Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Another 'Israeli Atrocity' Hoax
NOTE: This post started as an update to the previous one, and grew large enough to deserve its own heading. -DiB
Regarding the Gaza beach incident (for want of a better name), which has been heavily reported over the past several days, here's a quick summary: a mine exploded on a Gaza beach, killing several civilians, at approximately the same time that nearby terrorist cells were targeted by Israeli artillery fire. Israel was, of course, blamed for this "atrocity" immediately; simultaneously, Palestinian authorities rapidly cleared the area of any evidence of the event, and refused entry to Israeli authorities for the purpose of conducting an investigation. (At the same time, one of the wounded was evacuated to an Israeli hospital. There are no anti-Zionist Palestinians when medical care is needed, I guess.)
Israel conducted an investigation anyway, using what information was available -- films made by the artillery and Air Force crews (showing no crater on the beach, as you'd expect from the impact of an artillery shell); precise timetables and targeting information by the crews (indicating that Israel was not shooting at anyone in the Gaza Strip at the time that the incident happened... and that even the artillery fired hours before did not come close to where the incident happened); and even information from the wounded (shrapnel was extracted from the wounded Palestinian in an Israeli hospital; the shrapnel could not have come from Israeli artillery).
Read the whole thing; the details are instructive.
The current theory is that the Palestinians had planted explosive mines on parts of the Gaza shore, intended to prevent Israeli Navy commandos from entering Gaza that way. (What sort of government authorizes the planting of mines on a public beach?? Just wondering.)
I hardly need mention that the Palestinians have been firing rockets endlessly at Israeli towns, with the specific intention of hitting civilians if they can. Why is it suddenly an atrocity when, according to the Palestinians, some of their own civilians die from Israeli artillery? Even if you accept the Palestinian side of the story -- which I don't -- it would simply be a case of Israel doing, in a rare accident, what Palestinians do on purpose all the time.
We will see whether this time the truth can catch up to the fantasy -- unlike the story of Jenin, or the story of Mohammed al-Dura.
UPDATE II: Another press release by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides a vivid reminder of why the IDF was shelling the Gaza Strip in the first place:
Yesterday morning (Tuesday), 13 June 2006, the IDF carried out an aerial attack in the northern Gaza Strip against a vehicle loaded with rockets and carrying a Islamic Jihad terrorist cell en route to launch long-range Katyusha (Grad) rockets against Israel. Thirty-eight rockets have been launched at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours; over 100 rockets have been launched at Israel since Friday, 9 June 2006.I leave it to your imagination: how would the United States respond, if a sworn enemy -- say, the Soviet Union in Cuba at the time of the 1963 missile crisis -- had fired over 100 rockets (with explosive warheads) into our populated areas over a four-day period, with 38 of those rockets arriving within a single 24-hour period?
According to Palestinians reports three terrorists who operated in the cell were killed, as well as eight civilians. After the attack the terror cell was seen removing the rockets from the vehicle.
"I state clearly that we are saddened by the deaths of these innocent Palestinians but hold absolutely no responsibility for them. The responsibility lies entirely on the shoulders of the Palestinians," said the Chief of Staff [Lt. Gen.] Dan Halutz last night, who added that "the incident must be evaluated in its context, which is that Palestinians attempted to launch Grad rockets against Israel, and we acted with determination to prevent their firing."
This is the fourth time in the past two months in which terrorist cells attempt to launch Grad rockets at Israel. On Knesset election day (March 28) a rocket fell south of Ashkelon; about a month later another attempt was thwarted. On the third attempt, which occurred on May 15, the rocket hit an Israeli community north of the Gaza Strip, and damaged civilian infrastructure.
These rockets are capable of causing much more serious damage than the Qassam rockets, because they can reach a range of 15 to 20 kilometers and carry much more explosives.
If you think that the United States would respond with restraint, avoiding the source of the problem (i.e. the enemy that fires rockets with impunity), and instead merely pinpointing the launch sites of the rockets and destroying them -- well, that's exactly what Israel has been doing.
And if you think that the United States would do more than that, and would be justified in doing so -- then think about how easily Israel is vilified by the world for what little she is doing!
UPDATE III: As Charles Krauthammer writes in The Washington Post:
An expert at a local chapter of a human rights group disputes the Israeli claims. Okay. Let's concede for the sake of argument that the question of whether it was an errant Israeli shell remains unresolved. But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel -- and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?(emphasis added)
But there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place -- about 1,000 in the past year?
To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.
And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians' control? They have used their freedom to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.
Why? Because the Palestinians prefer victimhood to statehood.
By all means, read the whole thing.
UPDATE IV: Now human-rights organizations are backing away from insisting that Israeli artillery caused this incident:
On Monday, the Human Rights Watch, while sticking to its demand for the establishment of an independent inquiry into a blast on a Gaza beach 10 days ago that killed seven Palestinian civilians, conceded for the first time since the incident that it could not contradict the IDF's exonerating findings.There's more, including a bizarre account of Ralia Niham, one of the Palestinian wounded who was taken to an Israeli hospital. Israeli doctors were puzzled at finding incisions all over her body... where Palestinian doctors had hurriedly removed every piece of shrapnel they could reach. Perhaps they were doing the best they could for her, before transferring her to better facilities in Israel. Or perhaps they were doing what Palestinian Authority representatives were doing on the beach, and removing as much evidence as they could, as quickly as they could.