Here’s a picture of a child being brought into the hospital by what seems to be (judging by his one hand gloved) a hospital orderly.
I’m neither an expert in hospital procedures, nor in the behavior of wounded children. But I have seen enough of Pallywood to be suspicious. One of the main features of Pallywood is the brutal treatment of the “wounded” — little use of stretchers, grabbing people and rushing them in front of the camera, very few if any signs of injury (the white cloth near her neck may mean the injury is against the orderly’s chest, but again not a sign of blood).
Now in most Pallywood footage the apparent explanation for the rush is, presumably, the presence of the terrible Israelis shooting wildly at anything that moves (despite the observable fact that the players take the wounded back in front of the Israelis, and after the evacuation, stand around in front of the Israeli position with no signs of concern). Here, however, we’re looking at a girl begin brought from the ambulance to the hospital… so no need for a rush, unless this patient is so badly wounded that she needs immediate attention. But then, all the more reason for a stretcher. And given the plethora of ambulances and equipment available to the Palestinians, one could hardly argue that they’re short of equipment. And finally, given how the picture has been cropped, there’s no sign of blood or injury on her body.
So what’s going on? I can’t say, and the thoughts I’m writing are entirely of a hypothetical nature.
[Update: I was right to maintain the hypothetical nature of my conjectures. A reader has left the URL of an uncropped photograph if this girl being taken to the hospital.
The injury is to her hand, and it does make sense to carry her, so my introductory example does not work.]
Other blogs, including a series of posts from the very beginning of the affair at Déjà Vu, and lengthier ones at Adloyada, the indefatigable Atlas Shrugged, and Solomonia, have important discussions of these questions. I know nothing about the girl, where she was allegedly injured, and what the nature of her injuries. But it does raise important questions about the nature of Palestinian medical practices, and may connect with another issue, the handling of the wounded once they are in the hospital.
Doctors from Israeli hospitals report that they received the two victims from the Gaza Beach explosion in strange condition: all the shrapnel had been removed from their bodies in procedures that were neither called for, nor good for the patients.
Niham suffered serious damage to her abdomen and upper limbs, with cuts all over her body as a result of the surgical intervention performed on her at Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
Strengthening claims that the IDF was not responsible for the explosion, the Tel Aviv hospital said that no shrapnel was found in her body, except for one piece that was not reachable by surgery and would have to be left there. The damage to her body was “without doubt” caused by shrapnel.
Ichilov hospital did not accuse Shifa Hospital in Gaza of directly of removing shrapnel for no medical reason, but it said that it had never received a patient who was in an explosion with all the shrapnel removed (except for one unreachable piece).
“This is surprising and raises questions” about the care she received in Shifa, the Ichilov spokeswoman said. Asked whether Ichilov surgeons had contacted Shifa doctors who treated the patient to ask the reason for the incisions to remove shrapnel, the spokeswoman said: “We are not in such close contact with Shifa. We received the medical report on the patient, and that’s all.”
Similar reports came from Sourasky Medical Center where a member of the Ghalia family, Ahyam, was sent.
The only reason I can think of for such invasive and unnecessary procedures is to remove incriminating evidence. In other words the doctors working at Shifa hospital were afraid that the explosion was of Palestinian origin, and in order to cover-up, they removed the shrapnel. The presence of one piece of shrapnel they could not reach and that the Israelis could remove without danger to the patient reveals precisly that. Now, according to the IDF, the second piece of shrapnel is also not of Israeli origin.
An additional piece of shrapnel was removed during surgery on Adham Ralya on Wednesday, June 14, and was sent for initial analysis by the IDF Technology Unit. “Examination of the second piece of shrapnel,” said Major General Kalifi, “proves conclusively that this was not a 155-mm shell. As also has been demonstrated by the first piece of shrapnel, based on analysis of the composition and content of the shrapnel, and of course on examination of the explosive compounds found on the second piece, evidence of 155-mm shells was clearly absent.”
There remain questions. The Palestinians have produced a whole range of evidence, from time codes noting the presence of victims in the hospital early enough for Israeli shelling, to craters in the sand made by the Israelis 155 mm shells, to fragments of those shells, one with the name on it, one of which allegedly had the blood of one of the victims of the beach bombing on it.
These reports were given further credibility by the conflicting reports on Israel’s channel 2 and channel 10 on the nature of the shrapnel, with Shlomi Eldar of Channel 10 supporting the Palestinian version. Every self-critical scruple of Israeli journalism then becomes an opening for claims in the Muslim media to accuse, as in this Turkish article. And of course, there’s always the Jewish, masochistic messianic blogs like Tikkun Olam ready to declare that the IDF’s claims are unraveling even as some of us see that happening to the Palestinian claims.
Actually, in the case of channel 10, it’s not apparently scruples, but that peculiar (but not uniquely) Israeli/Jewish pathology of excessive self-criticism and siding with one’s enemies. Miri Regev, the spokeswoman from the IDF commented today in Maariv:
“Most Israeli reporters… ask hard questions, investigate, criticize… and make sure to operate in accordance with professional ethical codes that require caution and responsibility… To my great sorrow, throughout the period that the Rhalia family story has been in the news, the Channel Ten news department, led by journalist Shlomi Eldar, has chosen to adopt, without any question, the speculations and the questionable and fabricated evidence with which the Palestinian side tried – and still tries – to influence the world media… This is not genuine investigative journalism. This is wanton journalism… that prefers not to be bothered by the facts.”
As one of my students commented after reading the al Durah dossier and in particular this article: “I thought Ha-Aretz was an Israeli paper. Why does it sound like a Palestinian paper?” For the outsider, uninformed by the enormous gap separating an almost pathologically self-critical Israeli press from an even more pathologically demonizing Palestinian press, the situation favors the Palestinians. They accuse Israel; Israelis admit they’re guilty. Case closed.
The main proponent of the Palestinian side is the allegedly impartial representative of Human Rights Watch (which presumably wants to find out who did this terrible deed, not make up their mind beforehand and engage in propaganda), Marc Garlasco.
He said he examined the site a day after the explosion and acknowledged that wind and the number of people who trampled the area after the blast made conclusions difficult. Nevertheless, he said shrapnel he found lodged in a car near the explosion and other samples collected by the Palestinian bomb-disposal unit made clear it was from a 155mm shell.
But the circumstantial evidence seems powerfully in favor of a Palestinian shell, with an outside chance of an Israeli shell that had not exploded and remained on the beach. The Palestinian evidence, which Garlasco produces in full confidence, seems highly suspicious. In the footage from Ramattan we see no crater, but he’s found a crater and shell fragments. The scene was thoroughly compromised from the start, which he admits, but Garlasco finds the Palestinian evidence compelling, largely because he can’t believe they’d be so dishonest as to fake it.
“If the Israeli allegations of tampered evidence are to be believed, many Palestinians would have to have engaged in a massive and immediate conspiracy to falsify the data,” said Garlasco. “The conspirators – witnesses, victims, medical personnel and bomb disposal staff – would have had to falsify their testimony, amend digital and hand-written records, and dip shrapnel into a victim’s blood. It beggars belief that such a huge conspiracy could be orchestrated so quickly.”
Apparently, Garlasco has no awareness of the lengths to which Palestinians will go — and have gone — to falsify testimony. Nor does he process the information at hand. If the doctors will butcher their patients — children! — in order to remove evidence, then what won’t they do? Unaware of the systematic falsification of evidence, only one aspect of which is Pallywood, Garlasco’s imagination is beggared by the thought of such activities. Indeed, he embodies all the attitudes that make rethinking al Durah virtually impossible.
I understand him. I too found my imagination beggared by the viewing of Talal abu Rahme’s rushes at France2. I walked out of France2 studios in shock. I had no idea they could be so openly and systematically dishonest. Beggared in both cases — Garlasco’s and mine — was our liberal cognitive egocentrist imagination: we would never do that! Heaven forbid we accuse them of such base activities. That would be racist.
The only real question here is: is Garlasco’s comment mere rhetoric, or will evidence lead him to stretch his limited imaginative capacities?
Let us recall, here, that the behavior of Shifa’s doctors now replicates closely their behavior in the Al Durah case. Muhammad and his father were taken there after the incident at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000. They did no examination of Muhammad’s body aside from taking gruesome pictures of a boy whose stomach had been blown open. I unfortunately do not have a copy of this photo, although I saw it among the France2 rushes from the following day. If that gaping stomach wound that goes from his abdomen to the top of his chest is real, then he must have been shot by a dum dum bullet in the back and the entire scene photographed by Talal should have been bathed in blood; if not, then the doctors butchered a boy’s dead body. If so, this would not be the only case of such grotesque practices: see the testimony of an Australian human rights activist working in the Palestinian Authority and her horrifying realization of what was going on in the hospitals there, recorded by Pierre Rehov in The Road to Jenin.
Despite claiming almost a dozen wounds in the father and the son, Shifa produced no bullets. They were smarter about not sending the father to an Israeli hospital (his boss and friend, Moshe, the Israeli contractor, called him right away and offered to pay all fees), instead they sent him to Jordan. The hospital claimed the bullets had passed through; but the “investigators” on the ground found none. To this day, an either credulous or dishonest Charles Enderlin claims that the Palestinian general still has them in a sack in his desk.
Collaboration to produce devastating propaganda against Israel by Palestinians? The Palestinians have lots of practice, and Garlasco is either a babe in the woods, or an eager dupe (or maybe both, and eager babe in the Gaza woods). And right there by his side is a Western media, captive to the same politically correct attitudes and concommitant lack of imagination, who, once the tale goes problematic, cease to cover the story, leaving Israel once again between libel and silence.
In the long run, what the evidence strongly points to is that Palestinian society has produced people in positions of authority — journalists, hospital staff and doctors, politicians, “activists”, teachers — who do not hesitate to abuse their own people in search of vengeance on Israel. They can only succeed, however, by dint of the kind of “naïve” advocacy of Western specialists who can’t imagine how bad it can get, despite the evidence. And that, to some extent, is due to the exceptional reluctance of the Western media and intelligentsia to let the Western public know just how bad it is in places where terrorists run the show.
Who would imagine that the Palestinians would victimize their own? It beggars the imagination.