Cremonesi Article in English

Here’s an English translation of the Cremonesi article by my daughter, Noa Landes.

Doubts on the Number of Victims: Could be 600 rather than 1300
Lorenzo Cremonesi
Il Corriere della Sera
January 21, 2009

GAZA – “Get away! Get away from here! Do you want the Israelis to kill everyone? Do you want our children to die under the bombs? take your missiles and weapons away,” the inhabitants of the Gaza strip yelled at the Hamas militants and their allies in Islamic Jihad. The more courageous were organized and blocked the entrances to their courtyards and locked the doors to their buildings, barricading quickly and furiously the stairs to the highest rooftops.

But for all of that the guerrillas didn’t listen to anyone. “Traitors, collaborators with Israel, spies of Fatah, cowards! The soldiers of the holy war will punish you. And in any case you will all die, like us. Fighting the Zionist Jews we are all destined for paradise. Do you not wish to die with us?” This is what they yelled furiously as they broke down doors and windows, hiding themselves on high floors, gardens, using ambulances and barricading themselves near the hospitals, schools and buildings of the UN.

In extreme cases the [Hamas militants] shot those who sought to block them from their streets and houses to save their own families, or they beat them savagely. “The Hamas Militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 or 17 years old, armed with submachine guns. They couldn’t do anything against a tank or jet. They knew they were much weaker. But they wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians'] houses so they could accuse them of more war crimes” asserted Abu Issa, 42, resident of the Tel Awa neighborhood.

“Practically all of the tallest buildings in Gaza that were hit by Israeli bombs, like the Dogmoush, Andalous, Jawarah, Siussi, and many others, had rocket launching pads on their roofs, or were observation decks for the Hamas. They had also put them near the big UN warehouse, which went up in flames. The same goes for the villages in the valley along the border who were more devastated by the mad fury and punishment of the Zionist,” echoes his cousin Um Abdallah, 48. They use family nicknames, but they provide important circumstantial details. It was difficult to get these testimonials. In general, fear of Hamas prevails and the ideological alimentary taboos reign in this century of wars with the “Zionist enemy.”

Those who recount a different version than the story imposed by the “Muhamawa” (the resistance) is automatically an “Amil,” a collaborator and is risking his life. However, the recent fratricidal collision between Hamas and Olp helps. If Israel or Egypt had allowed foreign journalists to enter immediately it would have been easier. These Locals are often threatened by Hamas.

“This is not a new fact, in the Middle East, Arab societies are missing the cultural traditions of human rights. It happened during Arafat’s regime that the press started being persecuted and censured. With Hamas it is even worse,” said Eyad Sarraj, a noted psychiatrist in Gaza City.

And there is another fact coming to light ever more obviously, visiting the hospitals, clinics and families of the victims of Israeli fire: In reality their numbers appear much lower than 1300 dead and another 5000 injured, as reported by the men of Hamas and repeated by the UN officials and the local Red Cross. “The dead can’t be more than 500 or 600. There are many youths between 17 and 23, recruited by Hamas, who sent them quite literally to the slaughter.” Said the doctor from the Shifah hospital who under no circumstances wanted to be quoted for he risked his life.

This data has been confirmed by the local journalist. “We already pointed this out to the heads of Hamas. Why do they insist on inflating the number of victims? Its strange on the other hand that the NGOs, also the western ones, report them without and verification. In the end the truth may come to light. It could be like Jenin in 2002. Initially we spoke about 1500 dead. Then it came out that there were only 54, of whom at least 45 were militants who died in battle.”

How do we arrive at this figure? “Lets take the case of the Al Samoun family massacre in the Zeitun neighborhood. When the bomb landed on their houses they reported that they had 31 dead. And this is how they were registered with the officials of the Health department which is controlled by Hamas. But then, when the bodies were effectively recovered the sum total was doubled to 62 and this si how they are computed into the final balance,” explained Masoda Al Samoun, 24 years old.

And he added in an interesting detail: “To create confusion there were the Israeli special squadrons. They were dressed up as Hamas militants with many green bandanas tied in front with the customary writing: there is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. They slipped in to create chaos. We yelled at them to leave, fearing the retaliation but later we realized they were Israeli.”

Its sufficient to visit a few hospitals to understand that the numbers don’t add up. There are many empty beds in the European Hospital in Rafah, one of the [hospitals] that should be most involved with the victims of the Israeli “war of the tunnels.” The same goes for the “Nasser” of Kahn Yunis. Only 5 out of the 150 beds in the private hospital of Al-Amal are occupied. In Gaza city the Wafa was evacuated, constructed with “charitable Islamic” donations from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Countries of the Gulf, and bombed by Israel at the end of December. The Institute is marked as being a stronghold of Hamas, this is where it’s fighters came to recuperate after the civil war with Fatah in 2007. The others, however, stayed at Al Quds, which in turn was bombed the second half of the week in January.”

Talking about this event, Magah al Rachmah, 25 inhabitant no less than ten meters from the four large buildings of the health complex, today seriously damaged. “Hamas’s Men hid themselves mostly in the building that houses the administrative officials of Al Quds. They used the ambulances and they forced ambulance drivers and paramedics to take off their uniforms with the symbols of paramedics on them so that they would be able to better confuse and escape the Israeli snipers.” All of this vastly reduced the number of beds available in the health institutions of Gaza. Also,

Shifah, the biggest hospital in the city, is very far from exhausting all of it’s resources. It seems in fact that they are densely occupied with their underground tunnels. Hamas hid the emergency jails and the interrogation rooms for the prisoners of Fatah and the people who were evacuated from the bombarded prison of Saraja,” said the militants of the democratic front for the liberation of Palestine.

This [conflict] between Fatah and Hamas was a war within a war. The local humanitarian organizations, mainly controlled by the UN, tell of “dozens of executions, torture chambers, and kidnappings in the last three weeks” committed by Hamas. One of the more notable cases is that of Achmad Shakhura, 47 years old, resident of the Khan Yunis and brother of Khaled, the right hand man of Mohammed Dahlan (the former head of Yasser Arafat’s security services, now exiled) who was kidnapped by order of the head of Hamas’s local secret police, Abu Abdullah Al Kidra, and subsequently tortured, his left eye ripped out and, in the end, killed on the 15th of January.

47 Responses to Cremonesi Article in English

  1. [...] Richard Landes has published an english translation of the article in the Italian newspaper about ca… Doubts on the Number of Victims: Could be 600 rather than 1300 Lorenzo Cremonesi Il Corriere della Sera January 21, 2009 [...]

  2. robins111 says:

    Good post Richard, thank you

  3. Rachel says:

    Thank you, Richard and Noa. You have provided a great service by translating and publicizing this. Is there no way we can encourage the American media to pick this up?

  4. Lorenz Gude says:

    I find I get a psychological shock reading a straightforward account of what I believe is going on in Gaza. The constant narrative of Israeli war crime and slaughter of civilians, still make up much of our lived experience of the conflict mediated through the MSM and institutions like the Red Cross and the UN. Even though you know not to believe it – it gets you down.

  5. harris says:

    Thanks for the translation.

    OT:

    One should expect to see the complete Mads Gilbert/ER video announced by Paul Martin in the next days, right?

  6. oao says:

    The constant narrative of Israeli war crime and slaughter of civilians

    it’s worse than that: it is a completely inverted narrative: it’s the cruelty and barbarity of the pals that’s being projected on the jews. it’s surreal to the point where it should make it clear to anybody with half a brain that world has decided that the jews are an inconvenience and if they only disappeared, the jihad will stop and their ass will be saved.

    to reiterate: the west is essentially disappearing under dhimmitude and with the election of arabama that includes the us.

    accept it. it’s not reversible.

  7. harris says:

    OT again:

    An awsome statement by Karen Abu Zayd, commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

    http://www.un.org/unrwa/news/articles/2008/AssociatedPress_30dec08.html

    The peace loving Hamas was desperately trying to maintain the cease fire.

  8. oao says:

    The peace loving Hamas was desperately trying to maintain the cease fire.

    it’s UNRWA, a wholly owned dhimmi subsidiary of hamas (funded by the infidels in the west — jiziya). therefore you can interpret what it says as hamas statements.

  9. oao says:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2209894/

    help us god (and I am an atheist)

  10. oao says:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3299391/the-middle-east-appeasement-process.thtml

    I don’t have any problem with arabama inflicting on those who voted for this lying jackass what they deserve. unfortunately, it will bring the whole US and the west down.

  11. oao says:

    and while he kisses muslim ass, here’s what we can expect:

    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2009/01/muslims_in_amer.html

  12. oao says:

    the report itself is available in PDF format for download.

  13. robins111 says:

    It’s interesting that a left wing paper in Canada would print this article but it did.

    They promptly shut down comments after the the Canadians started laughing.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090129.wgazaschool29/BNStory/International/home

  14. oao says:

    It’s interesting that a left wing paper in Canada would print this article but it did.

    This is why:

    ==============================
    Why would he do that?

    “Because they had told everyone they had returned fire from gunmen in the school. That wasn’t true.”

    Mr. Ging blames the Israelis for the confusion over where the victims were killed. “They even came out with a video that purported to show gunmen in the schoolyard. But we had seen it before,” he said, “in 2007.”
    ===================

    In case this came out anyway, better to emphasize that Israel is lying; if they cannot be accused of intentional murder, at least they can be accused of lying.

  15. I hate to say it but I saw Olmert apologizing profusely for killing 42 children in a UN school building at a UN meeting of foreign ministers. I felt sick when I saw that. I suspect most here saw the same thing.

    When will Israel learn? Admitting to something you did not do is as much a lie as denying something you did do. Why not wait until you know what happened for sure – then deal with it honestly. The world does not give Israel points for self-flagellation. What the world remembers is that Israel either lies or kills kids – the message UNRWA is now making sure gets across.

    There is something psychological going on in Israeli minds that is not good. Apologizing for killing children when you don’t know for sure that you did kill them (like Muhammed al Dura)is just one facet of this problem.

  16. E.G. says:

    Cremonesi does seem to have captured some of the phenomena going in the Arabs of Palestine’s media strategy. He honestly reported on both the Jenin hoax and the Bethlehem Nativity Church standoff in 2002. Perhaps he speaks Arabic, and/or has fair fixers and translators.

    Meanwhile, Shmuel Trigano has coined yet another term. He conceives the recent unanimous, one-sided coverage of Cast Lead operation as the media Pogrom.

    Translated excerpts:
    “[...]it’s above all the symbolic person [of the Jew] that got hit. One’s dignity and self-image are also part of the human person, not merely her [physical] body. It’s these features that the media’s Pogrom aimed at. And the traits that hit [the Jewish person] are of a unique genre.
    Morality and humanitarianism have been drawn like arms. Clean. Moral. Total. The discourse about Israeli cruelty, directed by Hamas and Arab TV chains, was rehashed night and day, with the increasingly loud, feverish call to save a people from genocide. In Gaza there was only an army of children, hospitals, food storages, electricity stations…
    That is the essence of the violence against the person of Israel. It is virtuous! The more the concern for “children” and “civilians” is “disproportionate”, the stronger and more radical is the (symbolic) attack. And the more Israel is stigmatised and demonised. For humanitarian motives!”

    “The “humanitarian” concern is well within the broader ideological perspective that enshrines dead Jews at the same time it overcharges living Jews.”

  17. E.G. says:

    Pelican’s Point,

    Taking responsibility first, checking later, is typically Jewish.
    The caricature of the Jewish mother who first asks “what have I done wrong?” when her child gets ill/in some kind of trouble illustrates it.

  18. oao says:

    When will Israel learn?

    it’s not israel, it’s the israeli elite: all of them are utter failures without any guts and creativity.
    olmert is the worst — he is incompetent, utterly corrupt and selfish. livni is a nobody and how barak ever got to be a politician, and now a minister after both military and political failures only reveals the depth of the leadership crisis: there is a bunch of previous failures at the top–all of the top– and a stratum of a younger generation who is bland and ignorable.

  19. oao says:

    furthermore, the israeli electroral system produces and sustains the most fragrant corruption.

    this is revealed by the military operation being done for political purposes. who would have ever thought that this would happen in israel, of all places?

    the founding fathers must be turning in their graves.

  20. oao says:

    Taking responsibility first, checking later, is typically Jewish.

    as i said, the jewish state has eliminated neither anti-semitism, nor the ass-kissing jewish culture induced by it. they were simply attached to israel.

    olmert is a particularly vile specimen of the ingratiating jew.

  21. oao – Thanks. A lot there for me to think about.

    Another question comes to mind. You say it’s the elites. Wouldn’t the political process produce a competitor who could use that to advantage – and beat them? Or, are the majority of Israeli Jews more comfortable with a national posture of “ingratiating Jews” and more likely to vote for them? I guess the popularity of Israeli groups like B’tselem (if seen in that light) kind of answers that question.

    This perhaps shares some subconscious drive similar to the “ingratiating Negroes” that were perceived as typical of blacks before the civil rights act here a few decades ago.

    Doesn’t Netanyahu break that mold? I’d like to hear any more thoughts you have on this. Or anybody else.

  22. Joanne says:

    “However, the recent fratricidal collision between Hamas and Olp helps…”

    Just note that, in French, the “OLP” is the acronym for PLO.

  23. oao said furthermore, the israeli electroral system produces and sustains the most fragrant corruption. this is revealed by the military operation being done for political purposes. who would have ever thought that this would happen in israel, of all places?

    Yes, I have a friend in Israel who was part of a group who tried to promote some changes to the system. They gave up.

    But, certainly you are not saying that Israel was not justified in finally acting to destroy Hamas’ ability to launch rockets into Israel. Could you maybe say that, faced with an election, this is an example of democratic electoral politics finally producing a sensible outcome?

    Maybe if Israel could require a re-shuffling if the government every six months things would become more rational. :sarcasm:

  24. E.G. says:

    for oao in particular
    (sorry, slightly o/t)

    A combination of your pet bête noires. Academia, Haifa U, Pol. Sci., “agenda”…
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1060061.html

    I couldn’t find the paper in question. But I have serious doubts regarding the methodology and the result interpretations. Bar-Tal is a fine researcher, I know. What’s your take?

  25. E.G. says:

    Complement to my previous comment:
    “The fact that we found the Israeli-Jewish collective memory of the conflict to be somewhat critical suggests that the Israeli-Jewish society has changed to become more mature and self-reflective, allowing it to partially adopt less biased narratives despite the hardships it has endured in the course of the conflict. That is an important positive psychological development on the road to peace on the part of the Israeli-Jews.”

    Among the likely reasons for this social shift the study finds, are:
    Changes in Israeli-Jewish society, which has become more individualistic, open, critical, fragmented and globalized.
    Greater security for Israel through its increased military strength and peace treaties signed with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
    Critical scholarship and publications by war veterans that have partly refuted Zionist narratives of some of the events of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict. ”
    http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news/article.htm?id=6811

  26. oao says:

    But, certainly you are not saying that Israel was not justified in finally acting to destroy Hamas’ ability to launch rockets into Israel.

    too late too little, just for electoral purposes, not to win. by waiting years they guaranteed they would and could not win. it would have been much easier militarily and politically to finish them off years ago.

    Could you maybe say that, faced with an election, this is an example of democratic electoral politics finally producing a sensible outcome?

    there is very little democracy in the electoral system and political sophistication in the public. if anything was achieved — and I don’t believe so — it was purely tactical short term. the system does not produce strategic action.

    Maybe if Israel could require a re-shuffling if the government every six months things would become more rational. :sarcasm:

    the party-list based parlaimentary system almost guarantees that the worst stay in power without popular support. look at what bibi did with feiglin. look at how olmert and the the other 2 failures stayed in power.

    I couldn’t find the paper in question. But I have serious doubts regarding the methodology and the result interpretations. Bar-Tal is a fine researcher, I know. What’s your take?

    i have a MA in polisci from u of haifa. when I left there in 1978 there were only one or two faculty who had any value. in general the university was not very impressive. and my specialization is in research and quantitative methods and the philosophy/methodology of science. the social sciences faculty are almost devoid these days of methodologic knowledge. the dept there has changed and grew but I very much doubt that the situation has improved significantly.

  27. [...] Lorenzo Cremonesi, “Doubts on the Number of Victims: Could be 600 rather than 1300. Il Corriere Della Sera, January 21, 2009. Translated by Noa Landes. [...]

  28. [...] Lorenzo Cremonesi, “Doubts on the Number of Victims: Could be 600 rather than 1300. Il Corriere Della Sera, January 21, 2009. Translated by Noa [...]

  29. [...] Most news outlets report that more than 1,000 civilians died in the war, but Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi was the first to indicate that the casualty count was far smaller than what Palestinian sources [...]

  30. [...] an Italian journalist with enough initiative to slip into Gaza while the hostilities still went on, reported the following from a Gazan [...]

  31. [...] Gazan told a journalist: The Hamas militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 [...]

  32. Solomonia says:

    Richard Landes: (Another) Open Letter to Judge Goldstone…

    [The following, by Richard Landes, is crossposted from Augean Stables.] The following appears (in an earlier draft) in the Jerusalem Post. This version contains links, and an added paragraph on incitement (HT/Elihu Richter).Dear Judge Goldstone, I am o…

  33. [...] and other militants pursued a strategy during OCL nicely encapsulated by Gazan Abu Issa: The Hamas Militants looked for good places to provoke the Israelis. They were usually youths, 16 [...]

  34. [...] Israel and start another intifada in which we civilians are the sacrifices of our leaders who victimize us so the cameras can bring images of Israeli aggression to the outside world and create m…. [...]

  35. You have got to be kidding

  36. [...] entities – Hizbullah and Hamas – that have armed with missiles, itching for the moment when, behind their own civilian populations, it can rain down death upon Israeli civilians, forcing Israeli retaliation that inevitably causes [...]

  37. [...] on its northern and southern borders that are itching for the moment when, behind their own civilian populations, they can rain down death upon Israeli civilians, forcing Israeli retaliation that inevitably [...]

  38. [...] an English translation of an article by Lorenzo Cremonesi (Italian original here) describing how Hamas forced Gazan civilians to be human shields against Israel: “Get away! Get away from here! Do you want the Israelis to kill everyone? Do you want our [...]

  39. [...] to blame Israel. This is in fact a key element of their asymmetrical war with Israel. As one Gazan explained to an Italian reporter towards the end of Operation Cast Lead (OCL): The Hamas militants looked for good places to provoke [...]

  40. […] aims to increase casualties among its own people to be able to blame Israel for those as well. One Gaza eyewitness told reporters that Hamas “wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians'] houses so […]

  41. […] aims to increase casualties among its own people to be able to blame Israel for those as well. One Gaza eyewitness told reporters that Hamas “wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at the [the civilians'] houses so […]

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