Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaza: The Massacre in Zeitoun

In the annals of war crimes, the name "Zeitoun" will assume its place alongside names like "My Lai," "Fallujah," "Sabra-Shatila," "Guernica," "Nanking," "Lidice," and "Wounded Knee."

In the last two days, the massacre that took place in Zeitoun, a neighborhood on the southern flats approaching Gaza City, has only now begun to come into focus. Aid groups, including the Red Cross, have used the three-hour pauses in Israel bombardment that began on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to remove the wounded, some of whom apparently still remain. Most of the dead have been left behind.

What is particularly horrifying about the Zeitoun massacre—details of which continue to unfold—is the sadistic behavior of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). This is a mass killing that has unfolded over days.

It appears that the IDF tricked residents, promising that they would be safe gathered in large groups in particular buildings, only to bomb them later. Over the course of four days, the Israelis then left the sick and dying—all civilians, the majority small children—with no medical assistance, food or water, even though Israelis enjoyed total control over the area. At the same time, they refused repeated requests for access to the neighborhood by aid workers.

It is not clear how many have died in Zeitoun. At this point, it appears the number is somewhere between 70 and 85. But this figure may grow significantly as the unassisted wounded continue to die, and as aid workers uncover bodies of victims in bombed-out buildings.

A Red Cross medic who visited Zeitoun described a horrific scene. "Inside the Samouni house I saw about 10 bodies and outside another 60,'' the medic told the Telegraph. "I was not able to count them accurately because there was not much time and we were looking for wounded people.... I could see an Israeli army bulldozer knocking down houses nearby but we ran out of time and the Israeli soldiers started shooting at us."

"We had to leave about eight injured people behind because we could not get to them and it was no longer safe for us to stay.'"

This was the same neighborhood where a day earlier the Red Cross found four half-dead children near the corpses of their mothers. The Red Cross discovered the bodies of 15 other people in a bombed structure, who likely suffered slow and agonizing deaths for lack of medical care. Israeli soldiers were stationed within 100 yards of the dying family.

According to the Geneva Conventions, an invading army is responsible for caring for the sick, wounded, and hungry in the territory it controls. Israel clearly does not observe these conventions, effectively blocking the delivery of food and medicine, firing upon ambulances and preventing them from reaching the wounded, and leaving the sick and wounded under its own control to die.

There are indications that Zeitoun was specifically targeted for exemplary punishment by the IDF. The Telegraph reports that it was a place of known Hamas activity.

Read the entire source article here.

P.S. Good-guy zionists, Israel apologists, the likes Norman Finkelstein, may acknowlege this horrible crime but will deflect outrage by pointing out --in the same breath-- other equally horrible crimes the US is responsible for in Iraq [see July Finkelstein post], thus winking to their fellow, rabid-zionist, supremacist tribal members the argument that it would be "antisemitic" to criticize Israel for this when others are guilty of the same [you did it, why complain when we do it?]. Of course, these good-guy zionist apologists will never admit that the US is in Iraq for Israel's bidding.

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