29 de septiembre de 2007
Una investigación del Congreso emitió duras críticas contra la empresa militar privada Blackwater USA con relación a la misión de marzo de 2004, que causó la muerte de cuatro de sus guardias y provocó una escalada de la guerra de Irak. El Comité de Supervisión y Reforma Gubernamental de la Cámara de Representantes dice que Blackwater envió a los guardias al bastión insurgente de Fallujah sin estar preparados y sin la seguridad adecuada. Los guardias fueron asesinados y los cuerpos de dos de ellos fueron colgados de un puente. Las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses respondieron con ataques devastadores contra Fallujah que prácticamente destruyeron toda la ciudad, causaron la muerte de miles de personas y desplazaron a miles más.
Mientras tanto, surgieron más detalles sobre otras muertes relacionadas con las fuerzas de Blackwater, aparte del tiroteo masivo de la semana pasada en Bagdad. McClatchy Newspapers informa que entre las víctimas se encontraban cuatro trabajadores de los medios que fueron asesinados el año pasado. En febrero, los guardias de Blackwater asesinaron a balazos a la periodista del canal de televisión Al Atyaf, Suhad Shakir, mientras conducía camino a su trabajo. Cinco días después, tres guardias de seguridad iraquíes fueron asesinados en las oficinas de la cadena estatal Iraqi Media Network, también conocida como “Iraqiya”. Los tres fueron asesinados por francotiradores de Blackwater que se encontraban del otro lado de la calle. Un funcionario del Ministerio del Interior dice que los guardias fueron asesinadas como si fuera una “práctica de tiro al blanco”.
Muhammed Msaimi, aged 26, hid for over a day with his wife and three children in the bathroom because of gunfights which took place outside their apartment. However, the bullets found their way into that room as well, and they crawled behind a thick wall, Msaimi, a registered refugee, said.
"Then the soldiers came and told us to leave. They said we should cover our ears. They blew up the floor above us. No one lives there," he told IRIN. The explosion knocked out the entire upper floor and caused structural damage to the rest of the building. Msaimi now lives with his in-laws.
The Israeli military said the purpose of the three-day operation was to "prevent the execution of terror attacks into the Israeli home front," and that information obtained from arrested alleged militants, 49 in all, had led them to an explosive belt which had been smuggled into Tel Aviv.
However, the effect on the civilian population was considerable, residents said.
"My children are afraid to come back here," said Msaimi, adding that they were staying at a friend's home nearby.
"The effects of these military operations at such close quarters have an incalculable impact on the well-being of the young," said Christopher Gunness from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
The agency runs psycho-social programs and has counsellors at its two camp schools.
"The children are not studying now; they are frightened. They go to school and draw, color and read stories," said Samia Abu Salah, whose children attend UNRWA schools and are taking part in a program which tries to help the children express their feelings.
Her home was invaded by the military: "We heard noises from below our bedroom. It was the Jews underneath," she recounted, referring to the Israeli soldiers. "We all moved away, into the stairwell. Then we saw them coming out of the floor, from below," Abu Salah said. The soldiers had blown up the apartment below, knocking a hole in the ceiling and were climbing upwards.
Gunness said UNRWA can offer limited financial support for those who lost their homes or suffered damage.
"Through walls" tactic
According to the residents in other homes a similar tactic, known as "through walls," was used. Soldiers go through neighbors' homes, destroying joint walls, to reach targets without being exposed in the narrow streets.
The building next to Abu Salah, four stories high, was totally demolished by Israeli bulldozers, leaving dozens homeless. Personal belongings like furniture, video tapes and clothes stick out of the rubble. The soldiers, searching for and fighting militants, did not give the residents time to get their possessions out, residents said.
Several people said the soldiers used three locals as human shields, a practice deemed illegal by Israel's High Court. The Israeli military said it was "not aware of any such incident."
In other areas, people were cordoned off while soldiers used their homes as observation points, residents said.
"My brother had 71 people in his house -- the women in one room and the men in another -- for two days," said Ghassan, a school teacher. "They used all their food in one day but received bread from the Palestinian Medical Relief on the second."
"The noises during the fighting hurt my ears so much," said Aisha, aged 74, as she sat on the floor preparing soup from UNRWA food aid.
Sewage pipes damaged during the fighting overflow outside her small home, spreading a foul smell in the air.
"The windows are broken. I hope they fix it before winter. It's getting cold now at night," she said.
This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.
24 de septiembre de 2007
22 de septiembre de 2007
7 de septiembre de 2007
Human Rights Watch publicó un nuevo informe sobre la guerra entre Israel y Líbano del año pasado. El grupo determinó que ataques aéreos indiscriminados por parte de las Fuerzas Armadas israelíes provocaron la mayoría de las más de 900 muertes civiles en Líbano. Human Rights Watch señaló que aviones de combate israelíes dirigieron reiterados ataques contra vehículos en movimiento que trasladaban solamente a civiles que intentaban huir del conflicto.
Kenneth Roth, director ejecutivo de Human Rights Watch, dijo: “La afirmación del gobierno israelí de que las muertes de civiles en el sur de Líbano se debieron principalmente a que Hezbolá se ocultaba detrás de civiles es falsa. Mark Regev del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores fue el último funcionario israelí que sostuvo dicha afirmación. Pueden leer sobre ello en el Jerusalem Post publicado esta mañana. Dijo, ya saben, todo se debió a que Hezbolá se ocultaba detrás de los civiles. Está inventando eso. Ese no es de ninguna manera el principal motivo por el cual murieron los civiles”.
5 de septiembre de 2007
Moreover, at 5pm on Tuesday, 28 August 2007, the IOF entered the same Industrial Zone area and took positions inside factories under heavy fire. No casualties have been reported. Al Mezan's field workers indicated that IOF withdrew from the area at 3am on the next day, but only after detaining 13 workers and farmers. Eleven of those were released shortly later. The other two are still in detention. They were identified as 41-year-old Na'im Omar Al Bilbisi and his 16-year-old son, Mansour.
Regrettably, the Israeli attacks have continued accompanied by full silence from the part of the international community, which has failed to observe its legal and moral obligations towards the civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Al Mezan therefore renews its calls upon the international community to intervene immediately in order to cease the human rights violations committed by the IOF, and to provide effective protection for the civilian population of the OPT.