Israel committed war crimes in Gaza, says Amnesty!

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‘THERE is strong evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lt Hadar Goldin, displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives,’ said Amnesty director Philip Luther yesterday.

Amnesty says that at least 135 civilians were killed in a bombardment of Rafah after Lt Hadar Goldin was seized on 1 August. He was later declared dead.

The Israeli military invoked an order known as the Hannibal Directive, unleashing massive firepower to try to prevent Hamas from taking Lt Goldin hostage. Amnesty said the implementation of the directive ‘led to the ordering of unlawful attacks on civilians’. It said 75 children were among those killed.

The conflict lasted for 50 days between July and August, and ended in a truce after Israel was unable to overcome Palestinian resistance, and the workers of the world condemned the Israeli onslaught. Even the UK’s House of Commons carried a resolution calling for the recognition of the state of Palestine.

Amnesty insists that, ‘This report presents an urgent call for justice that must not be ignored. The combined analysis of hundreds of photos and videos, as well as satellite imagery and testimony from eyewitnesses, provides compelling evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces which must be investigated.’

However, one year after the 50-day assault, the situation of the Palestinian masses and the scale of the Israeli oppression is being completely ignored, on a massive scale! Israel has rejected the two state solution and is boosting up the numbers of settlements that are being established, while it persecutes Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people.

Gaza remains a pile of rubble, while the UK government is continuing to arm and supply the Israeli military machine, as is the USA! Things have not remained the same – they have got much worse for the Palestinian masses. There is not the slightest chance that Israeli leaders will be made to appear at The Hague by the leaders of the capitalist world.

There has been no massive international drive to rebuild Gaza. Its people have been left to live and die amidst the rubble, while the billionaires of the Saudi Royal Family, British royalty’s special friends, holiday on private beaches in the south of France.

In fact, the UNRWA relief organisation is cutting its services to the Palestinians both in occupied Palestine and in the Lebanon and Jordan. Yesterday, the Hamas movement accused the UN agency for Palestinian refugees of ‘giving up its role’ providing services to refugees.

Hamas pointed out that instead of assisting in the rebuilding of Gaza, UNRWA is cutting back on its aid to Palestinians ‘worsening the already aggravated situations in all areas where Palestinian refugees exist’. UNRWA says it has been struggling in recent months to secure donor funding, and is scaling back on core services, including education, as well as its emergency relief programme, not just in Gaza but also in the 31 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

On Saturday, UNRWA held an emergency session to discuss what the agency termed their ‘most severe financial crisis ever’. ‘UNRWA may have to delay the start of the academic year in some 700 schools for half a million students across the Middle East unless the deficit of $101 million can be fully funded before the school year is due to start,’ the agency said in a statement. The workers’ movement internationally must now come to the aid of the Palestinian masses.

They must take action to speed the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Its first shot must be the establishment of a worldwide trade union boycott of Israel to bring it to its knees. The trade unions must organise political strike action in the UK and the US to stop the US and UK governments arming Israel, and instead insist that they rebuild Gaza, and recognise the Palestinian state, granting every Palestinian the right to return.

This is the way forward to fight for the Palestinian state.