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ed by an Israeli sharpshooter, shows the picture of a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly. The slogan on the shirt was: "One shot, 2 kills". The pictures of the soldiers wearing these shirts have been published worldwide. The Guardian released three documentary films on the carnage in Gaza on March 22. The films, by Clancy Chassay, provide more graphic evidence on the atrocities the IDF committed against civilians. The footage shows Palestinian teenagers being used as human shields, white phosphorus being deployed against hospitals and schools, and drones being used in the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, including women and children. One family, the Samunis, lost 29 members after Israeli soldiers forced them into a building, which they then targeted.

White phosphorus

In the last week of March, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) added its voice to the rising international demands that Israel be investigated for war crimes. A report released by the HRW says that Israel fired munitions "deliberately or recklessly" over densely populated areas. The HRW also calls for international investigations into Israel's use of white phosphorus during the offensive. The report points out that the chemical ignites on contact with oxygen and can burn away flesh from the bone. The report emphasises that the use of white phosphorus was in "violation of the laws of war". The HRW has urged the U.N. to conduct speedy investigations on the use of white phosphorus and asked the U.S. to stop all military aid to Israel. Dr. Nassif Abu Shaaban, working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital, told Al Jazeera that many bodies with burns were brought in. "Complete families came to us, burned to death," said Shabaan. Israel initially denied using white phosphorus but in the face of overwhelming evidence the IDF said that it would conduct an internal investigation into the "improper" use of the chemical. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the IDF's Chief of Staff, has said that his "moral army" would never intentionally harm Palestinian civilians. Amira Haas, the Haaretz correspondent who has been reporting from the occupied territories for years, wrote in the third week of March that one of the rules of Israeli military engagement during the Gaza assault was "Open fire also upon rescue". According to her report, a handwritten note in Hebrew detailing this instruction was found in a house in Gaza that was occupied by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead. Many reports during the military operation described IDF soldiers shooting at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers. As a result, many of the injured civilians and the dead could not be evacuated. Hundreds of Palestinians are reported to have bled to death for lack of medical attention. Bodies lay unattended for up to two weeks in Gaza.

Only the Barack Obama administration has seen it fit to jump to Israel's defence. The U.S. State Department's spokesperson, echoing the views of the Israeli government, has characterised Falk's report as "biased". At the height of the war, the U.S. abstained from voting on the resolution calling for an "immediate and durable" ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. But the George W. Bush administration had no compunctions about the bloodletting by the Israeli forces. Much of the weaponry for the IDF was any way of American origin, paid for by the American taxpayer. However, Israel seems to have been finally put on notice by the international community. A group of 16 judges and legal luminaries – most of them former members of war crimes' tribunals formed to try those responsible for crimes against humanity in Rwanda, East Timor and Yugoslavia – have written an open letter, "Find the Truth about the Gaza War", to the U.N. Secretary-General and the Security Council. It urges the formation of an international commission to investigate the violation of international law by "both sides". The judges declared that the events in Gaza "have shocked us to the core". The letter demands that the proposed commission "provide recommendations as to the appropriate prosecution of those responsible for gross violation of the law" in Gaza.



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