Source: Cleveland Challenger
Few major mainstream American news outlets exposed the sordid details of a 2009 United Nations (UN) fact finding report that revealed how Israel’s military illegally aimed chemical missiles at a United Nations Relief & Work Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees in a 22-day invasion of the Gaza strip that began in 2008 called “Operation Cast Lead.”
As the U.S. and world media watch to learn if claims that President Barack Obama will execute a military strike against Syria, without a vote of Congress or the support of the UN, the same media outlets are burying information that suggests preparation for war could be premature. Little media attention is being paid to claims from a UN commission that Syrian rebels, not government soldiers under President Bashar al-Assad’s control, were responsible for recent chemical weapons attacks that killed over 300 Syrians.
“During our investigation for crimes against humanity and war crimes, we collect some witness testimony that has made to appear that some chemical weapons were used. In particular, nerve gas,” said Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. ”What appears to our investigation is that this was used by the opposition, by the rebels. We have no indication at all that the Syria government have used chemical weapons.”
What’s also questionable is why Obama has drawn a “line in the sand” over highly questionable allegations that Syrian soldiers used chemical weapons when the Israeli military was proven, and officials have admitted, to using chemical warfare to attack a United Nations relief compound. The facility provided shelter and medical attention to Palestinian refugees in 2009.
Cleveland Challenger obtained a copy of the 575 page 2009 UN report that a fact finding mission headed by ex-South African Judge Richard Goldstone prepared after an investigation of the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead.
The Israeli missile and ground assault on the Gaza strip began on December 27, 2008 and ended on January 18, 2009. The attack resulted in an estimated 1100 to 14oo Palestinian deaths. 13 Israeli soldiers were killed. Four died from friendly fire.
The invasion was stimulated by Israel’s claims that rockets were being fired at Israeli’s by Hamas militants. Three Israeli civilians and one soldier were killed by Hamas’ rockets in the days leading up to the assault that led to an estimated $1.3 billion in damage to Palestinian property and businesses. Israel’s military was also accused by the UN fact finding mission of violating war protocols by using Palestinians as human shields, murdering unarmed civilians, destroying water and sewer treatment plants, and wiping out food supplies and production facilities to starve the population.
The UN commission Goldstone led met extensively with Palestinian officials, victims and survivors after the Israeli military assault. The interviews and investigation led to the discovery of information and evidence that Israel’s military deployed missiles containing “white phosphorous” against civilians and the hospital.
White phosphorous is a highly-combustible chemical agent that burns on contact with air. In humans it burns upon contact with skin and creates very deep tissue wounds. It can also cause death when inhaled. It’s customary use has been as a “smoke screen” although it is illegal to use against civilians in times of war. The UN commission found Israel’s use of the burning agent against the hospital to be particularly deplorable.
When first questioned about the white phosphorous missile allegations that struck the UNRWA compound, the Israeli military’s first response was to issue a denial. On January 15, 2009, three days before the attack ended, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the chemical weapon attack a “grave error” and allegedly apologized to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. On the same day, Israeli President Shimon Peres apologized for the attack, but added the false claim that Israeli troops were being fired upon from inside the facility.
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