FOR over half a century, Occupied Palestine has been and remains a deadly undeclared free fire war zone. Time and again, Israeli forces gun down Palestinians engaged in peaceful demonstrations threatening no one.Gazans under more than 12 years of politically motivated/ suffocating blockade endured and continue enduring the worst of it.
Since the establishment of the Jewish state on stolen Palestinian land in May 1948, the world community took no actions with teeth to hold its criminal class accountable for a regime of brutal state terror against defenseless Palestinians.
Since West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem occupation began in June 1967, Israel held the entire Palestinian population hostage to what the late Edward Said called its “refined viciousness.”
The Occupied Territories are virtual free-fire zones. Israel considers peacefully demonstrating Palestinians “terrorists,” killing, maiming, or otherwise harming them considered “self-defense” — defying international humanitarian laws.
In Gaza and throughout the Territories, Israel commits Nuremberg-level crimes repeatedly, yet remains immune from accountability — because of US support and world community indifference Palestinian suffering.
In its 2018 annual report, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) highlighted Israel’s “policy of willful killing (of peaceful) Great March of Return” demonstrators.
What’s been going on weekly since March 30, 2018 was and continues to be “one of the most violent and bloodiest violations (of international law) committed by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians” since occupation began over half a century earlier.
The weekly onslaught was only exceeded by three premeditated Israeli wars of aggression during the December 2008 to summer 2014 period — another virtually certain ahead, at a time and invented reason of Israel’s choosing, based on Big Lies and deception like all wars.
PCHR stressed that Gazan protests have been “fully peaceful and included various folklore activities and political speeches,” adding: “Sometimes (small numbers of) young men approached the border fence to throw stones and molotov cocktails and used slingshots against the Israeli soldiers fortified in watchtowers in military vehicles and behind sand berms on the other side of the border fence.”Some “young men also attempted to break through the border fence or pull parts of it in addition to firing incendiary balloons at the borders.”
“However, all those acts did not pose any imminent threat to the life of Israeli soldiers as none of them were harmed during the reporting period.”Since legitimate weekly protests began 16 months ago, continuing weekly, Israeli forces waged virtual undeclared war on its participants — including against young children, paramedics aiding the wounded, and journalists reporting on events.
Violence against peaceful demonstrators
Israeli forces have used live fire, tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sound grenades, even drones — against unarmed peaceful demonstrators threatening no one. Since March 30, 2018, well over 300 Gazan men, women, and children were lethally shot, many thousands of others wounded, hundreds maimed for life. “(D)ozens had their upper or lower limbs amputated,” said PCHR, adding:
“Even before the outbreak of the Great March of Return and the following months, the statements and procedures issued by the Israeli political and military leaders provided the Israeli forces a climate of impunity to open fire at civilians and encourage them to commit crimes of willful killings.”
“Those statements described the Great Return March as ‘violent’ and “terrorist’ protests and that Hamas Movement is behind those protests.” Then-Israeli war minister (2018) Avigdor Lieberman said, “Israeli soldiers did what was necessary (sic). I think all our soldiers deserve a medal (sic).”
Like its predecessors, the Netanyahu regime enforces collective punishment throughout the Occupied Territories, Palestinians brutalized, their fundamental rights denied.
Separately, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ Children in Armed Conflict report report to Security Council members highlighted, but way understated, the extent of Saudi war crimes against children in Yemen and Israeli ones in the Territories.
Saying it verified 1,689 child casualties in Yemen last year, including 576 deaths, another 1,113 seriously wounded flew in the face of an earlier UNICEF report. It said at least one Yemeni child under age-five dies every 10 minutes from starvation alone.
Since Bush/Cheney launched war against the Yemeni people in October 2001, escalated by Obama, greatly exceeded by Trump, civilian deaths in the country likely number in the hundreds of thousands, carnage continuing daily, the death and injury toll mounting.
The secretary general’s report blamed Israel for killing 56 Palestinian children, wounding another 2,674 — but failed to include the Jewish state on its annual blacklist “of shame” for crimes against children and other civilians. Like most of his predecessors, Guterres failed to observe UN Charter principles he’s sworn to uphold – notably preserving and protecting human rights, supporting world peace and stability, denouncing wars of aggression, and respecting fundamental international laws.
He one-sidedly supports Western and Israeli interests, doing nothing to help long-suffering Palestinians, notably beleaguered Gazans.Time and again, his response to premeditated US-led Western and Israeli high crimes against peace called for all sides “to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and in particular any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way” — consistently and repeatedly ignoring reality.
Civilians in all US-led war theaters and Occupied Palestinians are subjected to merciless mistreatment.Since taking office in January 2017, Guterres failed to condemn Western and Israeli high crimes, failed to demand long-ignored accountability, failed to support victims of their naked aggression.
His earlier calls to reengage in the (no-peace) peace process ignored US/Israeli opposition to peace and stability in the Territories and active war theaters. In April 2018, while Israeli soldiers were lethally shooting and wounding defenseless Gazans during their weekly peaceful protest, Guterres tweeted his “best wishes to all those celebrating Passover around the world. Chag Same’ach (joyous festival)!”
The US, its imperial partners, and Israel use deadly force against children and other defenseless civilians without condemnation of accountability from the world community.
Nor has the UN secretary general used his bully pulpit to condemn their repeated high crimes against peace — siding with Western/Israeli oppressors against the oppressed, instead of the other way around.
“According to the most recent figures released by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, a total of 1,865 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza up to August 4, 2014, including 429 children, 243 women, and 79 elderly people. During the past 29 days, a total of 9,563 Palestinians have been also wounded in Israeli strikes against the coastal sliver, including 2,877 children, 1,853 women and 374 elderly people.” [Vide “Why Israel’s Impunity Goes Unpunished by International Authorities” by Ali Omidi | Aug 11, 2014 ]
[Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”]