Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"Victims of trigger-happy Task Force 20".
Robert Fisk writes about it in the The Independent but they're decided they want to make more money off his war coverage and I haven't signed up. I probably will, but I've already sent two angry letters.

This is amazing: a futures market for war.


The Killing of Children.

The Guardian.
"The numbers are staggering; one in five Palestinian dead is a child. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) says at least 408 Palestinian children have been killed since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000. Nearly half were killed in the Gaza strip, and most of those died in two refugee camps in the south, Khan Yunis and Rafah. The PCHR says they were victims of "indiscriminate shooting, excessive force, a shoot-to-kill policy and the deliberate targeting of children".

And children continue to die, even after the ceasefire declared by Hamas and other groups at the end of June. On Friday, a soldier at a West Bank checkpoint shot dead a four-year-old boy, Ghassan Kabaha, and wounded his two young sisters after "accidentally" letting loose at a car with a burst of machinegun fire from his armoured vehicle. The rate of killing since the beginning of the ceasefire has dropped sharply, but almost every day the army has continued to fire heavy machineguns into Khan Yunis or Rafah. Among the latest victims of apparently indiscriminate shooting were three teenagers and an eight-year-old, Yousef Abu Jaza, hit in the knee when soldiers shot at a group of children playing football in Khan Yunis.

The military says it is difficult to distinguish between youths and men who might be Palestinian fighters, but the statistics show that nearly a quarter of the children killed were under 12. Last year alone, 50 children under the age of eight were shot dead or blown up by the Israeli army in Gaza: eight, one of whom was two months old, were slaughtered when a one-tonne bomb was dropped on a block of flats to kill a lone Hamas leader, Sheikh Salah Mustafa Shehada. But Rahman, Huda and Haneen were not "collateral damage" in the assassination of Hamas "terrorists", or caught in crossfire. There was no combat when they were shot. There was nothing more than a single burst of fire, sometimes a single bullet, from an Israeli soldier's gun.

It was the same when seven-year-old Ali Ghureiz was shot in the head on the street outside his house in Rafah. And when Haneen Abu Sitta, 12, was killed while walking home after school near the fence with a Jewish settlement in southern Gaza. And when Nada Madhi, also 12, was shot in the stomach and died as she leaned out of her bedroom window in Rafah to watch the funeral procession for another child killed earlier. "

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