Thursday, January 08, 2009

Israeli tank fire kills UN fork-lift operator loading aid

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The most damning thing is that the forklift's operation had been cleared with the IDF. Clearly IDF communication either broke down- unlikely in one of the most technically advanced militaries on the planet- or . . . well . . . or they chose to kill some UN personnel. There's not a lot of room to misinterpret this event. The Khaleej Times has more information:

One person was killed when a truck convoy on its way to pick up UN assistance was hit by two tank shells in northern Gaza on Thursday, a UN spokesman said citing the contractors.

"A convoy going towards Erez came under fire, according to the contractor," said Chris Gunness of the UN agency for Palestinian Refugees UNRWA.

"Two tank shells impacted near a forklift, and one person was killed," he said.

"The forklift trucks had been contracted to pick up UN goods," he said, adding that the convoy had been coordinated with the Israeli military.
The New York Times has more:

The United Nations aid convoy came under fire around 9 a.m., as three forklift trucks operated by the only trucking company authorized to carry out deliveries near the Israeli-Gaza border were collecting food at the Erez crossing in advance of the three-hour lull. The driver killed was identified as Bassem Quta, 32.
There seems to be little confusion as to the humanitarian nature of these aid operation, which has been ongoing for months as this Reuters article describes:

It is a slow process. A gate on the Israeli side is opened to allow pallets of food to be unloaded into no man's land by fork lift truck in the morning, then the gate on the Gaza side opens to allow the food to be put on trucks in the afternoon.


So, in light of this evidence, how could an IDF tank commander confuse a fork lift with a valid military target?

A: He couldn't and it was a deliberate act. A war crime.


In other news from the conflict, Amnesty International had this to say about the IDF's conduct:

“Our sources in Gaza report that Israeli soldiers have entered and taken up positions in a number of Palestinian homes, forcing families to stay in a ground floor room while they use the rest of their house as a military base and sniper position . . . This clearly increases the risk to the Palestinian families concerned and means they are effectively being used as human shields."


Addition:

In support of that last report, the same incident is mentioned in this Guardian article.

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