Feb 15, 2013

Gaza Backstory: Photo of the Year Captures Israeli War Crime Aftermath

By now, many of you may have seen Paul Hansen's photo of a funeral in Gaza which was selected from a total of 103,481 images submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries as World Press Photo of the Year.


Here is the back story, most recently documented by Human Rights Watch reporting on Israeli violations of the laws of war during attacks on Gaza:
On November 19 at around 7:30 p.m., a single munition struck the house of the Hijazi family in Block 8 of the Jabalya refugee camp. The small, two-story cinderblock house was mostly demolished while 10 family members were inside. The strike killed Fouad Hijazi, a 46-year-old janitor at the Hamad secondary school, along with two of his children, Mohamed, 4, and Sohaib, 2. His wife, Amna, was wounded, as were three of their sons and a daughter.  
One of the survivors, Nur Hijazi, 18, said that she was at home with her parents, four brothers and one sister when the attack took place: 
Mohamed and Sohaib were with my father in another room. The rest of the family was in another room watching TV. At 7:30 I saw the whole place turn red and suddenly the whole house collapsed on our heads. I found myself at my neighbor’s house and one of my neighbors took me to an ambulance. I was hospitalized for four days at Kamal Adwan Hospital. I have two broken bones in my spine. I don’t need surgery but I’m in a lot of pain. [Doctors said that] I must lie in bed for one month.  
Human Rights Watch also saw three of Nur’s wounded brothers. Ashraf, 17, had cuts on his chest, upper arm and above the right eye. Osama, 13, had a bandage on his head that he said covered cuts. Musab, 2, had a cut on his head....  
The surrounding buildings in the densely packed area were only lightly damaged, except that there was slightly more substantial damage to one side of one adjacent house. The damage suggests that an Israeli aircraft dropped a bomb at the site. Human Rights Watch found no munition remnants at the site.  
A neighbor who lives across a very narrow street – too small for a car – from the Hijazi home said he heard no shooting of rockets from the area at the time or at other times during the 8-day conflict. There were no other explosions in the area that night, he said. He and other local residents said they did not know or understand why the Hijazi family home had been hit, saying that the family had no connection to any of Gaza’s armed groups. One of Fouad’s other sons had been killed by an Israeli strike about five years earlier, one neighbor said, but he was a civilian who was killed accidentally.  
The IDF did not make any announcements about specific strikes in Jabalya at the time. The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center stated that the three victims were “non-involved” civilians.
The children being carried to their final resting place in the now famous photo first had to be pulled out from underneath the rubble. A video documents this heartbreaking process at the 1:43 mark. [GRAPHIC]


1 comments: on "Gaza Backstory: Photo of the Year Captures Israeli War Crime Aftermath"

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