Ronen Bergman was interviewed on Tel Aviv radio yesterday and confirmed my report that Sgt. Guy Levy was killed by the IDF in order to prevent his capture by Hamas fighters during a battle in Gaza. The report reads:
…Levy was killed in Gaza in the course of a kidnap [sic] attempt. IDF soldiers succeeded in preventing the kidnapping and killed one terrorist [sic] but Levy too was killed in the midst of the attempt to prevent it.
While I’m grateful to Bergman for affirming the accuracy of my prior report. I’m disturbed by the interview (audio) between Bergman and radio show host, Guy Zohar. At no point, do either of them doubt or question the moral basis for the Hannibal Directive. There seems a Spartan sense of sacrifice among Israelis that part of the cost of serving in the army is that your own brothers may be forced to kill you for the greater good of the nation.
There is something deeply troubling, even demented about such a regulation. I could perhaps understand it in ancient Sparta; or even among the diehard Japanese kamikaze fighters during World War II. But in a country that prides itself as being the equal of any western democratic nation? No.
Another bizarre aspect of this report is that the text that appeared on the radio station website above was censored (removed), presumably by the IDF censor. But the audio of the interview itself remains, uncensored. The “logic” of censorship. Go figure.
Oren Persico covered this story in 7th Eye.
A number of commenters here derided my earlier report about the killing/murder of Guy Levy. I won’t go into the various epithets used. Suffice to say they were strong, mean and abusive. I put anyone on notice who disputed the accuracy of this report that unless I read in the comment thread here an acknowledgement that I was right, they won’t comment here again. Anyone who does not do so will lose their comment privileges. I’m sorry for the taking such a strong position on this, but I’m sick and tired of the crap people write when I report major scoops like this one. It’s easy to write crap. It doesn’t cost you anything. Well, I want them to know it has a cost and I’m taking payment.
It’s worth noting a few linguistic oddities involved in this Gaza war. Israelis mobilize Hebrew as a weapon that either obscures the troubling moral dimension; or deliberately distorts reality in order to allow them to feel empowered in their outrage against their enemies. In this particular case, Israeli soldiers are not “captured.” They are “kidnapped.”
The use of the latter term allows Israelis to claim that their soldiers are not occupiers or invaders, but rather defenders. No enemy has the right to kidnap Israel’s soldiers whose only sin is defending the homeland. If the soldiers were “captured,” then it would infer that they are fighters engaged in a war with a legitimate enemy. Israelis refuse to acknowledge the validity or (often) even the existence of Palestinians or Palestine. Therefore, anyone fighting for Palestine must be a terrorist (illegitimate), not a soldier (legitimate). Terrorists “kidnap” hostages. Soldiers capture the enemy. Palestinians can never be the latter.
One of the major new developments of this iteration of the Gaza Wars is the tunnel network that Hamas dug underground. Though some of the tunnels have been used to cross into Israel and attack mostly military targets, the lion’s share of the tunnels are used to defend Gaza from the Israeli invaders.
Nevertheless, in the Israeli hasbara apparatus, they’ve become “terror tunnels.” Instead of being a means of defense of the Palestinian homeland, they become the deadly underground lairs of terrorists. Any act of defense by Hamas using these tunnels becomes nothing more than terrorism. It’s a shameful distortion of reality.
On a related matter, Israel proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire, which wasn’t actually a ceasefire at all. It claimed it would cease “offensive operations.” But reserved the right to search and destroy Hamas tunnels. In IDF-speak, the destruction of tunnels is a defensive operation. This is utter nonsense. The tunnels are meant to defend Gaza. If you want a ceasefire you cease firing. You cease all military operations. You don’t cease some of them. If you refuse a general ceasefire in the accepted sense of the term, then you’re not observing a ceasefire. You’re observing an artificial conception which you call a “ceasefire,” but which isn’t.
This hasn’t stopped Israel from pointing its finger at Hamas and claiming that while Israel was honoring a ceasefire, Hamas wasn’t. Of course, there was no reason for Hamas to honor anything since there was no real ceasefire on the table. Israel, as usual, is playing games with the truth. The shame of it is that there is no one but Hamas to make them pay for this sham and deception. John Kerry and the Obama administration have been snookered. The EU is toothless. The world stands by jaws agape, while Israel pulverizes Gaza into limp hamburger meat.
A few days ago, I reported on Israel’s shelling of a UN school in Beit Hanoun in which 16 civilians were killed, among them 8 children. At the time, Israel didn’t deny it might’ve been the culprit, while witnesses and the UN spoke clearly of Israel’s responsibility.
Now, IDF spokesflack Lt. Col. Peter Lerner acknowledges that the IDF hit the school. But he does so in a way that complete obfuscates reality and the truth:
Israel acknowledged Sunday that troops fired a mortar shell that hit the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza last week, but said aerial footage shows the yard was empty at the time and that the shell could not have killed anyone.
The shell was not fired at the school intentionally, an army spokesman said.
…Lerner raised the possibility that shrapnel from the shell might have wounded some at the school. He also offered other scenarios — that the wounded were “brought to the compound after injury” or were caught in a crossfire between Israeli troops and Gaza militants.
So to summarize the Israeli claims: it fired a mortar shell accidentally at a school whose courtyard was empty. So none of the 16 people who did die, died from this shell. They somehow either didn’t die or died in some other fashion. The shrapnel could have wounded some, but only from the shrapnel of the blast.
As usual, the IDF explanation defies logic and common sense. Not to mention that the IDF hasn’t produced the “aerial footage” on which it bases its claim the courtyard was empty. If it has such evidence it should produce it rather than merely to claim it exists. The claims of the IDF are useless.
If one mortar shell did hit the compound where did it come from? Who fired it? And why did it hit the school? What was it trying to hit? The IDF will answer none of these questions because it essentially doesn’t give a crap about evidence, proof, or reason. It only cares about covering its ass and looking clean even if takes lies to do so.
I particularly like Lerner’s claim that the wounded were brought to the school after they were injured. And why would anyone bring gravely injured people to a propaganda event rather than taking them to the hospital? He avoids dealing with the 16 dead. Were the corpses trucked there for propaganda purposes? If so, how and by whom? The implication is, of course, that Hamas is evil and duplicitous enough to have contemplated and organized such a project. But the only thing this proves is the weird, malevolent imagination of the IDF in coming up with such a cockamamie piece of nonsense. In doing so it makes a mockery of itself and defiles the sanctity of the women and children it killed.
The UN itself says it tried to conduct its own investigation of the tragedy but had to abort the investigation because the IDF fired again at the school. This is considered a subtle way to communicate in Israeli circles.
I don’t expect Palestinian residents of Gaza to tweet images of Hamas militants. I do expect foreign journalists to do so. Where are they?
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) July 27, 2014
The Jewish Agency’s chief social media propagandist, Avi Mayer, has been tweeting hasbara like crazy during the War. He’s in high dudgeon about the horrors perpetrated by Hamas. It’s “criminal” that the PA has refused to accept Israel’s offer of humanitarian aid to offset its guilt in murdering 1,110 Gazans. But the corker is Mayer’s anger at the “disproportionality” of foreign journalists freely shooting and publishing photos of IDF soldiers, while not doing so for Hamas fighters. So he dares photographers to publish pictures of Hamas.
There are a few problems with this. First, anyone who takes a picture of a Hamas fighter is liable to get himself and the Hamas fighter killed. Anyone photographed fighting against Israel would likely become a target of Israel. Unlike Hamas which doesn’t engage in targeted assassinations of Israeli soldiers, Israel does (kill Palestinian fighters).
Further, the IDF itself has warned foreign journalist not to embed or locate themselves near Hamas fighters. It has told them that they could become a target. Israeli snipers cannot distinguish between a reporter and a fighter through a rifle scope.
So in essence, Avi Mayer is encouraging foreign journalists to get themselves killed. No skin off Avi’s back. The IDF is already targeting foreign journalists, especially ones like Al Jazeera which it hates. So what if another one bites the dust. Right, Avi?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.