A few days ago I wrote about the shelling of the Gaza home in which the al-Samouni family took refuge after it was evicted by force by the IDF from its own home earlier. The N.Y. Times reported that 11 family members had been killed. Apparently, this report was far from complete.
Now word has seeped out that the death toll was much larger–as high as 60 or 70 killed. What’s worse, there were over 20 wounded who could not escape the wreckage and were left to fend for themselves with no medical attention. The Israeli troops could’ve cared less. In fact, when the Red Crescent made efforts to approach the home they were driven off by Israeli firing.
Just today, three days after the shelling, aid workers finally arrived and removed 15 wounded. However, Israeli forces again fired on them and forced them to withdraw with eight wounded still remaining at the site. Speaking as someone who truly does want to find something that would allow me to see humanity and decency among Israelis, I am forced to concede that I am always disappointed. Even soldiers fighting a battle must make provision for evacuating civilian wounded. The fact that the IDF has refused is beyond bestial. I sputter with rage and indignation as I write this.
In the Book of Exodus, it says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he wouldn’t empathize with Jewish suffering. Now it’s the IDF and all Israel whose heart is hardened. We should remember that at the time of the Exodus it was the Egyptians whose first born all died after they had earlier sought to exterminate Jews by killing all the male babies. Is the only way to end this madness for Israel to suffer the same trauma they’re inflicting on the Palestinians? Will the former harden its heart forever?
I propose that we from now on refer to Ehud Barak as Barak the Butcher. Let this stain whatever legacy he hopes to have for himself. Keep in mind this is a man who donned a woman’s dress in order to assassinate his first terrorist in Lebanon. Mazel tov Ehud, you no longer wear a dress when you kill. Now it’s a business suit. But it’s still the same grisly murder. Barak to the Hague.
The Telegraph provides more background on the tragedy here.
If Israel is looking for brownie points for allowing a three hour ceasefire every other day for humanitarian relief to enter Gaza, they won’t find them here. It is simply an outrage that you kill civilians almost with impunity and then seek to relieve the pressure by agreeing to a fig leaf like this. It is no coincidence that the lull was proposed within hours of the single most devastating civilian attack of the entire war (for let’s name this by what it really is) in which 40 were killed. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe this.
Israel claims in its defense it was responding to mortar fire from the school, while UNWRA denies categorically that this was so. It appears there may have been mortar fire originating in the neighborhood of the school but not from within it. Can an Israeli tank not see innocent civilians before it fires its rounds or does the IDF simply not care when it lets loose the guns?
At any rate, let the pro-Israel apologists view this image and come up with some foolhardy defense of this crime. It reeks to high heaven.
Barack Obama: do the eight words you released in your statement of sympathy yesterday do any of this justice?? For the love of God, man, you can do better.
Peter H says
The Turkish newspaper Zaman has had some excellent analysis of the Gaza crisis:
khaled Hamid says
“I wonder how the [Jerusalem] Post presumes Israel would conduct any negotiation with Hamas without intermediaries, since Israel flat-out rejects any direct contact with the Islamic group?”.
Wonder no more Richard. When one exterminates thier enemy, no negotiations are needed.
But on a more serious note, I can see some positive that comes out of this tragedy. The ugly short-sighted brainless side of Hamas has become more noticeable (despite the legitimate grievances) for many pro-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims and it is showing in many press releases by American Muslim Organizations. But more importantly, the horror is getting some ‘traditional Israel choir’ to see the ugly side in Israeli policy that many resist seeing, and even deny exits.
Of coarse that ‘enlightenment’ does not reach our politicians (Have you watched H Reids on meet the press this Sunday? Shame on him) John Stewart had a great segment on that 2 days ago in case you missed it.
One thing that I count as a loss (for me at least) is how rabbi Yoffie reacted as you yourself talked about in one of your earlier posts. It causes me a great deal of disappointment to see people I respect behave in a ‘klan-centric’ way with total disregard to realities (it reminded me of another statement you made about the moral compass wandering off for some Jew when Israel is part of the equation).
I am praying that the positives, overall, will finally prevail, especially seeing how many Jewish friends have more interested in J Street over the last couple of weeks, considering it as a better representative of them than AIPAC.
And, finally, thank you for this site which , thank God, remains a place to come to knowing that common sense and human decency still exists.
What is ‘snarky?
Richard Silverstein says
A “snide remark,” hence “snark.”
Let’s see will those planned underwater oil, gas and water undersea pipelines from Turkey to Israel will be a reality some day. With this arrogant policy never.
Turkey is big country which influence goes far beyond its borders, most of the stan countries have Turkish tribes as the main population. Turkey is an considerable aerial power and nowadays also economically rather important. Israel as an ally is for Turkey a burden when Turkey increases its influence to the east and south. Economically and militarily Turkey is not in anyway dependent from Israel. Israel needs Turkey’s friendship much more than Turkey does.
Israel in its arrogant drunkenness of power seems to think that it is important and irreplaceable for the West. Geopolitically for Europe Israel is not an asset, it is historical burden. Even USA has to do serious “thinking” if Turkey some day would force USA to choose between Turkey and Israel. Surely USA would not like Turkey to slide more in direction of Russia and China. If it does USA’s changes in central Eurasia will be much less “successful”.
I must say that Israeli foreign policy mildly said short sighted. The old Polish foreign policy style have your enemies close and friends far away is not a clever policy.
I am sorry Mr. Silverstein, but Mr. Obama by his appointments (keeping on Gates, hiring Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff) and his action – rather, inaction – has shown his true colors.
In fact, to all of us who have not been swayed by some brilliant rhetoric mouthing platitudes, we have seen Mr. Obama – a good, as in a professional, politician.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity because the USA’s media elite cower in fear and trip over themselves to justify this slaughter to their stupified audience, us.
After all, (brown) nigger babies do not count, right?
I’ve heard the BBC saying that Hamas actually rigged the school with explosives. If true, and word of this got out, this would be the Gazan equivalent of Israel’s soldiers being bombed – a severe hit in public opinion against the warring side.
Shame it has to get to “friendly fire” for people to see the madness.
Miles Stuart says
If this is true as reported (the corralling, repeated shelling and subsequent denial of attention for the wounded of the Samouni family) it is an act of indescribable barbarity and depravity.
I really hope there are people in Gaza who believe it’s worth collecting evidence for war crimes trials.
I listen to the BBC almost constantly and I have heard no such suggestion. I cannot find anything on the website either. Can you tell me what station and what time you heard this?
Crimson Ghost says
Unfortunately Zionist savagery in Gaza and in fact towards the entire Palestinian population for three geenrations now is not the first time modern day jews have committed or been accomplices to horrible crimes.
In the Soviet Union under Stalin Jews were very prominent in the apparatus of terror that led to the Gulag and millions of deaths (until Stalin finally turned on the Jews). This is something that most Jews have banished from their historical memory.
I second Miles Stuart re the BBC “report”. I have heard no such thing on any of the World Service news programmes.
Bill Owen says
Miles, I did not hear that report on the BBC, but I did hear it on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). They actually ran an Israeli spokesperson (a woman) saying that they “believed” that Hamas had booby trapped the school, and that “perhaps” the tank shells had set off the explosives. I also heard another later claim that the people inside were “hostages”.
The general and oft repeated “justification” for this action was that they had come under fire from the school. If a bank robber takes hostages at a bank, are the police justified in shooting into the hostages just to arrest or kill the bank robber? No, of course not, but this is “different” in the minds of the IDF, Israelis and credulous Americans, as after all, every knows that the Pals are not really human, not of the tribe, and may be killed with impunity.
It’s like in a Rwanda when an American commander said he would risk, at most, 10 American soldiers to save 800,000 Rwandans.
Miles Stuart says
Thanks Bill, very well done BarNavi for picking it up.
This is an official Israeli ‘belief’ with zero actual evidence which is flatly contradicted by earlier UNWRA statements following their investigation. It deserves only derision. This is the kind of Stalinesque propaganda routinely trotted out by Israeli officials. Its main effect is to reinforce existing support at the cost of damaging their long term credibility. I don’t think they really expect intelligent people to believe it. It’s just a rather withered fig leaf.
I would still be grateful to know where I can find the broadcast.
I am still shocked at what happened to the al-Samouni family. There is now a (cautious) BBC report on this which is consistent with the Telegraph story, but does not explicitly confirm the grizzly death toll.
In my own mind I am convinced the shelling was deliberate, as was the tank fire on the UN truck today. What I find shocking is that the Israelis would deny the survivors medical attention for THREE WHOLE DAYS. Surviving children were found, dehydrated and starving, next to their dead mothers.
Even assuming the shelling was deliberate Israel could make a plausible claim that it was accidental. The grotesque denial of medical attention is a clear “We just don’t give a @*&#” signal. They do not feel the need to maintain even a pretence of civilised conduct.
I have just heard the report (by Jeremy Bowen) again on BBC News, it is being repeated hourly at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7459669.stm. The ICRC has publicly and explicitly accused the IDF of “breaking International Humanitarian Law”.
Miles Stuart says
The al-Samouni story was one of the lead items on BBC radios flagship ‘Today’ programme’s news. I was distressed at how little coverage this got, but now it seems to be everywhere. My feeling at this moment is that it could be even more damaging than the Qana incident. It is the indisputable callousness which is so damaging. There is just no way of portraying it as accidental.
As I write this there has just been another segment interviewing Jeremy Bowen during the prime 8:10am slot reinforcing the authority of the sources.
This is going to reverbarate long and hard.