Friday, January 09, 2009

Gaza Crisis: Israel Admits Privately, Benjamin Tells Porkies

Israel's Defence Force put up a robust defence of course, we wouldn't expect anything else, saying that militants fired mortars from that UN school in Gaza, before they bombarded it. In several interviews and a YouTube IDF-Channel statement to camera IDF and Govt of Israel representatives claimed that mortars were fired from the compound - before they started their flattening of that compound.

The UN immediately and strenuously denied that any mortars had been fired or any militants sheltered. The main Israeli defence spokesman claimed that Hamas were cooking up a cover up. Which seems like a bit of psychological projection, particularly when we considered the mis-direction on YouTube.

This (above) sees Captain Benjamin claiming that the mortar launching squad and known terrorists were among the dead, and it referred to a video, "released a year ago", though only date-stamped a few days before, and with timecode and date information scrubbed off, which showed some people firing a mortar from a UN Gaza school. Guido Fawkes aka Mr GuF linked to it on the 7th January at 10:30 am. He had of course linked to various other IDF propaganda videos ahead of this. But this one was apparently put up on 1st January.

This video has cropped up a few times, was used in a similar way during the last Lebanon invasion, and in some current manifestations in both cases is/was presented as being current. It is not. It's 18 months or so old. It also does not seem to show a comparable circumstance.

From an airborne point of view "Terrorists" are shown firing a mortar from rubble at the edge of a UN school. They are unidentifiable. Could be anyone. No other people can be seen. And when they're done firing three fireworks or whatever, they scarper over the back wall. Using a probably empty, already shelled school, without any sign of consent or toleration from UN or civil authorities.

This seems like a very thin tissue of lies this. And by coincidence there it was, apparently being popped up on YouTube just a couple of days before the UN school shelter was hit in the current conflict.

Yesterday the Guardian reported that the UN were right, the IDF were wrong and that Israeli sources were admitting to the UN that Hamas mortars were not fired from inside the compound. Just from "outside", undefined. Presumably the IDF must have the airborne or other surveillance tapes that they thought pinpointed the source of the mortar rounds?

Maintaining the IDF's stance Captain Benjamin Rutland (as seen above) maintained that "we have intelligence information that we hit the actual mortar firing squad". So come on Benjamin! Produce the evidence or "information" as you call it. Can we see current videos? Instead of something from two years ago, passed off in some quarters as current, and even in official version having date etc removed, please pretty please?

Another plank of the Govt of Israel/IDF defence for civilian casualties has been the pre-warning schtick. Civilians are given advanced warning of where strikes will be. Really they are. At least some of the time. Losing the element of surprise and so de facto only attacking infrastructure - or possibly causing military material to be moved in IDF view - but avoiding killing civilians.

While claiming that Hamas were cooking up a cover up to the lethal UN school strike, seeing a two-year-old video passed off as current, and pleading their pre-warning humanitarianism Israeli authorities must have been aware of the apparent breakdown of this very system. When more than 100 people were evacuated by them to a specific safe house which they bombarded with sustained direct hits within 24 hours of herding civilians, half of them children, to what became in many cases their final resting place.

What is going on Israel? You have the right to defend your civilians. Many of us do feel that killing 700+ Palestinians and losing a dozen or so of your own is no way to avenge one rocket death or set the scene for peace. But you do have the right to self defence. Empowering Hamas hotheads and re-embittering the population as you do may not be the obvious way. The world doesn't tend to think so.

But how can the sophisticated Israeli military be so bloody careless? And how can the propaganda be so very weaselish? And so clumsy?

According to the IDFNA homepage they have not signed in and there has been no new material on that IDFNA PR homepage for 15 hours. (Though we have found some, see footnote). The last thing being some bragging about "precision bombing" on all kinds of Hamas targets, each located, according to our IDF friends, "near civilian houses", "on roof of civilian house" "on back of civilian truck" and so on.

From the Hamas point of view of course this is a resistance movement. No military uniforms. No military vehicles. No military barracks. By definition it is operating within a "civilian" context. But that doesn't require carpet bombing or collective punishment. And Israel's latest IDFNA video propaganda proves that beyond doubt.

In these cases - unlike the UN school or the Israeli directed sanctuary - Hamas militants and/or their equipment were it seems taken out with precision.

FOOTNOTE: The more recent video we've found (above, posted 5 hours ago, but not coming up in searches) is this arabic version/adaptation of the 2007 "mortar from school" tape. Unidentifiable people with neither consent nor toleration from anyone else, and no obvious use of the school as a shelter; so what may well an unequivalent site being taped from the air. But not attacked as in the latest video.

My arabic is not good enough - almost non-existent - to see whether the IDFNA are representing this in arabic as a current tape. Original captions are erased as before. Or whether they are persisting with their - admitted to UN erroneous - claim that mortars were fired and mortar firers killed in the recent UN shelter 2009 case.

If you can translate the arabic perhaps you can let me know?

UPDATE Sat 00:40: Here's a scenario in which honours are shared. Slightly more evenly. Hamas mortar boys fire crappy mortars, yes: but outside the compound. Then, having failed, they flee. In the direction of the compound. And, forgetting themselves completely, the IDF then kill 40 civilians or thereabouts, flattening the UN refuge, albeit trying to nail these Hamas boyos.

In terms of the war law people talk about, but which is rarely exercised, this would appear to be Israel in the wrong in a big style.

Hamas idiots did not fire from this compound, although they were perhaps not considering the war law on that; but then Israeli idiots determined to obliterate the useless Hamas homemade rocketeers did flatten a known concentration of civilians; which those half-arsed rocketeers were running towards, or had reached.

ME MYSELF AND I: Keep returning to the Hamas pretext for sending all those crappy rockets over and killing ONE. Which was an Israeli incursion on 4 November killing SIX. And then, there was the Israeli pretext which was that one dead from the crappy "rockets". With their intelligent response having killed 800 "others" and counting, and having increased Israeli dead by at least ten-fold.

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