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IDF in Gaza: Murder in Cold Blood

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.

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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Heller January 21, 2009, 6:43 PM

    You don’t consider the side of Israel-we never heard their side. The Arabs have told their share of lies. Also, threatening to kill Israeli soldiers is considered incitement according to Israeli law.

  • emman chehade randazzo January 21, 2009, 7:50 PM

    I AM SO ANGRY!!!!!!! Heller you moron what is there to consider? This is PURE EVIL!

    • Kathy Kafir October 2, 2010, 7:54 AM

      [comment deleted for being a disgusting anti-Muslim rant & violation of my comment rules--what a truly disgusting 'human being' you are, if you indeed are one. Excuse me while I go take a shower to wipe off yr filth.]

  • delad January 21, 2009, 10:48 PM

    i am truly shocked and disgusted at this report. I’ve seen it on the BBC, read it in the Telegraph and now again here from a different source. I’m not really sure what the chances are that this IDF monster will be arrested and locked up for the rest of his bestial life but one thing is for sure, many Gazans will find it very difficult to ever forgive Israel for the massacre it has wrought

  • Warren January 22, 2009, 12:03 AM

    I’m at the point where I’m beginning to agree with LD in his previous comments. What a disgusting country. Israel deserves to just be cut loose from the international community to fend for itself unless it changes its murderous behavior, and there ought to be some kind of Nuremberg-style war crimes tribunal for Israel’s leadership.

    “Purity of Arms”, that’s got to be the biggest Big Lie of them all. Pure Goebbels. It makes me sick to my stomach to think my tax dollars go to these sadistic, murderous freaks. If Israel has such hatred and contempt for the surrounding Gentile world, why does it insist on being so dependent on my country, the US (what are we, like 97% gentile?). It’s this hypocritical, Orwellian mix of moralism, dependency and murderous brutality that makes Israel today such a nauseating spectacle for a thinking person with a conscience.

    I don’t usually write in such strong, scathing terms. I’ve always made a point to specify ‘Israeli behavior’ rather than ‘Israel’ itself, but this story posted by Richard is so beyond the pale, so atrocious… I defy anyone to read the above post and not be wholly chilled to the bone. What total disregard for human life, for the blossom of youth. What a sick fucking culture & society, to have such a deep, blistering hatred for one’s fellow man to commit acts of premeditated cold-blooded murder against children like this.

    Israeli tribalism as manifested in these IDF soldiers consciously, deliberately gunning down Palestinian children, does begin to look like some brand of annihilatory fascism. Maybe events like this explain why more Israeli soldiers are refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories on moral grounds. If I hear the inane, desecratory oath, “Purity of Arms”, one more time, given all that we’ve learned about this Gaza butchery, I think I’m going to puke. What a total betrayal of language & truth at the deepest level.

    I fervently hope that younger Israelis may somehow (somehow!!!) be exposed to the values of the Enlightenment and gain some sense of universal humanity. Some basic sense of the common Rights of Man (& Woman) to life, well-being and dignity, for this is clearly lacking in Israeli society and culture today, to put it mildly. How else can you account for 80-90% Israeli public support for this Gaza massacre?

  • gabrielle January 22, 2009, 5:29 AM

    thanks for posting. i really like The World. i subscribe to their podcast. ive posted your entry to facebook… spreading the word! keep up the good work.

  • ellen January 22, 2009, 5:57 AM

    Obviously there is no lack of atrocity stories; even so, sometimes one grabs us with its particular viciousness and lack of humanity. This one yesterday on Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/21/palestinian_us_college_grad_loses_2

    tells of a father who watches his son bleed to death over 12 hours because the IDF would not let any help come.

    Everytime, I wonder why there are not more suicide bombers.

    These stories, added up in the thousands over the years, also have lead me to the conclusion that Israel does not deserve to be in the community of nations.

    ellen

  • Donald Johnson January 22, 2009, 12:09 PM

    Far be it from me to defend Israel’s behavior (I’ve been reading and agreeing with Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Said for decades now), but you have terrible things done by governments all over the world, often by democratic ones. The US government supported mass murderers and torturers in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Mideast, and Latin America all through the Cold War, knowing full well our clients were doing stuff like this, and we were no slouches at war crimes ourselves.

    I very much hope Israel is reined in and forced to treat Palestinians like human beings, but I’m not sure who does deserve to be in the community of nations, if you probe too deeply into what various countries have done.

  • Warren January 22, 2009, 12:59 PM

    Donald Johnson,

    I agree with what you’re saying. I was reacting to the appalling horror of this post and in doing so probably went off the rails and seemed to isolate Israel more than I would in a calm moment. I would definitely include my own country, the United States, in what I was saying about Israel. I’ve expressed incredible outrage at what my country has done in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past several years (and at our foreign policy generally). And we commit atrocities on a much larger scale. The one thing that gives me hope here in America is that a larger and larger percentage of the population seems to be calling for a different foreign policy. There seems to me to be such a vast gulf between the mass of American people and our leadership. That’s not to excuse our complicity in what our government does, for the fact is we ARE complicit as Americans. We’re supposed to be a democracy after all. I don’t quite see the corollary in Israel where the vile treatment of Palestinians seems to more directly mirror popular Israeli attitudes, but maybe I’m missing something.

    And your point about who does deserve to be in the community of nations is well taken. From what vantage would the United States have the right to include or exclude Israel from the community of nations given our own dark historical record, and the massive War Crime that is our War on Iraq and Afghanistan? The speculation is itself beyond fanciful given our ‘special relationship’ with Israel and the fact that we aid and abet and fully support Israeli actions. So I see the irony and don’t know what to do with it. I just want both America and Israel to change, and my anger probably gets the better of my rhetoric at times.

  • Marilyn Shepherd January 25, 2009, 7:08 AM

    Here is some food for thought. On the CIA website concerning Gaza they note that the median age for all Gaza citizens is 17 years and 2 months. For boys it is 17, for girls 17 years and 4 months.

    There are only 2.6% of the population over 65 years of age because they just don’t live that long.

    The Samouni family story is the most horrendous of all but in Australia today we have an old jew claiming they are all lies. Bullshit he says. Israel don’t behave like that.

    The world can see the truth of the phosphorous bombs, the destruction, the brutal killing of children and their mothers but not the old jew in Australia.

    Who has no connection at all with Israel as he was born in Australia in 1935, which means his parents have no connection to any place called Israel.

    There is this delusion about Israel – it might exist in fact because there are people and buildings and a big bully army but in law it does not exist as a state at all and never has.

    Resolution 181 was illegal as well as immoral in any language because the owners of the land were not given a vote on their land being given to someone else.

    I supported Israel sort of until Sabra and Shatila.

  • Orion Isaac April 19, 2009, 7:34 PM

    There is no question that the brutality and callous manner in which the offensive was conducted was wrong. The 8 years of missile attacks on Sderot did not seem to infuriate the side who sympathizes more with the oppressed or downtrodden, however, from a security stand point it would be hard to find a democratic Nation today who would not have addressed an actual threat to its citizens opposed to an “imagined” threat as the Bush administration did with Iraq. The issue of civilian casualties was partially a bi-product of Hamas’ strategy of intermingling with civilians deliberately whether to make Israel look bad, since it knew that the IDF would not withdraw from its targets. So the whole thing played out predictably, Hamas intermixes with a school, Israel drops a bomb, the world watches in astonishment. The story with Izzeldin, the Doctor, was devastating to me personally since my brother befriended him at Harvard University. There are no words that offer solace to this man, he is incredible and he will likely inspire many people in the struggle for peace. The compromises necessary for peace are well explained in the Geneva Accords, but until the leadership on both sides concedes to the demands of the majority of peace seeking people, and continue to play politics and react to acts of terrorism, the tragedy will continue. My heart goes out to the people of Gaza.
    -OW

  • Joe Truth November 14, 2009, 7:03 AM

    “I felt like killing the israeli soldiers”
    Wow. What a spiritually enlightened person you are. Nice to see the true colours shine through from behind all the propaganda for a change.
    We Look forward to your post where you feel like killing the Palestinians responsible for suicide bomblings.
    There are many good psychotherapists out there. We suggest a long course of therapy to probe the origins of your vociferous self-hatred.

    • Richard Silverstein November 14, 2009, 1:39 PM

      What a spiritually enlightened person you are

      In the face of such israeli depravity you expect me to be spiritually serene? What are you? Some superior being who has no emotions & refuses to engage with a situation of outright evil?

      When Palestinian suicide bombers kill as many as Israel did in Lebanon and Gaza since 2008 then maybe I can muster the rage you demand. We can all see how much sympathy you can manage for Palestinians.

      I don’t hate Israel or Israelis. I hate injustice. And Israel’s Occupation and prosecution of the Gaza war was the height of injustice. Save the pscyhotherapy for someone who can use it. I’d offer it to you but I know you’re beyond reason or help.

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