From their blurb:
Over the last four weeks the world has looked on in horror as women, men and children have borne the brunt of the conflict in the Gaza Strip and Southern Israel. It is not just the number of casualties that has sent shockwaves, but the high proportion - around half - who are civilians.And from the blog of one of their workers in Gaza, February 4:
Their deaths and injuries are not the inevitable consequences of war, and cannot be discounted as “collateral damage”. These casualties represent mounting evidence of war crimes, committed on both sides of the conflict.
More than 1,300 Palestinians - including over 400 children - and 13 Israelis have been killed in the conflict to date, with thousands more injured.
Our team of researchers have found undeniable evidence of war crimes by both sides in the conflict. And after two weeks on a fact-finding mission in Gaza, our researcher Donatella Rovera and her team are still shocked and horrified by the scale of the destruction caused by the 22-day offensive launched on December 27 by the Israeli army.
4 February 2009: As we leave after more than two weeks in Gaza, we are still shocked and horrified by the scale of the destruction caused by the 22-day offensive the Israeli army launched on 27 December. The task of reconstruction will be truly immense.They need 10,000 letters to make sure the message carries impact. When I sent my letter, they were at 4871.
The main priority in our fact-finding research has been to investigate the Israeli forces’ direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and their homes, but, before concluding our visit, we also spent some time focusing on the wholesale destruction of factories, workshops and farms, for which it is difficult or impossible to see any possible justification. What we found was even worse than we had first realized.
In the industrial areas to the north-east and south-east of Gaza City there is total devastation; each factory has been methodically destroyed. At the cement factory near the Zaitoun district of Gaza City, we found the same. Every single vehicle – trucks, cement mixers, even the car of the factory’s elderly watchman – had been overturned, dragged through the yard and partially crushed. Whether by design or due to some bitter irony, only a previously broken down vehicle was left untouched and in its place.
To the east of Jabalia, in the ‘Izbet ‘Abderrabbo/Al-Qarm industrial area, we saw just piles of debris between the Haddad tile factory at one end and the Abu ‘Ida cement factory at the other. Pieces of machinery, merchandise, metal sheets from the roof and bricks from the surrounding walls had all been smashed and mangled together by the Israeli army’s destructive machines – particularly their infamous D9 armoured bulldozers.
In the same area, dead cows and sheep still litter the grounds of what used to be a dairy farm, posing a health risk to the thousands of now homeless residents who have set up camp nearby by the ruins of their destroyed homes.
Children are especially at risk. The mountains of rubble left from destroyed houses and factories are now virtually their only playground. Gaza’s schools, which had to be turned into shelters during the three-week conflict for the tens of thousands forced to flee their homes, are now functioning again, but, once the school shift, is over, children have to return to the reality of their devastated homes and neighbourhoods. Read more
Australians do care about this, even though it is hardly being reported in local presses, as shown by these actions by the Moreland Council in Melbourne, Australia.
From another day from the amnesty worker's blog: faulty intelligence, wanton recklessness, or a combination of the two?, about the damage that drones can and do.