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Bibi and Barak’s Terror Fraud: Egyptian News Reports Attackers Were Egyptian, Not Gazan

Al Masry Al Youm, an independent liberal Egyptian newspaper, reports that Egypt has identified at least three of the Eilat attackers and that they are Egyptian, and not Gazan as Israel has claimed:

Egyptian authorities have identified three of the people responsible for carrying out a terrorist attack in Israel, just north of Eilat, on Thursday, in which seven Israelis were killed, according to an Egyptian security source.

The same source added that one of the men identified is a leader of terrorist cells in Sinai, while another is a fugitive who owns an ammunition factory.

What is intriguing about this story is that it would explain many things which appeared to be discrepancies when the theory was that Gazans were involved.  First, the Israeli bus driversaid the attackers wore Egyptian army uniforms.  Now, it might be possible for Gazans to get such uniforms, but it would be much easier for Egyptians to do so.  Second, the Israelis themselves have disagreed about the authors of the crime, with Netanyahu claiming the Popular Resistance Commitee was behind it and the IDF spokesperson specifically rejecting her boss’ claim.  All of which leads one to believe that the Israelis don’t have a clue who was behind it.  Third, well over half the attackers escaped, which is highly unusual for a terror attack on Israel.  It would be much easier for Egyptian terrorists to melt back into Sinai than for Gazans to do so.  Fourth, it would be a lot easier for Egyptians to mount an attack on Eilat than for Gazans to do so considering how far the latter would have to travel to get to the Israeli city.  Fifth, Israel bombed a house containing the entire top leadership of the PRC, killing three commanders.  If the PRC was responsible for the attack it simply beggars belief for their top leaders to be sitting in the same house together when they should be going into deep hiding.  Sixth, there have been five bombings of the Egyptian pipeline bringing gas to Israel.  Clearly, there are Egyptians who, in the light of the new Egyptian leadership, are not happy with continuing good relations between Egypt and Israel and willing to engage in terror to disrupt it.

All this would mean, if true, that Israel was not only caught with its pants down by the attack itself, but it hasn’t been able to pull them up in the aftermath either.  I can’t recall previously seeing such disarray within the Israeli military-political echelons as a result of a terror attack.  But it would seem to indicate some serious dysfunction.

H/t to readers Mary Hughes Thompson and Chayma for the story and link.

UPDATE: I’m just as competitive as the next political blogger, and to my chagrin I wrote this post last night (18 hours ago) and then queried a few Egyptians I knew about how realiable a source Al Masry was.  Then I waited for a reply, but one never came.  Then I somehow forgot I hadn’t actually published the post.  A comment in another thread by a reader made me realize I hadn’t published this and so did so a few hours ago.  But this delay allowed me to read Yossi Gurvitz’s 972 Magazine post which goes over some of the ground here, but adds a few interesting points I either didn’t know or hadn’t considered, which further buttress the argument that Bibi and Barak are perpetrating a fraud of massive proportions.

First, Gurvitz argues that Israel always releases the names and home villages of captured or killed terrorists within hours of the attack.  For Israel, it is a way of pinning blame where Israel feels it belongs.  But in the case of this incident, not only hasn’t Israel released this information, but IDF spokesperson Avital Leibowitz, when asked for it by Gurvitz, flatly refused to provide it.  Sorry fellas, but something ain’t right here.  Israel is a creature of habit.  It follows a time honored routine in matters like this.  The fact that it’s deviating from SOP is a major “tell.”

Also, Gurvitz notes that B’Tselem has tried to identify, through Gaza sources, who the attackers might’ve been, and has failed.  In addition, any Gaza family which discovers a relative was killed in a terror attack would do the Jewish equivalent of sit shiva.  This would be a public ritual and known to everyone in Gaza.  Yet somehow mysteriously there are no such mourning tents for the dead attackers.

If those of us who smell a rat here are right, then it would appear that Barak and Bibi knew the attackers were Egyptian.  That meant that they had two choices: either commence a major row with Egypt over the attack which might lead to a regional or international escalation which Israel couldn’t afford considering it’s already feuding with Turkey.  Or Israel could blame its usual whipping boy, Gaza and Hamas.  This way it could attack the usual suspects, draw blood, and go home after declaring victory.  Israelis wouldn’t be any the wiser, and Israel wouldn’t have to upset the unsteady apple cart of relations with the new Egyptian regime.

Something ain’t right about this picture.  It is the duty of the Israeli media to start asking questions, and pronto.  We may have yet another scandal brewing here.

UPDATE I: Prof. Joel Beinin, a respected Egypt studies scholar confirms that Al Masry is an indepencent liberal newspaper with no particular axe to grind regarding this story.   He says that Al Masry’s story makes sense and might explain why Israel killed Egyptian security forces by accident.  In other words, I’ve reported earlier that the Israeli bus driver whose bus was attacked near Eilat said the attackers wore Egyptian army uniforms.  Most of these terrorists escaped back into Egypt.  Israel would’ve alerted the Egyptians to this and the latter would have pursued them.  But then you’d have legitimate Egyptian soldiers pursuing attackers wearing Egyptian military uniforms.  It stands to reason that Israeli forces also pursuing the attackers inside Egypt might’ve easily mistaken the good guys for the bad guys.

Interestingly, the killing of the Egyptian soldiers by Israel indicates that Israel violated Egyptian sovereignty in hot pursuit of the terrorists.  It’s common for Israel to do this with weak states like Lebanon, but not more formidable neighbors like Egypt.  This potentially could be a incendiary issue if it got out widely inside Egypt.

UPDATE II: Prof. Ellis Goldberg, an Egypt specialist at the University of Washington, also just confirmed the reliability of Al Masry in the context of this story.  He sent me a link to a new story in today’s Al Masry.  It describes the Israeli incursion which killed the five Egyptian security officers (not three, as the NY Times has reported):

Reliable sources said that an Israeli unit entered (Sinai) at border point 79, in pursuit of the Eilat attackers, and then fought with the Egyptian unit stationed there.  The sources said that an Israeli helicopter intervened in the clash, and fired two missiles, and then hovered vertically over the Egyptian unit and opened fire with two machine guns, killing instantly Captain Ahmed Galal–with nine shots and a number of [missile] fragments–two soldiers, and two others [who] died later.

…A vehicle belonging to the border security forces, was on its way to the scene, and was exposed to a barrage of fire launched by the Israeli force and the armed groups.

What is extraordinary about all this is that Israeli forces not only invaded Egypt to pursue these attackers, but that they engaged with legitimate Egyptian security forces (rather than the militants), and severely sabotaged the Egyptian operation to capture the killers.  This meant that in the gun battle, the Egyptian forces were not just fighting the Eilat militants, but the IDF as well.  Man, this is a screw-up of massive proportions.

It is one thing to kill terrorists who’ve attacked your citizens, this may be justified.  But in this case the IDF has killed 14 Gazans who likely had nothing to do with the Eilat assault, not even the ones Israel has identified as Gaza militants.  Just as many parts of Operation Cast Lead qualify to be investigated as war crimes, I’d say the Gaza reprisals are right up there on the scale of impunity.  Can the leader of any nation get away with attacking another that didn’t even attack it at all?  If this isn’t a war crime, what is?

The Al Masry describes the three Eilat attackers its forces killed and there can be no doubt that they are Egyptian and not Gazan:

The 3 attackers are … the actual commander of the terrorist and takfiri (militant islamists) in central Sinai, one of the inmates who escaped from Egyptian prison during the recent security chaos, and a member of the (Salafist) group “Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad” who owns an ammunition factory that (Egyptian) security forces discovered last week.

Idan Landau also writes an extraordinarily comprehensive blog post, Conspiracy in the South, about this in which he reaches similar conclusions to Yossi and I.  Idan puts this incident in the historic context of a number of other Israeli operations, among them the 1982 Lebanon invasion, which used equally bogus information to justify themselves.  He also equates the Israeli government’s fake account to the Bush administration’s bogus claims of WMD which led us to invade Iraq in 2003.

Idan also reinforces a post I wrote during the height of the J14 protest uproar.  I reported a story by Shalom Yerushalmi in which he warned the Israeli leadership not to engage in a military adventure that would distract the Israeli public from the very real social issues raised by the tent protests.  If we are all correct, and Bibi and Barak took advantage of the terror attack to escalate it into a major regional crisis, then Yerushalmi’s point will have been proven.  Bibi did precisely what the reporter had warned him not to do.  Masterful (unfortunately only in Hebrew).

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{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Daniel F. August 22, 2011, 6:34 PM

    Richard,
    You are right on the money with this one!
    If the terrorist were Gazans we would have expected a group within Gaza to claim responsibility
    which has not happened and secondly we would expect to see mourners tents set up in Gaza for the dead terrorists which has also not happened to date.
    Egypt would prefer that the terrorists be Gazans,to distance themselves from the attacks so if the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that 2 of the dead terrorists were known terrorists from the Sinai peninsula then it is very possible if not likely that they were.
    The claim that the terrorists were from the Popular Resistance Committee of the Gaza Strip and the fact that its top echelon was so conveniently eliminated so soon after the attack is simply too neat to be real……it appears that Bibi did not want to pass up on a golden opportunity.
    Where are Israel’s true leaders?

    • Leonid August 22, 2011, 8:28 PM

      “You are right on the money with this one!”

      Only if he’s using Russian ruble.

      1. Israel had an early warning. Israel has very good penetration and electronic surveillance over Gaza, not so good in Egypt.
      2. Hamas and PRC will never take responsibility over an act that violated Egyptian sovereignty, for many reasons.
      3. Approximately 2 weeks ago Rafah police station was taken over by groups of terrorist that run wild all over Sinai.
      4. The reason PRC high command was in the same place : in my opinion over the sovereignty issue, they didn’t expect to be framed, hubris.
      5. Israel killed 2 Egyptian policeman’s at the vicinity of Rafiah, an attack helicopter simply followed them driving from where the attack took place to Rafiah, when he crossed back he was killed.
      http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/272/513.html?hp=1&cat=875&loc=10

      The IDF spokeswomen – the PM is privy to much more information then she is. She doesn’t get to see the evidence, PM does.

      • Leonid August 22, 2011, 8:31 PM

        the significant of number 3 : access to border police uniform.
        They wore most likely wore border police uniform, Egyptian army uses different uniforms. Bus driver recognized what he was familiar with and that’s border police uniforms.

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 12:07 AM

          Both Egyptian border police and military were involved in pursuing the Eilat attacker on Egyptian soil. Egyptian press accounts confirm this.

      • Richard Silverstein August 22, 2011, 11:55 PM

        The PM is a liar, she was telling the truth. As the adulterer said to his wife when she burst in on him in flagrante delecto: “Who’re are ya gonna believe, me or yer lyin’ eyes?” You can believe Leibowitz or yer lyin’ eyes. Which is it?

        • Elisabeth August 23, 2011, 1:57 AM

          Oh no! You are malignin’ African Americans AGAIN!

          • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 8:05 PM

            I only drop my g’s when I’m tryin’ to talk “Black.” Just ask that professor of comparative linguistics Adam Holland, he’ll tell ya.

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 12:00 AM

      We don’t often agree, Daniel, so nice that we’re on the same side with this one.

  • Calig August 22, 2011, 8:04 PM

    There is an article in today’s Haaretz that may lead an impartial observer to wonder about the veracity of the story linked above.

    “Egyptian sources told Haaretz that Cairo had not yet started an investigation into Thursday’s terror attack, which originated in its territory.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tensions-ease-as-egypt-persuades-prc-islamic-jihad-to-honor-gaza-cease-fire-1.380126

    • Richard Silverstein August 22, 2011, 11:58 PM

      If you believe that vague story over the very specific information contained in my account including the Egyptian news reports and the two blog posts written by Idan & Yossi, then welcome to your very own personal fun house. You can’t be serious.

      • Bob Mann August 23, 2011, 2:41 AM

        The Egyptian news report you cited is also very vague. There are literally only two sentences on the subject, no named sources (“Egyptian authorities”), and no identifying information about the persons in question (such as their names).

        One would think that if Egyptian authorities had indeed identified the people responsible for the attack, this would have been more widely reported.

        In fact, although here you write “Egyptian news reports”, it seems that there is only that one item. Have you a second Egyptian news source with similar information?

        • Deïr Yassin August 23, 2011, 4:38 AM

          @ Bob
          You didn’t continue till the end of the article ?
          There is a second news report in the Update II where Richard quotes Ellis Goldberg, and a link to “Al Masry al-Youm” in Arabic. You might find the same article in their English section, I don’t know but the translation is correct.
          The Update II was there before your comment, though …

          There was an article on al-Ahram online last week, before the attack in Eilat on the Egyptian military tracking a group that looks more like pan-Islamist Jihadists and not Palestinian nationalists in the Sinai.
          I wonder once again if the Israeli weren’t briefed on that or if they only used the attack in Eilat to get rid of some Palestinians ?
          http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1061/eg4.htm
          There’s ‘al-Masry al-Youm’, ‘al-Ahram’ english and ‘The Egyptian Gazette’ if people want to follow the affair from an Egyptian point of view.

          • Bob Mann August 23, 2011, 4:53 AM

            Hello and thanks for the response.

            I did continue through the entire piece and noted those updates.

            None of the articles cited, however, make any mention of the original people who engaged in the initial attacks in Eilat being identified as Egyptian rather than Gazan.

            It still appears to be only that one single article with those two paragraphs that make that specific assertion.

            My contention is that if the Egyptian authorities have in fact identified the Eilat attackers as Egyptian that it would have been more widely reported. As it stands, there is just an unnamed “Egyptian authority” referencing unnamed persons in only one news source.

            In any case, this possibility raises some pretty significant questions – such as, was this an Egyptian operation entirely? If so, it seems like that would have some pretty serious repercussions? Or perhaps it was a joint operation between Palestinian groups in Gaza and an affiliated organization in Egypt. This, too, would have some significant regional consequences.

            Clearly, if it does in fact turn out that this report is true, that does not necessarily mean that there were no Gaza-based groups involved in planning and orchestrating the attacks, nor does it preclude the possibility that some of the participants were from Gaza (along with those who may have been from Egypt).

            Thus it seems a little early to refer to a “terror fraud” when we are still dealing mostly with speculation at this point.

          • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 4:31 PM

            NO Gazans were killed as part of this operation. None as far as we know. The fact that Israel refuses to release the corpses it has or any identifying info about them is pretty conclusive to me. If they had ANY info conflrming Gazans involvement they’d release it in even in eyedrop portions if they had the least amount. They don’t.

          • Deïr Yassin August 23, 2011, 7:02 AM

            @ Bob Mann
            Personally, I have NO idea who are behind the attacks in Eilat. The point is I don’t think the IDF had either when they launched the raids on Gaza.
            But it’s impressive to see the Hasbara working live:
            1. They’re already rewriting history, describing the attack in Eilat and the rockets from the Popular Resistance Committee as being part of the same operation, “forgetting” that the rockets were an answer to the bombing of Gaza.
            2. They are trying by all means to make Hamas responsible for the attack, “proving” it by linking the killed in Gaza to Hamas, and thus their killing as justified. And as the Gazans voted Hamas, they asked for it …
            3. Reasonable people saying that as the members of the Popular Resistance Committee are terrorists anyway, Israel has the right to kill them, no matter who’s behind the attack in Eilat which suddenly becomes a minor subject.
            With all respect, but what is Richard’s blog, Mondoweiss, 972mag and the like compared to the MSM who are just spewing anti-Palestinian propaganda.
            If it turns out to be Egyptians, you can be sure that we’re not going to hear is as loundly as the initial accusations of the Palestinians. Ask ordinary people in a year: ‘who were behind the attack in Eilat ?’, we know the answer by the majority already ;-(

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 4:35 PM

          Please, Bob. The Israeli media is equally scarce w. sources. DOn’t expect Middle Eastern journalism to follow U.S. standards. I’ve queried 5 experts on Egypt about the quality of the paper & this story specifically & they unanimously found both the paper & the story credible. That’s good enough for me. I’m still following it & may contact the reporters themselves if I can reach them.

          Do you think any Egyptian “authority” wishes this story to be better known or reported? Put yrself in their shoes.

  • sandra budak August 22, 2011, 9:19 PM

    Richard this is not just a scandal its tantamount to murder, like many other Israeli scandals.When will it stop? How many more innocent lives have to be lost and destroyed.My question is, is the Idf accusations of ‘Hamas firing white phos missile just an attempt to off set the scandal the IDF/israeli government knew was brewing over this crime…..As we all know collective punishment is a war crime, in my opinion the only way to stop such acts is for Jews themselves to take the perpetrators of this crime to the Hague…. this heinous crime was committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jews everywhere…Its time to stop the insanity……

    • David August 23, 2011, 8:00 PM

      Is there any Jewish movement in this direction, the direction of The Hague?

  • Leonid August 22, 2011, 10:28 PM

    Richard, you and your honorable professors are drifting way into fantasy land.

    There were two incidents in which Egyptian personal were hit.
    One in Rafiah, the other next to the Egyptian post on road 12.

    When Barak and Ganz held their PR conf. (6:15 PM) a sniper opened fire from within the Egyptian post killing police officer Pascal Avrahami. The force on the ground, fired back, and killed the sniper.

    At no time did the IDF launched a hot pursuit into Egypt
    forgive me if i am wrong, but you are not a military expert are you ? Seems to me you don’t understand much about military operations and how a battlefield looks like etc.

    • Richard Silverstein August 22, 2011, 10:57 PM

      It is you who are wrong. In fact, Al Masry Al Youm describes in very clear detail the Apache helicopter attack on Egyptian forces which killed the 5 soldiers. Read it in Update II of my latest post before you say another word.

      • Leonid August 22, 2011, 11:10 PM

        Richard, I am not wrong.
        the incident around the PR conf. was a very fast one, if you had watched the PR conf. one can hear the gun fire and see the ambulances evacuating the police officer. at no time there was a helicopter in the air during that incident.
        Read the article i linked to in my reply above.

        Let me tell you a little known secret, Israel had UAV’s above the incident area, the UAV followed a vehicle from the incident area all the way to Rafiah, an attack helicopter was dispatched and attacked the vehicle.

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 12:06 AM

          You’re all mixed up. The incident with the helicopter happened inside Egypt, not over Israeli territory. It had nothing to do with what happened at the Barak press conference. So I have no idea what you’re trying to say since it makes no sense at least to me.

          • Leonid August 23, 2011, 5:29 AM

            A crash Border Geography course.

            Al Masri claims – is based on an alleged report issued by the MFO, Which indicates that israel crossed the border next to border stone 79 (which is located about 40KM from the incident), you can google “MFO: Israel entered Egypt, commited violations ”

            the only problem i find with such report is that it’s not being mentioned on the mfo website (http://www.mfo.org/news.php) and other then Egyptian newspapers no one mentions it. Such an announcement by a UN body would have attract a lot of traction.

            So my conclusion, this is BS.

          • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 4:28 PM

            Your conclusion it is BS is quite authoritative & credible. Thanks for it. I’ll stop reporting this very second as you’ve completely blown the whole theory out of the water. I’ll also convey this to Al Masry so they stop wasting their time uncovering the truth about this important story. While we’re at it I’ll suggest that they appoint you Al Masry’s editor since you’re so convincing on so many issues.

          • Leonid August 23, 2011, 6:13 PM

            Richard, other then cynicism you didn’t offer much.
            can you refute the facts ?

          • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 11:45 PM

            A fact can’t be refuted. When you offer some I won’t refute them. Still waiting for that to happen.

          • Leonid August 23, 2011, 6:53 PM

            And just so we will understand each-other, The BS is not on your part, its on the newspaper part.

  • shmuel August 22, 2011, 11:12 PM

    Richard
    You certainly put forward an interesting theory, I would tend more to the side of dysfunctioning than deliberate mis-placing of blame. There is so much in-fighting in the political and military echelons these days that it’s not unthinkable that all relevant intel doesn’t reach where it ought to on time.

    Allow me a word of criticism – if your theory is true, I would expect from you a negative stance to the new Egyptian regime for allowing this to happen from its territory, or at least THEY should have apologised to Israel for failing to prevent the attack from its sovereign territory.
    You can say what you like about the E/I peace treaty, but it was born of negotiation and included full withdrawal and restoration of Egyptian honour and dignity. It may be a cold peace, but it is peace, and has lasted for 30 years.
    We all want negotiations to solve the I/P conflict, and if the E/I model fails now then peace in the region will have taken a major backward step as no Israeli leader will rely on a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

    Progressives and right wing alike should be pressurising Egypt to preserve the peace treaty as a strategic asset.

  • Bob Mann August 23, 2011, 2:48 AM

    If it is indeed true that the attackers were Egyptian and not Gazan, does that then mean that this terrorist attack was planned and coordinated within Egypt by Egyptians?

    If the attack was not in fact orchestrated by Palestinian groups within Gaza but rather was independently hatched within Egypt by Egyptians, then what happens next?

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 4:32 PM

      Sinai is the wild west. There are rumors of Al Qaeda operatives infiltrating it. It wouldn’t have to be an official action of the Egyptian gov’t or military. Or it could be rogue elements. Or it could be disaffected Bedouin tribesmen. Any of those possibilities.

  • pabelmont August 23, 2011, 6:12 AM

    There are two unassailable facts.

    First, there was an attack on Israeli vehicles by people wearing Egyptian uniforms.

    Second, there was a nearly instantaneously following attack by Israel on people and places in Gaza.

    The “instantaneous” part is key. Israel does not care to wait a day, or a week, to see what really happened. These blogs are showing (we hope) what really happened FIVE DAYS LATER.

    Retaliation may not be a “war crime” but a “state terrorism attack” by Israel on targets in Gaza, without justification and apparently pre-planned, may be a “war crime”.
    \
    This time, the Gazans were a “whipping boy” (one punished for another’s crime) EVEN IF they were guilty, because Israel didn’t know beans about any of it when the so-called “retaliation” was perpetrated.

  • Jakob_B August 23, 2011, 3:20 PM

    Just a note, the Washington Times is now reporting that U.S. Intelligence officials have found that the PRC was involved in the attack:

    “PRC was clearly involved, [but] they were not the brains or the brawn of the operation. They were the scouts,” the official said.

    After reading your post my initial opinion was that just because the perpetrators were from Egypt doesn’t necessarily mean PRC wasn’t involved. This appears to back my ideas, although l wouldn’t call it conclusive yet.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/22/al-qaeda-linked-to-israeli-bus-ambush/?page=2&utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=RSS_Feed

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2011, 4:23 PM

      You call a rpt from that dishrag shmateh the Wash. Times conclusive or definitive of anything??? Puhleeze. That’s like taking a report from Bibiton that Hamas was behind the 9/11 attacks & saying it’s definitive.

      • Jakob_B August 24, 2011, 7:39 AM

        Actually, I specifically stated that it wasn’t conclusive or definitive. However, I do think it is important to acknowledge that the DOD is backing Israel’s claims here, which likely means that the DOD was provided with sensitive evidence that has not been released publicly. I also don’t think there is any conclusive evidence showing that PRC wasn’t involved, you’ve provided some circumstantial evidence, but nothing solid. I’ll be keeping an eye on this as more information comes out, and hold my judgement for someone more conclusive either way before I’d call it conclusive that PRC was involved or that it was 100% Egyptian.

        • Richard Silverstein August 24, 2011, 10:36 AM

          U.S. intelligence is no more trustworthy or reliable than Israeli on this matter. U.S. corroboration of the Israeli claims, which was quite vague & inconclusive in Lake’s piece, is self-serving & offers no evidence whatsoever. All we have is circumstantial evidence to support my claims. But in this case circumstantial evidence is quite conclusive since my claims corroborate massive deviations fr. norms observed both in Gaza & by the IDF in previous terror incidents.

          Your willingness to believe Israel shows either that you are biased or ignorant of the history of its subterfuge & outright lies in similar previous cases.

          • Jakob_B August 24, 2011, 11:34 AM

            “U.S. intelligence is no more trustworthy or reliable than Israeli on this matter.”

            This statement alone indicates bias. I think anytime you ignore a source completely you are showing bias. I’m not going to say that U.S. Intelligence or Israeli Intelligence are paragons of virtue. But I will say that every government agency, non-governmental organization, and any media outlet is guilty of half-truths and lies at some point. The situation continues to develop, I continue to find value in sources in attempting to discern the truth. Perhaps when all the chips fall Israel will be worthy of condemnation, it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve lied, but it also wouldn’t be the first time they’ve told the truth.

          • Richard Silverstein August 24, 2011, 9:11 PM

            Bias? No, it indicates realism & experience. Why would you or anyone trust a flat out statement or claim made by an intelligence agency offering no proof whatsoever other than: “I’m with the other guy on this–what he said.” This is proof? I’ll tell you waht it is? It’s WMD. It’s Niger yellowcake. It’s the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection. It’s a lot of pure fakery disguised as wise evaluation.

            The next time Bibi tells the truth, could you let me know. It’s be a red ltr. day.

  • dickerson3870 August 23, 2011, 5:54 PM

    I.F. Stone famously said that all governments lie. I would add that the government of Israel lies more than most.

  • Shaun August 24, 2011, 1:18 AM

    Is anybody actually trying to verify the reliability of the Professor?
    “…opened fire with two machine guns, killing instantly Captain Ahmed Galal–with nine shots…”
    The apache and cobra attack helicopters that Israel uses use single machine guns mounted under their nose cones.
    Even if you claim that they meant two bursts of machine guns, this would provide another host of problems. Projectiles fired by a 30mm cannon would have the spread about 3 meters in any direction if fired at a range of about 100 meters. When fired from helicopters at a greater range, the distance between rounds would be even larger.
    Hypothetically even if 9 rounds were able to hit a single human target of less than 1 x 2 meters a single 30mm round would completely disintegrate a human being, the chance of finding an even partially intact corpse sufficient for a complete autopsy, let alone the fact that it was apparently hit by 9 rounds is again almost impossible. This is even before you add missile fragments into the equation.
    If we are already dealing with outlandish arguments, has anyone considered the possibility that the Egyptian military was more involved than they claim? Egypt has MI-8, MI-17 and gazelle helicopters, these all have double mounted machine guns.

    • Jakob_B August 24, 2011, 8:13 AM

      What Shaun said about the AH-64 is true. It is armed with a single 30mm Chain Gun. Also notable is that the Chain gun couldn’t be fired directly down at a target if the helicopter “hovered vertically over the Egyptian unit.”

      To me this is a more likely scenario: The Israeli helicopter was hovering above the Egyptian unit firing at the Eliat Attackers. The Eliat Attackers in trying to fire at the Helicopter, hit the Egyptian unit with machine gun fire. The Egyptian unit in the confusion of battle falsely identified the attacker as the helicopter hovering over them. I would not blame the Egyptian unit at all for coming to this conclusion. Combat is confusing and when you see something terrifying like an Apache hovering over you and firing, it is easy to mistake the Apache as the source of anything coming at you. This may sound like wild conjecture, but if Captain Ahmed Galal was in fact killed by multiple of small arms ammunition than it is much more likely than a death from 30mm Chain Gun.

      The second half of Shaun’s post was not useful to the discussion in the least. It is not fair at all to implicate the Egyptian government with no evidence, nor is it fair to say that the Professor has not backed his claims with evidence.

      • Richard Silverstein August 24, 2011, 10:38 AM

        Even the IDF disproves yr claim as they concede that THEY killed the Egyptians. Can’t you even create hypotheses that conform to what the IDF has already acknowledged? THEY killed the Egyptian soldiers. They’ve even officially expressed regret for it.

        • Jakob_B August 24, 2011, 10:45 AM

          From what I understand Israel has only officially expressed regret for the loss of the Soldiers:

          “We regret the deaths of members of the Egyptian security forces during the terror attack on the Israeli-Egyptian border,” Barak said. “The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty has great importance and much strategic value for the stability of the Middle East.”

          I thought their ‘apology’ was so contentious because they did not admit to killing them.

          • Richard Silverstein August 24, 2011, 9:17 PM

            Why would they express regret for the Egyptian soldiers killed if this was not at least a tacit admission Israel killed them? When Ehud Barak, defense minister, expresses regret that Egyptian soldiers were killed in a battle that involved the IDF I think it’s pretty clear what that means.

          • Jakob_B August 25, 2011, 6:16 AM

            Politicians are always very specific about their words, especially in official releases. What they do say is equally important as what they don’t say. When the Egyptian government claims that you have killed their Soldiers, and you weren’t there to see what happened, expressing regret is probably one of the best politically strategic statements you can make. How much worse would things be if they didn’t apologize and it turns out that Egyptians were killed by Israelis, than if they ‘express regret’ only to find that the IDF did not kill Egyptians.

  • Shaun August 25, 2011, 2:10 AM

    I’m not disputing that the IDF was involved in the incident that killed the Egyptian soldiers, I am seriously question the source that Richard uses to as to how they died.

    • Jakob_B August 25, 2011, 6:07 AM

      @Shaun

      Don’t question the source, question the story. When you completely dismiss a source of information, you are losing bits a pieces of information. In this case it is clear to me that Captain Ahmed Galal was not killed by a 30mm Chain Gun, which really then begs the question, how was he killed? It doesn’t dismiss the Israeli’s completely, although I find it unlikely that they would fire a target if their attack helicopter was hovering over it (fratricide is a nasty thing). My point is that there are many things I would not know about the story without reading the Al Masry report, you gain knowledge from both sides of the story. If someone is truly moderate about an issue they will look to all sources instead of trying to deny the validity of any one source.

    • Richard Silverstein August 25, 2011, 1:17 PM

      I’d posit that Egyptian journalists who interviewed Egyptian security sources about the incident know a damn sight more about what happened than you. All I did was quote them. There may be some parts of the story that don’t make sense to you. But that doesn’t mean that the story didn’t happen fundamentally as described.

      • Jakob_B August 25, 2011, 1:48 PM

        I think they know much more about the event that I do as well. But they only know what they were told, and they were told that Egyptian Soldiers were killed by an Israeli Attack Helicopter hovering over the unit. I’m questioning the specifics of the story based on my knowledge of the AH-64, the same way you question the lack of an IDF announcement about the origin of the attackers based on your knowledge of how the IDF operates. Certain aspects of their story are unexplainable and beg further question. Why is the lack of IDF announcement any more deserving of attention than the implausibility of an Attack Helicopter account as presented? Personally, I think both are worthy of attention, and that is my point.

        • Jakob_B August 25, 2011, 1:49 PM

          @Richard

          Realized your response was most likely directed at Shaun and not me.

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