Public Comment

Israel’s War Crimes

Jagjit Singh
Friday August 23, 2019 - 04:41:00 PM

Jane Ferguson, one of the most courageous and trusted reporters in the world, was on assignment in Gaza for the PBS Newshour and filed a most disturbing report.

For the past several months Palestinians in Gaza have protested their appalling conditions along the border fence with Israel. For the most part the protests have been peaceful but international observers have reported devastating injuries inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli sniper fire. Many have suffered broken legs which appear to be a deliberate effort to inflict maximum pain and injury.

A staggering seven thousand have been shot by the Israeli army while taking part in protests in the last 15 months. Dozens have lost a limb. 

On May 14, 2018, Gazans took part in a march of return to demonstrate for the right to return to their family's ancestral homes inside Israel, homes their forbearers were forced to flee when Israel was formed in 1948. The Gaza Strip has been under blockade by Israel since June 2007. It is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with nearly two million people packed into a sliver of land 25 miles long and five miles wide. Unemployment is at a staggering 52 percent, leaving young men helpless and desperate. 

Palestinians have long declared Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. That hope was dashed by the autocratic Donald Trump who “gifted” the city to Israel. Prior U.S. administrations stated unequivocally that Jerusalem would stay neutral pending final negotiations. During the peaceful protests 73 Palestinians were killed and 2,500 injured almost all in the legs. As lead surgeon in Gaza's main hospital, Dr. Adnan Al Borsh told Jane Ferguson that the hospital was overwhelmed unable to cope with all the injured. Lack of instruments, antibiotics and anesthesia intensified the suffering of the injured and resulted in complete fatigue of the medical staff, some of who were also shot and killed.  

It was the nature of the wounds that most disturbed Dr. Al Borsh. The bullets measured 1 centimeter on entry but exploded more than 15 to 20 centimeters on exit inflicting enormous damage shattering everything in their path forcing surgeons to amputate limbs. Doctors Without Borders surgeons made similar observations.  

Many of the snipers were recorded laughing while shooting at unarmed protestors. This massacre seemed to be a carefully orchestrated effort to terrorize the population to a state of impotence. As Israel’s largest supplier of military aid, America is complicit in these war crimes.  

Saleh Hijazi who heads Amnesty International in Israel and the Palestinian territories stated, “The willful cause of injury and death is a war crime and therefore Israel has violated international law.” In another damning report, the United Nations' independent commission of inquiry stated “the Israeli military sniping at protesters was unlawful and unjustified, and should be referred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague”. Unless members of Congress and the American public raise their collective voices and demand an immediate halt to all military and economic aid to Israel, these crimes will continue. Finally, we must demand Israel lift the siege of Gaza and end its suffocating occupation.