lived by two Israel-Gaza wars. This one is the worst

73 lived by two Israel-Gaza wars. This one is the worst

The present assault on the Palestinian enclave is devastating. However we’ve seen this modus operandi earlier than

After seven weeks of relentless Israeli bombing all through Gaza, in accordance with the modest estimates of the UN as of November 23 (proper earlier than a humanitarian ceasefire got here into impact), greater than 14,800 folks have been killed within the enclave, together with about 6,000 kids and 4,000 girls.

Whereas these Israeli assaults on Gaza are by far the worst but, with Israel dropping a reported 40,000 tons of explosives in lower than two months, it’s value recalling that Israel has repeatedly waged assaults in opposition to the Palestinians of Gaza over the previous 15 years.

Dwelling in Gaza for years between late 2008 to March 2013, I used to be witness to 2 main Israeli assaults (and numerous smaller ones through the years). Right here, I’ll spotlight what I noticed and documented, to indicate that the horrific Israeli battle crimes we’re seeing popping out of Gaza should not new, even when they’re exponentially worse this time round.

On December 27, 2008, Israel unloaded 100 bombs on Gaza inside the first minutes of its Operation Solid Lead. The Shifa Hospital (Gaza’s principal), was receiving the lifeless and the injured continuous. The ICU beds have been stuffed, and docs informed me that as quickly as one affected person died one other took their place.

Along with a handful of worldwide activists in Gaza I made the choice to experience in ambulances with Palestinian medics as they looked for the wounded and took them to hospitals. We did so conscious that Israel barred journalists from Gaza, and realizing that, prior to now, medics and ambulances had been targets for the Israeli military.

I’d see this first-hand quickly after first becoming a member of the medics, when an Israeli sniper focused the ambulance I rode in, injuring one medic within the leg when one in all at the least 14 bullets hit the rear of the automobile as we sped away.

This was through the January 7, 2009 “humanitarian cease-fire” hours. The Geneva Conventions explicitly state that “medical personnel looking out, amassing, transporting or treating the wounded needs to be protected and revered in all circumstances.”

 Some days prior, Israeli shelling had killed Arafa abd al-Dayem, a medic I knew and had accompanied. He was rescuing injured Palestinians, standing on the rear of the ambulance when it was hit with a shell containing flechettes. Flechette munitions are designed to spray 1000’s of small steel darts in a large arc, rising the prospect of accidents and demise. The dart’s sharp head is designed to interrupt away, rising the quantity of inside harm carried out. One other 21-year-old medic, a volunteer, was injured, his legs lacerated.

The day after Arafa was killed, the Israeli military fired thrice inside two minutes on the neighborhood the place household and neighbors had gathered to pay their respects. The shelling, once more with flechettes, killed six extra civilians, together with a younger pregnant mom, and injured 25 extra.

The evening the Israeli land invasion started, on January 3, shells flew dangerously near the Pink Crescent station within the district east of Jabaliya I was then primarily based in, when not in one of many ambulances. By morning it was unattainable to entry, and by the tip of the battle, we returned to search out it riddled with bullet holes from machine-gun hearth and blasted by shelling.

The ambulances and their medical gear have been among the most bare-bone I’ve seen, provides depleted by the lengthy Israeli siege and blockade of Gaza. The medics drove shortly over bumpy roads to get to the folks in want, wasted little time amassing them, and bolted away, attempting to keep away from being focused by the Israeli military.

After invading the Tel al-Hawa district within the third week of its battle on Gaza, the Israeli military repeatedly bombed the Quds hospital, whereas Israeli snipers focused Palestinians fleeing residential areas. I used to be with an ambulance that went to evacuate civilians from the hospital and take them to the Shifa hospital (which had no house), going again repeatedly to avoid wasting Palestinian civilians, every time vulnerable to being shot by Israeli troopers.

By the tip of the 2009 battle, the Israeli military had killed 23 medics, and injured 57 extra, destroying at the least 9 ambulances and damaging 16 extra. Not one of the journalists or medics that I knew had protecting physique armor – together with me. Given the huge bombs which Israel was dropping on us, it could’ve made little distinction.

One night, after giving an interview to RT about what I’d seen whereas using in ambulances within the extraordinarily harmful areas of Gaza’s north, simply after ending the interview, Israel shelled the constructing at the least seven instances. We scrambled down ten flights of stairs, fortunately intact. By the way, in 2021, Israeli airstrikes destroyed the identical constructing in addition to one other, collectively housing 20 media shops.

Throughout and after the 2008-2009 battle, I took numerous testimonies of Palestinian mother and father who stated their kids have been intentionally murdered by Israeli troopers: shot level clean, drone struck throughout ceasefire hours, shot by a sniper. In Shifa hospital, I met the mutilated survivors whose dwelling had been shelled with white phosphorus munitions, killing six members of the family, together with an toddler burned alive. I adopted up on their story afterwards, studying extra chilling particulars and seeing their bombed-out dwelling with my very own eyes. Graffiti, apparently left on the partitions by Israeli troopers, included hate messages and threats, like “it can damage extra subsequent time.” (Warning: disturbing pictures)

Within the final two months, Israel has repeatedly bombed faculties, together with UN-affiliated ones that housed displaced Palestinians looking for secure shelter. It did the identical again in January 2009, bombing quite a few UN faculties, together with the Fakhoura college that has suffered within the present battle as nicely.

I may, sadly, write pages extra on what I noticed and heard in these three weeks of Israeli bombing, and in addition through the November 2012 Israeli marketing campaign (after I was primarily based at a hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza), however for the sake of some brevity will cease. What didn’t cease have been the Israeli bombings and capturing instantly submit ceasefire, each in 2009 and in 2012.

However nearly as brutal because the Israeli bombing campaigns has been the over-16-year-long strangling siege on Gaza. I’ve written about it at size, however which in abstract it has induced an enormous improve in poverty, meals insecurity, malnutrition, anemia, stunted development, diabetes, treatable sicknesses going untreated, water that was 95% undrinkable (already again in 2014).

On November 24 of this 12 months, a four-day ceasefire was carried out, to permit for alternate of Hamas hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, in addition to for deliveries of desperately wanted meals, water, gas and medical help, of which the two.4-million inhabitants of Gaza had been disadvantaged for weeks. Unsurprisingly, there have been experiences of the truce being violated, together with snipers firing on Palestinian civilians.

Within the first day after the ceasefire expired, over 100 Palestinians have been killed, in accordance with the Gaza Well being Ministry, as Israel began to ship the promised mom of all thumpings,” ostensibly to Hamas militants.

There is no such thing as a house for me right here to stipulate all of the horrors inflicted upon Gaza prior to now two months, nor do I must: social media and Telegram channels are crammed with horrific scenes of faculties housing displaced civilians getting bombarded once more, total blocks of refugee camps bombed, hospitals and church buildings housing tens of 1000’s of displaced civilians bombed, white phosphorous once more rained down on densely inhabited residential areas, and on, and on.

What I do what to spotlight is that there isn’t a doubt in my thoughts, or within the minds of quite a few different worldwide reporters and observers who’ve seen the scenario on the bottom first-hand, that Israel has dedicated battle crimes in Gaza, and the intent, if not the truth, is genocidal.

We have now globally watched as Israel commits the definition of genocide: “The intent to destroy, in entire or partially, a nationwide, ethnical, racial or spiritual group, as such.” Raz Segal, a genocide knowledgeable, wrote of this after just one week of Israel’s bombardment, since which Israel has dedicated uncountable heinous crimes.

In late October, former Director of the UN’s New York (OHCHR) workplace, Craig Mokhiber, resigned from his place in protest and disgust, stating, “As soon as once more, we’re seeing a genocide unfolding earlier than our eyes, and the group that we serve seems powerless to cease it. As somebody who has investigated human rights in Palestine for the reason that Nineteen Eighties, lived in Gaza as a UN human rights advisor within the Nineties, and carried out a number of human rights missions to the nation earlier than and since, that is deeply private to me.”

He explicitly said that Israel’s “wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian folks…coupled with express statements of intent by leaders within the Israeli authorities and army, leaves no room for doubt, it is a textbook case of genocide.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the writer and don’t essentially symbolize these of RT.

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