I was just listening to this radio story (audio download) about child murder in Gaza and for the first time in my life I felt like killing the Israeli soldier responsible. I realized that in all the years that I’ve chronicled the misdeeds of the IDF over the years here in this blog, I’d never felt that emotion. It was a frightening and unwelcome one. I’m constantly disgusted by what I learn of the IDF’s capacity for brutality. But I’ve never felt such rage at such heinous, subhuman behavior.
The World’s Quill Lawrence is reporting from Gaza and he brings a story of a Gazan family caught in their home during the Israeli attack. I warn you, this story will either make you cry or howl with rage, or both:
Two weeks ago Khaled Abed Drabo was trapped inside his house several days into the Israeli ground offensive. Artillery shells hammered his neighborhood east of the Jabaliya refugee camp. Three tanks parked outside his front door, and loudspeakers announced that civilians should leave the area.
Khaled says that’s when his wife, mother and three daughters stepped outside the front door waving white flags. They stood on the front steps for five minutes waiting for instructions from the Israeli soldiers only 10 yards away. But instead, Khaled says, a soldier appeared on one of the tank turrets, raised his rifle and began shooting. All three of the girls fell.
Khaled’s mother was shot in the upper left arm and abdomen. Recovering at her brother’s house, she tells the same story. ”The soldier shot us slowly aiming at each one.” The women fled back into the house dragging the bleeding little girls. Suad, 7 years old, died immediately from bullets to her chest. 2 year old Amal survied a few moments longer. ”She was asking her mother for candy and chips. Then her mother asked her: ‘Do you love me.’ She said: ‘Yes.’ Then she died.
The third daughter, Samar, aged 4, was bleeding from a wound to her lower back. The family waited frantically inside the house for two more hours hoping for an ambulance to come during a 3 hour “humanitarian pause” in the fighting. No one came. And Khaled decided to carry his wounded mother and daughter a mile to a hospital.
Khaled called out for help but no one came to his aid. The Israeli soldiers, he says, were eating potato chips and chocolates as they walked by. When they reached the hospital, his daughter Samar was transferred to the Egyptian border and is now in Europe getting medical treatment. Contacted in Brussels, her uncle says she may never walk again.
The IDF spokesperson claims that Jabaliya was the focus of intense fighting between Hamas and its troops and that civilian buildings were commandeered by Hamas for their activities. This, of course, seeks to confuse the issue because this home was not in the camp, nor were there militants in or near it. There were only Israeli tanks 10 yards away remember. Further, Abed Drabo claims his neighborhood isn’t even a Hamas stronghold.
Of course, there will be an IDF investigation. They always say that when they’re “caught out” like this by the foreign media. But nothing ever seems to come of these “investigations.” We’ll see what happens with this one.
Let us be clear. This is wanton cold blooded murder. This is killing children for sport. For target practice. These are not soliders fighting a war. These are hit men entertaining themselves.
I have talked here before about war crimes gingerly and reluctantly because it is such a sensitive subject for Israelis. But these murders cross all red lines. I realize that Israel has been crossing such red lines for years. But for me, this is the reddest of red lines. Whatever justification for initial action against Hamas rocket fire there might have been, Gaza turned out to be nothing but a war crime. This incident is but one example.
The following is a N.Y. Times video about the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abulaish (who I reported on here), who lost three daughters and a niece when the IDF shelled his home, despite the fact that he reported every night for Israel’s Channel 10 during the fighting, worked at Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital, and dedicated his life to resolving the conflict peacefully. Here are some of his plaintive questions for Israel’s military strategists and political leaders:
Why did they do this? Why did they do this? I dedicated my life to peace. I believe in [the healing power of] medicine.
This is the path I believed in. I educated them [my children] to believe in it. I educated them to believe in what I believe [peace].
I hope that my children will be the final price [for peace]. That they will be satisfied with this and that they will stop–THEY THEY WILL STOP.