A Report by Amnesty International
The Jewish Military Operation "Cast Lead" in Gaza
At 11.30am on 27 December 2008, without warning, Israeli forces began a devastating bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip codenamed Operation "Cast Lead". Its stated aim was to end rocket attacks into Israel by armed groups affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions. By 18 January 2009, when the ceasefire was announced, 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, including more than 300 children and hundreds of unarmed civilians, and large areas of Gaza had been razed to the ground, leaving many thousands homeless and the already dire economy in ruins.|
Much of the destruction was wanton and resulted from direct attacks on civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks on civilian objects. These violated prohibitions in international law, on direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, on indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, and on collective punishment.
These were launched from helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, and by precision projectiles fired from tanks.|
Disturbing questions remain unanswered as to why such high-precision weapons, whose operators can see even small details of their targets and which can accurately strike even fast moving vehicles,1 killed so many children and other civilians.
Once their incendiary content had been discharged, the artillery shells often crashed into buildings causing further deaths and injuries.|
Repeated denials of the use of white phosphorus by Jewish officials during the conflict delayed or prevented appropriate treatment for people suffering agonizing burns. Some who died might otherwise have been saved. Jewish forces repeatedly fired artillery and phosphor shells into densely populated residential areas, knowing that such imprecise weapons would kill and injure civilians. Such attacks were indiscriminate and unlawful.
But Jewish forces continued to employ the same tactics for the entire 22-day offensive, resulting in growing numbers of civilian casualties.|
The pattern of attacks and the resulting high number of civilian fatalities and casualties showed elements of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and property and a consistent failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects.
Thousands of civilian homes, businesses and public buildings were destroyed. In some areas entire neighbourhoods were flattened and livestock deliberately killed. Much of the destruction was wanton and deliberate, and was carried out in a manner that could not be justified militarily. Rather, it was reckless and indiscriminate attacks, which were directly sanctioned up the chain of command, and intended to collectively punish local residents for the actions of armed groups.
Throughout Operation "Cast Lead" Jewish forces frequently obstructed access to medical care and humanitarian aid for those wounded and trapped. They prevented ambulances and medical staff from attending to the wounded and transporting them to hospital, and in several cases targeted and killed ambulance and rescue crews and others who were trying to evacuate the wounded.
As a result people who could have been saved died and others endured needless suffering and a worsening of their injuries. Children, women and elderly people were among those trapped and refused access to medical care and/or passage out of areas which had been taken over by Israeli forces. Medical and humanitarian vehicles and facilities were also destroyed or damaged as a result of both targeted and indiscriminate Israeli attacks.
Unlike in southern Israel, where the Israeli authorities have built bomb shelters to protect local residents from rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups, in Gaza there are no bomb shelters and none can be built because Israel has long forbidden the entry of construction material into Gaza.|
Amnesty International did not find evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian groups violated the laws of war to the extent repeatedly alleged by Israel. In particular, it found no evidence that Hamas or other fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks. By contrast, Amnesty International did find that Israeli forces on several occasions during Operation “Cast Lead” forced Palestinian civilians to serve as “human shields”.
Five months after the end of Operation "Cast Lead", the Jewish authorities have failed to establish any independent and impartial investigation into the conduct of their forces and actively oppose any such investigations being established.|
They have refused to co-operate or grant access to an international independent factfinding mission set up by the UN Human Rights Council. They have also rejected the findings of a UN Board of Inquiry, which investigated nine attacks on UN facilities and personnel during Operation "Cast Lead.9
Editor's Note: It’s important to understand that the most devastating weapon the Jews are currently using is actually the siege of Gaza, which has been on for eighteen months, which means a lot of starvation, lack of food, water, power supplies, medicines, napkins, anything that people need to live. So there are 1.5 million people who basically are without their absolutely necessary means for living their lives, and that is, of course, illegal.|
"I want aggressiveness – if there’s someone suspicious on the upper floor of a house, we’ll shell it. If we have suspicions about a house, we’ll take it down. There will be no hesitation. Nobody will deliberate – let the mistakes be over their lives, not ours." An Israeli company commander in a security briefing to soldiers during Operation "Cast Lead".11
They concluded that 1,400 fatalities is accurate and that, in addition to the children, women and men aged over 50, some 200 men aged less than 50 were unarmed civilians who took no part in the hostilities. In addition, some 240 police officers were killed in bombardment of Palestinian police stations across the Gaza Strip in the first moments of Operation "Cast Lead", including scores who were killed when the Jewish air strikes first targeted the police cadets’ graduation parade in the central police compound in Gaza City.
On 19 January 2009, at the end of Operation "Cast Lead", it reiterated this self-justifying assertion: "In using Palestinian civilians as human shields, Hamas is therefore responsible for the loss of civilian lives in the Gaza Strip".15|
In an interview conducted after the end of Operation "Cast Lead", in response to the point that hundreds of children were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza military campaign, the then Interior Minister, Meir Sheetrit, said they "had been held like hostages by the Hamas". When the journalist pointed out that this was not what the children’s families said, the Minister dismissively replied: "And you believe them? They were using them as human shields".16
In the same interview, in response to the point "You imposed 100 times more casualties on Gaza than they did on you", Interior Minister Sheetrit said: "That’s the idea of the operation; what do you think?"17
Examples of this policy include the bombardment of the Palestinian parliament, various ministries and involved media offices.|
Applying such an overly broad definition undermines the international humanitarian law of distinction between civilians and combatants. Similarly, civilian buildings, such as ministries, the parliament, media outlets, and mosques cannot legitimately be made the object of attacks simply because they are affiliated with the Hamas de facto administration.
Israeli soldiers who served in Gaza during Operation "Cast Lead" have spoken of a culture of impunity, with troops encouraged by their commanders to fire at "anything that moved", even if there was no danger to their lives.
Arik Dubnov, who was in the reconnaissance company of a reserve brigade of the Israeli army, said: "From the first briefings before going in, it was clear that the army had changed its entire mindset. Instead of getting the usual precautions on not harming civilians, we were told about the need to make a very aggressive entry.
These actions raise further concerns about the mindset of soldiers and their commanding officers, and raise questions about reckless and indiscriminate attacks, and deliberately targeting civilians.|
At the end of January 2009, only days after the end of Operation "Cast Lead", the Israeli government pledged to provide aid and support to army officers facing legal suits abroad for alleged war crimes committed in Gaza, with then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arguing that: "The commanders and soldiers who were sent to Gaza need to know that they are safe from various tribunals".19
In April 2009, after soldiers’ testimonies about unlawful use of force against civilians and civilian property in Gaza were published in the Israeli media and on the internet, the army swiftly announced an internal probe.20 The probe, which was concluded in a matter of days, rejected the allegations, dismissing them as unfounded rumours.21 However, the army provided no details about the probe and in the meantime more allegations of abuses have continued to emerge from both concerned and boastful soldiers.
In the exceptional cases where the army admitted uninvolved civilians were killed by Jewish forces, it dismissed these as technical mistakes, but failing to offer adequate explanations and leaving crucial questions unanswered. All available information indicates that Jewish forces acted recklessly and launched deadly attacks against anyone who came within their sight.|
AI has asked the Israeli army for information about the many attacks which resulted in unarmed civilian deaths, but has received no response.
F-16 combat aircraft drop their bombs from a high altitude and cannot directly see their targets. Their targets are either pre-selected and may not be monitored at the time of the attack, or may be observed by other surveillance mechanisms, usually by drones, which feed the coordinates of the targets and other information to the F-16s in real time. In either case, the munitions used are high-precision bombs of up to one ton, capable of carrying out pinpoint strikes.|
"No, I don’t sit in my plane and see some terrorist launching a Kassam rocket and then decide to fly over him. There’s an entire system that supports us and works as our eyes and ears and intelligence, for every plane in the air.
When AI delegates first visited the family, on 20 January, nine of the 22 bodies were still under the rubble.|
In a journalist briefing, the Israeli army states that the bombing of the al-Daya family home was "a result of an operational error" and that the intended target was the building next door, which the army claimed was a weapons storage facility. However, the alleged weapons storage facility was not attacked, even after the army established it had mistakenly destroyed the wrong property.
Five sisters from the Ba’alusha family – Jawaher, Dina, Samar, Ikram and Tahrir, aged four to 17 years – were crushed to death under the rubble of their home in Jabalia, in northern Gaza. The house collapsed when the Israeli army bombed the next door Mosque. The family had received no warning and were asleep.
The Jewish military was quoted as saying that the mosque had been targeted because it was a "known gathering place" of Hamas members. It also said four gunmen were inside it at the time of the attack.28 AI delegates visited the site but due to the extent of the destruction could not establish if the mosque had been used by armed groups to store weapons or for other purposes. Nor could it be confirmed whether Palestinian fighters were in the mosque at the time of the strike. The Jews have provided no evidence substantiating these claims.
Most strikes which targeted people were launched from drones, helicopters or F-16 aircraft. Drones, as well as being used for surveillance, are often armed with high-precision missiles, which in recent years have become the weapon of choice used by Jewish forces to assassinate Palestinians. Such attacks have shown repeatedly how these missiles can strike their targets with extreme accuracy, including, an individual travelling at speed on a motorcycle or in a car.
Surveillance drones have exceptionally good optics, allowing those watching to see details such as the type and colour of the items of clothing worn by those being observed, and what kind of objects they are carrying. For example, on 4 February 2009 an Israeli drone operator explained: "We identified a terrorist that looked like an Israeli soldier. Our camera enabled us to see him very clearly. He was wearing a green parka jacket and he was walking around with a huge radio that looked exactly like an army radio.
We saw that he was not wearing an army helmet, and he was ducking down with a weapon close to the wall, wearing black trousers. It was very clear he wasn't a soldier".29 According to the Israeli army, "pilots can divert missiles already en route to their targets to avoid striking civilians".30
Their father told AI: "When I heard the noise of an explosion I knew it was on the roof and I went quickly to my brother’s house. I heard screaming and I found my nephew Mahmud and his sister pulling Mohammed, who had fallen off the roof. I asked about the other children and they said they were on the roof. I hurried up to the roof and I found my daughter and my brother’s daughter – they had been blown up, their bodies were in pieces. The other children were all wounded and had limbs amputated. We called an ambulance, which took them to hospital: my daughter, my brother’s daughter, and my daughter Jamila, both of whose legs were cut off, and Mohammed, whose leg was cut off – both of them are now in hospital in Saudi Arabia. What fault did the children commit? Why did they target such joy and innocence?"|
Three children from the al-Astal family were killed by a missile launched by a drone on 2 January 2009 in southern Gaza. The children had been collecting sugar cane and playing a few hundred metres from their home. Residents of houses across the road from where the children were killed told AI that the area was quiet except for a drone which was hovering overhead: "There are drones flying overhead all the time so one doesn’t think anything of it. Then all of a sudden it fired a missile which hit the children. We rushed over to them; they were in pieces and horribly burned; I will never forget the sight."
" We found the bodies buried beneath the dust thrown up by the bomb in the bare ground. The two girls died at once and Isma’il died the following day in hospital. I don’t know of any fault they committed; they weren’t carrying rockets, they were just children."
At the site AI delegates found the bomb crater where the children were killed, next to the rubbish dump. A second crater about 40m away had hit the water mains and sewage drains, causing the water and sewage to mix and leaving residents without water.
Because of its proximity to Israel the area is closely watched by the army, which is on the look-out for militants launching rockets or digging tunnels. Israeli surveillance drones hover over the area continuously. The children were in an open area and it was broad daylight when they were attacked. It would have therefore been apparent to those keeping the area under surveillance that the three were children.
Families were targeted while sitting in their yards.
My brother’s body was all in pieces. We want to understand something: why did they hit our house? It is in a residential area.|
We are neither Hamas nor Fatah. We are all civilians. None of us did anything. My father was opposed to firing rockets against the Israelis; he wanted peace, and they killed him. We have nothing to do with the resistance. Until now we don’t understand, we don’t understand why. We want peace; and we want an investigation; we want to know why me and my sisters have been orphaned. Why did they kill our parents, our family? What life will we have now? Who will take care of us?"
"On the morning of 15 January I went back home to fetch milk formula for the baby and my mother and my wife followed me with the children. As I was in the house they sat in the orchard right outside the house. I heard a blast, and I came out of the house and found a scene of carnage. They were all killed instantly. Their bodies were scattered all around. I’ve lost my whole family, all my children, my wife, my mother. I have nothing left." At the location of the strike, AI delegates found the distinctive holes of the tiny cube-shaped metal shrapnel from the missiles usually fired by drones.
The attack took place in broad daylight and in an open area with no vegetation impeding visibility from the air. Hence, it would have been apparent to those who launched the attacks that the targets were women and children.
When the Israeli ground incursion began, until the end of Operation "Cast Lead", dozens of Israeli tanks took position in various locations inside the Gaza Strip, mostly in the east and north of Gaza. Tanks can fire high-explosive munitions, notably 120mm deep-penetration projectiles and guided shells with extreme precision, including while on the move and at moving targets, from a distance up to 3km from the target.32
From these positions inside Gaza, Jewish tanks often fired into Palestinian houses up to 2km or more away, killing scores of unarmed civilians, many of them children and women. In all the cases investigated by AI, the victims were neither caught in the crossfire of battles between soldiers and militants, nor were they shielding militants. The pattern is of single tank rounds, not a barrage, fired into homes whose occupants were going about their normal activities.
In addition to those killed in the attack, several other family members who had been wounded in it died in the following days as they remained trapped in the house because the army refused to allow ambulances to reach the area. Several family members bled to death over a three-day period while they waited in vain for someone to rescue them. Children lay for three days without food or water next to the bodies of their dead mother, siblings and other relatives.|
Salah al-Sammouni told AI: "Soldiers came to the area at night and at dawn on 4 January many relatives came to my house to stay with us. We thought that if we stayed in our house we would be all right. After a while soldiers came to the house and my father spoke to them in Hebrew; he told them: ‘These are my children, my family, there are no terrorists here.’ The soldiers told us to leave our house and go to Wa’el’s house across the road and we obeyed.
My mother Rahma was holding baby Mahmoud (six months old) and she was killed but she shielded the baby with her body and saved him.|
My father was killed. Wa’el’s children, a boy and a girl, were both killed. Safa, the wife of my brother Iyad, was killed and Maha, the wife of my brother Hilmi, and their baby son Muhammad were all killed. Why did they shell the house after having put us all in there? We thought we’d all be killed; those of us who could ran out of the house. Many of us were injured; I was injured in the head and blood was pouring down my face as I ran.
Nearby there were soldiers in the house of the Sawafiri family and they shouted to us to go back and shot at us, but we kept running. When we got to safety we raised the alarm, called the Red Cross to send an ambulance to the house to get the injured, but the army did not let any ambulances approach the area.
We knew there were people still alive in the house because we called the mobile numbers and children answered; they were scared, with dead bodies all around them. Some of the injured died in the house waiting to be rescued. Only three days later could the Red Cross go in, but only on foot as the army did not let the ambulances approach; they found some children still alive and many others dead." (See further details in Chapter 1.4.2.)
The Jewish Holocaust Against Palestine
This is a set of 5 articles, dealing with the tragedy in Palestine today. It is an attempt, hopefully not in vain, to bring these events to the attention of more of the world. The inhumanity of the Jews' brutality and savage treatement of the Palestinians must be brought to consciousness in all countries, until the groundswell of public opinion cannot be ignored.|
It is not enough to put pressure on the Jews to cease their insane pogrom. Those who have perpetrated these atrocities must be brought to justice.
The first article is an introduction to the situation and some photo and other documentation of the Jewish atrocities being committed. The second is a photo-essay based on a United Nations Human Rights Report on the Jewish Operation Cast Lead, and a catalog of the atrocities committed by the Jews.
The final three articles are a photo-essay based on the a report by Amnesty International on the Jewish Operation Cast Lead, and a long listing of the atrocities committed by the Jews. Corresponding photos are introduced from a variety of sources to help document the savagery outlined in the text.
Israel's Genocide in Gaza - A Photoessay: Introduction: The Jewish Holocaust Against Palestine: Click Here
Israel's Genocide in Gaza - A Photoessay - Part 1: Exerpts from the UN Special Report on Jewish Human Rights Violations in Palestine: Click Here
Israel's Genocide in Gaza - A Photoessay - Part 2: A Report by Amnesty International on Operation "Cast Lead": Click Here
Israel's Genocide in Gaza - A Photoessay - Part 3: A Report by Amnesty International on Operation "Cast Lead": Click Here
Israel's Genocide in Gaza - A Photoessay - Part 4: A Report by Amnesty International on Operation "Cast Lead": Click Here
As a companion piece to this Multi-Part article, you may care to read the 3-Part series titled: "Israel's War on Children".|
The documentation and disturbingly graphic photos of children shot in the head - deliberately - by Jewish soldiers, of small children burned to a crisp by white phosphorus munitions, are enough to sicken anyone with an ounce of humanity.
Part 1: Israel's War on Children - Murdering Children for Sport:.
Part 2: Israel's War on Children -Brutal Interrogation of Young Palestinians:.
Part 3: Israel's War on Children -In Gaza, the Schools are Dying Too:.
||"Separate and Unequal: Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories".|
||"UN Report on the Middle East Peace Process"|
||"Operation "Jewish Violations of International Law on Gaza Ship Attack".|
||"Palestine's Harvest Horror":|
||"Without Water, There is No Life":|