Majdal Editorial Team

In December 2008, Israel decided to mark the 60th anniversary of its existence the same way it had established itself: by destroying lives and livelihoods of the Palestinian people. For 23 days, one of the world's most powerful armies shelled and pounded from the air, land and sea the 1.5 million Palestinian inhabitants of the tiny, over-populated and occupied Gaza Strip that was compared to the Warsaw Ghetto by UN Rapporteur for Human Rights, Prof. Richard Falk.[1] Israel thus caused the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians, the death of more than 1,300 and the injury of over 5,000, the great majority of them civilians. 13 Israelis, ten of them soldiers, were killed in this latest round of hostilities. As this issue of al-Majdal goes to print, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are working to dig out what remains of their families, rebuild what remains of the homes built through a lifetime of work and unearth what remains of belongings bearing memories of generations.

 An official UN fact finding mission has yet to be dispatched to Gaza and “investigate all violations of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression [...]”[2] In the meantime, Israeli spokespersons have confirmed that “massive use of force” was required in Gaza in order to prevent causalities among its armed forces. Eyewitnesses, NGOs and international agencies have confirmed that Israel has applied excessive force, including illegal use of weapons in an indiscriminate and wanton manner against the civilian population of Gaza.[3] In terms of common and plain language this means that Israel has perpetrated massacres.