An Israeli Cover Up at the Gaza Beach?
Israel continued its rampage in the Palestinian occupied territories killing 9 more civilians including two brothers younger than eight years and their father. Of course the deafening silence of the international community in the aftermath of the Gaza beach attack only encouraged the IOF to continue its policy of targeted assassinations on "militants" and unarmed civilians. At the same time, Israel has nearly concluded its "investigation" of the murder of civilians picnicking at a Gaza beach earlier in the week. As expected, the blame never falls on Israeli forces who have rejected a call for an international, independent investigation into the deaths of Huda's family members.
Human Rights Watch has issued a press release calling for an independent investigation into the beach killings. HRW has sent researchers and experts to investigate the scene, interview eyewitnesses, and assess the damage. Their experts have questioned the Israeli army's findings, noting the various discrepancies in the results of their investigation.
Both the Independent and Guardian have articles on the subject with more details (h/t Umkahlil & Angry Arab).
But the official interpretation was strongly challenged by a former Pentagon battle damage expert who has surveyed the scene of the beach explosion. He said yesterday that "all the evidence points" to a 155mm Israeli land-based artillery shell as its cause.Garlasco's visits to victims of the attack in Gaza showed that most injuries sustained were in the upper parts of the body, nearly ruling out the possibility that they could be caused by a Hamas planted land mine, as some have suggested.
Marc Garlasco, who worked in war zones including Iraq and Kosovo during his seven-year stint in the US Department of Defence, called for an independent investigation into the killings after concluding that shell fragments and shrapnel from the site, the size and distribution of the craters on the beach, and the type of injuries sustained by the victims made Israeli shelling easily the likeliest cause.
Mr Garlasco who accompanied a small group of journalists to the Beit Lahia beach, pointed to three separate craters, each covered in a whitish powder, which he said were fresh, one of which was at the spot where witnesses agree the fatal blast occurred, and the two others separated it from it by about 120 and 250 yards. Mr Garlasco added: "It would be a really ridiculous coincidence if there is active shelling and then suddenly an IED [improvised explosive device] goes off."Chris McGreal from the Guardian also reports on the claim that a Hamas land mine was the cause of the explosion:
The military now says that it fired six shells on to and around the beach where Huda Ghalia's family died, with one of them falling about 100 yards away, but by coincidence a mine planted by Hamas exploded in the same area at the same time. The military backs its claim with analysis of aerial photographs, shrapnel and what it is says is intelligence that Hamas has mined Gaza beaches to stop Israeli forces landing, although it is not known to have used such a tactic before.However, a denial of responsibility for the death of Palestinians or a superficial investigation is not a rare occurrence for the IOF. In fact, those officers who committed these atrocities might even be compensated! Don't believe me?! It's happened before: an Israeli army officer who poured dozens of bullets into the body of a 13-year Iman al-Hamas in Gaza was acquitted, compensated, and even promoted in the IOF.
HRW produced an excellent report in June 2005 entitled "Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military's Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing" in which it sites various accounts of atrocities committed by the IOF that were either not investigated at all or were not independently or impartially investigated. Quoting the report:
Between September 29, 2000, and November 30, 2004, more than 1600 Palestinian civilians not involved in hostilities, including at least 500 children, were killed by Israeli security forces, and thousands more were seriously injured.8 The IDF informed Human Rights Watch that as of May 10, 2004, it had criminally investigated just seventy-four alleged cases of unlawful use of lethal force, less than 5 percent of the civilian deaths in nearly four years of what is commonly known as the al-Aqsa intifada, or uprising.9I wouldn't be surprised if Israel got away with the beach killings. Nothing Israel does surprises me anymore, unfortunately. Neither does the silence of the international community, in particular that of the superpowers or the world as well as the leaders of the Arab and Muslim world. Oh, but wait, the US did break the silence! The State Department said Israel has a right to defend itself...you know, against Huda and her siblings.
[technorati tags: human rights, Gaza, Palestine, IDF, Israel, terrorism]