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This will be the cover of the Guardian newspaper in the UK tomorrow.

The quote is taken from the stinging response of UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl to Israel's bombing of one of its refugee shelters:

Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.

We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts. It is too early to give a confirmed official death toll. But we know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries   including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site.  These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.  

The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times,  to ensure its protection; the last being at  ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.

This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed.  Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue.

We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.

To no one's surprise, the White House put no blame on Israel when condemning the attack:
The United States condemns the shelling of a UNRWA school in Gaza, which reportedly killed and injured innocent Palestinians – including children – and UN humanitarian workers.

We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza. We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza. All of these actions, and similar ones earlier in the conflict, are inconsistent with the UN’s neutrality. This violence underscores the need to achieve a cease-fire as soon as possible.

The US is doing everything it can to achieve a cease-fire......like selling more ammunition to Israel.
While there were calls on Israel to do more to protect civilians, the United States also agreed to Israel's request to resupply it with several types of ammunition, a U.S. defense official told CNN on condition of anonymity. It's not an emergency sale, the official said.

Among the items being bought are 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers, the official said. Those will come from a stockpile the United States keeps in Israel, which is worth more than $1 billion.

Because the US Senate, of course, also believes in impunity for Israeli war crimes, they passed a resolution by unanimous consent criticizing the United Nations Human Rights Council for its vote to investigate Israeli war crimes.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Harry Reid (D-NV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Yesterday, the Senate also passed a bill, introduced by Ted Cruz (R-TX), that would offer a $5 million reward for information on who killed three Israeli teens who had been kidnapped. Unanimous consent.

This contrasts with the cold treatment and overall silence regarding the Isareli police's brutal attack on an American citizen, Tariq Abu Khdeir.

Amidst Israel's attack on Gaza, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) also re-introduced their US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.

The bill does the following:
   

 • Authorizes an increase of $200 million in the value of U.S. weapons held in Israel, to a total of $1.8 billion. This stockpile is intended for use by U.S. forces in the event of a crisis, but it can also be used by Israel in the event of an emergency with Israel reimbursing the U.S. for any weapons used.
     • Requires the Administration to take steps toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products.
     • Authorizes the President to carry out cooperation between the U.S. and Israel on a range of policy areas including energy, water, homeland security, and alternative fuel technologies. And it requires the President to study the feasibility of expanding U.S.-Israel cooperation on cyber security.
     • Includes new language that encourages the Administration to work with Israel to help the country gain entry into the Visa Waiver Program, which would make it easier for Israeli citizens to travel to the United States without first having to obtain a visa.
     • Requires the Administration to provide more frequent and more detailed assessments on the status of Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
     • Strengthens collaboration between the U.S. and Israel on energy development and encourages increased cooperation between the two countries’ academic, business and governmental sectors.
The bill has 77 additional co-sponsors, including progressives like Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren. It will probably pass by voice vote.

And today, amidst the news of Israel's bombing of a UN shelter, the House passed a resolution by voice vote absolving Israel of any moral responsibility for its war crimes:

Denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law.

Whereas the term "human shields" refers to the use of civilians, prisoners of war, or other noncombatants whose mere presence is designed to protect combatants and objects from attack;

Whereas the use of human shields violates international humanitarian law (also referred to as the Law of War or Law of Armed Conflict);

Whereas Additional Protocol I, Article 50(1) to the Geneva Convention defines "civilian" as, "[a]ny person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Article 4(A) (1), (2), (3), and (6) of the Third Convention and in Article 43 of this Protocol. In the case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered a civilian.";

Whereas Additional Protocol I, Article 51(7) to the Geneva Convention states, "[T]he presence or movement of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.";

Whereas since June 15, 2014, there have been over 1,000 rockets fired by Hamas and other terrorist organizations from Gaza into Israel;

Whereas Hamas has been using civilian populations as human shields by placing their missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals, and mosques;

Whereas Israel drops leaflets, makes announcements, places phone calls and sends text messages to the Palestinian people in Gaza warning them in advance that an attack is imminent, and goes to extraordinary lengths to target only terrorist actors;

Whereas Hamas has urged the residents of Gaza to ignore the Israeli warnings and to remain in their houses and has encouraged Palestinians to gather on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields; and

Whereas Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Al-Shabaab, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other foreign terrorist organizations typically use innocent civilians as human shields: Now, therefore, be it

That Congress—
(1) strongly condemns the use of innocent civilians as human shields, including use by Hamas of this brutal and illegal tactic;

(2) calls on the international community to recognize the grave breaches of international law by Hamas by using human shields;

(3) places responsibility for launching the rocket attacks on Hamas and other terrorist organizations, such as Islamic Jihad, in Gaza;

(4) supports the sovereign right of the Government of Israel to defend its territory and stop the rocket attacks on its citizens;

(5) expresses condolences to the families of the innocent victims on both sides of the conflict;

(6) supports Palestinian civilians who reject Hamas and all forms of terrorism, desiring to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors; and

(7) calls on Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the use of innocent civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

The resolution was introduced by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) and Ted Deutch (FL-21), with 75 additional co-sponsors. The list includes progressives like Alan Grayson (FL-09) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 08:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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