The Israeli government is blocking Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch from entering the Gaza Strip, preventing researchers from investigating the assault. The Israeli journalist Amira Hass reports the groups have been told they must register as a humanitarian aid organization, only to later be informed they do not qualify. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously issued reports that raised allegations of potential war crimes by Israel, as well as on a smaller scale by Hamas.
A 91-year-old man honored by Israel for saving a Jewish life during the Nazi Holocaust has returned his medal in protest of the Gaza assault. Henk Zanoli was given Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations award for his actions under Nazi occupation in Amsterdam. In 1943, Zanoli smuggled out a Jewish boy and helped hide him in his home for two years, despite Nazi suspicion he and his family backed the resistance. Zanoli’s father was executed in a concentration camp and his brother-in-law executed as a resistance fighter. But last week, Zanoli returned his medal to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague, saying that Israeli bombings of Gaza had killed six of his relatives. His grandniece is married to a Palestinian man who lost three brothers, a sister-in-law, a nephew and his father’s first wife in a bombing of their home last month. Zanoli writes: “For me to hold on to the honor granted to me by the State of Israel under these circumstances, would be an insult … to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza.” Zanoli added: “The actions of your state in Gaza these days have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. … It would be of no surprise to me that these accusations could lead to possible convictions if true and unpoliticized justice is able to have its course. What happened to our kin in Gaza will no doubt be brought to the table at such a time as well.