The latest development in the Gaza beachfront massacre is that the IDF has examined shrapnel removed from the bodies of wounded victims treated at Israeli hospitals. It finds the metal not consistent with what is used in Israeli artillery shells. If this is true, it would bolster the IDF’s contention that it is not at fault for the tragedy.
Who would be culpable in the IDF’s view? Hamas of course:
[A] committee, headed by Major General Meir Kalifi, is due to present its findings to the defense minister and the chief of staff Tuesday night. Its tentative conclusion is that the deaths stemmed from a bomb that Hamas planted on the beach in order to ambush Israeli naval commandos operating in northern Gaza…
Israel has amassed considerable information indicating that over the past few weeks, ever since Israeli commandos infiltrated Gaza and killed a rocket-launching cell, Hamas has been systematically mining the northern Gaza beach in an attempt to keep Israeli commandos from landing there again.
I am always leery of Israeli media reports from unsubstantiated sources who cite unsubstantiated claims. And this passage is no exception: “Israel has amassed considerable information” blaming Palestinian militants. What is the nature of the information? I doubt you’ll find out from the IDF which is under no compulsion to share such information with the public in the Israeli carte blanche security system.
Haaretz’s article on the military report notes a certain lack of credibility in the investigatory process:
The importance of the committee’s findings are obviously mitigated by the fact that ultimately, the IDF is being cleared by an IDF investigation. This is not an international inquiry, or even an external, civilian inquiry. Nevertheless, the army hopes that the findings will clear its name. Thus the next step will be leveraging these findings to affect public opinion: Israeli (where the battle is already largely won…), international and even Palestinian.
One wonders why the IDF would not turn to an external inquiry by a panel of experts who could validate its theory of the event. This might go a long way to persuade the world that the army’s theory is indeed true. But don’t hold your breath. Israel doesn’t put much stock in such inquiries and never feels it needs to persuade the world of anything. The IDF follows the “take it or leave it” school of public relations.
And even if the IDF claim turns out to be true, Israel still has a very big PR problem on its hands because the Palestinians and the world may never believe it:
In the past, Israel has occasionally succeeded in refuting responsibility for casualties. A good example is the now discredited claim that Israel massacred Palestinians in Jenin in April 2002. This time, however, the game may already be lost.
In other words, if you engage is a seemingly unending series of brutal acts against a people and it then turns out that one of the so-called brutal acts was not actually your fault, you don’t necessarily get any credit for it based on your previous heinous record. That may be the case for the IDF here.
There is yet another problematic issue for the IDF which it has not resolved. Six shells were fired at Qassam rocket launching sites that day. Only five are accounted for. What happened to the sixth shell?
The main hole in the army’s evidence is the missing sixth shell–actually, the first to be fired, whose landing site has not been determined. From an examination of the cannon, the army is convinced that the shell could not have fallen on the beach, almost half a kilometer from its intended target. But there is no firm proof of this, only an educated guess.
If it turns out that Hamas or another militant group did mine the beach then they are certainly criminally negligent. But it makes absolutely no sense to me that you would mine a beach where innocent civilians frolic every day. You’d be deliberately courting the death of innocents (as the IDF too has done by shelling densely populated urban areas). I’m certainly not saying Palestinian militants wouldn’t be callous enough to do this. Just that it’s hard to believe they would. And if they did and those militants were from Hamas, then Mahmoud Abbas may be bolstered in his struggle against Hamas leading to the upcoming national referendum. Let us hope that something good might come of this horrible tragedy.
Mr. Silverstein wrote: “One wonders why the IDF would not turn to an external inquiry by a panel of experts who could validate its theory of the event.”
One wonders why you and your ilk are quick to accept Palestinian versions of what happenned, but then insist that the Israelis convene an external inquiry by a panel of experts. Seems like a double standard to me. I wish you would have waited for an external inquiry by a panel of experts before loudly accusing the Israelis of murder.
Probably becuase a bunch of people were blown up at the same time missiles were launched in their direction.
That makes a bit more sense as opposed to a mine laying undisturbed on a busy beach until the exact same time the missiles were being launched.
And since when does a mine kill 9 people?
It seems the Israelis are using the same PR(opaganda) firm as the Bushies. They have the convenience of not having to make up credible stories since public opinion in the media will accept their stories at face value without exception.
If Jenin wasn’t a big deal why did they pee their pants about UN inspections? The only other reason besides guilt is that they wouldn’t want to be treated like every other country in the region. They’re always above reproach.
Aussie Dave says
Despite the lack of evidence to pin it on the IDF, you still refer to it as a “massacre”, and clearly accept the palestinian version of events. Shame on you.
And regarding this:
“But it makes absolutely no sense to me that you would mine a beach where innocent civilians frolic every day.”
You are obviously not paying much attention to the news and images of terrorists conducting terror operations from populated areas, and even firing at each other in such areas. Harming innocent civilians is hardly a concern of theirs, especially when their primary goal is to kill Israelis and Jews.
Richard Silverstein says
“Your ilk”?? You despicable piece of dreck. I’m not an ‘ilk’ & you are a jerk for being so narrow minded & insular that you can’t bother to actually try to understand my views, but would rather dispatch them to some extremist ghetto where you can tidily & dismissively label them as an “ilk.”
I accepted NOT a “Palestinian version” of what happened but the version that the entire world accepted until yesterday except for you & your goddamn ilk & that includes Haaretz, Ynetnews & probably yr beloved J. Post. Besides, your ilk’s version of events hasn’t been proven yet by a long shot as Haaretz confirms above.
And the international inquiry concept is not, as you defensive hardliners imagine, meant to attack Israel, but rather give it a chance to redeem itself in this particular matter. How does your ilk expect that the world will ever come to believe the IDF’s new version of events unless disinterested 3rd parties confirm it?? Oh, that’s right, your ilk doesn’t give a shit what the rest of the world thinks about Israel because the entire world’s out to get Israel so we might as well not even try. That’s some way to win friends and influence people.
Your next comment, if it’s anything like this one will earn you banning from this site until I decide I can stand the sight of you.
Richard Silverstein says
Both Aussie Dave & CK have said numerous times in this blog that they’d grown tired of visiting & commenting here & intended to leave never to return. I was so hoping they’d stay true to their word. Yet something about this blog seems to draw them like moths to the flame. So let’s deal w. the trash as it crosses the transom.
OK, for the obtuse like Aussie Dave, let’s spell it out really clearly (not that it will help or matter since his obtuseness can never be penetrated by rationality or wisdom).
First, it was a “massacre” whether the Palestinians were killed by an IDF shell or a Palestinian mine. Or do you believe that the word “massacre” can only be reserved for events in which the IDF slaughters civilians (of which there are only too many).
I do not “clearly” accept the “Palestinian version of events.” I accepted a version of events presented by the world & that includes Haaretz & Ynetnews. The only statement that would be accurate in this regard is that I seriously doubt the IDF version until they can prove it incontrovertibly. And they haven’t done so yet.
And if Idiot Aussie bothered to read my posts on this subject, he’d see that I’d acknowledged that it is possible that Palestinians militants are responsible for the massacre. And I’d already meted out a harsh judgment against them if they were. But you see Dave can’t be bothered to read. And even if he does, he filters out anything I write that doesn’t fit his convenient stereotype of what he thinks I do believe.
It is oh so easy to reverse this statement so that it comments on the IDF’s tactics toward Palestinian civilians: harming innocent Palestinian civilians is hardly a concern of the IDF, especially when its primary goal is to kill Palestinians militants. The IDF and the militants are but mirror images of each other’s horrific behavior.
Aussie Dave says
Don’t worry, Silverstein. I am not a regular visitor, and came here quite by accident. But what I read was enough to warrant a comment. Sorry I did not scour your other posts, but one is about my limit before my eyes start to bleed. After all, I have a stupidity threshold, and even one of your posts exceeds it.
If you do not understand that the word “massacre” has connotations of Israeli involvement – especially after the words like the “Jenin massacre” are being thrown around by palestinian officials – then you are dishonest. Oh, wait, we knew that already.
Interesting that you also call Hamas palestinian “militants”. What is wrong with the word “terrorist”? Do you not acknowledge that is what they are? Or is calling for the destruction of Israel (show me otherwise), and deliberately murdering innocent people (show me otherwise) insufficient criteria to be labelled such?
Richard Silverstein says
Aussie Dave: Thank God you’re not a regular visitor. But last time you said you’d never return. What happened to your firm resolve? I was so looking forward to your keeping your word. But I guess it’s not worth much, is it?
Nitwit, if you’d even done cursory due diligence before engaging in your usual smear tactics you’d have read this:
So much for “clearly accept[ing] the palestinian [sic] version of events.”
If Hamas militants are ‘terrorists’ then what do we call an IDF pilot who possibly deliberately (according to the Haaretz account above) hits civilians, killing eight innocent bystanders including 2 children and 3 medical personnel? Shall we call them valiant warriors fighting in defense of their homeland instead? Ah yes, an Israeli who kills innocents somehow remains good while a Palestinian who kills innocents is bad. It’s simply not possible for an Israeli who kills civilians (if you read the Haaretz account) to do any wrong. That’s not a double standard is it?
Aussie Dave says
“Thank God you’re not a regular visitor. But last time you said you’d never return. What happened to your firm resolve? I was so looking forward to your keeping your word. But I guess it’s not worth much, is it?”
“If Hamas militants are ‘terrorists’ then what do we call an IDF pilot who possibly deliberately (according to the Haaretz account above) hits civilians, killing eight innocent bystanders including 2 children and 3 medical personnel? ”
First of all, answer the question. YOU did not refer to the Hamas as terrorists. Please explain.
I will reserve judgement on the pilot until I hear all the facts. Maybe you should get into the habit of waiting until you have facts. Oops, sorry. I said the “f” word.
Richard Silverstein says
How ’bout this you skunk: if you’ll refer to those IDF soldiers who deliberately kill or maim Palestinian civilians as terrorists, then I’ll refer to Hamas militants as terrorists. Deal? I’ll even throw this concession in: if you’ll merely call those IDF soldiers ‘killers’ or ‘murderers’ rather than terrorists, I’ll still honor my commitment regarding Hamas.
We all know you’ll never concede that any IDF soldier has committed cold blooded murder even though the evidence is right in front of your sealed eyes.
Aussie Dave says
I am glad you posted this response for all to see. I just hope you keep it up.
It shows that you morally equate known terrorists (look at their charter and a recent history of terror attacks in Israel) with IDF soldiers about whom (to use your own words) “POSSIBLY deliberately (according to the Haaretz account above) hits civilians. No facts, just innuendo.Or are you now retracting your previous statements, and subtley trying to shift your point from the pilot, to any IDF soldiers who, in the past, deliberately killed a palestinian?
BTW, I have had no problem referring to the deliberate killing of anyone – whether palestinian – as terrorism – even if an IDF soldier is involved. Thing is, it rarely happens, and when it does (like in the case of the terrorist in Shfaram, and who was a deranged individual who acted alone), I clearly call the person a terrorist.
BTW, thanks for the “skunk” label, but the only thing that stinks around here is you and your abhorrent terror-sympathizing views.
Richard Silverstein says
I’d say you’ve been one of my best customers today. You’ve published four comments here in the space of 11 hours and had my blog open in your browser window for 2 hours 44 minutes according to my stat counter. Couldn’t you be a little less ‘regular?’
Actually, with this I bring this somnolent little interval with you to a close. You’re going on hiatus till we get a show to replace you which actually holds its audience. In other words, your weasely ass is suspended until I decide you’re not just because you like the sound of your own voice too much, innundate my posts with your dreckishkeit, and bore me so to tears. Oh and how ’bout the fact that you’re a lying piece of pond scum? Will that suffice?
Go spread your manure at LGF where you’ll find a much more receptive audience.
Richard, I am making an attempt to understand your views better. I am new to blogs and was just intrigued by something you wrote.
You wrote something about Israel getting blamed for Jenin when in fact they didn’t deserve it:
“if you engage is a seemingly unending series of brutal acts against a people and it then turns out that one of the so-called brutal acts was not actually your fault, you don’t necessarily get any credit for it”
This is the clear result of Israel’s continued use of weapons in dealing with Palestinian regions. No argument from me there.
But the story you are talking about (Jenin) is one instance where a large chunk of the free press was caught pushing a story that turned out to be totally wrong. It also illustrated how militant Arabs are more than willing to sacrifice innocent Arabs in their PR campaign against Israel. There are many more examples of that practice.
At what point do you figure does that come back to bite their ass?
Richard Silverstein says
Mac: Someone else brought up Jenin. I didn’t. My response was a general comment on that & was not intended as a specific comment about Jenin.
I don’t really relish going back over old history like this in order to prove a point one way or the other but…I’m ambivalent about describing what happened in Jenin. Certainly, the casualty reports from the Palestinians and media were inaccurate and far fewer died than were reported. But the IDF destroyed virtually an entire city to quell an insurgent rebellion. It was a f*&#)n brutal conquest replete with house to house fighting. About this there can be little doubt. I’m as concerned by the Israeli destruction of that town as I am by any cynical use of its inhabitants by Palestinian militants for their own propaganda ends. And is it any wonder when the subsequent news reports about suicide bombers lists their hometown as “Jenin?”
The entire goddamn Occupation comes back to bite both their asses–the IDF’s and the Palestinians’. It stinks & it’s gotta go. The sooner the better.
The fact that there supposedly weren’t as many dead in Jenin as first thought doesn’t make the story untrue or remove guilt from the perpertrators.
Richard, how dare you stray from the politically mandated language code? Must we spell it out for you again?
If others kill people they are terrorists, unremoresfully killing in accordance with their societies’ basic belief system.
If we kill people, we are a poor unfortunate people who made a mistake or mentally snapped in the brave and demanding role of defending decent people from the barbaric hordes. Even though the pattern of this killing is continuous and unremorseful, they are individual isolated incidents and have no bearing on our society or leadership from which they operate.
Please be sure to adhere to these speech guidelines inthe future.
“ilk” is not a pejorative term. But “drek,” “despicable” and “jerk” certainly are. And the term “murder?” That definitely has a pejorative and uh… prejudicial connotation to it. I certainly don’t need an independent panel of experts to tell me that.
Richard Silverstein says
Dictionary.com seems to understand the most common lexical usage of the term but not you. In a disgreement between the two of you who does one trust? Hmmm.
‘Ilk’ is very commonly used in rhetorical or political arguments to disparage the statements of an opponent. It is a sort of shorthand allowing you to dismiss not only the opponent’s individual views, but those of the supposed class of which he is a member (which in your case I suppose is the class of far-left Israel bashers you falsely imagine me to be a member of).
Any reasonable person reading what you wrote (‘you and your ilk’) knows what you meant. You’re being disingenuous by denying what you know is the truth. You don’t like me & I sure as hell don’t like you. Your dislike comes across in the snarky, mock polite comments you leave here and in your characterization of me as being a member of an ‘ilk.’ So why pussy foot about it? If you hadn’t used a word that is very commonly used in a pejorative sense, I wouldn’t have used the pejoratives I used to describe you.
In a way, it’s kind of like the endless cycle of violence between the Israelis & Palestinians. You insult me and I’ll sure as hell return the favor.
Jenin:To tell you the truth I’m sorry I brought it up! (although nearer to the bottom of my comment you can clearly see I was addressing your point about Israel’s poor image, and not commenting on Jenin specifically).
Basically, my comment was about how some of Israel’s enemies have no qualms about murdering their own or lying to the media to further their cause. I was wondering if you agree with any part of that or believe that some form of “karma” is going to “get” the Arabs. Or, is it a justified tactic given their situation?
Personally I think this: Israel, being the land of the Jews, gets “instant Karma” (we’re a little closer to the front of the line, and we’re constantly paying for our crimes). Arabs, on the other hand, have gotten away with a lot. Of course, the Palestinians are paying the price, but there are many others – non Arabs too, who spread their lies and death simply because they are upset that we’ve taken over the Holy Land again. They are just jealous that our best Prophet (whom they believe in) was absolutely right.