Last week, at the height of Operation Cast Lead, a group of Israeli firemen threw their hats into the political ring, albeit in somewhat undiplomatic and uncivilised fashion. During a peaceful anti-war vigil outside a Tel Aviv air force base, several members of the fire brigade turned on one protester, drenching her relentlessly with water from their hoses, before approaching her and ordering her into the station in order to "give us all head".
The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had privately admitted using phosphorus bombs, and that the Judge Advocate General's Office and Southern Command were investigating.
The Times first accused Israeli forces of using white phosphorus on January 5, but the IDF has denied the charge repeatedly. Phosphorus bombs can be used to create smoke screens, but their use as weapons of war in civilian areas is banned by the Geneva Conventions.
There is no way to know exactly how many billions of dollars in federal contracts American small businesses lost during the eight years of the Bush Administration. During President Bush's tenure, administration officials went to extreme lengths to make it difficult, if not impossible to obtain the government's records on small business contracting.
Under Bush, the United States Department of Justice went to federal court on several occasions to fight Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the specific names of firms that had received federal small business contracts.
Since 2003, 15 federal investigations have found that Bush Administration officials have diverted billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses in the U.S. and Europe. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
Eight Israeli human rights groups came together Tuesday to demand the state investigate the army's behaviour in the deadly 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip.
They urged prosecutor general Menachem Mazuz, who is also the government legal adviser, to act "given the scale of the casualties among the civilian population during Operation Cast Lead."
Human rights group Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza was indiscriminate.
"Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighborhoods is inherently indiscriminate," Donatella Rovera, a Middle East researcher with Amnesty International, said in a statement on Monday.
"Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," she charged.
It's the sight many Americans had long been waiting for.
Boarding a helicopter yesterday, George Bush and his wife Laura waved goodbye to a small crowd, a simple gesture closing a controversial eight years in office.
Mr Bush had been greeted with some boos from the two-million strong crowd at the inauguration of new U.S. President Barack Obama - a strong indication of the bitterness with which some, though not all, Americans view the former leader of the free world.
Doctors in Gaza described today how they had struggled to treat dozens of patients with terrible and unusually deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus weapons, during Israel's three-week war in Gaza.
Nafiz Abu Shabaan, head of the burns unit at Shifa hospital and the most senior burns surgeon in Gaza, said 60 to 70 patients had died in his unit during the war from severe burns that were unlike any injury he had previously seen.
For once-powerful Republicans, there were two ways to get through today's inauguration -- and neither was entirely without pain.
Some, like former White House aide Suhail Khan, opted to stay in town and witness first-hand the historic transition, even though it meant hearing rebukes from the incoming president and sometimes worse from the inaugural crowd.
"The one sorry note were the boos for President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Justice Roberts," said Khan, who was among a group of former Bush aides standing just a short distance from Obama as he was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
"And singing the goodbye song," Khan said. "That was uncalled for."
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