The past couple of weeks in Israel has seen a descent into chaos in the Middle East.
What started as shooting of Palestinians on the west bank and an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site has blown out into a full on attack on the Gaza Strip and Hammas responding by firing missiles into Israel.
I wrote this in 2014 after a previous one sided battle:
The body count is brutally one sided. On the Palestinian side more than 160 Palestinians had been killed including many children. More than 1,000 injuries had been caused. To date not one Israeli has lost their life because of these latest battles.
The technology being applied shows the stark difference in resources. One one side are tanks, missiles, air fighters and drones. On the other side are home made rockets that are crude and ineffective.
The comparative death rates show how one sided the battle has become. In 2002 the Palestinian Israeli death ratio was 1:2.5, in 2007 1:25, and a couple of years ago it was 1:68. Can anyone see a trend?
The trend has continued:
Not. Complicated. pic.twitter.com/MMs9q7EQQt
— Kaniela Ing (@KanielaIng) May 14, 2021
This morning revealed the most pristine clear evidence of a war crime imaginable. From Aljazeera:
An Israeli air raid flattened a building housing residential apartments and the offices of news organisations, including Al Jazeera and AP, in Gaza.
Youmna al-Sayed had less than an hour to get to safety.
But with just one elevator working in al-Jalaa tower, an 11-storey building in Gaza City housing some 60 residential apartments and a number of offices, including those of Al Jazeera Media Network and The Associated Press, al-Sayed made a dash for the stairs.
“We left the elevator for the elderly and for the children to evacuate,” the Palestinian freelance journalist said. “And we were all running down the stairs and whoever could help children took them down,” she added. “I myself helped two children of the residents there and I took them downstairs – everyone was just running quickly.”
Moments earlier, the Israeli army, which has been bombarding Gaza for six straight days, had given a telephone warning that residents had just an hour to evacuate the building before its fighter jets attacked it.
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout also had to move quickly. He and his colleagues “started to collect as much as they could, from the personal and equipment of the office – especially the cameras”, al-Kahlout said.
But more time was needed.
Just give me 15 minutes,” an AP journalist pleaded over the phone with an Israeli intelligence officer. “We have a lot of equipment, including the cameras, other things,” he added from outside the building. “I can bring all of it out.”
Jawad Mahdi, the building’s owner, also tried to buy more time.
“All I’m asking is to let four people … to go inside and get their cameras,” he told the officer. “We respect your wishes, we will not do it if you don’t allow it, but give us 10 minutes.”
“There will be no 10 minutes,” the officer replied. “No one is allowed to enter the building, we already gave you an hour to evacuate.”
When the request was rejected, Mahdi said: “You have destroyed our life’s work, memories, life. I will hang up, do what you want. There is a God.”
Customary International law requires the response of a state nominally acting in self defence to be proportionate to the threat. The deliberate targeting of a tower containing civilians and two media organizations cannot be considered proportionate to any threat.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that a war crime includes “intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives”. Directing an attack on news media would appear to fall squarely within that definition.