International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Israel’

Hamas and Civilian Casualties

Was looking through my “Blog Later” links (which is full to bursting) and found this post by Michael J. Totten.

Some very good points.

Not only do Israelis have a harder time figuring out who is a target and who needs protection, we all have a harder time identifying those who have already been wounded and killed. Hamas says mostly civilians have been wounded and killed in the fighting in Gaza, but its fighters look just like everyone else. They can trot out the bodies of two dead terrorists in front of the cameras and say they’re civilians, thus easily fooling just about anyone. The number of civilian casualties, therefore, appears much higher than it really is. But even if that weren’t the case, far more civilians are being killed in this war because Hamas is fighting dirty.

Then there’s the multiple photos & videos of people who are clearly acting, posed, and/or being rushed to hospital in high drama for extremely minor injuries.

Israelis, in the meantime, go far out of their way to avoid harming the civilians of Gaza. They have even developed weapons for precisely this purpose.

“A new Israeli weapon,” Erlanger writes, “is tailored to the Hamas tactic of asking civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb. The Israelis are countering with a missile designed, paradoxically, not to explode. They aim the missiles at empty areas of the roofs to frighten residents into leaving the buildings, a tactic called ‘a knock on the roof’.”

If Israelis were targeting civilians, as Hamas and hysterical critics like to claim, it ought to go without saying that they would never have developed a “weapon” that scatters civilians away for their own protection.

Activists, professors, journalists, bloggers, and other uninformed individuals may believe Israelis kill civilians either negligently or on purpose, but even Hamas knows that’s a lie. Otherwise, Hamas would not ask “civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb,” as Erlanger reports.

Hamas knows the truth but uses its lie as a weapon. And it works. Millions all over the world believe Israel massacres civilians in Gaza and that claims to the contrary from the military are disinformation and smokescreen.

How many people believe that Israel is responsible for the flotilla deaths, in spite of all the video evidence blowing away any suggestion that the flotilla was peaceful?

Israelis, by contrast, don’t use human shields to deter Palestinian rocket attacks. The very idea is absurd. Hamas aims at civilians on purpose, as much as it can aim its crude rockets. A congregation of Israeli human shields would only make a bulls-eye at which Hamas could aim.


The people of Gaza have too little cement in their diet

No Right Turn almost writes his own fisk.

Six months ago, following its murder of civilians on the MV Mavi Marmara, Israel announced that it was “easing” its economic blockade of Gaza.


Indeed it is – no innocent civilians were murdered, criminal terrorists masquerading as “peace activists” were shot in self defense after they tried to murder the troops who were boarding to enforce a legal blockade.

Meanwhile, the BBC reminds us all of why the blockade was imposed: not (as Israel claims publicly) to “prevent terrorism”, but “as part of a policy of ‘deliberately reducing’ basic goods for people in Gaza in order to put pressure on Hamas” – that is, starving the Palestinians because they voted for a government the Israelis didn’t like.

Now, Israel isn’t literally starving the people in Gaza, just restricting certain goods. But hey, if it sounds like children are dying in the streets, so much the better. Truth schmuth.

That’s their own government’s policy, BTW, released under Israel’s freedom of information law; they condemn themselves out of their own mouths.Starving civilians in order to achieve your political aims is immoral. When thugs like Mugabe do it, we rightly accuse them of perpetrating a crime against humanity. The same should apply to Israel.

When thugs like Mugabe starve people, we put sanctions on their country. We do that even though we in the west aren’t really affected by what Mugabe is doing. But Israel is most certainly affected by the Hamas government elected in Gaza because it’s the expressed intention of that goverment to destroy them.

Idiot knows this of course. He’s being deliberately dense because it suits his politics. No country wants to provide aid to a goverment who’s aim is to destroy them, it’s just that very few are in the position Israel is, which means that pretty much every other country in the world has the luxury of second guessing the situation. Israel doesn’t have the luxury of “political aims”. Their goal is survival, which includes anticipating and heading off future problems before it’s too late.

Finally one thing that made me chuckle about the whole situation. The MV Mavi Marmara was essentially a PR stunt, designed to get the IDF to fire on people claiming to be peace activists (it staggers belief that some people insist on calling those people “peace activists”, but that’s politics).  Essentially, they “succeeded” in getting Israel to change policy with this stunt.

Now it turns out that Israel’s “change in heart” was simply more PR. Oh, the irony.

Israeli raid on Gaza terror flotilla broke law – UN probe

They beat men armed with crowd control paintball guns with iron bars, but it was Israel that was at fault.

Israel’s military broke international laws during a raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a UN Human Rights Council investigation says.

Its report said the action by commandos, which left nine dead, was “disproportionate” and “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality”.

It said there was clear evidence to support prosecutions against Israel for “wilful killing”.

Israel rejected the report as “biased” and “one-sided.”

It insists its soldiers acted in self-defence during the 31 May raid.

Gee what a surprise.

If only they had video which proved their point of view – oh wait, they had that too.

Israel’s flag is red with yellow stars in the corner

Anti-Israel activists are not always the brightest bunch, they once ran a campaign against Caterpillar because their bulldozers were used by the Isralei army to widen the border zones. Caterpillar wasn’t even selling to Israel (they were selling to the US army who then supplied them to Israel to modify for military use) but still the company was attacked.

Add this one to the pile of stupid anti Israel actions:

Some 500 anti-Israel protestors arrived at the Oakland, California port early Sunday morning, hoping to block an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo. However, the ship did not arrive, and the crowd prevented workers from unloading a Chinese ship instead.

The protestors say they were protesting the recent Israel-Turkey flotilla incident, though they displayed great ignorance about what actually happened; one of them even compared barely armed Israeli Defense Forces troops with Somali pirates.

“Free, free Palestine! Don’t cross the picket line!” the picketers shouted – and in fact, the longshoremen chose not to clash with them, for fear of “getting into fistfights,” a union leader said. No one was arrested.

The Israeli ship arrived only at 6 PM, more than 12 hours after the protestors, but by that time most of the latter had left.

But hey, as long as there was lots if yelling, it’s Job Done.

A though on Free Speech and “Peace”

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Eric Arthur Blair or George ORWELL
British novelist and essayist (1903-1950)

“Everybody favours free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground.”
Heywood C. BROUN
U.S. journalist and author (1888-1939)

No one wants to ban speech they agree with. Free speech is a right needed because people in power (be they politicans, solders or protesters) have a tendency to stop those they disagree with from talking.

So, how do you define a peace flotilla trying to deliver aid to a blockaded port?

To me, the same principle applies. “Peaceful” can’t be defined by an attitude, or the actions of a ship traveling through open sea. There is no test of “peaceful intentions” before one arrives at a blockade.

The Israeli solders landed, without lethal arms in their hands. They were overwhelmed by people with knives and heavy sticks, and pipes. One was stabbed.

It now appears that the shooting (at least in one case) came about because the stabbed man was attacked again. In order to save his own life, he pulled out his sidearm and switched from non-lethal to lethal force.

Let’s face it, if someone rushes at you with a knife, and you are pointing a gun at that person, you are going to fire to save your own life. It’s self defense.

The counter-argument from the left is that the solders shouldn’t have been there in the first place, since the blockade (and hence the boarding) is illegal. So they were seeing off trespassers, and had the right to use lethal force.

But that misses the point. This ship was carrying aid, to help people in a peaceful way. They claimed peaceful, humanitarian intentions.

Funny how that was abandoned at the very moment it should have been coming to the fore.

Who do you trust? Israel or Activists?

I’m starting to see some media almost sympathetic towards the Israeli forces.

Let’s face it:

  • Everyone was told the flotilla was peaceful
  • The Israelis treated it as peaceful, albeit breaking the blockade
  • But when they boarded under that assumption, they were beaten and stabbed

But it was interesting to watch the various reactions immediately afterward. Information was sketchy, and the number of deaths was not known.

On one hand, Israel quoted 10 dead. The activist representative, Gretta Berlin, who spoke to Radio NZ quoted “at least” 19 dead, 50-80 wounded.

Israel quoted a figure that was low, the activists claimed that Israel was covering up a figure close to twice that. But listening to their representative, I got the definite impression that she was more interested in ramping up the rhetoric than anything else.

Yet even though the activists by their own admission were cutoff from any reliable information, a lot of people came out and announced that they didn’t trust Israel’s account.

So who was right once all the dust settled?

Well, both The BBC and the Times Online are quoting 9 dead.

That’s 9 too many, but it’s also one less than Israel’s figure.

So if your bet was in Israel to lie and cover up, you just lost your money.

I listened to the audio of that interview again. It just doesn’t stack up with what we now know. Not even close.

  • “The only weapons on board belonged to Israel”
  • “We have always been non-violent”
  • Repeated that they “didn’t find” weapons, but then…
  • Stated that if they did, then Israel planted them  – I guess when you get statements like that together, you know you’re being spun a pile of porkies. But besides, when did they plant them, before boarding?
  • Stated that she “didn’t think” that the solders were attacked. Quite an error to make, since she went on to state that she was watching the whole thing live.
  • Claimed that the Israeli video was edited. Her take on what happened in the “unedited version”:
  • Helicopter hovered over the ship
  • Commandos came down a ladder
  • They stepped off the ladder, looked around and started to shoot
  • “You gotta remember that is 4:30 in the morning, 4:30 in the morning when everyone is sleeping”. – Seems like we have the first ever “sleep riot” on our hands! Lucky they decided  to watch their people sleep on life TV eh?
  • Stated 20% were over the age of 60 – in which case one wonders why they were there, to unload cargo?
  • Stated that the Israelis were “armed to the teeth” – yes, with riot control gear
  • “Who is killed, who is wounded? We are!” – implicit denial that Israeli solders were wounded.

She then proceeded to rant about how all the passengers had had their cellphones taken away, as though this was some sort of cruel or unusual thing after a ship has been seized like this.

She also claimed that a Turkish and Greek captain were shot and wounded. Funnily enough, when interviewed this captain didn’t mention that – though the Iranian influences of the news service seem to have lead to different distortions of the story. I guess those cellphone confiscations prevented them from getting their stories straight.

After ranting about them bringing in aid, she stated “this is obscene”, and she was “so angry” she couldn’t string together two sentences.

Well, two true sentences. And yes, lying like that is obscene.

More on the Peace Activist Attack

CNN have this map.

They also report…

Activists directly involved in violence against Israeli soldiers will be charged accordingly, said an Israeli foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Forty-five activists agreed to identify themselves to Israeli authorities and are citizens of the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom. They have now either left Israel or are on their way out of the country, an Israeli official said.

Those who remain detained are ones who have refused to identify themselves to Israeli immigration authorities, an Israeli Prison Authority spokesman told CNN. None have been placed under arrest, he said.

Among the ones who have refused to give their names are many foreigners, a police spokesman said.

My guess is that Israel won’t be releasing those that are refusing to give their names. They’ll then get even more stick for that, which is probably why the activists are doing it.

However, if they’re smart they’ll get an embassy official from somewhere neutral (like Germany for example) to visit these people and confirm they’re withholding their identities. They can then trot out that person as an independent witness.

The UN Response

CNN also reports the UN response.

The U.N. Security Council called for a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent” investigation into Monday’s raid by Israel.

“The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza,” the 15-member council said in a statement.

“The council in this context condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least 10 civilians and expresses condolences to the families,” it said.

Note the language here carefully! The UN has not exclusively condemned Israel.

The language “condemns those acts” specifically does not single out Israel. What that means (and this was reported by National Radio this morning) is that the UN condemns all who participated in violent acts in this incident.

Remember that next time someone quotes the UN as being disapproving of Israel.

Israel and the Law

National Radio had an expert in the “Law of the Sea” on Morning Report earlier to discuss the Australian legal action against Japan.

They then asked (since the expert was there) for the law surrounding what Israel did.

She first pointed out that it’s not piracy. Piracy can’t be committed by states.

Second, under international peacetime law, the boarding was not legal. However, during a war such things are legal.

It was also pointed out that many of the things Israel has done in the past that have been “found to be illegal” weren’t actually binding rulings, but rather advisory ones. I seem to recall that Israel doesn’t participate in those situations, so with no defense offered it’s hardly surprising to get those outcomes.

Audio here.

Robinson: Right, now while I’ve got you there since you’re an expert on the law of the sea, what Israel’s been doing in the Mediterianian, declaring the blockade, is that covered under the law of the sea?

Mossop: Well, it’s a complicated situation because under the peaceful law of the sea Israel’s boarding of the foreign flagged ship in international waters would be Illegal. It’s not piracy because piracy can’t be undertaken by a state.

But the problem is of course is that Israel maintains that it is in a state of war, and the blockade policy is in fact permitted under the laws of war. So what we have here is a real problem because Israel maintains that it’s justified in maintaining a blockade under rules of war, whereas a lot of the International community considers that that blockade is in fact unlawful and therefore they consider the laws that are applicable in peacetime to apply.

And so Essential you have a fundamental conflict between those two positions.

More information comes to light…

So you’ve got to read right down the page, but more information is coming to light about the violence Israeli boarding party were met with.

Night-vision footage released by the military showed soldiers dropping from a helicopter one by one and being grabbed by a mob of men wielding sticks on the lead boat, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara. The soldiers succumbed to the assailants and fell to the deck, where the men continued to beat them and dump one of them from the top deck.

A commando who spoke to reporters on a naval vessel off the coast, identified only as “A,” said he and his comrades were taken off guard by a group of Arabic-speaking men when they landed on the deck.

Some soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and thrown from the top deck to the lower deck, and some had even jumped overboard to save themselves, the commando said. At one point one of the activists seized one of the soldiers’ weapons and opened fire, the commando said.

Communications to the ships were cut shortly after the raid began, and activists were kept away from reporters after their boats were towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Nice to see they have it on video.

National Radio had the activists’ spokeswoman on the telephone, and she was beside herself with rage. Unfortunately for her, most of what she said is easily proven to be a complete fabrication. Even NR was forced to admit that those organizing the flotilla had close links to Hamas.

It’s clear that boarding these ships with anything but lethal force would have been a deadly mistake.

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