Oh, did I mention that Hamas seem to have enough cash to splash that they are going around damaged properties handing out wads of banknotes? Also the irony that these are usually evil Zionist shekels and dollars... Meanwhile normal service has resumed re rockets and border attacks. So the Gazans are on the whole definitely good candidates for a humanitarian appeal.
So here are a few choice stories and links for you (thanks for this first bit to Honest Reporting):
Despite widespread charges leveled against Israel in the international media, some journalists have, to their credit, made the effort to dig deeper amidst the rubble to find out what really went on in Gaza and the crimes committed by Hamas against its own people. Here are a couple of stories that you may not have seen in your local media.
Hamas hijacking ambulances:
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
Palestinian civilians living in Gaza during the three-week war with Israel have spoken of the challenge of being caught between Hamas and Israeli soldiers as the radical Islamic movement that controls the Gaza strip attempted to hijack ambulances.
Mohammed Shriteh, 30, is an ambulance driver registered with and trained by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
His first day of work in the al-Quds neighbourhood was January 1, the sixth day of the war. "Mostly the war was not as fast or as chaotic as I expected," Mr Shriteh told the Herald. "We would co-ordinate with the Israelis before we pick up patients, because they have all our names, and our IDs, so they would not shoot at us."
Mr Shriteh said the more immediate threat was from Hamas, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of a battle to transport fighters to safety.
Hamas's human shields:
Der Spiegel reveals the abuse of Palestinian civilian homes by Hamas:
Hail's house is just a few streets away and only suffered light damage. There are a few bullet holes in the living room walls and all of the window panes are broken. Hail also found out after the cease-fire that the militants had used his house as a base for their operations. The door to his house stood open and there were electric cables lying in the hallway. When Hail followed them they led to his neighbor's house which it seems Hamas had mined.
As Hail, in his mid-30s, sat on his porch and thought about what to do a man came by: He was from Hamas and had left something in Hail's home. He let him in and the man then emerged with a bullet proof vest, a rocket launcher and an ammunitions belt. An hour later a fighter with Islamic Jihad called to the door, then disappeared onto the roof and reappeared with a box of ammunition. "The abused civilians' homes for their own purposes. That is not right," Hail says with disgust while trying to remain polite.
IDF INVESTIGATES CASUALTY FIGURES
YNet News reports:
A continuing IDF investigation into the number of civilian Palestinian casualties during the Israeli offensive in Gaza indicated that only 250 of the fatalities were civilians.
The military estimates that between 1,100 and 1,200 people were killed during the offensive. Some 700 of are believed to be militants and most are believed to be Hamas operatives.
The IDF is still trying to ascertain the identity of the remaining fatalities, but security sources said many would probably turn out to be militants as well. "Hamas is familiar with the numbers and is doing everything it can to concealed them," said an IDF source....
Many of the fatalities were considered to be civilians at first, because there were no weapons found with them, said a military source, "But that method of operation is consistent with the way Hamas was hiding in the midst of civilians, moving between their strongholds with no weapons. In many cases someone thought to be a civilian casualty turned out to be a Hamas operative after we ran our checks."
Now a few articles from The Times (hat tips to Reuben, Bodie and Lazarus, I think).
Firstly this piece by the masterful Daniel Finkelstein, where he points out that all we want is for the other lot to say they are okay with us existing and actually mean it, rather than ululating and handing out sweets when some Jews/Yanks get blown up. Also here is his recent gem about giving airtime to whoever wants to buy it, so they can just run with their own bias, and we all know what we're getting.
Next up, also in The Times, this excellent piece by Andrew Roberts, pointing out that the charities who might run a BBC appeal have been as systematically biased against Israel as the Beeb itself.
I also caught this superb Times editorial, which really sums it up and has a feel of cool objectivity (ie hundreds of bleeding hearts wrote in afterwards to "correct" it). The only bit that made me squirm was the quoting of that Norwegian doctor, because yes, it is all so tragic, but then he creeped me out when I saw him on the news. So I did a bit of research...
Full articles here at CAMERA and Harry's Place.
Gilbert is a radical Marxist and a member of the political Red (Rodt) party, a revolutionary socialist party in Norway. He has been a pro-Palestinian activist since the 1970's and travelled to Lebanon in support of the Palestinians during the first Lebanon war in 1982. He has long been a vocal opponent of Israel and the U.S. Gilbert has acknowledged that he cannot separate politics from medicine, stating, "there is little in medicine that is not politics." He even criticizes the group Doctors Without Borders for providing medical assistance to both sides in a conflict instead of taking a strong stance and supporting only one party. In a 2006 article in Nordlys, journalist Ivan Kristoffersen lamented the fact that Gilbert allows his humanitarian efforts to be politicized by his radical agenda.Mads Gilbert is described on his Wikipedia page as a “Communist politician as a member of the party Red”. The Red party was previously the Workers Communist Party, which supported Pol Pot:
AKP openly endorsed the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and when that party’s forces invaded Phnom Penh, Klassekampen had “Long live the free Cambodia” as their front page headline. Support from AKP endured in spite of the killings which were reported during Pol Pot’s rule which AKP at that time considered to be lies, and AKP had delegations visiting the country.
Mads Gibert himself supports terrorism. This is what he told a Norwegian newspaper, the Dagbladet, a couple of weeks after 9/11:
If the U.S. government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, then there is also a moral right to attack the United States with the weapons they had to create. Dead civilians are the same whether they are Americans, Palestinians or Iraqis.
Do you supports the terrorist attack on the United States?
Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned”
Let's conclude with a classic piece of BBC emoti-journalism from the incomparable Jeremy Bowen (I think Jim Bowen would be a better reporter). Here is his heart-rending diary entry about Dr Izzeldeen Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who has worked in Israel for many years, and lost daughters and nieces in a shell explosion at his house, yet still puts a brave face on it, likes his Israeli colleagues, and is happy for his surviving but injured family to be rushed to Israel where the best treatment is available (not that Norwegian guy then?!).
So we should start with a few things Bowen forgot to mention. For example, the "neutral" "expert" from "Human Rights Watch", Marc Garlasco. Here is a little snippet about him, and a link to Honest Reporting's article on him, HRW, and some of their previous handiwork. Now whilst the killing of this doctor's family was clearly a tragic accident (unless you are Bowen, Garlasco or Gilbert of course), the IDF's initial reaction was that if they did hit the house with a shell, there was a reason it was targetted. Then they started to carry out a fuller investigation and I found this coverage of the actual tank unit commander's comments.
Not only that, but even Garlasco makes a discovery of "anti-tank shell" fragments - not sure why Israel would be firing those at snipers... surely the other way round? Ah yes, some more evidence of this was apparently found embedded in the unfortunate girls' heads. Pieces of Russian-made, Iranian-sponsored Grad anti-tank missile, adapted from the infamous katyusha. Still a tragedy, not least because this particular family seems to have been genuinely interested in peace and co-existence, but once again the truth in this story is somewhere between blurred enough for Bowen to hold back on the emote button just a bit, and being yet another example of Hamas cynically using parts of civilian infrastructure, knowing the response.
I even saw one comment, apparently from an Arab reader, on a blog about this, where he said it was even more likely that Hamas used this guy's house, knowing that either nobody would fire back because he had protectsia from high-ranking Israelis, or that they would, and the PR "gain" of his loss would be spectacular. Wouldn't put it past them, given the track record.
Think that'll do for the moment. Next, some more light news about Australia...