GAZA HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDE 27.12.2008-18.01.2009

Saturday, 17 January 2009

UN calls for war crime investigation on Gaza Massacres

17 January 2009

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has said Israel's actions in Gaza should be investigated as possible war crimes.

Spokesman Chris Gunness told the BBC that two children, aged five and seven, were killed when Israeli tank fire hit a UN school where hundreds had taken shelter in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

At least two Palestinians have been killed after Israeli tank shells hit a UN-run school in Gaza - hours before Israel's security cabinet is expected to vote on a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire.

A woman and a boy died and 25 other Gazans were wounded in the shelling at the school run by the UN relief and works agency (Unrwa) in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.

The school is the third UN shelter to be hit by Israeli fire in its 22-day war on the territory

The attack came as heavy artillery and aerial bombardment of what Israel described as "Hamas targets" continued on Saturday.

Christopher Gunness, an Unrwa spokesman, said several rounds hit the UN school at about 6:45am. The third floor of the school took a direct hit after a short pause, killing the pair and injuring another 14 people.

Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape.

Investigation demanded

About 1,600 civilians had sought refuge from the fighting inside the building, Gunness said.

"The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there," he said.

"When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed."

John Ging, the director of Unrwa, told Al Jazeera: "People today are alleging war crimes here in Gaza. Lets have it properly accounted for. Lets have the legal process which will establish exactly what has happened here.

"It is another failure for our humanity and it is exposing the impotence of our [the international community's] inability to protect civilians in conflict."

In Jabaliya refugee camp, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor from al-Shifa hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.

At least 10 people were also killed late on Friday after a tank shell slammed into their home during a funeral wake in Gaza City.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, including more than 400 children, according to UN and Palestinian medical sources.

At least 13 Israelis have also died in the same period, three of them civilians.

Meanwhile, about five rockets were reported to have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday.

'Unilateral ceasefire'

Israel's security cabinet is expected to decide on ending the assault during a meeting later on Saturday, according to Israeli sources.

The move would be seen as preferable to entering into an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas, unnamed sources said.

Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister, earlier said on Israel's Channel 10 television that "the end doesn't have to be in agreement with Hamas, but rather in arrangements against Hamas".

A unilateral ceasefire would allow Israel to avoid agreeing concessions with Hamas, such as easing the 18-month-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has prevented medical aid and basic supplies from reaching the Palestinians.

Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's prime minister, called for an immediate ceasefire and the removal of Israel's troops from the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Egypt has been pushing Israel and the rival Palestinian factions to reach an agreement. A Hamas delegation returned to Cairo on Friday for a second round of talks.

Responding to speculation of a unilateral ceasefire by Israel, Hamas on Saturday threatened to ignore such a cessation and continue fighting.

"Clearly, we have nothing new to propose ... either we hear what we have proposed [is accepted] or we will go back to the battlefield," Osama Hamdan, Hamas's representative in Lebanon, said.

"The [large] number of our martyrs will not push us to surrender, but to insist on resistance."

Speaking at a forum in Beirut, Hamdan called on Arab leaders to stand by the Palestinian "resistance", and urged European nations to cut ties with Israel for
its "crimes" in Gaza.

An unnamed Israeli official told the AFP news agency that Israeli troops would remain in Gaza in the event of any such ceasefire being called.

"If they [Hamas] decide to open fire, we will not hesitate to respond and continue the offensive," the official was quoted as saying.

Israel's stated aim of the war, which it dubbed Operation Cast Lead, was to halt Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.


1 comment:

Chet said...

War crimes against Israel and the United States should be heard in front of an International court. My heart is broke by the way the Palestinians are being slaughtered for no other reason than they are just Palestinians. I pray for the day when all mankind can live in peace.