Truth and Lies about Gaza War Crimes

 

Okay, I get it: Joe Biden is upset because there is a war in Gaza, the Israelis are spearheading it (although Hamas instigated it), and the Palestinians are the victims of it (even though some people believe the Palestinians support Hamas). Plus, it’s an election year. Although Biden keeps wringing his hands and making threats in response to how the Israelis are conducting the war, he’s behaving as if Hamas had nothing to do with the war going on. Especially when it comes to accusations of war crimes, the spotlight is focused on Israel. Does Joe Biden even know what a war crime is? You can’t accuse an army of war crimes that do not exist. I thought it would be worthwhile to define war crimes and explain how they are overwhelmingly committed by Hamas, not by Israel.

But if we are going to blame groups for war crimes, we should have clear definitions for doing so:

A war crime is a violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility for actions by combatants in action, such as intentionally killing civilians or intentionally killing prisoners of war, torture, taking hostages, unnecessarily destroying civilian property, deception by perfidy, wartime sexual violence, pillaging, and for any individual that is part of the command structure who orders any attempt to committing mass killings including genocide or ethnic cleansing, the granting of no quarter despite surrender, the conscription of children in the military and flouting the legal distinctions of proportionality and military necessity.

If we study Israel’s actions, you would think that they must be committing war crimes, as Joe Biden repeatedly criticizes them. But those aren’t the facts.

He condemns them for not making “targeted attacks.” But the IDF is providing safe zones and has made targeted attacks.

He thinks they should be providing more aid or make it easier to provide aid to civilians. This is a ludicrous expectation, because additional aid will likely continue to go to Hamas. Besides, there are reasons to believe that the “civilians” are actively supporting Hamas.

He has claimed that too many of the reported 28,000 casualties have been civilians. But the Gazan agency that reports these figures is unreliable, and they don’t separate civilian counts from soldiers. So, there is no way to know just how many people have died or who they are.

He has described the attack on Gaza as “over the top,” and accused the IDF of indiscriminate bombing, which is not true. But Israel has made it clear that it plans to destroy Hamas and their tunnels. There is no easy way to proceed.

If you review every war crime in the list above, you will see that Israel has not committed any war crimes; a person could argue that “proportionality” is not being practiced, but this concept is complex and very difficult to determine, and nearly impossible to apply to the war in Gaza.

If we look at the actions of Hamas, however, we see multiple war crimes. They have committed torture (burning bodies and torturing Israelis as they raided their kibbutzim), taken hostages (from the kibbutzim and participants at a music concert), destroyed civilian property (including homes and buildings on the kibbutzim), deception by perfidy (when they promised to release hostages and reneged), wartime sexual violence (committed at the kibbutzim), and pillaging (as they ran through the homes and buildings at the kibbutzim). And I would claim that their intention on October 7 was genocide: they have made no secret of their intention to destroy Israel and its people.

*     *     *     *

You might wonder why I have focused on war crimes. After all, no legal body will probably accuse Hamas of war crimes, and Israel will disregard these types of allegations if they are issued.

First, the anti-Semites have come out in droves, crying that they are pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas. They insist that the accusations against Hamas are lies; at some point, we can hope that the truth reaches them and sanity will reign. I also think these distinctions between Hamas and Israel are very important because for now, the world is mostly supporting Israel. But if Israel is condemned with lies, especially for war crimes they have not committed, it will make Israel’s efforts all the more difficult. Over the years they have been the victims of a mythical history, accusations of unwarranted land grabs, and anti-Semitic tropes.

Let’s keep the record straight when it comes to war crimes.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    There are some who claim that wiping out Hamas is equivalent to “genocide” of the “Palestinians.”  But that would be admitting that ALL “Palestinians” are part of Hamas.  Which they would never willingly do, although there is at least some evidence that it’s actually true.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: a person could argue that “proportionality” is not being practiced

    You mean just like it hasn’t been practiced in any other war in human history?

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: a person could argue that “proportionality” is not being practiced

    You mean just like it hasn’t been practiced in any other war in human history?

    Yeah, that….

    • #3
  4. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Don’t start nothing

    Won’t be nothing

    – J

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Don’t start nothing

    Won’t be nothing

    – J

    True, except you’ve got the people who claim Israel actually started it.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Israel is planning a major attack on Rafah–I hear it’ll be around Ramadan (early part of March). That will rattle some cages…

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    In the heat of many conflicts accusations and denials of war crimes fly. Both accusations and denials are part of information warfare, but for something to be found a crime it needs more than an accusation, it needs proof.  It takes time to properly investigate and document.

    The wikipedia page (because of course there is one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_war_crimes ) pulls together information from the 1948 War of Independence/Nakba to the present, which is quite detailed and with a lot of references.  From which, an example of reasonably documented war crimes:

    During the Six Day War in 1967, the IDF was accused of killing captured Egyptian soldiers, fleeing soldiers, and civilians.[34] Gabby Bron, a journalist for Yedioth Ahronoth, said he witnessed ten executions of Egyptian prisoners that were first forced to dig their own graves.[35] Michael Bar-Zohar said that he had witnessed the murder of three Egyptian POWs by a cook,[36] and Meir Pa’il said that he knew of many instances in which soldiers had killed POWs or Arab civilians.[37] Israeli historian Uri Milstein stated there were many incidents in the 1967 war in which Egyptian soldiers were killed by Israeli troops after they had raised their hands in surrender.[38] “It was not an official policy, but there was an atmosphere that it was okay to do it,” Milstein said. “Some commanders decided to do it; others refused. But everyone knew about it.”[39] Allegations that Egyptian soldiers fleeing into the desert were shot were confirmed in reports written after the war. Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, in his book “1967”, quotes one soldier who wrote, “our soldiers were sent to scout out groups of men fleeing and shoot them. That was the order, and it was done while they were really trying to escape”.[40]

    In September 1995 The New York Times reported that the Egyptian government had discovered two shallow mass graves in the Sinai at El Arish containing the remains of 30 to 60 Egyptian civilian and military prisoners allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers during the 1967 war. Israel declined to pursue charges, owing to its 20-year statute of limitations. The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, David Sultan, asked to be relieved of his post after the Egyptian daily Al Shaab said he was personally responsible for the killing of 100 Egyptian prisoners, although both the Israeli Embassy and Foreign Ministry denied the charge. After his retirement, Brigadier-General in reserve, Arieh Biroh admitted in interviews to killing 49 Egyptian prisoners of war in the Sinai.[41] In June 2000, Egypt’s Al-Wafd newspaper reported that a mass grave was discovered in Ras Sedr, containing remains of 52 prisoners killed by Israeli paratroopers during the war, who had killed the surrendered unit. The report said that some skulls had bullet holes in them, indicating execution.[42][43] Initial reports in Israeli newspaper Haaretz were censored.[44] The New York Times reported that as many as 300 unarmed Egyptians were killed in the 1967 and 1956 wars.[41] Israeli military historian Aryeh Yitzhaki estimated from army documents that, in the 1967 war, Israeli soldiers killed about 1,000 Egyptians after they surrendered.[45]

    James Bamford, an author that has extensively chronicled the history and operations of the National Security Agency, posits that massacres of civilians and bound prisoners may have served as a casus belli for the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Bamford theorizes that the Israeli Defense Forces were concerned that the USS Liberty, a signals intelligence collection ship, may have collected evidence of the massacre and was thus attacked in an effort to suppress the evidence.[46][47][48][49][50][51]

    No investigations like this are yet available regarding what Israel has or has not done in Gaza this time.

    But on point with the current case at the ICJ re genocide/complicity with genocide:

    On September 16 the IDF allowed Lebanese militias to enter Beirut’s Sabra neighbourhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp. From approximately 18:00 on 16 September to 08:00 on 18 September, the militias carried out a massacre while the IDF had the Palestinian camp surrounded.[55][56][57][58] The IDF had ordered the militias to clear out the fighters of the PLO from Sabra and Shatila as part of a larger Israeli maneuver into western Beirut. As the massacre unfolded, the IDF received reports of atrocities being committed, but did not take any action to stop it.[59] Israeli troops were stationed at the exits of the area to prevent the camp’s residents from leaving and, at the request of the militias,[60] fired flares to illuminate Sabra and Shatila through the night.[61][62] Between 460 and 3,500 civilians—mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shias—were killed in the massacre.[63][64] Many of the victims were tortured before they were killed. Women were raped and some victims were skinned alive. Others had limbs chopped off with axes.[65]

    On 16 December 1982 the United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre and declared it to be an act of genocide.[66][67][68][69] In February 1983, an independent commission chaired by Irish diplomat Seán MacBride (the then-assistant to the Secretary-General of the United Nations) launched an inquiry into the violence and concluded that the IDF, as the erstwhile occupying power over Sabra and Shatila, bore responsibility for the militia’s massacre.[70] The commission also stated that the massacre was a form of genocide.[71] That same month, the Israeli government launched the Kahan Commission to investigate the cause and circumstances of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and found that Israeli military personnel had failed to take serious steps to stop the killings despite being aware of the militia’s actions. The Israeli commission deemed that the IDF was indirectly responsible for the events, and forced erstwhile Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon to resign from his position “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge” during the massacre.[72]

     

     

     

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    In the heat of many conflicts accusations and denials of war crimes fly. Both accusations and denials are part of information warfare, but for something to be found a crime it needs more than an accusation, it needs proof. It takes time to properly investigate and document.

    The wikipedia page (because of course there is one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_war_crimes ) pulls together information from the 1948 War of Independence/Nakba to the present, which is quite detailed and with a lot of references. From which, an example of reasonably documented war crimes:

    During the Six Day War in 1967, the IDF was accused of killing captured Egyptian soldiers, fleeing soldiers, and civilians.[34] Gabby Bron, a journalist for Yedioth Ahronoth, said he witnessed ten executions of Egyptian prisoners that were first forced to dig their own graves.[35] Michael Bar-Zohar said that he had witnessed the murder of three Egyptian POWs by a cook,[36] and Meir Pa’il said that he knew of many instances in which soldiers had killed POWs or Arab civilians.[37] Israeli historian Uri Milstein stated there were many incidents in the 1967 war in which Egyptian soldiers were killed by Israeli troops after they had raised their hands in surrender.[38] “It was not an official policy, but there was an atmosphere that it was okay to do it,” Milstein said. “Some commanders decided to do it; others refused. But everyone knew about it.”[39] Allegations that Egyptian soldiers fleeing into the desert were shot were confirmed in reports written after the war. Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, in his book “1967”, quotes one soldier who wrote, “our soldiers were sent to scout out groups of men fleeing and shoot them. That was the order, and it was done while they were really trying to escape”.[40]

    In September 1995 The New York Times reported that the Egyptian government had discovered two shallow mass graves in the Sinai at El Arish containing the remains of 30 to 60 Egyptian civilian and military prisoners allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers during the 1967 war. Israel declined to pursue charges, owing to its 20-year statute of limitations. The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, David Sultan, asked to be relieved of his post after the Egyptian daily Al Shaab said he was personally responsible for the killing of 100 Egyptian prisoners, although both the Israeli Embassy and Foreign Ministry denied the charge. After his retirement, Brigadier-General in reserve, Arieh Biroh admitted in interviews to killing 49 Egyptian prisoners of war in the Sinai.[41] In June 2000, Egypt’s Al-Wafd newspaper reported that a mass grave was discovered in Ras Sedr, containing remains of 52 prisoners killed by Israeli paratroopers during the war, who had killed the surrendered unit. The report said that some skulls had bullet holes in them, indicating execution.[42][43] Initial reports in Israeli newspaper Haaretz were censored.[44] The New York Times reported that as many as 300 unarmed Egyptians were killed in the 1967 and 1956 wars.[41] Israeli military historian Aryeh Yitzhaki estimated from army documents that, in the 1967 war, Israeli soldiers killed about 1,000 Egyptians after they surrendered.[45]

    James Bamford, an author that has extensively chronicled the history and operations of the National Security Agency, posits that massacres of civilians and bound prisoners may have served as a casus belli for the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Bamford theorizes that the Israeli Defense Forces were concerned that the USS Liberty, a signals intelligence collection ship, may have collected evidence of the massacre and was thus attacked in an effort to suppress the evidence.[46][47][48][49][50][51]

    No investigations like this are yet available regarding what Israel has or has not done in Gaza this time.

    But on point with the current case at the ICJ re genocide/complicity with genocide:

    On September 16 the IDF allowed Lebanese militias to enter Beirut’s Sabra neighbourhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp. From approximately 18:00 on 16 September to 08:00 on 18 September, the militias carried out a massacre while the IDF had the Palestinian camp surrounded.[55][56][57][58] The IDF had ordered the militias to clear out the fighters of the PLO from Sabra and Shatila as part of a larger Israeli maneuver into western Beirut. As the massacre unfolded, the IDF received reports of atrocities being committed, but did not take any action to stop it.[59] Israeli troops were stationed at the exits of the area to prevent the camp’s residents from leaving and, at the request of the militias,[60] fired flares to illuminate Sabra and Shatila through the night.[61][62] Between 460 and 3,500 civilians—mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shias—were killed in the massacre.[63][64] Many of the victims were tortured before they were killed. Women were raped and some victims were skinned alive. Others had limbs chopped off with axes.[65]

    On 16 December 1982 the United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre and declared it to be an act of genocide.[66][67][68][69] In February 1983, an independent commission chaired by Irish diplomat Seán MacBride (the then-assistant to the Secretary-General of the United Nations) launched an inquiry into the violence and concluded that the IDF, as the erstwhile occupying power over Sabra and Shatila, bore responsibility for the militia’s massacre.[70] The commission also stated that the massacre was a form of genocide.[71] That same month, the Israeli government launched the Kahan Commission to investigate the cause and circumstances of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and found that Israeli military personnel had failed to take serious steps to stop the killings despite being aware of the militia’s actions. The Israeli commission deemed that the IDF was indirectly responsible for the events, and forced erstwhile Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon to resign from his position “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge” during the massacre.[72]

     

     

     

    Zafar, it’s too bad that you still don’t realize that I won’t give any credence to your sources. Even Wikipedia can be distorted, but I assumed the war crimes definition was innocuous enough. But you keep trying. It’s what you choose to do. Even if you have to go back 50-60 years.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Of course Israel has committed war crimes.  Your own definition includes “intentionally killing civilians,” “taking hostages,” and “unnecessarily destroying civilian property.”  Israel has done all of this on a massive scale.

    Israel is even seeking to starve the entire population of Gaza.  It’s appalling.  I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen anything more horrid in my entire life.  Maybe the killing fields in Cambodia.  Obviously, the death toll from this attempted genocide by starvation isn’t very high yet.  Starvation takes time.

    This is all occurring right out in the open, on video, for anyone to see who cares to look.

    I find the disconnect in our views of the present situation interesting and puzzling.  I see Biden shamefully aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes.  Others see Biden as somehow wrongfully holding the Israelis back.

    Even an Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported 11,500 children killed in Gaza, as of about 2 weeks ago.  That’s about 300 Palestinian children for every Israeli child killed on 10-7.  Apparently, this is not enough for some people.  Indeed, some people seem upset at anyone who isn’t cheering on the killing with sufficient enthusiasm.

    • #9
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Zafar, it’s too bad that you still don’t realize that I won’t give any credence to your sources.

    Well that’s pretty direct. [Edited to add: see your point about the Kahan Commission. Buncha Hamasniks maybe?]

    Even Wikipedia can be distorted, but I assumed the war crimes definition was innocuous enough. But you keep trying. It’s what you choose to do. Even if you have to go back 50-60 years.

    Well I wasn’t going to quote the whole article.  Just gave examples of what I thought were reasonably documented accusations of war crimes.

    I don’t get why attacking Rafah during Ramadan is worse than attacking it at any other time?  It’s not going to make a difference to the civilian casualties.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Of course Israel has committed war crimes.  Your own definition includes “intentionally killing civilians,” “taking hostages,” and “unnecessarily destroying civilian property.”  Israel has done all of this on a massive scale.

    I will bite for the moment. They are not intentionally killing civilians. They are not taking hostages. And they are destroying property where Hamas hides out.

    Haaretz us full of bologny. No one knows how many people have really died.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I find the disconnect in our views of the present situation interesting and puzzling.

    I don’t see the differences in our views that way at all. I find your viewpoint detestable and misguided and I am not at all puzzled. This is your standard type of answer.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Zafar, it’s too bad that you still don’t realize that I won’t give any credence to your sources.

    Well that’s pretty direct. [Edited to add: see your point about the Kahan Commission. Buncha Hamasniks maybe?]

    Even Wikipedia can be distorted, but I assumed the war crimes definition was innocuous enough. But you keep trying. It’s what you choose to do. Even if you have to go back 50-60 years.

    Well I wasn’t going to quote the whole article. Just gave examples of what I thought were reasonably documented accusations of war crimes.

    I don’t get why attacking Rafah during Ramadan is worse than attacking it at any other time? It’s not going to make a difference to the civilian casualties.

    I just find it’s too much work to separate those sources that might be credible from those that are not. Especially when some sources are deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Of course Israel has committed war crimes. Your own definition includes “intentionally killing civilians,” “taking hostages,” and “unnecessarily destroying civilian property.” Israel has done all of this on a massive scale.

    I will bite for the moment. They are not intentionally killing civilians. They are not taking hostages. And they are destroying property where Hamas hides out.

    Haaretz us full of bologny. No one knows how many people have really died.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I find the disconnect in our views of the present situation interesting and puzzling.

    I don’t see the differences in our views that way at all. I find your viewpoint detestable and misguided and I am not at all puzzled. This is your standard type of answer.

    And I really don’t get the argument that supposedly Israel is somehow required to supply food etc to the people who have been attacking them.

    • #13
  14. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Of course Israel has committed war crimes. Your own definition includes “intentionally killing civilians,” “taking hostages,” and “unnecessarily destroying civilian property.” Israel has done all of this on a massive scale.

    That last is slippery.  What is “necessary” depends on war goals.

    If Israel’s goal is to drive Gazans into Sinai – and that’s been apparent for some time – then destroying civilian property (and infrastructure that makes life possible) is “necessary”.  But it’s still a genocidal act.  Because the Convention’s definition of genocidal acts includes:

    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Which would also cover stopping food from entering Gaza.  The numbers so far are small – and in fact in the wiki article examples they are also relatively small – so killing fields of Cambodia (or Plain of Jars in Laos) is perhaps overstating.  But the whole point of the Convention is that the world steps in before genocide occurs, or if it is occurring, stopping the death toll from reaching numbers like that.

    This is all occurring right out in the open, on video, for anyone to see who cares to look.

    Honestly I think that’s why it seems more awful.  Because of social media we can all see it ourselves, unfiltered and uncurated by the political orthodoxy of where we live.  It’s the first such conflict that I can think of where the great and the good have utterly lost control of the narrative for a critical mass of the Western public.

    You can see it on X (twitter) feeds. Those increasingly hysterical posts about the hostages – and they’re right call attention to them, taking civilian hostages is definitely a war crime – by accounts that undermine their own credibility by remaining utterly silent about the 30,000 dead  in Gaza.  And they usually get ratioed, and getting [consistently] ratioed isn’t a sign of winning the narrative war, it’s a sign that it’s lost.

    I find the disconnect in our views of the present situation interesting and puzzling. I see Biden shamefully aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes. Others see Biden as somehow wrongfully holding the Israelis back.

    Nothing says perfidously undermining Israel like $14 billion in aid and a Security Council veto of a ceasefire resolution.

    • #14
  15. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I just find it’s too much work to separate those sources that might be credible from those that are not. Especially when some sources are deeply ant-Semitic and anti-Zionist. 

    Fair enough.  But the fact that the wiki article included references to official Israeli documents raises its credibility in my eyes.  If the article excluded them it would be more suspect for bias. jmho.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I just find it’s too much work to separate those sources that might be credible from those that are not. Especially when some sources are deeply ant-Semitic and anti-Zionist.

    Fair enough. But the fact that the wiki article included references to official Israeli documents raises its credibility in my eyes. If the article excluded them it would be more suspect for bias. jmho.

    I don’t want to find the articles that might be true. And ONE MORE TIME, I don’t want data that’s 60 years old. 

    • #16
  17. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    In the heat of many conflicts accusations and denials of war crimes fly. Both accusations and denials are part of information warfare, but for something to be found a crime it needs more than an accusation, it needs proof. It takes time to properly investigate and document.

    The wikipedia page (because of course there is one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_war_crimes ) pulls together information from the 1948 War of Independence/Nakba to the present, which is quite detailed and with a lot of references. From which, an example of reasonably documented war crimes:

    During the Six Day War in 1967, the IDF was accused of killing captured Egyptian soldiers, fleeing soldiers, and civilians.[34] Gabby Bron, a journalist for Yedioth Ahronoth, said he witnessed ten executions of Egyptian prisoners that were first forced to dig their own graves.[35] Michael Bar-Zohar said that he had witnessed the murder of three Egyptian POWs by a cook,[36] and Meir Pa’il said that he knew of many instances in which soldiers had killed POWs or Arab civilians.[37] Israeli historian Uri Milstein stated there were many incidents in the 1967 war in which Egyptian soldiers were killed by Israeli troops after they had raised their hands in surrender.[38] “It was not an official policy, but there was an atmosphere that it was okay to do it,” Milstein said. “Some commanders decided to do it; others refused. But everyone knew about it.”[39] Allegations that Egyptian soldiers fleeing into the desert were shot were confirmed in reports written after the war. Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, in his book “1967”, quotes one soldier who wrote, “our soldiers were sent to scout out groups of men fleeing and shoot them. That was the order, and it was done while they were really trying to escape”.[40]

    In September 1995 The New York Times reported that the Egyptian government had discovered two shallow mass graves in the Sinai at El Arish containing the remains of 30 to 60 Egyptian civilian and military prisoners allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers during the 1967 war. Israel declined to pursue charges, owing to its 20-year statute of limitations. The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, David Sultan, asked to be relieved of his post after the Egyptian daily Al Shaab said he was personally responsible for the killing of 100 Egyptian prisoners, although both the Israeli Embassy and Foreign Ministry denied the charge. After his retirement, Brigadier-General in reserve, Arieh Biroh admitted in interviews to killing 49 Egyptian prisoners of war in the Sinai.[41] In June 2000, Egypt’s Al-Wafd newspaper reported that a mass grave was discovered in Ras Sedr, containing remains of 52 prisoners killed by Israeli paratroopers during the war, who had killed the surrendered unit. The report said that some skulls had bullet holes in them, indicating execution.[42][43] Initial reports in Israeli newspaper Haaretz were censored.[44] The New York Times reported that as many as 300 unarmed Egyptians were killed in the 1967 and 1956 wars.[41] Israeli military historian Aryeh Yitzhaki estimated from army documents that, in the 1967 war, Israeli soldiers killed about 1,000 Egyptians after they surrendered.[45]

    James Bamford, an author that has extensively chronicled the history and operations of the National Security Agency, posits that massacres of civilians and bound prisoners may have served as a casus belli for the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Bamford theorizes that the Israeli Defense Forces were concerned that the USS Liberty, a signals intelligence collection ship, may have collected evidence of the massacre and was thus attacked in an effort to suppress the evidence.[46][47][48][49][50][51]

    No investigations like this are yet available regarding what Israel has or has not done in Gaza this time.

    But on point with the current case at the ICJ re genocide/complicity with genocide:

    On September 16 the IDF allowed Lebanese militias to enter Beirut’s Sabra neighbourhood and the adjacent Shatila refugee camp. From approximately 18:00 on 16 September to 08:00 on 18 September, the militias carried out a massacre while the IDF had the Palestinian camp surrounded.[55][56][57][58] The IDF had ordered the militias to clear out the fighters of the PLO from Sabra and Shatila as part of a larger Israeli maneuver into western Beirut. As the massacre unfolded, the IDF received reports of atrocities being committed, but did not take any action to stop it.[59] Israeli troops were stationed at the exits of the area to prevent the camp’s residents from leaving and, at the request of the militias,[60] fired flares to illuminate Sabra and Shatila through the night.[61][62] Between 460 and 3,500 civilians—mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shias—were killed in the massacre.[63][64] Many of the victims were tortured before they were killed. Women were raped and some victims were skinned alive. Others had limbs chopped off with axes.[65]

    On 16 December 1982 the United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre and declared it to be an act of genocide.[66][67][68][69] In February 1983, an independent commission chaired by Irish diplomat Seán MacBride (the then-assistant to the Secretary-General of the United Nations) launched an inquiry into the violence and concluded that the IDF, as the erstwhile occupying power over Sabra and Shatila, bore responsibility for the militia’s massacre.[70] The commission also stated that the massacre was a form of genocide.[71] That same month, the Israeli government launched the Kahan Commission to investigate the cause and circumstances of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and found that Israeli military personnel had failed to take serious steps to stop the killings despite being aware of the militia’s actions. The Israeli commission deemed that the IDF was indirectly responsible for the events, and forced erstwhile Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon to resign from his position “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge” during the massacre.[72]

     

     

     

    Zafar, it’s too bad that you still don’t realize that I won’t give any credence to your sources. Even Wikipedia can be distorted, but I assumed the war crimes definition was innocuous enough. But you keep trying. It’s what you choose to do. Even if you have to go back 50-60 years.

    I dismissed anything political on Wikipedia.

    • #17
  18. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Of course Israel has committed war crimes. Your own definition includes “intentionally killing civilians,” “taking hostages,” and “unnecessarily destroying civilian property.” Israel has done all of this on a massive scale.

    Israel is even seeking to starve the entire population of Gaza. It’s appalling. I’m trying to remember if I’ve seen anything more horrid in my entire life. Maybe the killing fields in Cambodia. Obviously, the death toll from this attempted genocide by starvation isn’t very high yet. Starvation takes time.

    This is all occurring right out in the open, on video, for anyone to see who cares to look.

    I find the disconnect in our views of the present situation interesting and puzzling. I see Biden shamefully aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes. Others see Biden as somehow wrongfully holding the Israelis back.

    Even an Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported 11,500 children killed in Gaza, as of about 2 weeks ago. That’s about 300 Palestinian children for every Israeli child killed on 10-7. Apparently, this is not enough for some people. Indeed, some people seem upset at anyone who isn’t cheering on the killing with sufficient enthusiasm.

    Oh, for Pete’s sake. War is hell. Israel is fighting illegal combatants who don’t follow the laws of armed conflict. Because Hamas prevented civilians from leaving, dress like civilians, and fight from civilian locations, Hamas is responsible for civilian casualties caused by their own actions. People who have clutched their pearls for years have enabled these tactics to succeed and thus led to widespread use of such tactics. 

    • #18
  19. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Zafar, it’s too bad that you still don’t realize that I won’t give any credence to your sources.

    Well that’s pretty direct. [Edited to add: see your point about the Kahan Commission. Buncha Hamasniks maybe?]

    Even Wikipedia can be distorted, but I assumed the war crimes definition was innocuous enough. But you keep trying. It’s what you choose to do. Even if you have to go back 50-60 years.

    Well I wasn’t going to quote the whole article. Just gave examples of what I thought were reasonably documented accusations of war crimes.

    I don’t get why attacking Rafah during Ramadan is worse than attacking it at any other time? It’s not going to make a difference to the civilian casualties.

    I just find it’s too much work to separate those sources that might be credible from those that are not. Especially when some sources are deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.

    Zafar is biased. As long as there is Hamas, let the war continue. 

    • #19
  20. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Everybody is biased RH. It’s part of being human. 

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Everybody is biased RH. It’s part of being human.

    But bias doesn’t preclude telling the truth. Unless we can’t tell the difference.

    • #21
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Everybody is biased RH. It’s part of being human.

    But bias doesn’t preclude telling the truth. Unless we can’t tell the difference.

    Confirmation bias can make it difficult to acknowledge that something is true, especially when it causes us cognitive dissonance.  Some time back you pointed out that this was sort of my thing with gay issues – correctly. 

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Everybody is biased RH. It’s part of being human.

    But bias doesn’t preclude telling the truth. Unless we can’t tell the difference.

    Confirmation bias can make it difficult to acknowledge that something is true, especially when it causes us cognitive dissonance. Some time back you pointed out that this was sort of my thing with gay issues – correctly.

    Confirmation bias is an issue for everyone –especially when the issue is dear to us. 

    • #23
  24. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Everybody is biased RH. It’s part of being human.

    But bias doesn’t preclude telling the truth. Unless we can’t tell the difference.

    Confirmation bias can make it difficult to acknowledge that something is true, especially when it causes us cognitive dissonance. Some time back you pointed out that this was sort of my thing with gay issues – correctly.

    Confirmation bias is an issue for everyone –especially when the issue is dear to us.

    When a “holy book” calls for the extermination of the Jews…

    • #24
  25. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    @Zafar, what is your assessment of the IDF’s ongoing operations in Gaza’s Nasser Hospital?  War crimes or valid military actions?

    • #25
  26. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Hamas knew exactly what it was doing when it broke the ceasefire which was in place on October 7th. Through its leaders, it has boasted that the blood of the people of Gaza will help its cause. It has threatened to carry out similar attacks “again and again”. It has made only outlandish proposals for a ceasefire, and it continues to wage war.  It didn’t have to start the war, and it could have stopped it at any time. It still could. How it gets a pass from so many countries and people proves only that morality is an option, not an obligation. 

     

    • #26
  27. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    How it gets a pass from so many countries and people proves only that morality is an option, not an obligation. 

    Some of them are open enemies, while others pretend to be peaceful friends.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Charles Mark (View Comment):
    How it gets a pass from so many countries and people proves only that morality is an option, not an obligation.

    Some of them are open enemies, while others pretend to be peaceful friends.

    Egypt and some of the others have a lot of nerve first creating the “Palestinians” and then basically dumping them on the rest of the world to clean up.

    • #28
  29. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    @ Zafar, what is your assessment of the IDF’s ongoing operations in Gaza’s Nasser Hospital? War crimes or valid military actions?

    I don’t know Dave.  It’s ongoing, and the only sources of information are either clearly parties to the conflict or accused of being parties to the conflict.  It would be good if independent investigations can happen.

    • #29
  30. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    @ Zafar, what is your assessment of the IDF’s ongoing operations in Gaza’s Nasser Hospital? War crimes or valid military actions?

    I don’t know Dave. It’s ongoing, and the only sources of information are either clearly parties to the conflict or accused of being parties to the conflict. It would be good if independent investigations can happen.

    The IDF is attempting to dislodge Hamas while permitting the hospital to continue to operate, obviously on a limited basis.  

    • #30
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