Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The Daily War Crime: Disproportion in Gaza's 'Final' Casualty Count Should Be A War Crime Itself
With hundreds of wounded in a place with inadequate medical facilities even in “normal” times, more Gazans are bound to die from wounds inflicted by Israeli bombs, rockets, missiles, mortar shells and bullets, even if humanitarian groups like MSF and the Red Crescent can ramp up their work and get the medical supplies they need. But here, above is a preliminary “final” casualty count, "provisionally final" to be more precise, and it is appalling to look at even before this estimate undergoes its inevitable rise.
Yes Hamas is cynical. And yes, Israel has a right to defend itself. But the casualty count is so disproportionate that it incriminates the Jewish state just by the numbers alone. Gaza suffered close to 1900 dead, Israel 64. If you take out the combatants, the numbers are even more bald. Estimates of the civilian percentage of the Gazan dead run from 70% to 90%. At a split-the-difference 80% that comes out to about 1500, rounding low. 1500 civilians killed by the world's sixth most powerful army compared to the 4 civilians---3 Israeli citizens and one Thai guest worker--- killed by Hamas’s crude rocket arsenal.
1500 to 4. Not exactly a fair fight.
And that’s not even getting into the aftermath: The street carnage reminiscent of Berlin in 1945; the traumatized children; the exhausted old; the half million DP’s.
I have a sense we’re going to see formal charges of Israeli war crimes, probably before the International Criminal Court, which will be a first. It’ll be interesting to see whether the US extends Israel the diplomatic protections that it has historically extended at the UN, and whether it seeks to do the same at the ICC.
The $64 Question here is whether the US might “share” its signals intelligence on Israel's Operation Protective Edge, which could provide a skeleton key to the decisions made by Israeli military as the operation played out both in command and control bunkers in Israel proper and in the field. My intelligence sources tell me that the NSA, the DIA and especially Naval Intelligence have been monitoring the Israelis quite closely. Which means they have at their disposal a digest of command orders on an hour by hour, day by day basis that could, if shared with international prosecutors, wind up presenting a number of Israeli political and military leaders with pretty powerful briefs against them.
If pictures like this don't pierce the conscience of Israeli leaders and their pro Israel enablers in the Israel lobby here, they might come to complicate Israel's international legal stature---and legitimacy.