Israel may face war-crimes case for alleged atrocities
Tim Butcher in Zeitoun, Gaza
January 21, 2009
THE sight of her dead four-year-old son's blood splashed on a breeze-block wall was enough to start Zinad Samouni sobbing.
But the 35-year-old Palestinian mother of eight then composed herself to give the most complete allegation yet of atrocities committed by Israeli forces when they occupied the village of Zeitoun on the outskirts of Gaza City.
Standing in the wreckage of her home, she described the cold-blooded shooting of her 46-year-old husband, Atiyeh, and her son, Ahmed, in an incident that could form the core of a war crimes investigation against Israel.
The United Nations commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has already said Israel should be investigated for what happened in Zeitoun on January 4 and 5.
So far dozens of bodies, mostly women, children and elderly, have been recovered, almost all from the same extended family.
The 48th corpse was found on Monday but there are fears others lie under the rubble.
"We had been in our houses for days worried about the air strikes when the soldiers came early on the morning of Sunday, January 4," Zinad Samouni said.
"There was shooting outside and we were all afraid so we all hid in this one room."
There were her husband, his first wife, Zahwe, 42, with her seven sons, a cousin, Hamdi, and herself, with her eight children.
"We were terrified as shells hit the roof in other parts of the house but we thought we were lucky because they did not hit our room.
"Eventually we heard soldiers banging on the door at around 6.30am. Atiyeh went to the door with his hands raised holding his ID but they shot him in the doorway and he fell forward."
Faraj Samouni, 22, Zahwe's son, said the children started to scream as Israeli soldiers entered.
"I shouted 'children, children' in Hebrew but they started shooting," he said. "Ahmed was hit two times. His sister Amal was hit in the head and is still in hospital."
Zinad Samouni pointed at a lick of blood on the wall and then turned over the mattress the children had been sitting on to show more.
"I carried him [Ahmed] in my arms, still bleeding, and we had to step over the body of his father," she said.
"We had to leave Atiyeh but I hoped to save Ahmed. He died as I carried him."
Atiyeh's body lay where he had been shot for almost two weeks while Israeli soldiers occupied a four-storey house next door, leaving a collection of racist graffiti.
Most was written in Hebrew but Israeli soldiers had also marked the walls in English, with messages such as "ARabs need 2 die", "Arabs are pieces of shit" and "1 is DOWN 999,999 TO GO".
The house was the only large property that the Israeli army allowed to stand. All the other buildings in Zeitoun, including dwellings, the mosque and a chicken farm, were flattened.
They used the house as an observation post from which to watch the open ground around Zeitoun, which guards the southern approach to Gaza City.
What happened in the house of Wael Samouni, 39, almost opposite the four-storey structure, is also likely to figure in any war crimes investigation.
Survivors allege that Israeli forces shepherded about 110 members of the Samouni family inside and then shelled it. At least 30 bodies were recovered.
Flattened by the Israelis, the wreckage is barely recognisable as a building.
Ambulance drivers, when they first tried to reach the dead and wounded in the village, were shot at by Israeli forces. In the end the ambulance crews made four visits, collecting 48 bodies as of Monday night.
When the crews found children clinging to their mothers' corpses, the International Committee of the Red Cross reminded Israel of its obligations to civilians under the rules of war.
The children had been out in the open for two days and nights but Israeli forces, less than 90 metres away, allegedly did nothing.
The Israeli army has denied acting improperly in Zeitoun.
PLEASE READ & PASS ON!
Israeli soldiers passing out candy to the kids
Making sure they get to school.
Helping Ladies across the street..
Allowing them a place to rest (permanently)
Construction projects (demolition)
Respecting American and British pacifist resisters (such as American Rachel Corrie)
And if you are not satisfied, now, with the truth the following pictures are war crimes as defined by the UN, The Hague and the Geneva Convention.
Using images of your enemy dead or alive (violation)
Human shields (violation)
Live Burial Torture (violation)
And as a last res ort, Execution (violation)
These IDF soldiers have faces... I can clearly see them...Can't you? Why are they not being prosecuted?
Congratulating each other for a massacre well carried out! These War Criminals must be hauled to the International Courts of Justice and made to pay for each and every Palestinian and every other life that they caused to be taken and also injured the hundreds of thousands of people over the years!
Another War Criminal who needs to be made to pay for his decisions that caused millions of lives to be lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. is the former President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush Jr.
Criminals like these must not be allowed to be left free to enjoy the rest of their lives for through their criminal actions, they have destroyed and massacred millions of people's lives and precious families.
No matter that they be President's or Prime Minister's!
Justice must not discriminate or pick as to whom it should prosecute or punish for their inhumane actions against a people wronged and robbed of their life's , freedom, homes, properties and their homelands.
I await to see what America's newly inaugurated 44th President and the first African American Commander in Chief, President Barack Hussein Obama is going to do about this current day genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people by America's pet, the rogue terrorist Zionist Regime masquerading illegally as the State of Israel, occupying Palestine?
Will President Obama deliver what he has promised or is he going to be another ' Do as I say or else' threatening American President?
That remains to be seen but for now I think that the global action and focus must be in getting the World Court to make Israel pay for their war crimes!