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  Middle East & Africa
UN Warns Israel over Gaza Family 'Herded' into Shelled House
Palestinians carry the bodies of three children Ahmed, Mohamed, and Issa Samouni, who according to Palestinian medical sources, were killed by Israel.
More than 100 members of one extended Gazan family were allegedly herded by Israeli soldiers into a house that was subsequently shelled, killing up to 30 people and leaving others wounded and living with the corpses for three days.

The alleged atrocity, denied by Israel, was one of several for which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on January 9, 2008 demanded "credible and independent investigations, and raised the possibility of Israeli leaders being prosecuted for war crimes.

Though her comments were addressed at both Israel and Hamas, Navi Pillay said that scores of people, including children, had been killed or wounded in "Israel's totally unacceptable strikes."

Against this backdrop, a leading newspaper in UAE blasted on Jan. 11 the United States for its callous indifference to the ordeal of Palestinians in Gaza, branding the Congress' support for Israeli strikes on Gaza as "completely unjustified and shameful for the world's most powerful democracy."

The paper said with the completely one-sided US approach to the Middle East conflict from its lawmakers, perhaps it's futile to expect the current or incoming administration to take a more just and reasonable stand on the issue.

"'The United States, which has always acted as Israel's patron saint, continues to exhibit a callous indifference to the plight of Palestinians even as the whole world and the United Nations have condemned the Jewish state for mass scale massacre of civilians, including women and children, opined Khaleej Times in its comment.

"Even as Gaza continues to burn US lawmakers have once again backed and justified Israel's war on a completely vulnerable population. To the world community's horror, the US House of Representatives has joined the Senate to voice strong support' for the so-called security' of Israel arguing Israel's precision strikes' on Gaza were unavoidable."

"'Given the powerful Israeli lobby in the US and its incredible money and media power, the stance is perhaps understandable. But given the magnitude of the Gaza tragedy - nearly 800 Palestinians killed against four Israeli soldiers and Israel's crimes against a civilian population that has been under siege for two years, this is completely unjustified and shameful for the world's most powerful democracy.

The least the US lawmakers could have done, the paper said, was demand Israel to pay heed to UN Security Council's call to end the offensive. This is all the more unfortunate because the US and its lawmakers and leaders are in a position to persuade Israel to stop this mass slaughter of an utterly defenceless population.

" While speaker after speaker from both Republican and Democratic sides bent over backwards to justify Israeli crimes, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went on to say that Israel has the right to self-defence', and is bound to retaliate' to Hamas rockets. So much so that only a small group of five lawmakers including former presidential hopeful Ron Paul opposed the vote against Israel's war on Gaza.

"'With such a completely one-sided approach to the Middle East conflict from its lawmakers, perhaps it's futile to expect the current or incoming administration to take a more just and reasonable stand on the issue.

"'No wonder Israel has no qualms or hesitation in unleashing its deadly firepower, supported by the US made weapons, on the Palestinians. This will no doubt further embolden the Jewish state and encourage it to completely wipe out the people whose land it has occupied,"' the Khaleej Times concluded.






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