New Zealand Herald | 04.11.2002 02:17
Amnesty report accuses Israeli military of war crimes, New Zealand Herald, November 4, 2002
"Amnesty International has accused the Israeli military of crimes against humanity and war crimes in its operations in the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus earlier this year, in a report published today. The report comes after Britain's Scotland Yard opened an investigation into Lieutenant-General Shaul Mofaz, who was head of the Israeli army until his retirement in July, on allegations of war crimes. Lt-Gen Mofaz over the weekend accepted a new job as Defence Minister in Ariel Sharon's government. The charges of war crimes are not going away, despite repeated attempts by the Israeli authorities to brush them under the carpet. Today's report includes detailed evidence that Israeli soldiers unlawfully killed Palestinians civilians, blocked medical access to the wounded, used Palestinians as human shields, tortured prisoners, and unnecessarily destroyed civilian houses. Many of these crimes are not isolated incidents, says Amnesty, but 'committed in a widespread and systematic manner, in pursuit of government policy', which means they can be prosecuted as crimes against humanity under the statute of the newly formed international criminal court. The report calls on the international community to bring those responsible to justice. Though it was Jenin that grabbed the world's attention after Israeli army bulldozers levelled an entire neighbourhood of more than 100 civilian houses, the city was not unique. In addition to the already
widely known witness accounts of atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Jenin in April, Amnesty's report describes similar crimes committed at the same time in another West Bank city, Nablus. Among the dead were eight members of a single family, the al-Shu'bis, who were buried alive when Israeli soldiers bulldozed their house on top of them, including three children, their pregnant mother and their 85-year-old grandmother.
The soldiers continued to demolish the house even though neighbours told them people were inside. The report quotes Ahmad al-Najjar, who told Amnesty: 'I saw the house tilt over. Without even thinking I yelled to the soldier in the bulldozer, 'Let the residents leave the house.' At this point the soldier came out of the bulldozer, took his weapon and started to fire in my direction.'"
New Zealand Herald