‘Possible’ War Crime in Beit Hanoun

I came across this article buried deep in the Middle East section of BBC News online:

A report to the UN Human Rights Council on Israel’s shelling of Beit Hanoun in Gaza almost two years ago says it may have been a war crime. The report compiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu casts doubt on Israel’s explanation that the shelling resulted from a flawed artillery firing system.

The article gives you no sense of what happened that day. So many atrocities, it’s hard to keep them from bleeding into one gory horror-fest in your memory.  But Beit Hanoun stands out for me because most of the victims were children – sleeping, pyjama-clad kids who died horrifically or were injured and orphaned.  I think 19 people were killed that day, almost all were women and children from one extended family. The youngest was eighteen-month-old Maysa, who died together with her three-year-old sister Maram. If you can bear to see it, their photograph is still online.

I hate the de-humanising way that Palestinian deaths are often reported – with indecent haste before moving on to a discussion of the inevitable political consequences. So often there isn’t even a name or age to help you to gain a sense of them as people.

This article, written by someone who travelled to Beit Hanoun shortly after the tragedy puts both names and faces to those at the heart of this tragedy.

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