Reflections on Israeli High Crimes Against Peace
by Stephen Lendman
State terror is official Israeli policy. It’s longstanding. It’s war without mercy on Palestine. It’s against any nation, group or individual Israel targets.
Operation Protective Edge is the latest example. It was well-planned premeditated aggression. It was cold-blooded murder.
It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. It was about preventing Palestinian self-determination. It was to sabotage Palestinian unity.
It was to maintain occupation harshness. It was to keep stealing Palestinian land.
It showed Palestinians they’re defenseless against overpowering Israeli might.
It proved Israel can commit genocidal high crimes against peace with impunity. It can do it whenever it wishes.
It can do it for any reason or none at all. It can blame Palestinian victims for its crimes.
Nora Barrows-Friedman is an Electronic Intifada editor and contributor. On Monday, she headlined “Dr. Mona El-Farra on mass trauma and destruction in Gaza.” More on this below.
Dr. El-Farra is prominent Palestinian physician. She chairs Gaza’s Palestinian Red Crescent Society. She directs Gazan projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).
During Operation Protective Edge, she lost nine family members. They included five children. Israel murdered them in cold blood.
It’s standard Israeli practice. Rogue states operate this way. Palestinians are aggrieved victims. Justice remains denied.
A rocket or missile hit the El-Farra family home. Survivors fled in panic.
A second Israeli attack struck them as they did so. It was clear, cold calculated murder. It’s longstanding Israeli policy.
Friedman interviewed Dr. El-Farra. She published her comments on Israel’s war without mercy. She explained what no one can comprehend with experiencing it first hand.
Dr. El-Farra is lucky to be alive. Her comments are important. They deserve repeating. They were as follows:
“There is great destruction not far away from my place,” she said.
“Just 100 meters, there’s a big mosque that had been destroyed completely.”
“And another further 200 meters, a big tower block that has been leveled to the ground, toppled to the ground with 58 housing units.”
“It’s just a big heap of rubble. Shattered windows still on the street, people couldn’t have time to fix their windows because – this is my building, actually. My building and of course many buildings in Gaza.”
“Every 100 meters, 200 meters and every few blocks, you’ll find blocks of buildings destroyed.”
“The situation is very sad not only because of the destruction, but you see people in the streets, especially youth, young kids like youth who are usually laughing and giggling – everybody has a big huge trauma on the faces of everybody.”
“People don’t smile easy, and you can see the side of the effects of the 51 days – especially in the faces of the kids, the teenagers.”
“They are just walking with lack of energy, lack of enthusiasm, and let alone the children – according to statistics, maybe 99 percent of us are traumatized in one way or another.”
“I talk about myself, but first, the children. One in two children have been subjected to real, real trauma.”
“Myself, the first day after the attacks stopped, I was in a state of shock. Quiet. And the second day after, I would burst into tears, quite loudly, when I said hello to anybody, on the street or in my work.”
“Quite loudly. And sometimes, I would laugh loudly, but without the good feeling of the laugh – it is an artificial laugh, it is an hysterical laugh.”
“And I stayed like that for the first five days, but now I am back to… I’m slowly, slowly, getting my balance back, but without really the feeling of life.”
“I feel that I have to do things, but I don’t enjoy doing things.”
“For example, I tried several times to watch TV, but I feel that I can’t watch any soap or any film. I can’t. Simply, I can’t.”
“I switched off the TV. Actually, we don’t have enough electricity. Before the attack, it was a very dire situation, the siege, the problems with the water and electricity, et cetera, we used to find ways of coping with the situation.”
“One way of coping for me was walking, another way is listening to music or watching some TV when I have electricity.”
“And now, I don’t find the comfort in walking, I don’t find comfort in watching TV or listening to music. Actually, I don’t listen to music now.”
“It’s not because we are sitting in mourning, I don’t simply enjoy the music or the nice tracks I used to like by Arabic singers.”
“Maybe next month I’ll be back to normal but I don’’t think so because the size of the catastrophe is great.”
“I am surrounded by destruction either in my neighborhood, or in my work.”
“I see it in the faces of the children and the teenagers, let alone the mothers of the displaced families who are trying hard to go on with their lives, or the babies who lost their homes, or the people who lost their loved ones, or the injured children, the injured adults.”
“Two thousand of the injured are children. (Well over 500 dead.) I’m not sure of the number, but it is nearly the number of children – and I don’t see it like that, the children who have died.”
“It is not just numbers, Nora. It is a story beyond this loss. It is the stories beyond those kids who have been injured, and many who have lost one arm or one leg, because of the severity of the attacks.”
“A little analysis – it’s not just getting safety or security for the Israeli citizens. It’s not like that at all. Because the resistance here is resistance, it’s not an army, and they are facing one of the strongest armies in the world.”
“So I cannot absorb or understand or get on with what happened to us during the 51 days. It was beyond words.”
“It was not just war crimes – there was a systematic way of genocide. They were trying to get rid of us all.”
“And of course I’m glad and relieved of the ceasefire, because if it didn’’ start, there would have been more destruction than what we saw in Gaza. So I’m relieved it happened.”
“In the last three days before the ceasefire, and this is my personal story, I wrote on Facebook that we were watching stories of people, and I was afraid that I’d be one of the stories one day.”
“It happened when my relatives were killed, and you covered that, Nora.”
“But later, in the last three or four days, when they started attacking the big towers, the big buildings, and I live in one of those buildings, they started warning the building next to my building and another building.”
“They’re not just buildings – they’re fourteen stories. So I felt that I was on the roll, my building was on the roll, and I had a feeling that I couldn’t go to my flat because I was living in another place, on and off.”
“So these feelings – sadness and surrender that this was going to happen to me, that I was going to lose my home.”
“And it was dangerous, my area. I couldn’t reach my home to collect anything, it was under shelling and very dangerous.”
“So at 9 o’clock, when the shelling stopped, I decided to go to my flat, have you been to my flat, Nora?”
NBF: “Yes, I remember I stayed there, for about a week in 2008.
MEF: “Yes, it’s on the seaside. Yes. I went to my flat, with determination to fill two suitcases with some of my children’s photos, of my late mother, of my late father, other photos.”
“And just a few items to keep me going if the whole house was demolished. It was not easy for me to fill these two suitcases of my belongings.”
“Because while I did this and when I slammed the door, I was in tears and I said bye-bye.”
“Then a few hours later, a ceasefire started, so I was happy that it did not happen to me and I survived the attack. This is the summary.”
NBF: “Can you talk a little bit more about what children have been telling you, you work with children and with women, in terms of those who have no homes to go back to, or who have lost family members, or who will be dealing with psychological trauma or physical disabilities, what will their life be like – as you said, even though the bombs have stopped falling, that’s obviously not the end of the story here in Gaza.”
MEF: “No, it’s not the end of the story, because we are facing an increasing number of children, as I mentioned earlier on, who will need serious intervention because they were subject to trauma from losing their home, or losing family members, or a friend or neighbor.”
“And we need to work hard to try to relieve the effects of the trauma in these children.”
“MECA started – the Middle East Children’s Alliance – has started this project which we call ‘Let Them Play and Heal,’ it started after the first assault a few years ago.”
“It proved to be very helpful for children, and our team discovered many cases that need to be referred to mental health centers.”
“The project was a mixture between entertaining and professionally dealing with traumatized children. And we are going to start this again soon.”
“So I’m appealing to everybody to help MECA to start helping the Palestinian children who were subjected to trauma during the latest attack against Gaza.”
“Actually, not only who were subjected to direct trauma – because there is indirect trauma, which is the whole (population of) children of the Gaza Strip have been subjected to the darkness, to the sound of the shelling, listening to the rubble on top of their homes, maybe it did not hurt them directly physically, but they were living in such atmosphere for 51 days, surely it affected most of the children of the Gaza Strip.”
“There are two parts of the trauma in children – direct effects, those who lost their homes and family, and those who were indirectly affected because of the sounds and shelling, insecurity, being terrified most of the time, including the sound of the airplanes, the sound of the shelling.”
“It affected all of us. But when it comes to children, it’s even harder.”
Israel remains unaccountable. Genocidal high crimes against peace don’t matter. Nor Palestinian suffering beyond comprehension.
Human rights groups B’Tselem and Yesh Din accused Israel of whitewashing crimes against Palestinians.
Internal investigations feature coverup and denial. “The IDF’s investigative system has failed,” said Yesh Din.
B’Tselem called it a “whitewashing mechanism.” It buries truth. It blames victims for Israeli crimes.
It guarantees justice denied. It assures more war without mercy. It does so whenever Israel wishes.
Who’ll insist it stop? Who’ll intervene responsibly? Who’ll protect Palestinian lives?
Who’ll demand rule of law principles be enforced? Who’ll hold Israel accountable?
Who’ll prosecute its culpable officials for high crimes against peace? Who’ll prosecute Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?
Who’ll stop its killing machine? Who’ll demand it pay all reconstruction costs?
And compensation to Palestinians who lost loved ones and property. And punitive damages multiple times over.
Enough is enough! Who’ll do the right thing? Who’ll do it because it matters? Who’ll accept nothing less?
Who’ll stand resolutely with aggrieved Palestinians? Who’ll demand long denied justice finally end?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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