Death toll now more than 1,300 after three weeks of fighting.
United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.
At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was “outrageous and unjustifiable” and demanded “accountability and justice”. The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel.
Fighting in Gaza continued through the day despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire called by Israel from 3pm. A crowded market in Shujai’iya was hit in the late afternoon, causing at least 17 deaths, including a journalist, and injuring about 200 people, according to Gaza health officials. They said people had ventured out to shop in the belief a ceasefire was in place. Witnesses said several shells struck as people were running away. Israel said rockets and mortar shells continued to be fired from Gaza.
At the UN school the first shell came just after the early morning call to prayer, when most of those taking shelter were asleep, crammed into classrooms with what few possessions they had managed to snatch as they fled their homes.
About 3,300 people had squashed into Jabaliya Elementary A&B Girls’ School since the Israeli military warned people to leave their homes and neighbourhoods or risk death under intense bombardment. Classroom number one, near the school’s entrance, had become home to about 40 people, mostly women and children.
As a shell blasted through the wall, showering occupants with shrapnel and spattering blood on walls and floors, Amna Zantit, 31, scrambled to gather up her three terrified infants in a panicked bid for the relative safety of the schoolyard. “Everyone was trying to escape,” she said, clutching her eight-month old baby tightly. Minutes later, a second shell slammed through the roof of the two-storey school. At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Most were women or children.
(Read Full Text) (Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA & Lefteris Pitarakis/AP, respectively)
US stands alone in vote against UN inquiry into Gaza assault
July 26, 2014
The United States was the only country in the world that voted Wednesday against the United Nations investigating human rights violations in Gaza unleashed by Israel’s military assault.
Of the 47 members of the UN Human Rights Council, 29 nations voted to set up a commission to launch an international, independent inquiry, effectively passing the resolution. Seventeen countries abstained, including Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
The inquiry will look at “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Gaza Strip in the context of military operations conducted since mid June,” according to a statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The council criticized Israeli military operations for perpetuating “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
U.S. ambassador to the Council, Keith Harper, said he issued the “no” vote because the resolution is a “biased and political instrument” that “will not help” the “cessation of hostilities.”
But Josh Ruebner, policy director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, toldCommon Dreams that the U.S. vote simply “shows the great extent to which the U.S. goes to protect Israel in international forums from any accountability for its actions, no matter how egregious.” Ruebner added that U.S. claims of imbalance are illegitimate, as the inquiry will investigate human rights violations perpetrated by Hamas as well as Israel.
Phyllis Bennis, senior fellow at Institute for Policy Studies, told Common Dreams that the U.S. “no” vote is part of a larger pattern. “The U.S. is the reason why the United Nations is not able to play the role its charter requires, which is to stop the scourge of war,” said Bennis. “The U.S. vetoes and threatens to veto in the Security Council, and in arenas like the General Assembly or Human Rights Council where there is no veto, they threaten other countries.”
The UN resolution comes amid an ever-rising Palestinian death toll, with Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Qudra reporting Thursday that so far 784 Palestinians have been killed and over 5,000 wounded in Israel’s “Protective Edge” operation. Kyung-Wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, estimates that 74 percent of the Palestinians killed are civilians and one-third are children. “One child has been killed each hour in Gaza over the past two days,” Kang said on Wednesday, according to the UN.
Israel launched air strikes on Palestinians seeking shelter in a UN school in Beit Hanoun in Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens. The attack marked at least the fourth time a UN facility in Gaza has been hit since July 8, according to theGuardian. Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said on Twitter that "Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army."
Thirty-two Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians, and a Thai worker in Israel have died.
Rubner expressed concern that the U.S. is likely to obstruct any attempt on the part of the Council to hold Israel accountable for war crimes: “What’s likely to happen is same thing with the Goldstone Report and the Human Rights Council inquiry into the attack on the aid flotilla: reports will document the fact that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the U.S. will use its veto power or threat thereof to prevent the international community from acting on recommendations for accountability.”
The US has also used its veto power in the Security Council more than 40 times to protect Israel. This is one of the biggest reasons why the United Nations has been an ineffective tool in stopping the genocide happening in Palestine.
Yet ppl don’t understand how white privilege still exists in brown n black countries
And pooooor Europe doesn’t want any immigrants in their country :’(