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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

picking up and through the pieces, and a need for nurses

From Eva Bartlett's blog - a freelancer and ISM volunteer in Gaza. Her reports have appeared in the international news throughout the war on Gaza.

On the first day of the ceasefire, 102 dead bodies were reported to have been recovered, accounted for, including another 17 from the Samouni family which had been shot-point blank or killed by the bombing of the house which they were locked into. Another 23 on the second day. These are still largely bodies from the surface. Many more will be found under the rubble when it is finally moved, they unearthed.

Already, having only had the time to visit some of the many destroyed houses in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo (east of Jabaliya), the Attatra region (in the northwest), the Wafa rehabilitation hospital in the east, the targeted, bombed Red Crescent centre east of Jabaliya, and a school in the north, I have many, many things to tell, photos to show. I have pages of notebooks and will share them as quickly as possible. At the same time, the need to be out documenting and taking these photos and testimonies is so strong that I can’t share these things all at once, there isn’t enough time. But what people are uncovering here is certainly more evidence of the war crimes Israeli authorities perpetrated here, unquestionably.

There is still some fighting going on as detailed in the blog. Though nowhere near the intensity that it was.

Even though some foreign journalists are to come to Gaza via Egypt, the war crimes may still never see the light of day. From either side, perhaps? (The firing of rockets is a war crime. So saying, they have not wrought the death and destruction that this onslaught has. And one question that never seems to get addressed in the Australian press is, why were the rockets being fired in the first place? What is the history and the context of this situation?)

This from Al Jazeera (Outcry over weapons used in Gaza) 19 January, 2009:

More than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed in the 22-day offensive, many of them woman and children, and 5,340 injured. Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers and three civilians, have been killed in the same period*.

The number of civilian deaths has provoked an international outcry, with senior UN officials demanding an independent investigation into whether Israel has committed war crimes.

The likelihood of either side being subject to a war-crimes action seems remote as the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate because the Gaza Strip is not a state.

In addition, Israel has not signed the Rome Statute that enshrined the ICC so any investigation would require a UN Security mandate - likely to be vetoed by Israel's ally, the US.

However, Mark Taylor, an international law expert, told Al Jazeera that individual commanders and politicians on both sides could be subject to legal actions lodged abroad.

"I think that Israelis in responsible positions, as well as Palestinians in responsible positions, are going to be looking over their shoulders in the days and weeks to come," he said.

The article also discusses the Dime weapons that seem to have been used as talked about in Ha'aretz (19 January, 2009), and SBS Australia (13 January, 2009).


*This number has always seemed a little strange to me. Surely more people get hurt in combat, no matter what kind of weapon you are using, unless it is the atomic bomb. So this is from a couple of days ago from the IsraeliHuman Rights in Gaza blog, which has been collating reports from Israeli Human Rights groups during the attacks (hence the disparity in numbers), and seems more balanced to me; though the death toll for the Israeli side is still very low, and I am not sure if those civilian injuries on the Israeli side included white phosphorous burns or amputations, though obviously anyone's hurt is a matter for attention.

Update for 18 January '09, morning (GMT+2)
Gaza: at least 1,205 killed, of them at least 410 children and 98 women. More than half those killed since the ground incursion began (580) are women and children. Over 3,520 injured, of them over 350 severely (Palestinian Ministry of Health figures).
Israel: 13 killed, of them 1 woman and 10 soldiers. Over 82 civilians injured, of them 4 severely injured, not including those treated for shock , and 113 soldiers injured, of them one in critical condition and 20 suffer moderate or severe injuries

Oh, Gaza is in desperate need of nurses, too, apparently, if anyone has the means or inclination.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr