Thursday, 8 January 2009

Beyond evil

If this is true, it is beyond evil - it is not something that can be done by a nation that wants to be considered civilised, or one that seeks friendship or support of civilised nations:

The international Red Cross accuses Israeli forces today of failing to assist wounded Palestinians and of "unacceptable" delays in letting rescue workers reach a Gaza home where four small children were found alive next to their mothers' bodies.

Rescuers had been refused permission by the Israeli army to reach the site in the Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza City for days, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The neutral aid group's head of delegation for the region described the incident as "shocking."

"The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded," Pierre Wettach said in a statement. "Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded."

Rescuers eventually received permission to go to the site Wednesday, four days after it was hit by Israeli shells.

They found 15 dead and 18 wounded in three houses, including the children who were too weak to stand.

The ICRC said requests to be allowed to reach other destroyed houses in this neighborhood, reportedly containing more wounded, were refused by the Israeli army.

"The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded," the Geneva-based group said in a statement.

"It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable."

A spokeswoman for the Israeli mission in Geneva said she was unable to comment on the incident at this time. (1)

I'm not surprised the spokeswoman did not comment. Surely even an appartchik of the Israeli goverment realises that there are some thing that can't be justified or explained away with blandishments and cliches and attempts to shift the blame from perpetrators to victims.

War may be necessary in some circumstances - though I think this is a conflict that is being waged because it is mutually convenient to Hamas and the Israeli government - and I realise that in war, sometimes, terrible mistakes can happen. But to refuse humanitarian relief to wounded civilians and starving, terrified children for FOUR DAYS is beyond any sort of toleration or understanding. It puts the IDF on the same level as the terrorist animals they claim to be seeking to destroy.
1 - "Red Cross slams Israel over access to wounded," unattributed AP article reproduced in The Independent, 8th of January, 2008. (

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I am still here.

 I am still here.  I haven't gone away.  I'm just trying to shame you all into better behaviour through my disapproving silence.