Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gaza Explodes

While I haven't commented on it here, a recent wave of civilians killed in Gaza has caused a firestorm that threatens to become high intensity warfare in the Holy Land. An entire family including 5 children were killed on a beach in Gaza by what witnesses described as incoming artillery fire.

Their deaths have ignited the passions of the nation. Their funeral was attended by thousands in Beit Lahiya, and the one survivor, 7 year-old Huda Ghalia, has been "symbolically adopted" by Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas.

The killing also prompted Hamas to end its 16 month ceasefire, and renew missile attacks on Israel.

An Israeli airstrike on a van carrying militants and rocket launchers killed 2 militants, and a second Israeli missile killed civilian bystanders including "an ambulance worker and two children. On the same day, Israeli officials were able to bump that ugly news from the headlines by releasing the findings of an Israeli army report that argues that Israel was not responsible for the deaths, arguing that Hamas landmines likely caused the killing. Immediately doubts are being raised on the Israeli government position. Human Rights Watch argues that their investigation comes to the opposite conclusion with regard to every piece of evidence.

Chris McGeal of the London Guardian spoke today on Democracy Now
refuting entirely the Israeli army report, saying that this is cover being laid down for Olmert and other Israeli politicians currently in Europe.

The Israeli military has made such false statements before for propaganda purposes. For example, in October 2004, the Israeli military announced in a press conference that they had irrefutable evidence that UN ambulances were being used to ferry heavy weapons in Palestinian Occupied Territories. They later admitted that the image "might be a stretcher rather than a rocket."

The International Solidarity Movement also reports "A claim circulated by The Associated Press... that Kalashnikovs had been found in an ISM office was completely retracted by AP and ...the Israeli army itself when it emerged that it was totally false."

McGeal also describes evidence that Israeli shelling was responsible, citing eye-witness reports and the discovery of shrapnel reading "155 mm" the type of artillery shell Israel was using nearby. The Isreali army report's own findings that 5 of 6 shells fired nearby were accounted for, and many of them exploded on the Gaza shore nearby, while the 6 one (presumably that struck the family) was "not accounted for" in the Israeli report.

Israeli officials have used the army report as a full exoneration of guilt, and Amir Peretz and Olmert are arguing that the exoneration gives Israel more right to increase attacks on Hamas militants and others.

As usual Remember These Children, memorializes the recent deaths of Palestinian and Israeli children. For those keeping count, 26 Palestinian children have been killed this year as has one Israeli child. Ironically, the Isreali child Khalid Salaam Ziadin, 16, was an Israeli Arab killed by Isreali ordinance in the Western Negev desert.

1 comment :

-canuck- said...

...surely you could find a more reliable reference than "The Guardian" and their blind faith in Palywood.