URGENT: Gaza is burning. The MSM is not just missing the story, it’s a propaganda arm of Israel as it prepared a genocide. I break stories that Israel doesn’t want anyone to know, including its own citizens.
Through all this, Tikun Olam is live-blogging the war. I bring you the latest media coverage from Israel and Palestine. You will be better informed here than almost anywhere else on the internet. Please donate now.
Al Ahli hospital in northern Gaza was wracked by a massive explosion last week, which killed over 500 refugees sheltering there from Israel’s massive bombardment. They were part of the 1.1-million Palestinians Israel threatened with attack if they not abandon their homes and property.
Israel almost immediately blamed Islamic Jihad, claiming a misfired rocket crashed into the hospital. Palestinians, on the other hand, blamed Israel for the attack. I wrote a blog post that attempted to thread the needle between the two accounts, reporting the evidence for each claim. Though I would normally disbelieve any such Israeli claim based on its miserable track record in such circumstances; on the other hand, both Pres. Joe Biden and an Israeli security source supported Israeli claims. At that point, I thought the claim was confirmed and IJ was the likely the culprit.
Preliminary analysis by FA, @alhaq_org & @earshot_ngo into the #AlAhli hospital blast in Gaza casts significant doubt on IOF claims that the source of the deadly explosion was a Palestinian-fired rocket travelling west to east. pic.twitter.com/PtYtP9l81j
— Forensic Architecture (@ForensicArchi) October 20, 2023
Until today. Forensic Architecture (FA), the foremost global NGO documenting war crimes, released a damning report (tweet above) based on audio analysis, satellite photographs of the blast site, eyewitness accounts, and eyewitness photos of the scene of the explosion. It found the Israeli account riddled with spurious claims and unreliable evidence.
FA examined two of the main Israeli claims: first, that the trajectory of the munition that struck the hospital went from an IJ position toward toward the hospital, indicating it came from inside Gaza, rather than without. FA found in fact, that the actual trajectory, based on examination of the impact crater and other factors, pointed to a southerly trajectory (see above graphic), meaning that the munition was fired from Israeli territory toward the hospital.
On the morning of October 18th, Israel Defence Forces released this video https://t.co/0edVN249Nr. https://t.co/8gAKfOuJj7 performed an audio analysis and found that this recording was manipulated and cannot be used as a credible source of evidence. 1/4
— earshot.ngo (@earshot_ngo) October 20, 2023
Second, Israel released what it claimed was an audio communication (above tweet) between two Hamas operatives, purportedly discussing the incident and confirming that it was a Palestinian rocket. In other words, Israel was off the hook and could pin the blame on the other side. But FA and its audio expert at earshot.ngo found that the call consisted of two separate conversations which were spliced together using an audio editor. In other words, the IDF manufactured evidence to absolve itself of blame.
Finally, there is the question of which munition was used to cause this tragedy. Some have speculated on a JDAM or SPIKE missile, but FA’s examination determined it was much more likely that it was an artillery shell. Which begs the question: why would an army lob an artillery shell into a heavily populated area? Clearly, it hardly cared where it landed. It if did, it would not have chosen artillery to do so.
UPDATE: New York Times published an investigation of key video footage shot by Al Jazeera, which both the IDF and US intelligence say shows a Palestinian rocket exploding in air and falling down toward the hospital. The Times investigator found:
Multiple synchronized videos show a projectile, previously identified by Israeli officials as a Palestinian rocket, launching from Israel and detonating near the Israel-Gaza border.
In other words, the rocket shown in the video was not Palestinian. Rather, it was likely an Iron Dome projectile fired from Israel which fell two miles from the hospital and likely didn’t even fall inside Gaza. The Times story makes clear that its findings do not determine responsibility for the tragic incident. But they discredit a key piece of evidence used to buttress IDF claims.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: you can believe nothing the IDF ever tells you on any matter. But especially on ones in which its made a terrible error and seeks desperately to avoid blame. I knew that when I wrote my original post, but thought there was reasonable circumstantial evidence, independent of the IDF. But I was wrong. This is just another war crime. One in a very long line of them.
The IDF’s concocted story is also part and parcel of a clever propaganda strategy. When you’ve committed a massacre or other equally egregious crime, you concoct a cover story, any story. You layer it with claims and produce a piece or two of purported evidence to bolster the claim. Then you send army spokesliars out to the world to spread the lie. Before you know it your version is echoed in the White House and global media. The world fixes blame. And that’s that.
The same happened in the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh. Though she was killed by an IDF sniper, the army threw as many theories out there, so as to entirely confuse all but the most dedicated analyst. But three separate painstaking media reconstructions of events confirmed Israel was responsible. There still has not been any independent investigation, though Biden and Blinken promised one at the time. No one has been held accountable. Which is how Israel literally gets away with murder.
By the time Forensic Architecture completes its investigation, the world has moved on to another outrage in Gaza, Ukraine or somewhere else in the world. The new investigation is reported in a few places. A few articles in a few publications. But the world had made up its mind. It takes too much effort for the average person to decide they must revisit the story, review the evidence again, and perhaps change their mind. So Israel wins. War crimes win.
Yesterday, Israel bombed another critical Gaza institution sheltering refugees from Israeli mayhem. St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church, the third oldest in the world, dating from 432CE, took a direct hit from an Israeli missile. It killed 18 people taking shelter there. One of the Church buildings was destroyed. The Church itself suffered extensive damage.
How many times do I have to say this: GENOCIDE. When you destroy the hospitals, churches, mosques, schools, universities, power and water plants, when you starve and kill on a massive scale, that is genocide. When, dear God, will the world do something to stop it? CEASEFIRE NOW!
Biden’s doomed Israel-Palestine policy
Pres. Joe Biden has made himself and the US a laughingstock by claiming that he persuaded Israel to permit humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. He did no such thing. No sooner did Secretary Blinken make this claim than a top aide and Netanyahu confidant added conditions making the offer meaningless: the aid would only enter if Hamas freed all the hostages. It would be as if one gunman said to another, I’ll give your wounded comrade a drink of water if you lay down your gun.
Biden added that in a “blunt” negotiation he persuaded Egyptian leader al-Sisi to permit 20 trucks to enter via the Rafah crossing. There are 300 tons of supplies waiting in hundreds of trucks at that crossing. All being held up because Israel refuses to give Egypt the green light to open the gates. To this “achievement” the president had the temerity to boast: “I got it done.”
Half the time I feel like he’s a robot propped up by his aides kneeling behind him. Wind him up and he’ll say what they program him to say. This will only get worse as he ages. And he’s not aging well. Who can blame a man of 80 years trying to run a (fading) global superpower? But why does he have to do it for another four years?? How will he respond the next time Israel slaughters Palestinians? Even worse than this time.
In his speech to the nation he argued that we must give tens of billions in aid to Israel and Ukraine. Below are a few excerpts:
You know, the assault on Israel echoes nearly 20 months of war, tragedy and brutality inflicted on the people of Ukraine…
No, it doesn’t. Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel that lasted for five days. Russia invaded Ukraine twice and conquered and occupied a huge swath of its sovereign territory in 2014. In 2022, it invaded again and took more land.
Biden added that he told Netanyahu that he expects Israel to obey the laws of war:
President Netanyahu and I discussed again, yesterday, the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can.
What laws of war? As far as Israel is concerned there are none. As for “civilians,” there are no Palestinian civilians as far as Israel is concerned. They are all terrorists. It makes no such distinction. How dare Biden say such things when he knows they are lies. For Biden, his statement constituted a wink and a nod to a protocol the US itself rejects. US forces have routinely violated the laws of war and never been held to account. Why should Israel be any different?
Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it. Hamas’ stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.
No again. Leaving aside the false claim that Israel is a democracy…Hamas does not want to annihilate Israel. It wants recognition of Palestinian national rights. It wants a single democratic state for Jews and Palestinians. That is not “annihilation.” Nor was its attack on Israel intended to destroy Israel. It was a limited operation whose intent was to dramatize the ongoing genocide perpetrated by Israel on Palestinians.
Hamas seeks a one-state solution–one adopted by both Palestinians, academics, human rights activists, and a growing number of Israelis and Diaspora Jews. Hamas has never stated it seeks the “murder of the Jewish people.” That is a bald-faced lie and it’s inexcusable that he and his speechwriters included such a outrageous claim. It will only exacerbate hatred of all Palestinians and Arabs, leading to physical assaults, desecrated mosques,and even murder.
Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people.
Actually, it does. Hamas has existed since 1987. It has weathered huge upheavals, coups, assassinations, invasions. Through it all it has maintained a disciplined political and military strategy. It combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamist theology. Whatever one may think of Hamas, this is a combination no one can destroy. Even if Israel did destroy it (which it will not and cannot do), the ideas it represents will continue to resonate among Palestinians.
Where does a US president get off telling the world who represents Palestinians? Didn’t we try to do just that in Iraq? Weren’t we going to deliver democracy after we toppled Saddam Hussein? That went well, didn’t it?
The security package I’m sending to Congress and asking Congress to do is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed to: the qualitative military edge. We’re going make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel’s stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.
He’s allocating billions in military aid to Israel, a country with the 10th largest military in the world-with nuclear weapons, ICBMs, F-35s, and much more. Why does it need a single penny more in military aid?
As for whether military aid “prevents conflicts from spreading,” that’s a specious proposition. The more weapons you have the more likely you’ll use them. His argument suggest that the more weapons you more likely you’ll enjoy peace. The more weapons bristle in the Israeli arsenal, the less like Hezbollah, Iran and the Palestinians will attack it. Israel’s enemies will attack it as long as Israel continues to commit genocide and refuse a political compromise. Biden’s claim is bankrupt and patently false.