Five Lies about Israel’s Assault on Gaza


Lie #1) Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Moreover, the people Israel claims are legitimate targets are members of Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for firing rockets into Israel. These rockets are extremely inaccurate and thus, even if Hamas intended to hit military targets within Israel, are indiscriminate by nature.

Gaza police station
Gaza police station

Hamas has a military wing. However, it is not entirely a military organization, but a political one. Members of Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Dozens of these elected leaders have been kidnapped and held in Israeli prisons without charge. Others have been targeted for assassination, such as Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas official. To kill Rayan, Israel targeted a residential apartment building. The strike not only killed Rayan but two of his wives and four of his children, along with six others. There is no justification for such an attack under international law. This was a war crime.

Other of Israel’s bombardment with protected status under international law have included a mosque, a prison, police stations, and a university, in addition to residential buildings.

Moreover, Israel has long held Gaza under siege, allowing only the most minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies to enter. Israel is bombing and killing Palestinian civilians. Countless more have been wounded, and cannot receive medical attention. Hospitals running on generators have little or no fuel. Doctors have no proper equipment or medical supplies to treat the injured. These people, too, are the victims of Israeli policies targeted not at Hamas or legitimate military targets, but directly designed to punish the civilian population.

Gazan Children
Gazan Victims of Israeli bombing

Lie #2) Hamas violated the cease-fire. The Israeli bombardment is a response to Palestinian rocket fire and is designed to end such rocket attacks.

Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response by militants to the Israeli attacks.

Israel’s actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population.

Gazan Child
Gazan Child

Lie #3) Hamas is using human shields, a war crime.

There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as “human shields” in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.

Gazan woman carried
Gazan woman carried

Lie #4) Arab nations have not condemned Israel’s actions because they understand Israel’s justification for its assault.

The populations of those Arab countries are outraged at Israel’s actions and at their own governments for not condemning Israel’s assault and acting to end the violence. Simply stated, the Arab governments do not represent their respective Arab populations. The populations of the Arab nations have staged mass protests in opposition to not only Israel’s actions but also the inaction of their own governments and what they view as either complacency or complicity in Israel’s crimes.

Moreover, the refusal of Arab nations to take action to come to the aid of the Palestinians is not because they agree with Israel’s actions, but because they are submissive to the will of the US, which fully supports Israel. Egypt, for instance, which refused to open the border to allow Palestinians wounded in the attacks to get medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, is heavily dependent upon US aid, and is being widely criticized within the population of the Arab countries for what is viewed as an absolute betrayal of the Gaza Palestinians.

Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been regarded as a traitor to his own people for blaming Hamas for the suffering of the people of Gaza. Palestinians are also well aware of Abbas’ past perceived betrayals in conniving with Israel and the US to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government, culminating in a counter-coup by Hamas in which it expelled Fatah (the military wing of Abbas’ Palestine Authority) from the Gaza Strip. While his apparent goal was to weaken Hamas and strengthen his own position, the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East are so outraged at Abbas that it is unlikely he will be able to govern effectively.

Lie #5) Israel is not responsible for civilian deaths because it warned the Palestinians of Gaza to flee areas that might be targeted.

Israel claims it sent radio and telephone text messages to residents of Gaza warning them to flee from the coming bombardment. But the people of Gaza have nowhere to flee to. They are trapped within the Gaza Strip. It is by Israeli design that they cannot escape across the border. It is by Israeli design that they have no food, water, or fuel by which to survive. It is by Israeli design that hospitals in Gaza have no electricity and few medical supplies with which to treat the injured and save lives. And Israel has bombed vast areas of Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure and other sites with protected status under international law. No place is safe within the Gaza Strip.

Hammond-Jeremy R.
Published in From The Foreign Policy Journal

4 thoughts on “Five Lies about Israel’s Assault on Gaza

  1. {Editor’s Note This is a reply from Nelson Mandela to Thomas L Friedman (columnist NY Times). 30.03.01 taken from

    Dear Thomas, I know that you and I long for peace in the Middle East……….

    Perhaps it is strange for you to observe the situation in Palestine or more specifically, the structure of political and cultural relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, as an apartheid system. This is because you incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967. This was demonstrated in your recent column ….. 03, 27, 2001.

    You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees.

    The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established “normally” and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a “state” but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.

    In the last few years,……. Israel showed that it was not even willing to return what it occupied in 1967; that settlements remain, Jerusalem would be under exclusive Israeli sovereignty, and Palestinians would not have an independent state, but would be under Israeli economic domination with Israeli control of borders, land, air, water and sea.

    Israel was not thinking of a “state” but of “separation”. The value of separation is…. to keep the Jewish state Jewish, and not to have a Palestinian minority that could have the opportunity to become a majority ….. If this takes place, it would force Israel to either become a secular democratic or bi-national state, or to turn into a state of apartheid not only de facto, but also de jure.

    Thomas, if you follow the polls in Israel for the last 30 or 40 years, you clearly find a vulgar racism that includes a third of the population who openly declare themselves to be racist. This racism is of the nature of “I hate Arabs” and “I wish Arabs would be dead”. If you also follow the judicial system in Israel you will see there is discrimination against Palestinians, and if you further consider the 1967 occupied territories you will find there are already two judicial systems in operation that represent two different approaches to human life: one for Palestinian life and the other for Jewish life. Additionally there are two different approaches to property and to land. Palestinian property is not recognized as private property because it can be confiscated.

    As to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there is an additional factor. The so-called “Palestinian autonomous areas” are bantustans.

    The Palestinian state cannot be the by-product of the Jewish state, just in order to keep the Jewish purity of Israel…… Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a “Jewish” state.

    Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.

    The responses made by South Africa to human rights abuses emanating from the removal policies and apartheid policies respectively, shed light on what Israeli society must necessarily go through before one can speak of a just and lasting peace …….

    I’m not going to indulge you the way your supporters do. If you want peace and democracy, I will support you….. If you want to support racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing, we will oppose you. When you figure out what you’re about, give me a call.

  2. Aboriginal News Service (IANS) Statement on the Gaza Crisis in Occupied Palestine


    “Total war is no longer war waged by all members of one national community against all those of another. It is total… because it may well involve the whole world.”

    Jean-Paul Sartre

    As Indigenous people fully conscious of our own respective colonial circumstances and those of other similarly repressed and oppressed peoples, we, the undersigned, maintain that the latest saturation bombing and subsequent ground invasion of a Palestinian refugee concentration camp is not just and that the continued IDF occupation extends this grave injustice. The defenceless people of The Gaza, a refugee district of Occupied Palestine, have been mercilessly attacked by the State of Israel under the auspices of national “self-defence.” This is clearly a false pretence, as it is now known that the Israeli intelligence and military services secretly planned this attack more than six months ago as part of “Operation Cast Lead”,[1] a covert programme of anti-Palestinian propaganda, premeditated sabotage of the Hamas government during the U.S.-sponsored June 2007 truce agreement and extensive ethnic terrorism directed against the refugee Arab Palestinian population of The Gaza. It is also now common knowledge that the Israeli Defence Forces have begun using cluster bombs, denatured uranium and the horrible chemical weapon, white phosphorus, a compound that burns human beings on contact.[2]

    With this, Palestinian reporters are being targeted and international reporters barred at the Gaza border by the IDF, humanitarian aid is prevented from reaching the injured and dying and Norwegian medics have told Iran’s Press TV some of the victims wounded since the IDF began its bombardment of The Gaza on December 27 carry traces of depleted uranium within their bodies.[3]

    These actions constitute nothing less than war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since The Nakba of 1948, the Palestinian people have been subjected to enforced dislocation, ethnic discrimination, randomised racist settler violence and indiscriminate aggression by the Israeli Defence Forces, conditions intended to bring upon them emotional suffering and a reduction in their number. Under established international law, these actions and the recent bombing and invasion of The Gaza by the part of the State of Israel undoubtedly amount to the moral and legal crime of genocide. Relevant transgressions of the established charter of the United Nations include and in particular the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (General Assembly resolution 260 A (III), 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), 1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (General Assembly Resolution 2200 (XXI), 1966), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (General Assembly Resolution 2200 (XXI), 1966) and the rights to liberation of international Indigenous-internal colonies, (General Assembly Resolution 1541(XV), 1966).

    In addition, in recognition of the Nuremberg Principles established in 1944, the State of Israel, (as well as the United States) is also responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and the ongoing genocide of indigenous Arab Palestinians since 1948. The injustice of these goals has been compounded by the vicious execution of the Israeli Defence Forces war plan of widespread destruction and terror characterized by an appalling disregard for human life and property. As concerned members of the Fourth World and as Indigenist news journalists, we believe it is the moral responsibility of the United Nations, as the representative body of the world community, actively and without delay move to end this war. The violence unleashed by the Israeli invasion of The Gaza has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Arab Palestinians and has left thousands of other civilians critically wounded.

    We the undersigned implore the world community to act according to the charter of the United Nations and without delay end this genocide against the Palestinian people! We demand that President-Elect Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress officially condemn the actions of the State of Israel and immediately establish a suspension of military and financial aid to the Israeli government to limit their ability to expand this atrocity of human rights against the Palestinian people any further.


    Rev. Sequoyah Kofi-Ade bin-Tomas / Occupied North America:

    Ojibway Migisi Bineshii / Occupied North America:

    Sina Brown Davis / Kulin Nations, Occupied Aboriginal Australia:

    Brenda Norrell / Occupied North America:

    Ridwan Laher / Republic of South Africa:


    [1] The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda, Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Monday, Jan 5, 2008

    [2] White phosphorus (WP) is a flare- and smoke-producing incendiary weapon,[1] or smoke-screening agent, made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus. White phosphorus bombs and shells are incendiary devices, but can also be used as an offensive anti-personnel flame compound capable of causing serious burns or death.

    [3] Press TV – “Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims’ – Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:16:21 GMT

  3. press release press release press release press release

    Brisbane to continue to protest attacks on Gaza

    Release date: Friday 9th January 2009

    People from all walks of life including members of Brisbane’s Palestinian community along with supporters of Palestinian freedom and social justice will gather in Queens Park in the city on Saturday 10th January at 12.30 pm to protest Israel’s invasion of Gaza and to highlight the shocking humanitarian crisis that is a result of Israel’s continued murderous attacks on the people of Gaza.

    Spokesperson for Justice for Palestine, Abdalla said,

    “Israel’s escalation of its indiscriminate attacks on the people of Gaza has now cost over 700 lives including the lives of at least 219 children. Over 3100 people have been seriously injured about half of who are women and children.” From the very beginning of this massacre of Palestinians the targets of the air strikes have included mosques, the university and residential areas. Since Israeli troops have entered Gaza the fighter-bombers have also attacked market places and 3 United Nations run schools.

    The 3 schools where sheltering families who thought they would receive protection from the United Nations while their homes were being bombed. The United Nations told Israel the exact location of their schools and guaranteed that they were only being used as schools and shelters. “This is a criminal act of a criminal and murderous regime. It is a war crime. It is a crime against humanity,” stated Abdalla.

    Israel is using depleted uranium ammunition (an extremely hard metal that leaves behind radioactive dust which causes radiation poisoning, cancer and birth defects) and cluster bombs (bombs that break into lots of little bombs, many of which don’t explode when they hit the ground creating minefields of unexploded bombs) in one of the World’s most densely populated areas, the home of 1.5 million Palestinians.

    “How can Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard remain silent on Israel’s aggression, does she think it is acceptable to use such devastating weapons in built up areas against predominately civilian targets? Why is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd silent about this aggression? Does he condone this massacre? Does he think Israel is justified in breaking the Geneva Convention and many other international laws?” Abdalla asked.

    “Last Saturday in Brisbane 500 people came out despite the rain and rallied for the people of Gaza. This Saturday again will see people passionately speaking out for the people of Gaza as people all over Australia and the world have and continue to speak out. There will be placards, flags and slogan chanting and this time we will be marching through the streets of Brisbane,” Abdalla said.

    Speakers will include advocate for Palestine Michael Shaik (Australians for Palestine), Graham Perrett MP (Federal Member for Moreton) and Amanda Richards (Assistant General Secretary Queensland Council of Unions).

    For more information contact Abdalla on 0413 783 853.

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