Israel Appoints Head of War Crime Defense Team

Daniel Friedman

Daniel Friedman

Israel has appointed Justice Minister Daniel Friedman as head of the war crime defense team should charges be raised in regards to methods used during military attacks in Gaza.

According to Al-Jazeera a confirmation of this report was made by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israel Prime Minister. Regev says that Friedman would lead the “inter-ministerial team to co-ordinate legal defense for civilians and military.”

Israel has come under criticism from the international community for using excessive force in densely populated civilian areas during aerial, naval, ground, and coastal assaults.

Eight Israeli human rights groups have described the number of civilian deaths as “terrifying.”

2 Jn - Jerusalem, Israel. A demonstration of Israeli citizens against the war in Gaza by Castaldo

2 Jan - Jerusalem, Israel. A demonstration of Israeli citizens against the war in Gaza by Castaldo

Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Expert, says that there is evidence that Israel violated humanitarian law by launching offensive “against an essentially defenseless population.”

Gaza medics reported the death toll as 1,330 with over 5,450  injured. About 65% of the deaths by Israeli fire since attacks began in Gaza on 27 December were civilian, including 400 children. Health workers estimate over 400,000 children will develop post traumatic stress disorder as a result.

According to The Guardian, the reported death toll in Israeli is 13, of which 3 were civilians. In the past 8 years, 20 Israelis have died by rocket and mortar attacks launched from Gaza.

53 United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) buildings were damaged or destroyed by Israeli military, including 37 schools (six which were also emergency shelters), six health centers, and two warehouses.

After Math of Israeli Attack on UN School (photo by Wafa via imemc.org)

After Math of Israeli Attack on UN School (photo by Wafa via imemc.org

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, accuses Israel of excessive force, and is demanding that those responsible for damage  to UNRWA installations be held accountable. Israel has banned publication of the military leaders who fought Hamas in Gaza.

Israel accuses Hamas of hiding behind civilians, firing from UN buildings, and insists it has done it’s best to limit civilian casualties.

If it is proven that white phosphorus, and Dense Inert Metal Explosive (Dime) weapons were used, Israel could be found guilty of breaking international law (which forbids the use of white phosphorus within densely civilian populated areas).

White phosphorus is legal when targets are clearly separated an all precautions can be made to avoid civilian injury and death.

to see real time incident reports: http://labs.aljazeera.net/warongaza/

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200912315512265804.html

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