Gaza: Remembering Cast Lead - by Stephen Lendman
December 27 is the third anniversary of Israel's premeditated war of aggression on Gaza with more planned.
December 27 marks the third anniversary of Israel's lawless war on Gaza. Without provocation, three weeks of terror bombing and invasion devastated the Strip.
Missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons were used against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction followed.
Brazen crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Responsible officials remain unaccountable. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn't ordered. International leaders shared culpability through silence. They still do. Washington was complicit by supplying Israel with weapons, munitions, and encouragement.
Cast Lead's one of history's great crimes. Before his fall from grace, Richard Goldstone said:
"(T)here is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."
Over 1,400 Gazans were killed, 80% or more civilians. Thousands more were injured, many seriously, and extensive civilian infrastructure and private property were destroyed or damaged, including homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, and businesses.
Israel's internal investigations whitewashed horrendous crimes. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR):
"Rather than uphold the rule of law, the Israeli investigative and judicial system is artfully manipulated to provide an illusion of investigative and judicial rigour, while systematically perpetuating pervasive impunity" for crimes too extreme to ignore.
For example, on April 29, 2009, then IDF Chief of Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi authorized publication of the findings of five military investigate teams. Unsurprisingly, they concluded that:
"(T)throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the the Gaza strip and using them as human shields."
In detail, they brazenly justified Israel's crimes of war and against humanity. Human Rights Watch called them "indiscriminate, disproportionate (and) at times seemingly deliberate, in violation of the laws of war."
PCHR marked the anniversary by calling December 27, 2008 "the single bloodiest day in the history of the occupation. On this day three years ago, 334 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces." Most were civilians, including women, children, and babies.
In total, 1,419 Palestinians were killed in cold blood, including 1,167 civilians (82.2%). Another 5,300 were injured. "Israeli forces directly targeted and attacked private homes and civilian institutions, including hospitals and schools."
Life in besieged Gaza was devastated. Other targets struck included 3,500 homes, civilian workshops, factories, municipal buildings, charitable foundations, fishing boats, and UN facilities. In addition, farmland was bulldozed. Irrigations systems were destroyed. Under siege, reconstruction is virtually impossible.