Israel used the disappearance of a soldier in Gaza 1 as a pretext to kill 225 Palestinians over a three-day period last summer, a new study suggests. On 1 August last year, the Israeli military reported that one of its lieutenants, Hadar Goldin 2 , had gone missing in the Rafah area 3 , close to Gaza s border with Egypt 4 . Israel s response was one of shooting at anything and anybody, according to an analysis 5 published this week by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq 6 .
Rafah came under attack from the ground, sea and air. Most of the 225 Palestinians who died were killed on the first day. By 3 August, a total of 2,579 houses in Rafah had been destroyed completely or partially.
Israel reportedly invoked the Hannibal directive 7 after learning that Goldin had gone missing. That procedure allows the military to kill one of its own soldiers in order to prevent his or her capture by resistance fighters. The assault on Rafah took place at a time when a temporary ceasefire was supposed to have been in place.
More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed during Israel s 51-day attack on Gaza 8 in July and August. The Al-Haq study demonstrates that civilians bore the brunt of the attack. More than 43,500 families were affected by the destruction of homes.
Around 125,000 children lived in those homes. Mosques targeted It also suggests that Israel deliberately targeted hospitals and places of worship. A total of 61 mosques were completely destroyed and 121 partially destroyed, it says.
Seven health facilities were destroyed completely and 27 partially. Seven schools were also completely destroyed and 57 suffered serious damage. And the report states that facilities for children of pre-school age were attacked, too.
Of those facilities, eight were destroyed completely and 44 partially. A total of 556 Palestinian children were killed during the 51 days. Al-Haq accuses Israel of pursuing a divide and conquer strategy.
Earlier in 2014, Hamas 9 , which has been administering Gaza, and Fatah 10 , which controls the Palestinian Authority 11 in the occupied West Bank 12 , had agreed to form a unity government. After making plain its hostility 13 towards that agreement, Israel launched military operations in both the West Bank and Gaza. The timing of these offensives and their indiscriminate nature indicates they were punitive and motivated by Palestinian reconciliation, according to Al-Haq.
The attacks formed part of Israel s over-arching policy of separating Gaza from the West Bank with the desired end-goal of conquering both, the group says. Al-Haq refuses to accept Israeli assurances that it tried to spare civilians by giving them advanced notice of bombings. Perhaps the most infamous method of providing such warnings is known as a knock on the roof 14 .
It involves an initial bombing of a home as a precursor to a larger and deadlier attack. Five minute warning According to Al-Haq, all bombings of homes amounted to an attack on civilian life and infrastructure. Such warnings also did not absolve Israel of its responsibilities under international law.
Civilians are not obliged to leave their homes once a warning is received. And knocking on the roof showed no mercy towards vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children or people with disabilities. In some cases, there was a very short gap between a knock on the roof warning and a larger attack.
In one such bombing in the Khan Younis 15 area, the gap was only five minutes. A pregnant woman and her one-year-old daughter were killed in that incident. Israel had claimed that the objective of sending ground troops into Gaza was to destroy underground tunnels used by Palestinian fighters.
Al-Haq argues that it is unlikely the existence of such tunnels would have provided Israel with an overriding imperative reason to uproot hundreds of thousands of people. With only ten tunnels reportedly found by 20 July, the displacement of civilians was grossly disproportionate to any direct military advantage gained, Al-Haq adds. For that reason, it can be viewed as a form of collective punishment 16 , something that is forbidden under international law.
The new study provides solid evidence that Israel committed crimes against humanity last summer.
Hopefully, it will boost efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court 17 .
References ^ Gaza (electronicintifada.net) ^ Hadar Goldin (electronicintifada.net) ^ Rafah area (electronicintifada.net) ^ Egypt (electronicintifada.net) ^ analysis (www.alhaq.org) ^ Al-Haq (electronicintifada.net) ^ Hannibal directive (electronicintifada.net) ^ attack on Gaza (electronicintifada.net) ^ Hamas (electronicintifada.net) ^ Fatah (electronicintifada.net) ^ Palestinian Authority (electronicintifada.net) ^ West Bank (electronicintifada.net) ^ hostility (www.nytimes.com) ^ knock on the roof (electronicintifada.net) ^ Khan Younis (electronicintifada.net) ^ collective punishment (electronicintifada.net) ^ International Criminal Court (electronicintifada.net)
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Israel used “disappearance” of soldier as pretext for killing spree …
In 1974 s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, we finally have an account of George Smiley as a full-fledged intelligence officer after thirteen years on the scene. In the first two novels of the series Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962) Smiley functioned more as detective that could have easily fit into a G.K. Chesterton Father Brown mystery as he pieced clues together to solve murders.
Entertaining, mind you, but not the sort of exploits you expect from a master spy. In the groundbreaking The Spy Who Came in From the Cold 1 (1963), the door was cracked open a little farther and we see him functioning as a puppeteer of sorts pulling the surreptitious strings to bring down a communist agent. The Looking Glass War 2 (1965) is almost a footnote; Smiley makes what amounts to an extended cameo that his creator John Le Carr concedes (in a 1991 forward to the then latest paperback) was miscast.
It would be a nine-year break between Glass War and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but Le Carr wasn t resting, and he delivered in a very big way. Tinker Tailor opens in late 1973 with a discredited Smiley forcibly resigned from The Circus along with his boss and mentor Control (who soon after dies from natural complications), after a mission goes horribly wrong an assignment Smiley had helped shepherd involving an agent named Jim Prideaux being shot and apprehended by Russian soldiers and then later tortured. Smiley now fritters his days longing for his wayward wife, Lady Ann, and fearing that one day, out of a past so complex that he himself could not remember all the enemies he might have made, one of them would find him and demand the reckoning.
The man who comes calling is a former subordinate and friend named Peter Guillam who still works for The Circus though in a more limited capacity, or, as he explains it, that under lateralism our autonomy is cut to the bone. The motive for Guillam s visit: a field agent named Ricki Tarr a scalp-hunter whose job is to recruit foreign agents and flip them for British intelligence falls in love with a woman named Irina who claims she has information on a mole codenamed Gerald who is at the very top of The Circus. Irina tells Tarr, Have you heard of Karla?
He is an old fox, the most cunning in the centre, the most secret; even his name is not a name that Russians understand. But before London can bring her in for further debriefing she s snatched away by the Russians. Tarr, on the run, eventually turns to Guillam and Oliver Lacon (who oversees the spy services) with Irina s information.
Now with a traitor in the mists and with no one else to turn to, Smiley is recruited for the hardest assignment of them all: to spy on the spies. Smiley s first order of business is instructing Guillam to swipe a file labeled Testify to shed light on the night Jim Prideaux was captured but, not surprisingly, all data is scrubbed clean. Smiley and company then dig deeper with their methodical investigation operating on the fringe edges of the Circus community with leads and tips from former agents and contractors who were also brusquely dumped from active duty once the mole had gained traction and began burrowing.
Smiley unearths Operation: Witchcraft and a man known as Karla the one Irina had mentioned who is a Russian intelligence officer. Smiley establishes that Karla (who he had met years before) is controlling Gerald. But which head at the top of The Circus is Gerald and how deep do his tentacles run?
It s all here a dam bursting with all the spy genre greatness an aficionado craves and then some. Le Carr s novel was also a significant real-life cultural milestone. Similar to the aftermath of The Godfather that found real-life mobsters adapting the language of the Mario Puzo s creations, thanks to Tinker Tailor terms like scalphunters, Ferrets, Wranglers, and Lamplighters became the jargon of spy agencies on both sides of the Atlantic .
A 1979 BBC mini-series based on the book cast Sir Alec Guinness as Smiley further cementing this character as the ultimate spy. Of course, the only competition at the time was the cartoonish Moonraker featuring James Bond in outer space dodging lasers and battling an opponent with steel teeth. Competition is obviously too strong a word.
An additional strength of Tinker Tailor , really any Le Carr book (recent examples include The Constant Gardener , The Tailor of Panama ), is tantalizing supporting characters who have their own distinctive voices. Jim Prideaux, Peter Guillam, Ricki Tarr, etc., could have all been the main focus of their own novels. The fact that Le Carr juggles them so proficiently to enhance Smiley s finest hour is a testament to the writer s superlative gifts.
If The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is the greatest spy novel, as I ve previously asserted, then Tinker Tailor is certainly the top George Smiley adventure. An important literary masterstroke that s not to be overlooked for even those not normally appreciative of cloak and dagger novels. The novel transcends the genre.
And the good news is that Smiley was just getting started. The Honourable Schoolboy , Smiley s People , and his fitting coda, The Secret Pilgrim , lay ahead. Edward A.
Grainger aka David Cranmer is the editor/publisher of the BEAT to a PULP webzine and books and the recent anthology collection, The Lizard s Ardent Uniform and Other Stories .
3 4 Read all of Edward A.
Grainger’s posts for Criminal Element 5 .
References ^ The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (www.criminalelement.com) ^ The Looking Glass War (www.criminalelement.com) ^ BEAT to a PULP (www.beattoapulp.com) ^ The Lizard s Ardent Uniform and Other Stories. (www.amazon.com) ^ posts for Criminal Element (www.criminalelement.com)
LONDON Prince Harry is planning to leave the British armed forces later this year to focus on charity projects in Africa, the London Evening Standard newspaper reported Friday 1 . The 30-year-old has served two tours in Afghanistan but has decided to spend “a significant period abroad” and pursue his interests in “conservation and wildlife,” the paper’s veteran royal editor Robert Jobson wrote. NBC News was not immediately able to confirm the report.
The Evening Standard also said that Harry, who is known as Captain Harry Wales in the military, is also interested in focusing on programs helping injured military personnel. Harry chose a career in the military after undergoing officer training at the U.K.’s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Last year he launched the Invictus Games 2 , an Olympics-style sporting event based in London for people injured in the armed forces.
When contacted by NBC News, neither Kensington Palace nor the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) would confirm or deny the Evening Standard’s report. In an emailed statement, a palace spokesman said: “Prince Harry is currently focused on his work supporting the MoD’s recovery capability program to ensure those who are wounded injured or sick have appropriate recovery plans and the necessary support they require.” A senior British military source told NBC News that it was a logical time for Harry to consider his next step. The prince has 10 years’ military experience and his next promotion would be to major, which would require years of extra study and commitment.
Harry was frustrated at the start of his military career in 2005 by the decision not to deploy him to Iraq due to fears he would be targeted by insurgents. The decision not to expose him to front-line fighting was reversed when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. He operated in Helmand province as a forward air controller, calling in airstrikes.
His colleagues told NBC News at the time that he was very proficient. He served a second tour in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot. Harry has gained a great deal of respect in Britain by serving on the front line.
It has improved the public image of a prince who was seen as wayward at times. His father, Prince Charles, left the Royal Navy at 28, his brother Prince William left his job as an Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot at 31. NBC News’ Tracy Snyder contributed to this report.
First published February 27 2015, 5:08 AM Bill Neely Bill Neely is NBC News chief global correspondent. He joined NBC News from Britain ‘ s ITV News in January 2014. Neely was ITV News international editor for 11 years.
Over the course of 30 years in journalism, he has covered more than a dozen wars and conflicts from Northern Ireland to Syria, and has been embedded regularly with U.S. and British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union and he has reported more than a dozen natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, and the deadly earthquakes in China, Haiti, and Pakistan.
During his six years as ITV News Washington correspondent, which spanned the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton ‘ s first term, he covered key stories in the U.S.
such as the Oklahoma City bombings, the Atlanta Olympics, and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. He later closely followed the aftermath of 9/11 and, most recently, Superstorm Sandy. His reports from across the globe have earned many prestigious awards, including numerous Royal Television Society awards, an Emmy for coverage of the 2008 earthquake in China, and an unprecedented three consecutive BAFTA awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars, for his work in China, Haiti, and the U.K. …
Expand Bio 3 References ^ the London Evening Standard newspaper reported Friday (www.standard.co.uk) ^ the Invictus Games (www.nbcnews.com) ^ …
Expand Bio (www.nbcnews.com)
Prince Harry to Leave British Army, London Evening Standard …