During the Gaza war, Israel killed 1,400 Gazans of whom 1,100 were civilians. The latter were killed in varied ways, some by accident, some by negligence, and some in cold blood. Human Rights Watch released a stinging rebuke of the IDF’s “investigation” of so-called “white flag” deaths in which soldiers murdered civilians displaying white flags who were in uncontested areas where there was no fighting:
During Israel’s recent Gaza offensive, Israeli soldiers unlawfully shot and killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including five women and four children, who were in groups waving white flags to convey their civilian status, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today…
The 63-page report, “White Flag Deaths: Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead,” is based on field investigations of seven incident sites in Gaza, including ballistic evidence found at the scene, medical records of victims, and lengthy interviews with multiple witnesses – at least three people separately for each incident.
…In one case documented in the report, on January 7 in eastern Jabalya, two women and three children from the family of Khalid ‘Abd Rabbo were standing in front of their home after an Israeli soldier ordered them outside – at least three of them holding pieces of white cloth – when a soldier near a tank opened fire, killing two girls, ages 2 and 7, and wounding the third girl and their grandmother.
“We spent seven to nine minutes waving the flags, and our faces were looking at them [the soldiers],” said the grandmother, who was shot twice. “And suddenly they opened fire and the girls fell to the ground.”
Accounts from witnesses, tank tracks, an ammunition box and bullet casings found at the scene, and an examination of the grandmother’s wounds by forensic experts indicate that the Israeli soldier fired upon identifiable and unarmed women and children.
In five of the seven incidents detailed in the report, Israeli soldiers shot at civilians who were walking down the street with white flags, trying to leave the areas of fighting.
On January 13 in the village of Khuza’a, an Israeli soldier shot and killed Rawiya al-Najjar, 47, and wounded her relative, Jasmin al-Najjar, 23. The women were walking in a small group on a straight road during daylight, with Rawiya al-Najjar holding a white flag, following Israeli military orders to leave their neighborhood after it had come under Israeli control. Soldiers had occupied a house 230 meters down the street, but apparently fired no warning shots to deter the group as it approached.
The Israeli army whitewashes these murders because there is simply a culture of impunity with regard to such behavior especially during the Gaza war, where the usual caution was thrown to the winds and Gaza was turned into a pure killing zone. The IDF is incapable of investigating itself and apparently the Israeli justice system is incapable in any serious way of holding its military accountable for violations of Israeli civil, military or international law.
So let’s call a spade a spade. There is a very high likelihood that most or all of these killings constitute war crimes for which these personnel and the IDF in general, which refuses to seriously investigate them, will be culpable at some point in the future. In fact, the Israeli press has published multiple stories indicating that the foreign ministry legal staff is already preparing legal briefs to use in the eventuality of such legal action. So the question is no longer “if” but “when.”
This is what Zionism has become, at least Zionism as practiced by the frauds who claim its mantle within Israel and the IDF. I am frankly ashamed to share the term with them. They are a disagrace to every Jewish, Zionist and human value I know. Their time will come and they will know justice.