Dynah Moe hum:
Europe urged toÂ consider Arab feelingsÂ and not help prevent smuggling weapons into Gaza.
Egypt warned European countries on Tuesday to think carefully before sending ships to patrol Gaza’s coastal waters to prevent arms smuggling, saying such a move could have significant consequences on ties with Arab states.
Andrew BoltÂ â€“ Friday, January 30, 09
In early January Israel was once again accused of a horrific war crime – an allegation thatÂ ran and ran. Some examples:
From Britain’sÂ The Independent:
FromÂ The Australian:
THE deaths of 42 people inÂ an Israeli attack at a UN-run schoolÂ in Gaza overnight has finally forced Barack Obama to break his silence over the conflict…
FromÂ The Age:
The UN High Commissioner for Rights has also called for independent investigations into possible war crimes after Israel’sÂ shelling of a UN school compound which killed 42 people…
Israeli tank shells killed more than 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a UN school where civilians had taken shelter, in carnage likely to boost international pressure on Israel to halt a Gaza offensive.
The key ingredients in this latest “proof’’ of Israeli depravity: 43 dead, school attacked, sheltering civilians massacred. Oh, and with no good cause:
The United Nations on Wednesday denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside a school in Gaza that was hit the previous day by an Israeli strike, killing at least 42 people.
Now for the facts of that January 6 mortar shelling of the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Yes, the 43 people are dead, and that is a tragedy, given many were undoubtedly innocent. But the rest of the allegations? False, false and false. Yet again the media has bought anti-Israeli propaganda, as a TorontoÂ Globe and MailÂ investigation has found:Â
Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed….
While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers….Â
The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: “Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead.”…
Hazem Balousha, who runs an auto-body shop across the road from the UNRWA school, was down the street, just out of range of the shrapnel, when the three shells hit. He showed a reporter where they landed: one to the right of his shop, one to the left, and one right in front.
UNRWA itself now openly concedes its school was not actually shelled:
John Ging, UNRWA’s operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that “no one was killed in the school.” … The Israelis are the ones, he said, who got everyone thinking the deaths occurred inside the school.
“Look at my statements,” he said. “I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation.”
But theÂ Globe and MailÂ recalls an earlier Ging quote:
Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: “Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. … There’s nowhere safe in Gaza.”
And a World Health Organization report:
On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school …
And a UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs weekly report:
Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools [including this one]…
So why did Israel lob those three mortar shells into the street outside the school? As Associated Press reported at the time:Â
In a statement, the Israeli army said an initial investigation found that “mortar shells were fired from within the school at IDF soldiers. The force responded with mortars at the source of fire. The Hamas cynically uses civilians as human shields.” The army said two Hamas militants â€” Imad Abu Askar and Hasan Abu Askar â€” were among the dead.
Two neighborhood residents confirmed the Israeli account, sayingÂ a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. Israel then opened fire. The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said the Abu Askar brothers were known low-level Hamas militants.
“Within” is not right, of course. But it seems the real story is that 43 people, including at least two Hamas militants, were killed when Israel returned fire from Hamas mortars launched from among a crowd in the street.
You might still not like what occured. But it is very, very different to what was so widely alleged, and far more forgivable.
And after the earlier evidence of the media repeating pro-Hamas propaganda andÂ gross exaggerations of the death toll in Gaza, especially among civilians, we need to ask again: how much can we trust the coverage of journalists and welfare groups reporting from territory run by terrorists?