January 3rd, 2009 - In the first incident, a father and his 2 sons (both younger than 11) emerge from their home to view the damage done by a tank round that struck near-by. As they exited their home all 3 were shot and killed by IDF forces while the man's daughter watched in horror. In the second reported incident from the same day, IDF forces stood in the doorway of a home in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. The soldiers ordered the male head of the household to come out. As he was exitting the home ID in his raised hands they opened fire without warning. The soldiers then began firing, indiscriminately and again without warning, into the room where the rest of the man's family was hiding. The eldest son shouted "children" in Hebrew to alert the soldiers that there were children in the room but they continued to fire until everyone was down - a mother and 4 of her children (ages 2-12) were wounded, a 4-year-old boy was killed.
January 15, 2009 - IDF soldiers order an 11-year-old Palestinian boy to open packages so that, if one contained a bomb, it would be the child killed and not a Israeli soldier. After all the packages were opened, the IDF troops then order the child to walk in front of them as they walked through the town. Even as the soldiers came under fire they ordered the child to remain in front of them. The boy was later released.
The report also accuses Israeli forces of blocking medical aid to wounded Palestinian civilians, attacking medics and blocking them from attending to wounded people. All told IDF forces killed 16 Palestinian medical personnel and wounded 25, in addition to attacking 8 hospitals and 26 primary care clinics. The report cites one specific example of Israeli forces refusing to allow or provide aid - a man, identified as Mr. Shurrab, whose 2 sons were shot by Israeli troops while driving in the southern Gaza Strip. One died immediately, the other slowly bled to death over the course of 12 hours. Israeli troops watched on from a short distance away, refusing to provide any assistance despite the father's plea for help.
IDF soldiers were also seen wearing t-shirts they had custom made - one depicted a pregnant Palestinian woman in crosshairs, under the picture were the words "1 Shot, 2 Kills." Another of the t-shirts showed a Palestinian child in crosshairs and said "The smaller they are, the harder it is."
Violations were reported on a daily basis, too numerous to list," - Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary-General’s envoy for protecting children in armed conflict
And Israel says the Palestinians are the terrorists. Also listed were attacks on over 200 schools. All told the attacks lasted from December 27 to January 17. 1,453 people were killed - 1,440 of them Palestinian. Of those 431 were children and 114 were civilian women. The area as a whole is a humanitarian disaster (Israel continues to block humanitarian aide to the area) and it has left more than 70,000 people homeless.
With the United States still sending millions in aid to Israel, is it any wonder why we're despised in the middle east?
Israeli military officials of course blasted the report claiming that reporting about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one-sided. I agree. For far too long the reporting we've seen in regards to this disgusting religious war has been FAR too one-sided but Israel is certainly not the victim of that one-sidedness. The American media spent the entirety of the conflict painting Israel as the victim of this story while ignoring the facts. The facts are Israel suffered 13 casualties, only 3 of them civilian and of the 10 soldiers killed in action, 4 were killed by friendly fire. All told there were maybe 50 buildings damaged and 3 civilians killed. Tragic no doubt but compare it to the nearly 1500 Palestinian casualties - reportedly as many as 70% of which were civilian - hundreds of homes demolished, schools and hospitals damaged or destroyed, and basic necessities like water and sewage treatment facilities utterly demolished. Who's the victim here again?
Israel had to do something, nobody would expect them to sit back and twiddle their thumbs while Hamas operatives launch missles into their cities. However, to call their response an overreaction would be a tremendous understatement. They overreacted and showed a complete and utter disregard for civilians doing absolutely nothing to prevent civilian casualties and in hundreds of cases specifically targetting them with attacks. One can only hope that the UN will follow up on it's threats of investigations into the OBVIOUS war crimes commited by a nation that obviously views themselves as being above the law. Save time and line them right up in a row along with Bush, Cheney, and the American war criminals. It's time the world send a message that this complete and utter disregard for innocent human lives and international law in the name of fighting Terrorism will not be tolerated. We can not continue to call these people uncivilized terrorists and condemn them for their disregard of human lives when our governments show the same cold, uncaring, and disgusting tendencies. We need to send a message that mass murder in the name of combating terrorism will not go unchecked. Calling yourself a victim of terrorism does not grant you a free pass to kill however many people you want with total indifference to civilian loss.
It is amazing to me how these supposed "people of God" are able to just completly brush off the deaths of hundreds of innocent people as they fight their religious wars. Innocent lives continue to be lost as religious fanatics continue to lob missles at each other over who really has a "God-given" right to occupy a stretch of inhospitable land that right-minded people wouldn't pay $100 for. Meanwhile our own religious fanatics in Washington continue to send financial and military aid to Israel because... well, how is the Rapture supposed to happen if there are no Jews in Israel? We have to make sure the proper demographics are in place for the apocalypse, silly! If there aren't any Jews left in Jerusalem then the end of the world might never come and what a DISASTER that would be!
Situations like this are why Atheists need to be more outspoken and public in our condemnation of religious lunacy. Here you have 2 groups of people that have been fighting for centuries over a stretch of land that nobody would give a crap about if not for bronze age folk lore telling them it's Holy Land. It would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic. Could you imagine seperate sects in Greece fighting a centuries-old war over the rights to occupy Mount Olympus? That's essentially what we're dealing with here and innocent men, women, and children are dying because of it. It is a disgrace to humanity. This is why religion must go - because of every one good religious person that actually follows the tenets of their fairy tale of choice there are 5 extremists that use that same fairy tale to justify unspeakable acts of barbarism. So I once again place the call for Atheists to unite, get out there and make our voices heard, it is our duty as humans. And any time you feel weary and defeated, any time you question the worthiness of our cause in the face of indoctrination and ignorance just think for a moment of those 431 innocent children in the Gaza Strip whose lives ended before they even really began. All in the name of God. We must continue to combat this lunacy - not with violence but with intelligence because that is one area where religious fanatics will never be able to match us. If you don't posess the will to do it for yourself, then do it for them: