Tuesday, December 17, 2002

In just the past few weeks the Israelis have been involved in a number of atrocities which show a disturbingly similar pattern:

  1. They shot Iain Hook, an employee of the United Nations who was trying to rebuild the houses destroyed by the Israelis in the Jenin massacre, and then delayed his travelling to the hospital sufficiently so that he died. They've come up with a whole series of lies to try to explain how this was possible, not one of which is even slightly credible. Hook was a known figure in the neighborhood, would have been known to the soldiers, and in fact was in the process of trying to negotiate an evacuation of the UN compound with the IDF. He was shot inside the UN compound, and with a cell phone in his hand, in the back. There is no possible conclusion other than that he was targeted for murder because he was working for the UN and specifically working on the rebuilding of Jenin.

  2. They demolished a marked United Nations storehouse containing more than 500 tons of food that was to be distributed to Palestinian refugees. This was enough food to feed 38,000 people for a month.

  3. They have treated United Nations workers so badly that the workers have issued a petition demanding the Israeli army stop their "harassment, beating and killing".

  4. On November 22, an IDF combat unit of 20 to 30 heavily armed troops surrounded the Bethlehem home of Allegra Pacheco, the Field Legal Officer of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who "was held at gunpoint in the open air for two hours while her house was searched, her mobile phone was taken from her". In addition, her husband was made to partially strip and was taken into IDF custody. As of November 26, the date of the report, twenty-three of the Palestinian staff of UNRWA were being held by the Israelis, all but three without charge.

  5. Maher Aqallah, an UNRWA school attendant, was killed by an Israeli soldier on December 3 when he opened the door to his house.

  6. On December 6, two UN employees, Ahlam Kandil, a Palestinian teacher who worked in a United Nations school, and Osama Tahrawi, who worked as a school attendant in the refugee camp, were killed by the IDF. This was part of the killing of ten Palestinians, eight of whom the UN has determined were unarmed civilians, and some of whom were on the streets celebrating Eid. Ahlam Kandil was shot and killed while in her house. Israel actually has the audacity to claim that the UN is harboring terrorists, and that these workers were members of Hamas, a claim the UN dismisses as 'rubbish'.

All this is on top of the daily assassinations of Palestinians, a list that is almost unbelievable in its stark brutality. Can there be any doubt that these attacks targeted against the United Nations workers and UN operations to assist the starving Palestinian refugees are part of a concerted effort by the IDF to complete the ethnic cleansing by removing all international assistance to the Palestinians? If so, wouldn't this have to be a specific plan approved by the Israeli cabinet? Deosn't that make each and every Israeli cabinet member guilty of crimes against humanity, and therefore from now on subject to immediate arrest and trial should any of them enter any country which considers itself bound by international law?