with its lamentable track record in holding wrong doers accountable," COI said. It unjustifiably called Palestinian accountability "woefully inadequate."
COI expressed concern about whitewashed Israeli investigations into several incidents of deliberately murdering Palestinian civilians.
It explained its authorities "did not respond to repeated requests by the commission for information and direct access to Israel and to the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
COI members obtained "harrowing first hand testimon(ies)" by Skype, VTC, and telephone. It conducted face-to-face interviews with victims and witnesses from the West Bank during visits to Jordan - including with others who travelled to Geneva.
It conducted 280 interviews in total and got 500 written submissions. Its members "were deeply moved by the immense suffering and resilience of the victims."
They expressed hope their report would "in some small way (contribute) to ending the cycle of violence."
Not as long as world leaders able to make a difference let Israel repeatedly get away with mass murder and destruction.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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