A very large delivery of US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” of “ammunition” is scheduled to sail to Israel. The size and nature of the shipments are described as “unusual”:
“Shipping 3,000-odd tons of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.
“This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.
“Shipping brokers in London who have specialized in moving arms for the British and U.S. military in the past said such ship charters to Israel were rare. (Reuters, Jan 10, 2009)
The Pentagon has entrusted a Greek merchant shipping company to deliver the weapons to Israel:
“The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.
The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.
A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.(Ibid)
It is worth noting that a similar unusually large shipment of US ordinance to Israel was scheduled in early December:
“Tender documents indicate that the German ship hired by the US in early December also carried a massive cargo of weapons that weighed over 2.6 million kg [2600 tons] and filled up to 989 standard 20-foot containers to Ashdod from North Carolina.” (Press TV, 10 Jan 2009)
Are These Large Shipments of Ordinance Connected to the Invasion of Gaza?
The request by the Pentagon to transport ordinance in a commercial vessel, according to Reuters, was made on December 31, 4 days after the commencement of the aerial bombings of Gaza by F16 Fighter jets.
Analysts have hastily concluded, without evidence, that the 2 shipments of “ammunition” were intended to supply Israel’s armed forces in support of its military invasion of Gaza.
“A senior military analyst in London who declined to be named said that, because of the timing, the shipments could be “irregular” and linked to the Gaza offensive.” (Reuters, January 10, 2009)
These reports are mistaken. Delivery of ordinance always precedes the onslaught of a military operation. The ordinance required under “Operation Cast Lead” was decided upon in June 2008. Further to Tel Aviv’s request under the US military aid program to Israel, the U.S. Congress approved in September 2008 the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster high precision GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39).
The GBU 39 smart bombs produced by Boeing were delivered to Israel in November. They were used in the initial air raids on Gaza:
“…The Israel Air Force has used the new lightweight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb acquired from the USA, in the recent attacks in Gaza. The [Jerusalem] Post mentioned the new weapons ordered last September having arrived last month [November], and already put to action with the IAF fighters. These weapons could have been deployed by the Boeing/IAF F-15Is, since sofar SDB is cleared for use only with this type of aircraft.
It is highly unlikely that the bulk of the weaponry included in these two large shipments, scheduled to arrive in Israel in late January, is intended to be used in Israel’s military operation in Gaza. The GBU-39 is lightweight (130 kg). The entire shipment of GBU 39s (1000 units) would be of the order of a modest 130 tons. In other words, the specifications of the GBU 39 do not match the description of the “unusually large” and “heavy” shipment of ordinance.
The shipment ordered on December 31 is of the order of 3000 tons, an unusually large and heavy cargo of “ammunition” pointing to the transfer of heavy weaponry to Israel.
According to US military statements, the ordinance is for stockpiling, to be used “at short notice” in the eventuality of a conflict:
“This previously scheduled shipment is routine and not in support of the current situation in Gaza. …The U.S. military pre-positions stockpiles in some countries in case it needs supplies at short notice.” (Reuters, 10 Jan 2009, emphasis added)
Whatever the nature of these large weapons shipments, they are intended for use in a future military operation in the Middle East.
Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term Operation Operation (TIRANNT) in May 2003, an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria has been envisaged. TIRANNT was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous official statements and US military documents have pointed to an expanded Middle East war.
What these shipments suggest is that the “escalation scenario” not only prevails, but has reached a more active stage in the process of US-Israeli military planning.
Whether these weapons will be used or not is not known. The central question, in this regard, is whether the Gaza invasion is part of a broader military adventure directed against Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in which heavier weaponry including US made bunker buster bombs will be used.
History of US Weapons Shipments to Israel
The stockpiling of US made bunker buster bombs by Israel has been ongoing since 2005:
“The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years.
Among the bombs the [Israeli] air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.
The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel’s qualitative advantage [against Iran], and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.” (Jewish Virtual Library: September 21-22, 2004, Haaretz / Jerusalem Post.)
The actual shipments of US made bunker buster bombs started in 2005. The US approved in April 2005, the delivery of:
some 5,000 “smart air launched weapons” including some 500 BLU 109 ‘bunker-buster bombs. The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than ‘adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster [a variant of the GBU 28]'” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Nuclear Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005)
The BLU-109 is smaller than the GBU 28. “It is a 2,000lbs warhead that can be used in combination with a GPS guidance kit […], and can penetrate up to 15 feet of fortified concrete.” (See F16.net)
In 2006 at the height of the Lebanon War in August 2006, a major shipment of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 bombs, according to the New York Times, was dispatched to Israel.
The GBU 28 is produced by Raytheon. It was used against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, has the the capability of penetrating some 20 feet of reinforced concrete. (Haaretz, 9 Nov 2008) In contrast to the GBU 39 smart bombs (130 kg) used against Gaza, each GBU-28 weighs a hefty 2.2 tons.
“The Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) is a special weapon developed for penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep underground. The GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided conventional munition that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead.” Federation of American Scientists,
(For a visual depiction see “Bob Sherman, How the GBU-28 works”, USA Today on-line.).
The recent unusually large shipments of weaponry to Israel are part of the 2004 agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, financed by US military aid to Israel.
As mentioned above, there is a history of delivery of bunker buster bombs (including the GBU 28), going back to 2005. While the nature and composition of these recent weapons shipments to Israel are not known, one suspects that they include the heavier version of the bunker buster bombs including the GBU-28.
In this regard, it is worth noting that last Summer, Israel requested the Pentagon to deliver GBU-28 bunker buster bombs. The stated purpose was to use them in the eventuality of a military operation directed against Iran.
In September 2008, according to US and Israeli press reports quoting Pentagon officials, Tel Aviv’s request was turned down. According to the reports, Washington categorically refused to deliver the shipment of GBU 28 bunker buster bombs, to be used to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Instead” Washington accepted to deliver the lightweight GBU-39 for use against Gaza.
The U.S. had “rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
The Americans viewed [Israel’s] request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran. In early September, Haaretz reported that the request had included GBU-28 “bunker-buster” bombs.
In mid-September, the U.S. agreed instead to sell Israel 1000 GBU-39 “bunker buster” bombs which Israeli military experts said “could provide a powerful new weapon” in Gaza, AP reported.
So: when Israel requested weapons that the U.S. expected would be used for bombing Iran, the U.S. said no, and added explicitly that it did not want to see an Israeli attack on Iran. And there was no Israeli attack on Iran. (Defense Update.com, December 2008)
The official statements and press reports are bogus. Israel and the US have always acted in close coordination. Washington does not “demand that Israel give them prior notice” of a military operation:
The report in Haaretz suggests that the Bush Administration was adamant and did not want the Israelis to attack Iran. In fact, the reports suggested that the US would shoot down Israeli planes, if they tried to attack Iran:
“Air-space authorization: An attack on Iran would apparently require passage through Iraqi air space. For this to occur, an air corridor would be needed that Israeli fighter jets could cross without being targeted by American planes or anti-aircraft missiles. The Americans also turned down this request. According to one account, to avoid the issue, the Americans told the Israelis to ask Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for permission, along the lines of “If you want, coordinate with him.” (Haaretz Nov 9, 2008)
This Israeli report is misleading. Israel is America’s ally. Military operations are closely coordinated. Israel does not act without Washington’s approval and the US does not shoot down the planes of its closest ally.
The Nature and Composition of the Recent US Weapons Shipments to Israel
These unusually large shipments of ordinance would normally require Congressional approval. To our knowledge, there is no public record of approval of the unusually large shipments of heavy “ammunition” to Israel.
The nature and composition of the shipments are not known. Was Israel’s request for the delivery of the 2.2 ton GBU 28 accepted by Washington, bypassing the US Congress? Are GBU 28 bombs, each of which weighs 2.2 tons part of the 3000 ton shipments to Israel. Are tactical bunker buster mini-nuclear bombs included in Israel’s arsenal? These are questions to be raised in the US Congress.
The two shipments of “ammunition” are slated to arrive in Israel, respectively no later than the 25th and 31st of January.
Secretary Robert Gates who remains at the helm of the Department of Defense ensures continuity in the military agenda.
Preparing for a Confrontation with Iran: Beefing Up Israel’s Missile Defense System
In early January, the Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new sophisticated X-band early warning radar system. This project is part of the military aid package to Israel approved by the Pentagon in September 2008:
“The Israeli government requested the system to help defend against a potential missile attack from Iran. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed off on the deployment order in mid-September. ….
Once fully operational, the system will be capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distance and at very high altitude, including space, according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials. It also will integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network.
“This will enable the Israelis to track medium- and long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to,” Morrell said. “It will … more than double the range of Israel’s missile defense radars and increase its available engagement time.”
This, he said, will greatly enhance Israel’s defensive capabilities. “There is a growing ballistic missile threat in the region, particularly from Iran,” Morrell said. “And no one in the region should feel more nervous about that threat than the Israelis. And they clearly do, and they have asked for our assistance.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009, emphasis added.)
The new X-band radar system ‘permits an intercept soon after launch over enemy instead of friendly territory” (Sen. Joseph Azzolina, Protecting Israel from Iran’s missiles, Bayshore News, December 26, 2008).
The X-band radar would “integrate Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network, which includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.” (Ibid)
What this means is that Washington calls the shots. The US rather than Israel would control the Air Defense system: ”This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.'” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009, emphasis added).
In other words, the US military controls Israel’s Air Defense system, which is integrated into the US global missile defense system. Under these circumstances, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without the consent of the US High Command.
The large shipments of US ordinance, slated to arrive in Israel after the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and Commander in Chief are part of the broader program of US-Israeli military cooperation in relation to Iran.
The reinforcement of Israel’s missile defenses combined with the large shipments of US weapons are part of an escalation scenario, which could lead the World under an Obama Administration into a broader Middle East war.
New Cold War?
There has been a military build on both sides. Iran has responded to the Israeli-US initiative, by beefing up it own missile defense system with the support of Russia. According to reports (December 21), Moscow and Tehran have been holding talks on the supply by Russia of “medium-range air defense systems – specifically, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems” (Asian Times, January 9, 2009)
I did post a story on this earlier:
US delivering more “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to Israel
So “why” does Israel need so many Weapons of Mass Destruction?
“Who” is paying for them? Their bank records should be examined to see who and how money is being “funneled” into the country to pay for weapons. Said money should be also stopped. Funding a “war criminal” is the same as funding a terrorist state, and is a crime. Check the “Patriot Act” I do believe it is all probably in there. Anyone could be funneling money into Israel for war toys. No different then Saddam in Iraq or any other terrorists/rogue state.
Banks could also be funding Israel as well, not to hard to launder money so it can be funneled into a terrorist/rogue state and if the US can go after Lloyds in England one could, go after money headed to Israel.
Banks like the one George Bushes grand-daddy worked for, gave money to Hitler and so did many other banks in the US. This of course was considered a crime then and is still a crime today.
Banks could fund terrorism and launder money just as well, if not better then anyone else. Maybe the banks are stealing “tax dollars” for bailouts to fund wars, for all we know.
Seems they don’t want to tell anyone, where the money from the bailouts, is going or to who.
Could they be doing what Georges grand-daddy did?
Could they be helping terrorists/rogue states. Sure they could. They did it before they may be doing it now. Where there is one, there is always more and do we trust banks these days? Especially the ones who so desperately needed bailout money. And now refuse to tell us where the money went and seems the Bank of America, is again asking for more Bailout money? Banks make money from war. Go figure.
Seems no one is really checking and those who have tryed got no answers. Maybe they are being naughty.
When there is no transparency, they could be doing anything. Banks and War have always gone hand in hand however.
Just a thought to ponder. Of course ? I was pondering that thought even before the Financial Crisis hit.
Israel has been accused of “War Crimes”.
Like any criminal that murders, you would not give them weapons until the trial is over and only if they were found not guilty .
In light of these circumstances “NO weapons of this magnitude.”, should be allowed into Israel. Nor should they be given money to purchase or produce weapons.
Any more then you would give it to Saddam.
Who was of course accused of war crimes. Triad and convicted.
What is good for one leader, is good for all leaders. Equality you know. We all must obey the laws of the world and country. Justice is there to serve all.
There is really no difference, a war crime, is a war crime, no matter who does it.
If Sadddam did to those in” GAZA” that Israel just did, who would be the first to jump on the “sanction him” , HE is a terrorist, war criminal, charge him, bandwagon? Saddam was also an Ally of the US, received “weapons of mass destruction” from the US and! and! and!
He only did what Israel leaders are doing. I see no difference in their crimes against humanity, war crimes etc. The US also wanted Saddam to attack Iran. Talk about Dejavue.
Did Israel using illegal weapons in its offensive on Gaza?
January 16 2009
The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies.
All of this is being caused by the bombs Israel is dropping on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, according to reports and testimonies from there. Since the first day of the Israeli aerial attack, people have been giving exact descriptions of the side effects of the bombing, and claiming that Israel is using weapons and ammunition that they have not seen during the past eight years.
Furthermore, the kinds of grave injuries doctors at hospitals in the Strip have reported are providing yet another explanation for the overwhelming dread inhabitants are experiencing in any case.
It is precisely for this reason that Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch (HRW), has come to Israel. His mission: to examine whether the weapons that both sides are using are themselves legal and whether the use of them is legal.
The American-born Garlasco has not been permitted to enter Gaza – as is also the case with people from other human rights organizations and foreign journalists. Therefore, he says, since he is unable to examine actual remnants of the explosives and see the wreckage with his own eyes, he can only guess or make assumptions in some cases. But even from afar, he has no doubt: Israel is using white phosphorus bombs. That was immediately clear to him while he stood last week on a hill facing the Gaza Strip and observed the Israel Defense Forces’ bombings for several hours.
Last Saturday HRW hastened to publish a call to Israel to “stop unlawful use of white phosphorus in Gaza.” The use of white phosphorus is permitted on the battlefield, explains Garlasco, but the side effects on humans and the environment are severe and highly dangerous. The statement notes that the “potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.”
The fireworks-like explosions, the thick smoke, suffocating gas, and flames that are not extinguished by water, but rather are heightened by it – all of these are characteristic of the white phosphorus bombs the IDF is using. Garlasco believes the decision to make such extensive use of these bombs, manufactured by America’s General Dynamics Corporation, stems from conclusions drawn from the Second Lebanon War, in which the IDF lost many tanks.
“The phosphorus bombs create a thick smokescreen and if Hamas has an anti-tank rocket, the smoke prevents the rocket from tracking the tank,” he explains. There are two ways to use the bombs: The first is to impact them on the ground, in which case the resulting thick smokescreen covers a limited area; the second way is an airburst of a bomb, which contains 116 wafers doused in phosphorus. The moment the bomb blows up and the phosphorus comes in contact with oxygen – it ignites. This is what creates the “fireworks” and billows of jellyfish-shaped smoke. The fallout covers a wide area and the danger of fires and harm to civilians is enormous. The phosphorus burns glass, and immediately ignites paper, trees, wood – anything that is dry. The burning wafers causes terrible injury to anyone who comes in contact with them. The irony is that tear gas is included in the Chemical Weapons Convention and is subject to all kinds of restrictions, whereas phosphorus is not.
And in the meantime, in the hospitals in Gaza there are people lying in beds – among them many children – whose severe injuries and burns have appalled the medical teams.
Missing the target
Another new weapon that has forced itself upon Gazans is the GPS-guided mortar – a system equipped with satellite navigation, developed in Israel in late 2006-early 2007, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. According to local military sources, it was this kind of mortar that missed its target by 30 meters and erroneously hit a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school last week; according to the UN report, 30 people were killed immediately and others died later of their injuries. “It really boggles my mind,” Garlasco comments. “According to the literature, it has 3 meters’ error – not 30.” It is a mortar that is launched in an arc toward an unseen target, he explains, with the intention of being precise and to some extent minimize civilian casualties.
Garlasco says this is the first time the weapon has been used in any military conflict: “The Palestinians say, ‘Oh, they use it on us, “experiment” with it for the Americans.’ Experimenting has a different meaning for Americans. We think animal experimenting, but it is indeed a field test.”
The new mortar was developed jointly by the Israeli weapons industry and a private American company called . Israel, notes Garlasco, has learned a lot from the wars the U.S. is waging in Afghanistan and Iraq, but above all learned from its own war in Lebanon in 2006. The mortar that was not supposed to have landed on the school was developed with the knowledge that troops “are fighting an enemy that is in a densely populated area, and here is the first time they use it.”
Another important lesson Israel learned from the Lebanon war is that it cannot rely entirely on the U.S. to provide weapons. During that war, when the IDF ran out of cluster bombs, Israel asked for an emergency shipment of 1,200 such munitions (each containing 644 bomblets). The United States refused, and at that point, Garlasco notes, Israel realized it could not rely solely on American help in this realm.
Therefore, Israel has, for example, developed a new type of rifle, the (Tavor) TAR-21 (“an incredible weapon,” says Garlasco; he can’t help being complimentary) to take the place of the U.S.-made M-16. It has also invented the Delilah guided missile, but Garlasco does not know whether it has been used in Gaza. But not to worry, he adds: Despite the cluster bombs and independent Israeli development, Israel and the United States “still have a great relationship. By and large, the weaponry that Israel is using is American.”
Not all of the weapons are new and innovative. Most, in fact, are American products developed during the Cold War. The artillery and incendiary weapons in Israel’s possession were designed to destroy Russian tanks “and not Palestinian homes,” he notes. The weapons being produced now are developed in the knowledge that the target is militants who operate from within a civilian population. Yet, much of the killing and destruction in Gaza are the result of old-fashioned, cheaper and less-sophisticated weapons.
Only last September did the United States grant Israel’s request to supply it with 1,000 bombs of a new type, the GBU-39. They arrived at the beginning of December, and inhabitants of Rafah have witnessed their use – without knowing what they were – since the first day of the aerial attacks on the tunnels there. (The Jerusalem Post was the first to identify these as GBU-39s.) Gazans were surprised when they did not hear an explosion immediately after the Israeli aircraft fired; instead, the earth shook beneath their feet.
The manufacturer of the GBU-39 is the Boeing Corporation. The small diameter and light weight of these guided bombs ensure that any fighter plane can carry a large number of them and thus increase the number of attacks in every sortie. Garlasco says that the weapon is very accurate and penetrates deep into the earth. It is also designed to minimize collateral damage, since it does not explode over a large area like other bombs do. But other types of bombs are also being used and are destroying houses along the border with Egypt.
Gazans have noticed that there are bombs that produce mushroom clouds in various shades of red. Here, Garlasco admits, “I can only speculate. It looks like Israel is maybe using a new weapon that it was not using before: DIME – the dense inert metal explosive, consisting of 25 percent TNT and 75 percent tungsten, a heavy metal. You mix the two, in a fine grain, like pepper, and when the bomb hits the ground it aerosolizes. In less than a second, the mist dissipates and explodes.”
He says the advantage of DIME is that “it strikes a very small area, 10 to 20 meters, and the fire it ignites burns out very quickly; if it hits us now, we will die, but no one around us will be hurt. The problem is that when you are killed – you are ripped to shreds and there is nothing left.” Indeed, the injuries DIME causes are in general more severe than those caused by a “regular” bomb.
A paramedic at the Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalya refugee camp has told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that about 90 percent of the wounded he has rescued during the past few weeks were brought in with at least one limb missing. Is it the DIME that is causing the severe injuries being reported by the medical staff? Garlasco says there are “only rumors. No one has ever seen it used before, maybe it is being used now, but with Israel not letting in journalists and human rights organizations, these rumors are growing, and people say that Israeli is using terrible new weapons.”
Perhaps, he says, the redness is a result of the metal in the explosives, but it will only be possible to ascertain this if experts are allowed into the Gaza Strip, or they talk to the IDF. Garlasco notes that herein lies the big difference between the Israeli army and the American army: As a worker for a human rights organization, he receives daily e-mails from the U.S. Air Force with a detailed report of the bombs it has dropped in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The Israelis would never do that,” he explains. “They would never talk about what weapons they use and will never allow any discussion in society of whether the weapons should be used.”
Another new weapon that he believes is now in use is the Spike: “It is very new, [from] 2005-2006, a special missile that is made to make very high-speed turns, so if you have a target that is moving and running away from you, you can chase him with the weapon. It was developed by the U.S. Navy jointly with Rafael [the Israel Armament Development Authority]. Rafael is the manufacturer.”
Drones, incidentally, are a totally Israeli product, he notes; Israel is the world leader in this field, and America is learning a lot from it. The warships bombing Gaza are also Israeli made. But the cannons on the ships are Italian, produced by the Oto Melera company.
From his frustrating observation point outside Gaza, and on the basis of Israel’s “very bad record of using cluster bombs in Lebanon and selling them to Georgia,” Garlasco says he is worried that Israel is also now using the APAM (Anti Personnel/Anti Materiel) – a new type of round, or unit of ammunition, for tanks that was developed after Lebanon, each of which contains six cluster bombs. The tank guns aim above a target that is hiding behind some kind of cover and the ammunition explodes above people’s heads – like those of Iz al-Din al-Qassam cells, for example, when they are firing rockets.
The other side
Garlasco and Human Rights Watch also examine the other side, and he says, “We believe that the Grad and Qassam are illegal weapons because they are not accurate enough to be used in this situation.” He adds that Hamas makes frequent use of land mines and explosive charges that are liable to injure civilians.
However, because he and his fellow experts can’t go into Gaza, “We don’t know what the extent of any [Palestinian] civilian casualties is because of Hamas – whether they are shooting soldiers and their bullets end up killing civilians, or whether their anti-tank missiles miss an Israeli tank and hit a house. We don’t know.”
In 2005, Garlasco met with a political representative of Hamas and told him that use of Grads is a contravention of the Geneva Convention. The reply he got from the Hamas man was: “‘All Israelis are military.’ And I explained to them that their reading of international law is wrong.” It is amazing, he adds, that the Palestinians can manufacture the Qassams under the conditions in Gaza. The Grad, however, “is a real military weapon, three meters long. It has a significant warhead. The problem is that it is designed to be fired in mass, to be fired 21 rockets at a time, so that you are covering an area and you are having a shock effect. You don’t only have an explosion, but also a shock and it covers a big area. Shooting one at a time is almost useless from a military perspective.”
As for the Israeli claim about weapons and ammunition being hidden in public buildings such as mosques, Garlasco reiterates that only independent sources will be able to examine this claim and clarify its veracity. If the mosques blown up in the heart of densely populated residential neighborhoods indeed served as hiding places for weapons and ammunition, he would expect to see many secondary explosions, which would have caused significant collateral damage and deep craters. It is difficult to analyze the Israeli claims on the basis of photographs, he notes.
Garlasco is not prepared to accept without question the Israeli claim that Hamas hides behind civilians and makes use of civilians. “Israelis are very quick to say they are doing it, but very short on proof. By keeping the independent people out, they leave doubt in people’s minds.” Furthermore, he believes, Israel has a record of not telling the truth: “They said in Lebanon they did not use cluster bombs. We found 4 million. They evade answering that they use phosphorus, and we stand there every day watching. They claim to have bombed a truck full of Grad missiles, and according to witnesses who spoke with Haaretz, it turned out to be a truck with oxygen tanks. Not everything that is long is a missile. How can anyone trust the Israeli military?'”
The IDF Spokesman responds: “The IDF is fighting the terror elements while meticulously observing the rules of engagement under international law. For understandable operational reasons, the IDF will not relate to a detailing of the materiel that is in its possession and the parameters in which it used. It should be emphasized, however, that the IDF uses only methods and materiel that are permitted under international law.”
Did Israel test new weapons in Gaza?
Did they use people in Gaza as “Guinea Pigs”? Experimenting on people like this would be illegal and yet another war crime.
If in fact they tested new weapons on the innocent civilians in Gaza, they will also be bragging, to potential buyers about how effective they are and of course want to sell them.
They may even be planing on selling some of the ones being shipped in by the US. Or they are planning on bombing the crap out of the entire Middle East.
Getting the weapons while Bush was still in power may have also been the only way they would get any to stockpile as well. Obama may not be so Generous.
Obviously there is something going on the Public is unaware of.
I wouldn’t give a mass murder weapons of this sort. No one should.
This shipment should be stopped and confiscated. If by no one else, the UN it self.
If a Police officer is accused of “pre mediated murder” would you ?
Let him have a weapon?
Let him have a passport so he could flee the country?
Would you even let him out on Bail?
Would any accuse murderer for that matter?
The leaders of Israel are not to be treated any differently then any person or country or leader ore civilian accused of murderer.
Would Saddam have been given Weapons while he was waiting trial for War Crimes?
Lets just stop and think here for a moment, are those leaders in Israel any better then Saddam?
Seems to me they may be worse if they are not stopped now.
A very large delivery of US weaponry to Israel consisting of “3,000 tons” is not, what one would give to an accused “war criminal”. Anymore then you would give a machine gun to an accused murder.
Israel shells another UN school in Gaza: Israel just had to get one last UN building in before it says, it is going into a Ceasefire. A ceasefire at their discretion, of course. The blockade on Gaza still stands and they will, still be short of food, medical supplies etc. The starvation continues as the leaders in Israel pat themselves on the back. They are thinking they did such a wonderful job.
They are mad of course in their thinking and relishing in their murderous rampage, as justifiable.
January 17 2009
The UN has called for a war crimes investigation over the shelling of its school. Photo: AFP
Two Palestinian boys have been killed after Israeli tank shells hit a UN-run school in Gaza – hours before Israel’s security cabinet is expected to vote on a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire.
The boys, aged five and seven, died and 25 other Gazans were wounded as they sought to shelter in the school run by the UN relief and works agency (Unrwa) in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.
The school is the third UN shelter to be hit by Israeli fire in its 22-day war on the territory.
The attack came as heavy artillery and aerial bombardment of what Israel described as “Hamas targets” continued on Saturday.
Christopher Gunness, an Unrwa spokesman, said several rounds hit the UN school at about 6:45am. The third floor of the school took a direct hit after a short pause, killing the pair and injuring another 14 people.
Witnesses said four more people were killed when other shells struck nearby as people tried to escape.
About 1,600 civilians had sought refuge from the fighting inside the building, Gunness said.
“The Israeli army knew exactly our GPS co-ordinates and they would have known that hundreds of people had taken shelter there,” he said.
“When you have a direct hit into the third floor of a UN school, there has to be an investigation to see if a war crime has been committed.”
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said: “I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous attack, which is the third time it’s happened.
“Top Israeli leaders have apologised and assured me two days ago that UN premises would be fully respected.
“I strongly demand a thorough investigation and punishment for those responsible,” he told reporters in Beirut.
John Ging, the director of Unrwa, told Al Jazeera: “People today are alleging war crimes here in Gaza. Let’s have it properly accounted for. Let’s have the legal process which will establish exactly what has happened here.
‘A failure for humanity’
“It is another failure for our humanity and it is exposing the impotence of our [the international community’s] inability to protect civilians in conflict.”
In Jabaliya refugee camp, Dr Ezzedine Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor from al-Shifa hospital, lost his three daughters and one niece during an Israeli air attack as he was being interviewed on an Israeli television channel.
At least 10 people were also killed late on Friday after a tank shell slammed into their home during a funeral wake in Gaza City.
More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, including more than 400 children, according to UN and Palestinian medical sources.
At least 13 Israelis have also died in the same period, three of them civilians.
About five rockets were reported to have been fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday.
Under no circumstances, should Israel be given any weapons.
Nor should they be given anything, to make weapons of their own.
Prevention is paramount.
Israel must also open their doors, to weapons inspectors.
Gaza must be allowed to let in “Inspectors” to “investigate” what type of weapons Israel used.
Israel is accused of war crimes and in any criminal investigation, investigators must be allowed to gather “evidence”.
Israels refusal to allow the media or anyone else into Gaza is a sign of guilt.
The more times they refuse, the “guiltier”, they obviously are.
They are trying to hide their crimes.
They are covering up “evidence” with Bulldozers even.
They have lied.
They have mislead their own Citizens.
They have attempted to mislead the world.
Apologizing for destroying UN building or hospitals doesn’t cut it.
Apologizing for killing innocent civilians doesn’t cut it either.
Rates right up there with the wife beater: saying he is sorry to the woman, he just pounded the crap out of. “Oh honey I am so sorry”. Cry, whimper and big pretend, tears of sorrow. “I will never do it again”.
Well anyone with any knowledge of spousal abuse knows, how it goes.
After 10 or 20 beating, still comes the “I am sorry BS”.
“Israel is so sorry”. “B.S.” are we actually, all suppose to fall for that crap?
So what Israel is saying in essence is:
If I kill my next door neighbour, my saying “I am sorry” would be sufficient enough to allow me to “walk free” with weapons in hand. Wouldn’t it?
In the eyes of the Police, the Courts or the rest of the public at large, “Not flippin likely”.
Israel is not to be trusted at this point in time.
It is in the best interest of everyone on the planet, that these weapons are kept out of the hands of Israel. Preventing them from building more in their own country is also essential.
Prevention, as I said before paramount.
If the UN body or other International bodies fail to see this or do nothing then I can only assume they are corrupt.
They can and should be stopped.
Who wants another world war?
I don’t, do you?
The Israeli Government: is not Sorry.
They are in fact very proud, about what they have done.
If Saddam can be prosecuted, so can any leader, any where in the world. No exceptions. Commit a war crime go to trial. What goes for one leader goes for all leaders. Elected or not. Makes no difference.
A criminal is a criminal.
Mass murder is a crime.
You have become a very dangerous, untrustworthy, leadership. Not only to the rest of the world, but also you endanger your own people.
You are more Dangerous then Saddam. He after all really didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction now did he?
We know for a fact the Israeli Government has “Weapons of Mass Destruction”
We know for a fact the Israeli Government, would use them on innocent civilians.
Well to those in the Israeli Government:
“I am so sorry, but I don’t trust you and I don’t believe you”.
“You like anyone, who has betrayed my trust, now have to prove to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you can be trusted. Sorry isn’t good enough”.
What you say and what you do are two very different animals.
Ban Ki-moon should not trust you either. No one should. You are treating the UN, the same as an abusive woman beater, treats his wife.
You have given me the “Yah Yah syndrome” just like George W. Bush did.
I had tons of clues before, you were a rogue state . Now I have “3000 more tons” of clues headed your way.
“Bunker Busters” are Nuclear bombs. Just a different type, so to speak, but a Nuclear bomb all the same.
Any casualties in Gaza Resemble those from the Iraq War.
I wonder. US Dropped Nuke on Iraq