Aug 142012
 

Do you remember Operation Cast Lead?  That was the Israeli assault on Gaza during December 2008 and January 2009.  In that  attack, at least 1,100 Palestinians died, by contrast with the 13 Israelis, four of whom were accidentally killed by their own forces.

Subsequently, the Goldstone report found that Israel had attempted to starve the Gazan population into submission by means of blockades, that it deliberately attacked civilian targets, that it failed to safeguard civilians,  that it was guilty of indiscriminate attacks on the population and that it had deliberately attacked civilians with no justifiable military objective.  These attacks included shelling houses and subsequently shooting their occupants when they tried to escape.  The sort of barbarity, in other words, that was rightly condemned when it happened in Europe.

According to the report,

The facts gathered by the Mission indicate that all the attacks occurred under circumstances in which the Israeli forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status.

I wrote about the incident quite a lot at the time, drawing on myself the wrath of an orchestrated pro-Israeli disinformation campaign.  Indeed, there are one or two sleepers who never comment on any other post here except those that relate to Israel and Palestine and it won’t surprise me in the slightest when they activate themselves to challenge this one.  Regular readers will know who I mean.

Now, Gaza is the world’s most densely-populated place, truly a concentration camp complete with walls around it to contain the population, and this was the place that one of the world’s most powerful armies assaulted using aerial bombardment, phosphorus shells and tanks.  That was in response to repeated attacks by the lunatic, fanatically Muslim Hamas firing rockets into Israeli territory.  Though the rockets presented a danger to life and limb, they were in military terms no more than a pin-prick, and furthermore, the people most in danger were those occupying farms and villages formerly owned by the people of Gaza.  But they were, and remain, a political godsend for the Israeli government.  Without terrorist attacks, there would be no excuse to attack Gaza.

Proportionality was not an issue with Cast Lead.  The IDF assaulted the civilian population with every ferocity at their disposal, in clear breach of the Geneva Conventions.  They lied, and they denied, every time honest brokers such as John Ging, head of the UN Relief Works Agency, told the world what they had done.

Not much changes.   Nearly four years later, an Israeli soldier has received a prison sentence of 45 days for gunning down a 64-year-old woman, Ria Abu Hajaj and her daughter, Majda, 37.  The women were among a group escaping their homes which the Israelis had bombed, and as they approached a checkpoint, holding white flags, the accused soldier, identified only as Staff Sergeant S,  shot both of them.  The younger woman was killed instantly, and her mother died later in hospital from gunshot wounds.

Following a plea bargain, the soldier was convicted of illegal use of a weapon, rather than manslaughter which could carry a sentence of up to 20 years.  As far as I can establish, illegal use of a weapon might include such misdemeanours as shooting at a speed limit sign or killing a dog in the street, and that’s exactly how much the Israeli military court valued the lives of these two Palestinian women.

Dogs in the street.

Is there any surer way to create fundamentalists?  Ninety years later, the Black and Tans survive in Irish folk memory, and I have to remind my fellow citizens, despite our national sense of oppression, that they did nothing approaching the savagery of Operation Cast Lead.  SO how much more enduring will the Palestinian sense of grievance be?

Stupidity on a monumental scale, or is it arrogance, a quality the Israeli state holds in abundance.

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  22 Responses to “Israeli Soldier Gets 45 Days For Killing Mother and Daughter”

Comments (22)
  1.  

    Shooting innocent Palestinian civilians is meat and drink to the Israeli Defence Forces. Humiliating innocent Palestinian civilians daily is a pastime for the IDF. There was some hope – unfounded unfortunately – that Obama would try to force a settlement on this Israeli administration.
    Excellent letter in the “Irish Times” yesterday (14 Aug.)from a Palestinian MP in the Israeli Parliament detailing how “the only democracy in the Middle East” really works – so good that even the Israeli Embassy in Dublin has – so far – failed to reply, which is very unusual.
    Thank you Bock for pointing out this latest example of the total contempt that the Israeli State has for the Palestinian people – it is good that it will never be kept quiet.

  2.  

    Careful there Bock. You might draw the ire of Thesystemworks or the IDF’s cyber warfare section. Did Israel call the South-African guy a “self-hating Jew”?

  3.  

    ” Indeed, there are one or two sleepers who never comment on any other post here except those that relate to Israel and Palestine and it won’t surprise me in the slightest when they activate themselves to challenge this one. Regular readers will know who I mean. ”

    That worked a treat, didn’t it ? Two posts.

  4.  

    What point are you making? The number of comments is unrelated to the number of readers as anyone who runs a website will be able to explain to you.

  5.  

    Lapsed Methodist
    You seem to think the point of the article was merely to provoke a response from some people who – for some unknown reason – always apologise for Israel and the IDF, irresepctive of what the issue is.

    Apart from the fact that you clearly miss the point of the article have you anything substantial to comment on – or if not the article, perhaps the Goldstone Report.

  6.  

    Munsterman , I think that the Goldstone report – which included two people who had had letters published previous to their being appointed which showed them as having pre-conceived positions on the Gaza war – also condemned the actions of Hamas ; something which rarely gets mentioned by those who wave it around like latter day Chamberlins. As to the killing of the two women…I wasn’t there so I don’t know and won’t try to guess what went on in the mind of the soldier(s) who saw them coming. The fact that they were carrying white flags means something more to them than it does to us , despite Irish history having an incident where the alleged production of a white flag didn’t – allegedly – prevent the combatants being killed. If you think that Hamas , Islamic Jihad et al don’t use white flags to walk their guns nearer the action, then you’re a naif.

  7.  

    Fair point. Let’s dismiss all white flags on the same logic.

  8.  

    No. Let’s keep a close eye on white flags in case they’re a false surrender. There’s no neccessity to shoot first, but then, I’m not a soldier in a war zone so that’s easy for me to say.

  9.  

    How true. You are not a soldier in a war zone, and yet you have found it very easy to defend many violent actions.

  10.  

    @lm: surely there is a difference between a group of actual combatants trying to surrender and being shot, and a group of women and children trying to indicate that they are not in fact combatants yet still being shot? In any war where you are fighting in an area where there are civilians, you are not supposed to fire on them, even if they were, as was alleged, in the company of an armed enemy combatant. That’s just one of the chances you take in combat.
    For sure, the guy who pulled the trigger may very well have been scared shitless, or pumped up on god knows what coktails they give their combat troops these days (although he apparently fired in direct violation of an order NOT to fire)…maybe he only had a second to react and made the wrong choice. In the heat of battle, bad things happen and even “good” people make terrible mistakes. But, that’s not really the issue and you know it. The *real* issue is what the hell are they doing there in the first place?
    Seriously, look at the casualties from Cast Lead, and tell me it wasn’t a one-sided affair…hell, look at the casulaties from the start of the conflict and tell me it’s no more than an eye for an eye…like the child who is constantly bullied and beaten and later in life becomes a boor, Israel has become the very monster its people suffered from for centuries.
    I absolutely respect their right to have their country and live however they want, and to defend that country against threats foreign and domestic. But what they are doing in Gaza is just wrong by any sane moral standard, and this is just another example of how far up it’s own backside their policy is in this respect.

  11.  

    Methodist, lapsed or otherwise. You never seize to amaze me with your warped sense of right and wrong, especially when it comes to the Israeli and Palestinian war.
    Knowing your form, I know it would be very difficult for you to put in print what you may think the soldiers were thinking just before they shot these innocent women.
    But could you hazard a guess at what might have been going through the minds of the women just before they were shot. Go on, I dare you, have a go.

    Also what particular incident in Irish history are you referring to below?

    ‘despite Irish history having an incident where the alleged production of a white flag didn’t – allegedly – prevent the combatants being killed’

  12.  

    Now @ 11 comments….13 if you include this one. And I’m not ” defending ” anyone ; merely pointing out that a story about women with white flags being killed comes from an area where every trick in the book is used to kill…like sending ” pregnant ” women into checkpoints where the pregnancy turned out to be a suicide trick. Soldier gets it right he’s a hero of sorts, gets it wrong and he’s a murderer.
    And as for what ” they’re doing in Gaza “..they pulled out of Gaza, leaving all their infrastructure – less the graves because those would be defiled – behind. What happened ? I’m amazed that the Irish, above all people , don’t get the meaning of ” irredentist ” as in some Palestinians – the militant ones – have an irredentist claim to all Palestine.

  13.  

    Irredentism was also used when establishing the Israeli borders in 1948. A state which I believe has the right to exist. But it does justify Israels attempts to deny the Palestinian peoples right to found a state based on a similar principle. It certainly does not give them grounds to imprison, starve, and deny basic human rights, to the entire Palestenian population.
    Irish people are very familiar with the meaning of Irredentism.

  14.  

    I meant to say ‘ It does not justify Israels attempts to deny etc, but I am sure you got that anyway.

  15.  

    ” the entire Palestinian population “…now that’s the kind of hyperbole that does no-one any good. If you go there you’ll find that there are interfaces where tension is very high. Away from those interfaces the Palestinians do quite well thank you. Some are rich, some are poor and some are in the middle. Some support the PA, some don’t. There’s no political , economic or cultural homogeneous Palestinian entity.

  16.  

    ‘There’s no political , economic or cultural homogeneous Palestinian entity.’

    At least now I know what you (Methodist) may presume the Israeli soldiers were thinking when they shot those innocent women.
    I have no interest in continuing this debate with a fascist

  17.  

    LapsedMethodist :

    ‘There’s no political , economic or cultural homogeneous Palestinian entity.’

    Really ?

    “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”….
    — Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – 28 August, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post
    30 August, 2000

    “If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”
    — Ehud Barak, Israeli Prime Minister at the time –
    quoted in Associated Press, 16 November, 2000

    “The Palestinians would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
    — Israeli Prime Minister at the time Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers – New York Times April 1988

    Some former Israeli Prime Ministers would appear to contradict your opinion.
    I wonder do you agree with the sentiments as expressed above by these same former Prime Ministers ?

  18.  

    “The Palestinians would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
    – Israeli Prime Minister at the time Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers – New York Times April 1988

    Nothing to do with settlers.

    ” Mr. Shamir, standing atop an ancient West Bank castle, told reporters: ”Anybody who wants to damage this fortress and other fortresses we are establishing will have his head smashed against the boulders and walls.”

    Shamir was referring to how the less resilient 10 of the 12 spies Moses sent into the Land of Israel described it as peopled by giants who made them feel like grasshoppers. Now, Shamir was saying, the equation was reversed.

    Numbers 13:33

    ” We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too! ”

    In remarks aimed at Arab rioters, the Prime Minister said: ”We say to them from the heights of this mountain and from the perspective of thousands of years of history that they are like grasshoppers compared to us.”

    It’s all about context.

  19.  

    Lapsed Methodist :

    (i) ‘There’s no political , economic or cultural homogeneous Palestinian entity.’

    (ii) “It’s all about context”

    “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”….
    – Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – 28 August, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post
    30 August, 2000

    “If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”
    – Ehud Barak, Israeli Prime Minister at the time –
    quoted in Associated Press, 16 November, 2000

    You have nothing to say on the above references to Palestinians by the former Israeli Prime
    Minister Ehud Barak.

    Any reason for that ?

  20.  

    LapsedMethodist :

    ‘There’s no political , economic or cultural homogeneous Palestinian entity.’

    Then you say ” it’s all about context “.

    Really ?

    “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”….
    – Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – 28 August, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post
    30 August, 2000

    “If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”
    – Ehud Barak, Israeli Prime Minister at the time –
    quoted in Associated Press, 16 November, 2000

    (i) In what context was Ehud Barak referring to the Palestinians in the above quotes ?

    (ii) What is your view of Ehud Barak’s comments as reported above ?

  21.  

    You’ve said the same thing three times.

  22.  

    Didn’t mean to send the third one. Looked as if it did not go thorugh at first.

    The second one was a reminder to “Lapsedmethodist” that he has made a statement which he cannot back up with facts – but looks like he ignores the contradictions he makes and just ploughs on regardless.

    Well, at at least “Lapsedmethodist” will be pleased to note the number of comments has increased significantly, thanks in no small part to his contributions – he seemed disappointed that there were so few initially.

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