Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Death on the beach in Gaza

Israel and its apologists are mounting a major campaign to blame a Hamas "land mine" for the deaths of seven members of a Palestinian family, including five children, last Friday on a beach in Gaza. They claim that Hamas was laying land mines to prevent Israeli incursions. Curiously, no other land mines have been found on the beach. Are we to believe that Hamas figured that one landmine on a large beach would be enough to stop the Israelis?

That's indirect evidence that the Israeli story is hogwash. But there's lots of direct evidence. I'm not going to summarize it here; instead, I'm just going to refer readers to primary sources:

Decide for yourself. But you'll need to consult these sources. If you read the New York Times or the Washington Post or no doubt most other American newspapers, you won't find a word of this evidence, since those papers carry only an AP story which gives the official Israeli military explanation, and, tellingly, has a byline of "Jerusalem" and not "Beit Lahia." Wouldn't want to do any actual reporting when stenography will do just fine for the American corporate press.

I just want to add one bit of my own analysis to what you can read in the sources above. First, read this from the Israeli explanation:

The army has accounted for five of six of the shells that it fired in the area Friday evening before the blast, the officials said. The one shell that is not accounted for was fired before the five others -- more than ten minutes before the blast that killed the Palestinians -- and apparently landed further away than the shells that were fired later, the officials said.
OK, now will someone tell me exactly how the Israelis manage this magic feat? There are three craters on the beach. Are there time stamps on those craters? How on earth do they know which of the six shells caused those three craters (ok, they claim only two were caused by their shells and one was just coincidentally, at exactly the same time, caused by this mythical land mine)? How do they know which shell is unaccounted for? Did they find the serial numbers of each shell perhaps? Do they have aerial video of the beach for the entire period, showing each explosion in turn (if so, let them make it public). Folks, this is complete nonsense. If they admit they can only account for five shells (and how they can do that with complete certainty is questionable), they can't possibly know that the sixth shell didn't kill the Palestinians.

It's also worth noting some interesting language shifts. Here's the headline in the Washington Post: "Israel: Gaza Blast Not From Israeli Shell." Really? Here's the very first sentence from the article: "An Israeli investigation into what caused an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinians will conclude that the blast was most likely caused by a mine planted by Palestinian militants and not an Israeli shell, military officials said Tuesday." Need I say that "most likely" does not mean it was "not" caused by Israeli shell, it means that even the Israelis only claim it was "most likely" that it wasn't. To repeat, read the evidence in the sources above and decide for yourself.

Update: Knight-Ridder's Dion Nissenbaum, about whom I have previously had good things to say, actually mentions, albeit in greatly abbreviated form and not until the final three paragraphs of his article, some of the evidence that Israeli shells were the cause of the deaths.

Why stop here? There's more...

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