Child Executions in Gaza: And the War Crimes Not Covered in Media…

Destroyed house in Gaza.

The IDF attack on foreign aid workers a week ago rightly caused outrage around the world. 

The deaths of World Central Kitchen workers from Israeli strikes, more than anything else in these six months of War in Gaza, created a widespread backlash against Israel’s operations, even from usually pro-Israel voices.
However, it took the killing of foreign nationals to finally elicit that kind of across-the-board condemnation.
The killing of actual Palestinians on a mass scale every day for six months had seemingly failed to create the same response.
What’s further remarkable is how many ‘incidents’ have gone largely unnoticed or have been under-reported.
A lot of the reports coming out of the besieged Gaza Strip have not received the coverage they warrant.
Is this because of news cycle fatigue? Have people become numb to it because it has become so commonplace?
Or is it a case of more strategic omissions on behalf of Israel’s PR?
Yes, the destruction of the Al-Shifa hospital complex received significant MSM coverage. It was a difficult one to ignore.
And so too, as mentioned, the targeted killing of international aid workers in recent days.

But there are also stories that have been pretty much ignored, as far as I can tell – and some of them, if true, are outright war crimes cases.

Let’s talk about the execution of children.
Yes, execution – not death from bombs or ‘collateral damage’, but actual face-to-face execution.

As relayed by Middle East Monitor, for example: ‘Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor confirmed that it has “documented the execution of 13 children by the Israeli occupation forces in Al-Shifa Hospital and its surroundings”…’The European NGO also confirmed that ‘it had received “identical statements and testimonies regarding the crimes of executing Gaza children between the ages of 4 and 16.” Two of the children, named as Ali Islam Salouha. 9, and Saeed Mohammad Sheikha, 6, are said to have been killed “in cold blood in front of their families and residents of the area having been targeted deliberately using live bullets”…’

Some of the children were killed while surrounded by the occupation army inside their homes with their families…’

The lack of major media coverage of these items is telling: especially given how much regurgitation there was of, say, the 40 Beheaded Babies story – an IDF black propaganda item that has been debunked (see this article).
40 beheaded babies, Hamas
Yet this alleged execution of children appears to be from a credible source – but hasn’t been widely reported.
It is also entirely possible that similar incidents have happened elsewhere in Gaza too, but likewise not been widely reported.
Gaza, bear in mind, has been under a blackout, with international media blocked by Israeli forces from being able to enter the conflict zone and try to gage the situation.
In January, for example, it wasn’t much reported that Israeli soldiers had apparently executed people in Anan in Gaza City, which included a child. ‘Photos and eyewitness testimonies documented this incident, in which 15 men were forced to lay down on their stomachs, then shot and killed. A three-year old girl, Nada, was killed in the Israeli shelling that followed the executions…’

One could argue that it doesn’t matter whether children are killed by bombs or missiles or killed with direct gunshots by IDF executioners – a dead child is a dead child.

But we all know, deep down, that there is a difference: at least in how we perceive the crime or the level of barbarity.
To think of adult soldiers executing children face-to-face creates a very different feeling. And this could be why these stories have been kept out of the major news coverage.
It’s basically the reverse of the Israeli propaganda stories from October – of beheaded babies or children burnt in ovens: which were well circulated, despite the lack of evidence.
Whereas here we have major media keeping quiet about what appear to be child murders.
Meanwhile, concerning the Al Shifa hospital destruction: even some of the more critical coverage of the targeted destruction nevertheless is careful to portray the mass killing as being death by airstrike.
Hardly any media coverage has focused on reports (unverified) that some medical staff there were found executed with their hands tied behind their backs.
But such accounts exist, such as provided by Professor Nick Maynard, an Oxford doctor and cancer specialist who has been at Al Shifa and other Gaza hospitals and claims medical workers have been executed.
Reinforcing Maynard’s claims somewhat, the already mentioned Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has also claimed that ‘the occupation army has committed… horrific crimes systematically during its military operations lasting for more than a week inside and around Al-Shifa Hospital. “These crimes include premeditated killings and extrajudicial executions of Palestinian civilians”…’
Again, because although both are obviously bad – both bombing a hospital to dust or executing bound and helpless medical staff face-to-face – the latter clearly tells a different story to the former and paints an even worse picture.
If these various accounts are true, then there’s no question Israel has been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza – not as an unfortunate consequence of war, but as actual policy.
But this much was already indicated months ago when, for example, IDF soldiers outright executed Israeli hostages who they claimed to have mistaken for terrorists.
This was despite the fact that the men had been waving white flags and speaking in Hebrew – and were clearly unarmed men surrendering.

It’s pretty obvious then why journalists have been barred from the conflict zone.

And yet, perversely, foreign journalists’ only experience of the conflict has been the IDF-hosted special tours of the kibbutzes and alleged Hamas massacre sites from October 7th.
Or events where celebrities, politicians or ‘influencers’ (as highlighted here in a previous article) have been invited by the IDF to come and ‘bear witness’.
Bearing Witness: Hamas Massacre in Israel
Not only are international journalists being kept out by the Israelis (even after six months) so that they can’t report on any of these incidents or ascertain the truth, but major media appears to be actively choosing to omit or minimise some of these events on Israel’s behalf.
Which has meant that all we’ve mostly had are glimpses and ambiguous implications: such as when the images were circulating of scores of Palestinian males stripped to their underwear and blindfolded while being lined up by IDF soldiers.
It was a grim image – evoking not only Guantanamo type scenes, but images of some of the Islamic State group’s actions in Iraq in 2014.
Yet because of the total absence of journalists or investigators, no one could quite determine what the images precisely represented: and most media had to simply accept at face value the IDF’s explanation that these were all captured Hamas terrorists.
In the case of the allegedly executed children mentioned earlier, we have apparent eyewitness testimony: but because of the lack of sources or organisations with access to these places, corroborative evidence is difficult.

And again, one assumes that this ambiguity and lack of clarity was the plan from the beginning. Ambiguity means deniability.

UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Francesca Albanese, who says she has been attacked and received numerous threats since she began her mission, has said there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that  Israel  is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
It’s probably too much to hope for a Nuremberg style process somewhere down the line, where the truth can be made clear and war criminals can be prosecuted.
But if any such process was to happen in the future, there are key elements in both foreign governments and international media – those that continue to provide cover or even active assistance to war crimes – that should absolutely be included.
We’ve seen various Western politicians trying to backpedal in recent weeks, as they get more and more embarrassed by Israel’s actions.
Moreover, people are starting to think about salvaging their own reputations and even distancing themselves from complicity in likely war crimes.
Some media organisations and commentators have been doing the same too, slowly changing their tune somewhat.
Not for moral reasons: but because they’re worried about the optics or the future culpability.
But it’s too little and too late.

S. Awan

Independent journalist. Pariah. Believer in human rights, human dignity and liberty. Musician. Substandard Jedi. All-round failure. And future ghost.

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