Whether you think the timing is perfect depends on your taste for irony, I suppose. Just last week, two separate but equally damning reports were released each chronicling aspects of the war crimes Israel is accused of committing in its 50+ day siege of the Gaza strip last summer.

First, there was Black Flag by the Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem which documented the country’s deliberate and systematic attacks on residential buildings during the Gaza assault. You can read the report on the B’Tselem site, but here’s the money shot:

‘These attacks were not carried out on the whim of individual soldiers, pilots or commanders in the field. They are the result of a policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command. These officials backed the policy of attacking homes, reiterating the argument that the attacks conform to international humanitarian law (IHL) and eschewing any responsibility for harm to civilians.’

(If you’re unfamiliar with B’Tselem, the 25 year-old NGO’s aim to ‘create a human rights culture’ in Israel was set back last summer when it was banned from receiving volunteers through the country’s National Civilian Service, which provides placements for Israelis exempted from doing military service. In announcing the ban, the service’s director-general perverted logic and morality in familiar style, claiming any examination of Israel’s human rights record could lead to anti-Semitism.)

Just a few days later, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which is a partner of Christian Aid, released its 237-page report, enumerating a sickening range of atrocities committed by Israel during its Gaza campaign, including

* using civilians as human shields

* shooting fleeing civilians carrying white flags

* shelling ambulances

* shooting civilians dead at close range

* preventing emergency medical evacuation, including by the Red Cross.

Just as chillingly, its authors describe ‘strange and inexplicable’ injuries, presumably caused by experimental weapons, and note the refusal of Israel to allow observers from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to enter Gaza last August. According to Mondoweiss, PHR-Israel’s research was undertaken by eight international experts in the fields of medicine, health and human rights, unaffiliated with any group or party in Israel or Palestine, and overseen by the Director for the Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University among others.

Echoing the B’Tselem report its authors conclude,

‘Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.’

Reading these documents, those of us who sat horror-struck for close to two months last summer watching the IDF pulverise a defenceless civilian population with complete impunity whilst being informed that our distress was actually latent anti-Semitism, might have indulged a moment’s vindication for daring to believe our eyes. The reports even earned a couple of mentions in The Guardian and The Independent, though not a word from the BBC, of course. God forbid that the facts might contradict the public broadcaster’s chosen narrative. Then reality pistol whipped us once again. For while these experts and activists were busily compiling their data, sifting through rubble and talking to shell-shocked survivors, experienced and well-funded tacticians were hard at work, too.

First, the relentless Israeli smear campaign aimed at having William Schabas removed as head of a UN enquiry into Gaza atrocities committed by both Israel and Hamas finally paid off: Schabas stepped down after it emerged that he wrote a legal opinion for the PLO in 2012. Meanwhile, 75 United States Senators wrote to the Secretary of State John Kerry demanding that the US withhold funding for the Palestinian Authority to punish it for seeking recourse to the International Criminal Court. I guess they got the idea from Israel, which has withheld tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority – in other words, Palestinian money which Israel collects on its behalf as an occupying force – for the five weeks since the PA announced its ICC bid.

Up in Canada, Israel’s new BFF, Stephen Harper and John Baird were hard at work on a formal agreement with the Israeli government to embark on a ‘public diplomacy’ initiative aimed at fighting the BDS movement which they call ‘the new face of [you guessed it!] anti-Semitism.’ This while a guy claiming to have served with the Israeli military attacked University of Toronto students and urinated on BDS literature, ranting,

See I’m still peeing on your sign assholes, this sign’s going to the garbage. I have no respect for you fucking assholes. ‘U of T’ you call yourself the University of Toronto liars fucking lowlife motherfuckers. There’s your sign, pee’d on, see, you feel good Arabs I pee’d all over you an’ not only that I got the trophy out of your f’ing office.

In Greece, the euphoric anti-austerity ‘radicals’ now in power took a break from debt talk to call on Israel to stop its oppression of Palestinians, whereas here in pre-election UK there’s not a stray hair above the parapet, save those of the indomitable Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who stepped down from her ministerial post last summer over the UK government’s refusal unequivocally to condemn Israeli attacks on civilians.

Back on the ground in Gaza, three infants have frozen to death in winter storms as UNRWA was forced to suspend its reconstruction efforts when funds pledged in Cairo last October failed to materialise. And once again, its 1.8 million residents hold their breath, and wait.

Here are some things the media didn’t call news in Palestine:

1. Israeli soldiers raid, shut down Palestinian school at gunpoint via Ma’an News Agency and @benabyad

Israeli forces raided a Palestinian high school in the northern West Bank on Wednesday morning, storming the facility and forcing students to leave at gunpoint while detaining school administrators…

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that “teenagers were hurling rocks at the roads” and soldiers entered the school as a result in order to “tell them to stop.”

2. Settler Runs Over Photographer as Israel Destroys Palestinian Structures

Israeli forces on Monday demolished two small farmhouses, a water well and stone walls in the occupied West Bank village of Qusra, south of Nablus, a Palestinian official said, as a Zionist settler ran over and injured a Palestinian journalist…

The mayor of Qusra, Abdul Atheem al-Wadiyya, said the structures were built with money donated by the French government on land belonging to Anwar Tayseer and his brother Akram.

“We have all the official documents which prove our ownership of the land upon which the structures were demolished,” the mayor said.

3. Israeli Forces destroy Palestine Water Infrastructure, 1,000 Meter Water Pipe donated to Yezra

Israeli bulldozers, on Thursday, destroyed a water pipe being used in connecting the West Tubas district’s Atoof village with Khirbet Yezra, in the northern Jordan Valley.

Head of Al-Maleh local council, Aaref Daraghmeh, said that the pipe had length of 1,000 meters, and was donated by Agricultural Relief to provide the residents of Yezra with water, since the area has no water sources.

4. 151 Palestinian Children Currently Imprisoned by Israel

At least 151 Palestinian children are currently being held as “security prisoners” in Israeli jails, Palestinian legal monitor Military Court Watch said in a statement, on Tuesday.

According to Ma’an, the group said that 47 percent of those are being held inside Israel in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prevents the transfer of detainees outside of occupied territory, as it limits their families’ and lawyers’ abilities to visit.

5. Israeli Forces Continue to Fire on Gaza Farmers

Israeli forces Wednesday opened gunfire at Palestinian farmers as they were farming their borderline farmlands to the east of Khan Younes, according to WAFA correspondence…

Soldiers, stationed in military watchtowers and deployed along the border, indiscriminately opened fire on Palestinian farmers as they were plowing their farmlands, forcing them to leave.

6. Israeli forces arrest 10-year-old boy, uncle in East Jerusalem

Israeli forces on Sunday detained a young Palestinian boy and his uncle in the al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to clashes in the area, witnesses said.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli special forces assaulted 10-year-old Muhammad Afeef Khweis as he was sitting in a park in the neighborhood, causing him to panic.

7. Gaza Office of Palestinian Prisoners Committee Burned

The Palestinian Commission Of Detainees in Gaza City has reported that unknown assailants burned its main office, before dawn on Tuesday, and that some of its computers were stolen.

8. Druze attacked by gang of Jews in Jerusalem after speaking Arabic via @P_Strickland_

A Druze student was brutally attacked by a group of ten Jewish men in Jerusalem on Thursday – reportedly after they heard that he was speaking Arabic. What Tommy Hasson’s assailants did not know was that they were attacking a young man who had just completed his IDF service three months ago and recently moved to Jerusalem to study music.

9. Settler runs over 5-year-old Palestinian near Tulkarem

A settler car ran over a five-year-old Palestinian child near Tulkarem on Friday, medics said.

The child was taken to a local hospital for treatment, where he is said to be in a moderate condition.

10. Israeli soldier gives 74-year-old Palestinian woman water then shoots her in the head

During the Israeli bombardment and shelling of the Gaza Strip last summer, an Israeli soldier approached a 74-year-old Palestinian woman Ghalya Abu-Rida to give her a sip of water. He gave her the water, took a photo with her and then he shot her in the head from a distance of one metre. He then watched as she bled to death, the Palestine Information Centre reported…

The spokesman of the Israeli army, Avichay Adraee, shared the photo of an Israeli soldier holding the water bottle and helping the old woman drink as an example of the “humanity” of the Israeli army towards the civilians in the Gaza Strip.

And finally here’s a bit of context:

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