The events in Gaza have horrified the world. The numerous murdered and wounded civilians are bad enough. But now the Red Cross has released a statement that not only is Israel attacking innocent, starved Gazans, but that those who aren’t killed in the initial assaults are being left to die slowly from their wounds, because Israeli medical units are ignoring them.

PARIS — The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had discovered “shocking” scenes — including small children next to their mothers’ corpses — when its representatives gained access for the first time to parts of Gaza battered by Israeli shelling. It accused Israel of failing to meet obligations to care for the wounded in areas of combat. […]

In an unusually blunt criticism , the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said it had been seeking access to shell-damaged areas in Zeitoun in the east of Gaza City since Saturday but the Israeli authorities granted permission only on Wednesday — the first day that Israel allowed a three-hour lull in the attacks on Gaza on humanitarian grounds.

The statement said a team of four Palestine Red Crescent ambulances accompanied by Red Cross representatives made its way to Zeitoun Wednesday where it “found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all, there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.”

In another house, the statement said, the rescue team “found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israeli Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.”

Because of berms built by Israeli forces, the ambulances could not enter the area so “the children and the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart,” the statement said. […]

The statement quoted Pierre Wettach, an International Red Cross representative for Israel and the Palestinian areas, as calling the incident “shocking.”

“The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded,” he was quoted as saying.

This isn’t the Red Crescent, the Islamic counterpart to the Red Cross, making these charges. These are dedicated representatives of a well respected charitable organization founded in Christian countries which is not known for making hyperbolic statements or rash, unfounded accusations. That the Israeli military has been excluding The Red Cross from access to the “war zone” is bad enough. But when it did finally allow representatives of the Red Cross limited access to a small section of Gaza what they found there can only sicken and appall anyone with even a de minimis portion of moral feeling.

Small children left to die from neglect next to their dead mothers. A lack of any medical personnel on scene to attend to the wounded civilians. No ambulances, no mobile aid stations, nothing. Only donkey carts for those fortunate few to transport them to safety and to a place where they could receive medical attention. And armed Israeli soldiers everywhere letting it happen.

One can only conclude that this is the official policy of the Israeli government which mounted these attacks. I cannot believe that they were unaware of the situation in those areas of Gaza in which their troops are positioned. And there can be only one name for this policy, a heinous name, but an accurate one nonetheless: Genocide.

That is, the deliberate and intentional effort to “destroy, in whole or in part” the Palestinians living in Gaza. For many months Israel has blockaded Gaza. Kept from those living there needed supplies of food, medicine and fresh water. Now, it has simply accelerated its efforts to kill a significant portion of the Palestinian people in Gaza in order to obtain a political objective: the elimination of Hamas.

With embarrassing timing, the Israeli media revealed [in November 2008] that one of the first acts of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister elected in 2006, was to send a message to the Bush White House offering a long-term truce in return for an end to Israeli occupation. His offer was not even acknowledged.

Instead, according to the daily Jerusalem Post, Israeli policymakers have sought to reinforce the impression that “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas”. On this thinking, collective punishment is warranted because there are no true civilians in Gaza. Israel is at war with every single man, woman and child.

Regardless of what you think of Israel and its right to self defense, it is impossible to defend their actions now. A war against everyone in Gaza, be they man, woman or child, can only be considered a crime against humanity for which Israel’s political and military leaders should be charged and tried at the Hague’s International Criminal Court. But, of course, that will not happen.

Why? Because the United States government still supports Israel with billions of dollars of aid, much of it advanced weaponry and other military supplies. Because the United States government refuses to recognize and deal with the duly elected representatives of the Palestinians. Because the United States government refuses to apply any pressure, diplomatic or otherwise, to reel in its ally and stop the senseless slaughter of the Palestinians, much less actively seek a negotiated agreement among all the parties in the region to end the violence for which Israel must accept its fair share of the blame.

I’d like to believe that the policy of the Us government, the government that represents me and many of you, as well, will change these policies when Obama takes office. Sadly, his almost absolute silence on the current crisis is not an encouraging sign.

President-elect Barack Obama says he is concerned about the violence in Gaza, but that it would not be right for him to speak at length about the conflict until he takes office later this month.

A television journalist pressed President-elect Barack Obama at a Washington news conference Wednesday on his reluctance to comment on the fighting in Gaza, saying that Mr. Obama’s silence could be misinterpreted in the Arab world. […]

“We cannot have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time,” he said. “We simply can’t do it. And so as a consequence, what am I doing is I am being briefed consistently, my national security team is fully up to speed on it. But the situation of domestic policy making and foreign policy making are two different things.”

That is as phony an excuse as a three dollar bill. Obama doesn’t have to wait. He can make statements now condemning the violence, and demanding Israel end its attacks. However, he has chosen not to do so for whatever reason. Those reasons I leave to your imagination and speculation, but I will say this: no reason could be sufficient justification for refusing to condemn these current outrages now that the Red Cross has come forward with its own evidence of deliberate Israeli malfeasance with regard to caring for the wounded and starving civilians in Gaza, many of them children, which its own actions have created.

I doubt one more voice calling for the President-elect to stand up and condemn the actions of Israel will do any good. Nonetheless, here is mine: Mr. Obama, please, condemn these attacks. Now. And pledge that you will employ the full power of your administration and the Federal Government to ending this rapacious assault by the forces of Israel. Failure to do so is as much a sin as the evil actions which are being perpetrated against the people of Gaza by the IDF in the name of the government of Israel.

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