Category Archives: Pallywood

Halevi vs. Shaheen: Civilian Casualties in Gaza

TNR has run an article on the civilian casualty controversy from Operation Cast Lead. It not only ignores the lively discussion in the blogosphere which I’ve tried to keep updated here, but it also lacks a certain punch. The story is almost studiously presented as a “he said… she said,” with no assessment of the relative merit of the arguments.

Perhaps that’s just the difference between the MSM and the blogosphere, the “hands-off” impartiality of the former, and that may be to the good. But with the exception of seriously informed readers — and one can expect many of TNR’s readership to be that informed — many of the implications of what this dispute reveals would (and will) remain obscure. Notes below.

Numbers Game
by Simona Weinglass
How many civilians were killed in Gaza? Meet the people who do the counting.
Post Date Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On December 27, the first morning of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza Strip, Khalil Shaheen was driving in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City when he spotted a friend and got out of his car to say hello. Suddenly, an Israeli F-16 appeared in the sky and dropped a bomb on a building 200 feet up the road–one of many such bombings part of the IDF’s 22-day effort to stop Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel.

The building, which Shaheen identified as a Hamas internal security headquarters, immediately collapsed, sending an observation tower flying 100 feet, hitting a woman. Pandemonium broke out on the street, where Shaheen says hundreds of schoolchildren and adults were shouting and running from the blast. Predicting the F-16’s next target, Shaheen tried to restrain a group of children from running to the street’s west side. A minute later, the plane dropped four missiles on “the ex-prisoners museum,” a community center and exhibition space for former inmates of Israeli jails. During that particular bombing, says Shaheen, no Hamas fighters were killed, just a woman in a nearby apartment building, a man in his shop, and two young girls leaving school.

Though Shaheen is not a Hamas soldier, he is on the front lines of a different battle: the P.R. war that has erupted since the end of hostilities.

I certainly hope that the author doesn’t think that this battle only erupted since the end of hostilities. It’s been going on for decades, and the misinformation from “Palestinian Sources” dominates the Western media.

Casualties of Truth: Elder of Ziyon’s unpublished editorial on Gazan casualties

For reasons unknown (as of yet), this critical piece did not make the newspaper for which it was written. Please make sure that as many blogs as possible mention it. It not only lays out the case for questioning the statistics offered by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, but it emphasizes the bald-faced abandon with which Palestinian sources openly lie to the West.

Casualties of Truth

(This is the article that I wrote as an op-ed, that was inexplicably not published as planned. Much of it was beautifully rewritten by a prominent writer and author.)

For three weeks in December 2008-January 2009, Israel and Hamas fought a war in the Gaza Strip after Hamas announced it was abandoning the ceasefire and began escalated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.

There is one fact about that war which people around the world think they know: there were about 1400 Palestinians killed in the war and most or almost all of them were civilians, mainly women and children.

This claim, however, is false and demonstrably so on the basis of careful research using publicly available and reliable materials. Indeed, a group of bloggers, including the author, have shown already that more than 30 percent of the claimed “civilian” casualties were in fact, to use the polite word, armed militants or members of Hamas-led security forces. And the number of such combatants we are discovering is rising every day.

While Hamas and other Palestinian political groups were using alleged civilian casualties to bolster their case with international public opinion, they demonstrably knew otherwise. In fact, they publicly bragged about the military activities of those they labeled innocent civilian bystanders.

Even when they lie, they support (belated) Israeli claims: PCHR publishes list of Casualties

Elder of Zion has an important analysis of the casualty figures just published by PCHR, the premier, UN-accredited Human Rights organization in the Gaza Strip. Not only do they transparently misrepresent Hamas and Islamic Jihad “activists” as civilians, but, when you do the math, they support the Israeli claims that only 12 people died near the Jabalya school. For the full post with links, go to the original posting.

PCHR lies about “civilians” and agrees with IDF about Jabalya

PCHR finally came out with the English translation of their list of victims of the Gaza operation, and already a number of things merit attention.

PTWatch, in the comments, quickly looked at Hamas’ list of “martyrs” from Gaza on its Al Qassam website and immediately found four people who Hamas happily claimed as members of their terrorist group – and who PCHR called “civilians.”

#576 Ayman Mohammed Mohammed ‘Afana
PCHR -> civilian
AlQassam -> martyr & fighter

#959 Amir Yousif Mahmoud al-Mansi
PCHR -> civilian
AlQassam -> martyr & fighter

#406 Ali Zuheir Mahmoud al-Houbi
PCHR -> civilian
AlQassam -> martyr & fighter

#133 Mohammed Salah Hassan al-Sawaf
PCHR -> civilian
AlQassam -> martyr & fighter
To this list you can add #257, Ayman Fou’ad Eid al-Nahhal, whom PCHR identifies as a “policeman/civilian.”

And Hamas clearly isn’t publicizing the names of all of its members. These are just the ones on their website that they admit were killed. Both parties are lying.

There are other terrorists listed as “civilians,” such as #864, Tareq Mohammed Nemer Abu ‘Amsha, who CAMERA noted that Ma’an listed as a member of Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades.

Intriguingly, some of the terrorists that CAMERA mentioned, who were listed in the weekly PCHR casualty reports, are mysteriously missing from the final report. Is PCHR protecting itself from listing too many dead terrorists? Were they never killed to begin with? It is something that people should be asking PCHR.

One other relevant part of the report: PCHR lists people who were killed “near” and “opposite” the al-Fakhoura School in the Jabalya camp on January 6th. You may recall that the UNRWA told me explicitly that they stood by the casualty figures of 30-50 dead at the school even after the IDF claimed that only 12 were killed. The PCHR itself claimed at the time that 27 civilians were killed instantly at the school.

Just How Bad can the NYT Get? Jeffrey Woolf fisks Ethan Bronner on Religion and the IDF

I was just at a panel discussion at Boston College about “Israel Apartheid Week” (about which more later). One of the questions posed (in part in response to Dexter van Zile’s comment that the “Apartheid Narrative” scapegoated Israel for the world’s ills) ran somewhat as follows: “Don’t you think that Israel participated in its own scapegoating by not letting in the Western press.

As part of my answer, I tried to explain how, if Western journalists actually did their job, it would have been good to have them in Gaza, but that given how wedded (read: addicted) they are to the framing story of Israeli Goliath / Palestinian David, the chances that they would actually reveal to the West just how systematically Hamas sought to victimize its own people and literally create a humanitarian crisis were pretty slim.

Most people don’t realize just how bad the MSM is in its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, how reluctant they are, for a variety of reasons that span the spectrum from ideological to venal to cowardice, to reveal to their audiences the moral depravity of the Palestinian side. The best current example of the obsession of the Western press with every blemish of the Israelis and their corresponding obliviousness to the Palestinians is probably the work of Ethan Bronner, the NYT mideast correspondent.

Here, Jeffrey Woolf fisks Bronner on the topic of the impact of religious impulses in the Israeli army during the Gaza war. One can easily imagine that the Palestinian version of this article would involve discussing their genocidal ideology, and a host of other problems that would make his remarks — even before Woolf’s corrections — pale in comparison. Alas, don’t expect them anytime soon.

Fisking Bronner on Religious Soldiers
[There is so much wrong with this piece, I decided to pull an Augean Stables.]

    A religious war within the Israeli Army

    By Ethan Bronner
    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    JERUSALEM: The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society.

The credibility of these charges has since been seriously impugned and they are, in any event, extremely distorted. See here.

    Several of the testimonies, published by an institute that runs a premilitary course and is affiliated with the left-leaning secular kibbutz movement, showed a distinct impatience with religious soldiers, portraying them as self-appointed holy warriors.

    A soldier, identified by the pseudonym Ram, is quoted as saying that in Gaza, “the rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles and their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.”

The quote is second hand, therefore, suspect. Even if accurate, though, Ram obviously did not understand that מלחמת מצוה does not mean jihad. It refers to a war to defend Jews from attack or to conquer the land of Israel. The booklets do not stress the latter, only the former. Furthermore, since when is it bad to believe in God, in His Providence or in His promise of the Land of Israel to the People of Israel?

NYT Does it Again: Noah Pollack fisks Bisharat

Noah Pollack does an excellent job of taking apart a particularly nasty op-ed which, predictably alas, the Grey Lady had no problem publishing.

He Forgot about the Poisoned Wells
NOAH POLLAK – 04.04.2009 – 2:23 PM

The New York Times publishes an op-ed today by George Bisharat, the U.S. academic whose professional mission is the indictment of Israel for war crimes, no matter how implausible. His piece starts with a lie that the Times itself had an important hand in promoting:

Chilling testimony by Israeli soldiers substantiates charges that Israel’s Gaza Strip assault entailed grave violations of international law.

Except that there never was any “chilling testimony” — there were rumors circulated by an anti-IDF activist, which were breathlessly republished by Haaretz and its American counterpart, the Times. His opening claim does, however, set an appropriately mendacious tone for the rest of the piece. Bisharat says that Israel committed six separate violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead, and the first one he cites lays the foundation for the five that follow:

[Israel violated] its duty to protect the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. Despite Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza, the territory remains occupied. Israel unleashed military firepower against a people it is legally bound to protect.

Bishara doesn’t explain how it is conceivable under international law that Israel is still occupying Gaza, but consistency has never been the hobgoblin of international law fetishists. He cites the Fourth Geneva Convention elsewhere in his piece, so he must be familiar with its definition of occupation: “the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory.” As Dore Gold wrote in an analysis after the Gaza disengagement,

what creates an “occupation” is the existence of a military government which “exercises the functions of government.” This is a confirmation of the older 1907 Hague Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which state, “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.” The Hague Regulations also stipulate: “The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” What follows is that if no Israeli military government is exercising its authority or any of “the functions of government” in the Gaza Strip, then there is no occupation.

Bisharat continues by charging that Israel is violating Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions by imposing “collective punishment” on Gaza. This claim depends on every resident of Gaza being considered a “protected person” under the Geneva Conventions, which they are not, because Israel is not occupying Gaza. The blockade may be a bad policy, an ineffective policy, or an immoral policy — but it is not a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Side question: Why do people like Bisharat never condemn Egypt for its involvement in the blockade?

Bishara continues his indictment by saying that Israel was

Deliberately attacking civilian targets. The laws of war permit attacking a civilian object only when it is making an effective contribution to military action and a definite military advantage is gained by its destruction.

The level of dishonesty on display here is pretty amazing. Throughout Cast Lead, Hamas used all of the “civilian objects” cited by Bisharat as military installations. Rockets were fired from schools, mosques were used as weapons depots, and the Islamic University of Gaza was used as an explosives production facility and rocket storehouse. Why does Hamas use conspicuously civilian infrastructure for terrorist purposes? One reason is to make the job of Hamas’ western apologists and useful idiots so much easier.

Read the rest.

The Child, Death, and the Truth: Esther Schapira Weighs in Again

Esther Schapira, whose groundbreaking work on al Durah represented the earliest reconsideration outside Israel, and whose material I used extensively (with her generous permission) in my own documentaries, has now come out with a new study. Given how much (she has subsequently admitted), intimidation played a role in her modest conclusions last time (“the Israelis didn’t do it,” but nothing on what did happen), this claim of staging is an important stage in the al Durah critique.

As soon as I can, I’ll put up a translation.

Puzzled in Gaza… Not if you know about Pallywood

A devastating account of an eye-witness to the scene in Gaza which contradicts every impression the Western MSM gave, from the high civilian casualties, the infrastructure devastation, the intensification of support for Hamas, the humanitarian crisis. Yvonne Green, a poetess, may have been puzzled on viewing a largely intact Gaza Strip of inhabitants terrorized by rather than supportive of Hamas, but those who paid close attention, are not. (H/T: MHB)

Mar 2, 2009 20:58 | Updated Mar 2, 2009 21:10
Puzzled in Gaza
By YVONNE GREEN

I’m a poet, an English Jew and a frequent visitor to Israel. Deeply disturbed by the reports of wanton slaughter and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, I felt I had to see for myself. I flew to Tel Aviv and on Wednesday, January 28, using my press card to cross the Erez checkpoint, I walked across the border into Gaza where I was met by my guide, a Palestinian journalist. He asked if I wanted to meet with Hamas officials. I explained that I’d come to bear witness to the damage and civilian suffering, not to talk politics.

A Palestinian man holds bags of rice before their distribution to Palestinians at a United Nations food distribution center in Sha’ati refugee camp in Gaza City.

What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas’ infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren’t mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.

THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren’t in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.

From the mansions of the Abu Ayida family at Jebala Rayes to Tallel Howa (Gaza City’s densest residential area), Gazans contradicted allegations that Israel had murderously attacked civilians. They told me again and again that both civilians and Hamas fighters had evacuated safely from areas of Hamas activity in response to Israeli telephone calls, leaflets and megaphone warnings.

Seeing Al-Fakhora made it impossible to understand how UN and press reports could ever have alleged that the UNWRA school had been hit by Israeli shells. The school, like most of Gaza, was visibly intact. I was shown where Hamas had been firing from nearby, and the Israeli missile’s marks on the road outside the school were unmistakeable. When I met Mona al-Ashkor, one of the 40 people injured running toward Al-Fakhora – rather than inside it as widely and persistently reported – I was told that Israel had warned people not to take shelter in the school because Hamas was operating in the area, and that some people had ignored the warning because UNWRA previously told them that the school would be safe. Press reports that fatalities numbered 40 were denied.

I WAS TOLD stories at Samouni Street which contradicted each other, what I saw and later media accounts. Examples of these inconsistencies are that 24, 31, 34 or more members of the Fatah Samouni family had died. That all the deaths occurred when Israel bombed the safe building it had told 160 family members to shelter in; the safe building was pointed out to me but looked externally intact and washing was still hanging on a line on one of its balconies. That some left the safe building and were shot in another house. That one was shot when outside collecting firewood. That there was no resistance – but the top right hand window of the safe building (which appears in a BBC Panorama film Out of the Ruins” aired February 8) has a black mark above it – a sign I was shown all day of weaponry having been fired from inside. That victims were left bleeding for two or three days.

Note that this incident is the one cited by Bill Moyers in defense of his anti-Semitic remarks about violence against the Palestinian- Canaanites being in the DNA of Judaism. Even at the time, it had the Pallywood signature. And of course, the folks on the “Palestinian side” eagerly believed it all.

Rachel Neuwirth Compiles the Evidence for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead and the Damage to Civilians

(Somehow this post was prepared a while ago and I forgot to post it. It’s late, but not too late.)

Rachel Neuwirth has an excellent and well-documented collection of imformation on the accusations against Israel, and their validity. Please add any additional references you think worthwhile.

I personally don’t go for the dichotomy “the Lie… the Truth”; I prefer, “the claims… the evidence.” But that’s just my pomo peculiarties.

“War Crimes” Propaganda Against Israel

by Rachel Neuwirth

www.opednews.com

Most of the American and European media have accused Israel of having committed “war crimes” in its recent “assault” on Gaza, and of waging war indiscriminately on its civilian population. Israel is said to have damaged schools, hospitals, ambulances and mosques and to have inflicted an immense number of deaths and injuries on innocent civilians. The same accusations have been hurled at Israel by the United Nations, by many of the world’s governments, and by numerous pseudo-do-gooder “Non-governmental organizations” (or “NGOs”), such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The International Criminal Court in the Hague is considering whether to file war crimes charges against Israeli military and political leaders, and the nations of the European Community are debating amongst themselves

But when we probe into the matter a little deeper by looking at the reports of journalists who did some independent investigating, and who interviewed Gaza civilians who agreed to talk with them (anonymously or using nicknames, for fear of Hamas reprisals), we get a completely different picture: Israel took great care to avoid hurting innocent people, while Hamas deliberately tried to cause as many casualties among the Gazan people as possible.

Let’s go through some of the biggest media lies one by one, and then expose the truth.

The Lie: Israel waged war on Gaza’s civilian population; it deliberately killed innocent civilians.

The truth: Israel exerted more care than any other country in history to avoid inflicting casualties on civilians, even at considerable cost to the effectiveness of its military operations.

Israel’s Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog, who is coordinating Israel’s humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza, has pointed out that “[The IDF] made 250,000 phone calls], it has sent text messages and delivered leaflets by air. It has [made] broadcasts on television and on radio and asked people to move away. It did whatever it could to prevent human suffering[2].”

250,000 phone calls? That is virtually every single individual household in Gaza! (total population 1.4 million, with many large families). There is no precedent in history for an army calling up each individual household in enemy territory to warn them in advance to take shelter from bombing or shelling by the army. The Israelis even went so far as to call up leading terrorists 45 minutes in advance of bombing their houses, which were used for storing weapons and ammunition and for concealing terrorist tunnels and bunkers in their basements, in order to give the terrorists and their innocent families time to escape unharmed.

When Israeli planes tracked trucks carrying weapons and ammunition to Hamas, they sometimes deflected the missiles in mid-flight, causing them to fall harmlessly in open spaces, if the trucks happened to pass by civilians on a crowded street. In deflecting their own missiles by remote control, the Israeli pilots and ground controllers passed up the opportunity to destroy enemy weapons and ammunition, solely in order to protect Arab civilians. These humanitarian measures by the Israeli forces have been abundantly documented by “live” video cameras, and the resulting video records have been broadcast by the IDF on YouTube.[3]

These unprecedented humanitarian precautions in time of full-scale war must have enabled thousands of terrorists to escape from Israeli bombing and shelling attacks by forewarning them. Israel was willing to undermine the effectiveness of its anti-terrorist operation solely in order to save the lives of “innocent” (and in some cases not-so-innocent) civilians. No other army — not the Americans, nor the British, nor French or much the less the Russian ,Chinese, Japanese or German armies — has ever exercised even comparable restraint and care to protect noncombatants on the “enemy” side of a war zone as the Israel Defense Forces routinely does. [4]

The Lie: Israel killed six hundred or more civilians in Gaza. More than half of those killed by Israel were innocent civilians.

Breath of the Beast analyzes Bill Moyers’ Problems with Honor-Shame and Moral Relativism

Excellent and thoughtful post at Breath of the Beast on the Bill Moyers affair. I cite only the conclusion as an appetizer, with its brilliant analogy to Julia Child and Hannibal Lecter. Read the whole essay.

Saint Bill or Accessory to Mass Murder? The Dilemma of the Morally Relativistic Media

[snip]

Then, finally, trusting that his double talk has rendered us so woozy and nauseated that we will be powerless to resist its authority, he flashes us the gold plated, jewel encrusted, richly engraved, plain-as-day badge of the hypocrite. He taunts Israel, saying that the slaughter of innocents he so deplores, “is exactly what Hamas wanted to happen.”

But, Mr. Moyers, a truly honest critic would have to ask why Hamas “wanted it” to happen. A real friend of reality, let alone Israel, would have to admit that a political/religious movement that intentionally incites violence against its own women and children for its own gain is an abomination — that is guilty of what amounts to human sacrifice. An honest man whether a critic or not would be compelled to admit that such a movement no more deserves equal respect with a modern, western, liberal democracy like Israel than Hannibal Lecter deserves to be compared with Julia Child.

Turkish Man writes to the Israeli Government: Defend yourself!

The following letter was written by a Turkish man to an Israeli government website. In it he mentions what a powerful grip the al Durah image had on his imagination, and what a revelation “Icon of Hatred” was for him. (The specific identity of the Youtube video is confirmed by my source for reasons I cannot go into because it would make it possible to identify the individual whose name I have removed to protect him.) I have not corrected his grammar and syntax in order to give a sense of the great effort he expended in writing this.

Here we have some of the great themes of mankind on display: independent intelligence, brotherhood between races and religions, a sense of gratitude for good deeds, the battle between malevolent propaganda and truth, and the importance of the one slandered to defend himself. What to challenge – granted it’s only a tiny minority – to the pessimism of a cynic.

Ah M. Peres, I do hope you see this.

Shalom From Turkey
Dear Sir or madam,
I am a 31 years old Turkish man
I do not want to take a risk or maybe advance my self by not showing my identity. So i am not posting via email. I just want to express my feelings.

All my life, there was always some hate to Israel in me. But i dont know why? In my country, it was always like a duty that everyone should hate Israel and their religion without any reason

Everyone hates israel here, but no one knows why. As usual, i grow up with this meaningless hate in me.

But i think, Turkey is not the only country like this. Most of non israilian people talks dirty against Israel. Its very common in all around the world.

But this is your fault. Because, when i hear the word “israel” always that scene comes to my mind. The scene that israel soldiers killed the son and his father on the wall.

And this year, god bless youtube (its banned in turkey) i see that it is a fake video. But i think only one in a million in Turkey knows this.

This is your goverments fault. You have to show the truth to the other people.

From my childhood, everynight i see an israel soldier beats a palestanian in news. Or shoots civilians etc etc. I realise the truths lately. But im sure millions of Turkey still dont realize

Pallywood, Al Durah, and Icon of Hatred up in Spanish

Jimenez Lopez of Libertad Digital TV has put up a Spanish dubbed version of the , three shorts that make up According to Palestinian Sources…Pallywood, Al Durah: the Birth of an Icon, and Icon of Hatred — at Youtube, along with his own introduction and commentary.

Indeed, if I might humbly suggest, particularly after the debacle of media coverage in Operation Cast Lead, they should be required viewing for any journalist claiming to want to do professional work in covering the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And in Hungarian.

Time Magazine and Palestinian Sources: On the Origins of Modern Blood Libels

Another epistemological challenge. Tim McGirk of Time Magazine has a report of an Israeli randomly murdering three little girls and an old lady. Pay attention to his idea of what constitutes confirmation of allegations he repeats as true. (H/T Cynic)

Voices from The Rubble
By Tim McGirk / Jebel al-Kashif Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
A scene of the devastation near a house in Jebel al-Kashif where Palestinians say three young girls were shot by an Israeli soldier. Two of the girls later died.

Standing with his grieving wife, Khaled Abed Rabu insists on showing the old report cards of his 7-year-old daughter Suwad as if the fact that she was an excellent student makes her death any more unfair or inexplicable. He reads out the teacher’s comments in a faltering voice. “See?” he says. “She was the best student in her class.”

You can measure the destruction in Gaza by the number of bombs dropped or buildings flattened or the price to rebuild it all, but the real cost lies within people like Abed Rabu, whose pain and sense of loss are apparent from the moment you meet him. Two weeks after the end of Israel’s 22-day operation against Hamas militants, the battle to control the story of what happened in Gaza continues. The U.N. and human-rights groups accuse the Israeli military of using disproportionate force and even of committing war crimes. The Israeli government has responded to such charges by arguing that Hamas deliberately positioned weapons and fighters in areas populated by civilians. Israel has begun investigating some of the more egregious allegations about civilian deaths, which are multiplying as Gaza picks itself up from the rubble. One such account was presented to Time by Abed Rabu. (See pictures of heartbreak in the Middle East.)

Abed Rabu says his daughter Suwad died in Gaza on Jan. 7, the day Israeli tanks churned across the strawberry fields and knocked their way into a little park about 20 yards (18 m) from the family home. Residents of Jebel al-Kashif recall being warned by the Israelis through loudspeakers to evacuate their homes. “There was no fighting, so we weren’t too worried when the Israelis told us to leave,” Abed Rabu recalls. “I told my girls, ‘Don’t be scared. We’ve done nothing to the Israelis, so they won’t hurt us.'”

Talal made the same verisimilitudinous remarks about Israelis not attacking unarmed people in the al Durah case: “I was afraid the Israelis would think that my camera was a weapon and shoot me,” implying that they don’t shoot cameramen.

The patriarch says he herded his wife, mother and three young daughters, Amal, 2; Samar, 4; and Suwad to the door and gave the children a white flag to wave. “Two Israeli soldiers were beside their tank, eating chocolate and potato chips,” he recounts, waving empty wrappers bearing Hebrew writing that he found later in the debris. “It was like a picnic for them.”

According to Abed Rabu, a third Israeli soldier then popped out of the tank with an M-16 and fired a single shot. “I didn’t understand what happened,” says Abed Rabu. “I thought he was firing in the air, and then I looked down and saw my 2-year-old daughter lying there with her insides spilling out.

“I started screaming, ‘Why are you doing this?’ And then the soldier shot my two other girls. My wife fainted. And when my mother tried to drag Suwad inside the house, the soldier shot my mother in the chest, her shoulder and her leg.”

This is an incomprehensible narrative. What — other than sheer malice and a reckless disregard for the IDF rules of military activity — could motivate this series of murders? Who — other than someone who believes that the Israelis are covert Nazis — would find this account reliable? And, as E.G. noted, if the Israeli soldier shot the girls and the mother, why did he not shoot the rest of the family, especially the father?

L’article de Cremonesi traduit en français… soon in English

Beaucoup ont cité l’article de Lorenzo Cremonesi pubié par Il Corriere della Sera, “Dubbi sul numero delle vittime: potrebbero essere 600 e non 1.300,” mais il contient bien d’autres détails intéressants. Là voici en français, traduit par l’indispensable Menahem Macina, and soon in English, translated by my daughter.

Doutes sur le nombre des victimes, à Gaza : il pourrait être de 600 et non 1 300

Traduction française : Menahem Macina
De notre envoyé spécial [Lorenzo Cremonesi].

GAZA – Nombre d’habitants de la bande de Gaza criaient aux militants du Hamas et à leurs alliés du Jihad Islamique :
« Allez-vous en, partez d’ici ! Vous voulez que les Israéliens nous tuent tous ? Vous voulez voir nos enfants mourir sous les bombes ? Ôtez d’ici vos armes et vos missiles ! »

Les plus courageux s’étaient organisés et avaient barré l’accès à la cour
, cloué des planches sur les portes de leurs habitations, bloqué en hâte et avec colère les échelles permettant l’accès aux toitures plus hautes. Mais, dans la plupart des cas, la guérilla n’écoutait personne.

« Traîtres. Collaborateurs d’Israël. Espions du Fatah. Lâches. Les soldats de la guerre sainte vous puniront. Et en tout cas, vous mourrez tous comme nous. En combattant les juifs sionistes nous obtiendrons tous le paradis, n’êtes-vous pas heureux de mourir ensemble ? »

Et alors, furieux et hurlant, ils défonçaient portes et fenêtres, se cachaient dans les étages supérieurs, dans les jardins ; ils utilisaient des ambulances et se retranchaient tout près des hôpitaux, des écoles et des bâtiments de l’ONU. Dans des cas extrêmes, ils tiraient sur ceux qui cherchaient à leur barrer la route pour sauver leur famille, ou ils les battaient sauvagement.

Abu Issa, 42 ans, habitant du quartier de Tel Awa :

« Les miliciens du Hamas cherchaient délibérément à provoquer les Israéliens. Il s’agissait souvent de garçons de 16 ou 17 ans, armés de mitraillettes. Ils ne pouvaient rien faire contre les tanks et les chasseurs à réaction. Ils savaient qu’ils étaient beaucoup plus faibles [que leurs ennemis]. Mais ils voulaient que [les Israéliens] tirent sur nos maisons pour les accuser ensuite de crimes de guerre. »

Sa cousine, Um Abdallah, 48 ans, lui fait écho :

« La quasi-totalité des plus grands immeubles de Gaza, qui ont été frappés par les bombes israéliennes, comme le Dogmouch, l’Andalous, le Jawarah, le Siussi, et beaucoup d’autres, avaient des rampes de lancement de missiles sur leur toit, outre qu’ils servaient de postes d’observation au Hamas. Ils en avaient mis aussi près du grand entrepôt de l’ONU, qui a brûlé ensuite. Et c’était la même chose dans les villages le long de la frontière, dévastés ensuite par la folie furieuse et punitive des sionistes. »

[Ces témoins] se cachent sous des noms d’emprunt mais donnent des détails bien circonstanciés. Il n’a pas été facile de recueillir ces confidences. Ici, la peur du Hamas domine, et les tabous idéologiques règnent, alimentés par un siècle [sic] de guerre contre « l’ennemi sioniste ».

Quiconque donne une version différente du “narratif” imposé par la “muhamawa” (la résistance) est automatiquement un « amil », un collaborateur, et il risque sa vie. Y contribue, en effet, le récent conflit fratricide entre le Hamas et l’OLP. Si Israël ou Égypte avaient permis aux journalistes étrangers d’entrer immédiatement, cela aurait été plus facile. Les gens du coin sont souvent menacés par le Hamas.

Jenin Redux: Casualty Figures Reconsidered

In a piece I meant to comment on, Stephanie Gutmann warned against taking the figures of casualties provided by Hamas at face value. Now we have an anonymous comment by a doctor from Shiffa hospital that confirms her (widely ignored) cautionary advice. (H/T: Harris)

Gazan doctor says death toll inflated
Physician at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital tells Italian newspaper number of dead in Israeli offensive ‘stands at no more than 500 or 600, most of them youths recruited to Hamas’ ranks’
Nir Magal
Latest Update: 01.22.09, 15:18 / Israel News

What really is behind the numbers reported on the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip? Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported Thursday that a doctor working in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital claimed that Hamas has intentionally inflated the number of casualties resulting from Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

“The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter,” according to the newspaper article.

The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.

A senior Palestinian Health Ministry official later denied the claims, and the IDF estimate on the number of casualties in Gaza has also remained unchanged.

A Tal al-Hawa resident told the newspaper’s reporter, “Armed Hamas men sought out a good position for provoking the Israelis. There were mostly teenagers, aged 16 or 17, and armed. They couldn’t do a thing against a tank or a jet. They knew they are much weaker, but they fired at our houses so that they could blame Israel for war crimes.”

The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas’ exaggerated figures, “We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?”

These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. “Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men,” the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.

These new figures must be treated with caution especially in light of the fact that various official sources in the Gaza Strip, including United Nations and Red Cross officials, have reported that more than 1,300 people were killed and some 5,000 wounded during the three weeks of fighting in the coastal strip. Palestinian sources claim that three-quarters of the dead were unarmed civilians.

This is a strange formulation that can only be made by people still operating under the “halo effect” of Human Rights NGOs, as if the UN and the Red Cross, as it operates in the Gaza Strip, are independent organizations when it comes to such figures.

Pallywood Alert: Bruno Stevens on the Gaza Beat

Rudi Roth writes from Belgium that Bruno Stevens is in Gaza. In a comment to an article in HLN.BE on anti-semitic graffiti on a French synagogue, Anti Volkenmoordenaars, Tervuren writes:

Bruno Stevens, is fully occupied in Gaza. He’s the only journalist who can get in despite the fact that the Jews [sic] tried to hide the truth by blocking the journalists. [Note, no comment about why the Egyptians have blocked them.] His first messages and photos can be seen in HNB. Soon also in NW, PM, and Stern!!

Rudi writes:

That is the same guy who took the photo of the never shot F16 above Lebanon…

and “knows” everything about Al Dura, just everything.

We can expect a lot of pallywood with that guy..

I am ashamed that such a man has my nationality.

I’ve discussed Bruno‘s work and his analysis in the Lebanon War, also available in French.

Keep an eye for his photos.

UPDATE: It’s started. Here’s one:

bruno

Here he is on TV.

France2 Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo… and what a revealing whopper!

A recent incident, well covered in both the blogosphere and (some) of the MSM, casts a brilliant light on some of the darker alleys of the media theater of war, particularly on the inner workings of Pallywood.

France2’s combination of “the tailor” Talal abu Rahme and his boss, “the chamberlain” Charles Enderlin, producing the Pallywood magnum opus al Durah, first revealed the workings of this disturbing symbiosis of Palestinian and Western media to me in October 2003.

Not content with his work, Enderlin, in one of those fits of arrogance that often befall those who fool too many people too often, got France2 to sue Philippe Karsenty for saying France2 had presented the staged Al Durah Hoax as real news. In the appeals case, the court demanded that Enderlin show the (Pallywood) footage (which he cut), and then presented the court with a video that used Pallywood footage to try and convince the court they didn’t use staged footage.

They deservedly lost in court.

Now we see them in a particularly egregious error that anyone who had been paying the slightest attention to what the issues involved in Palestinian footage would have caught:

I. The incident: On September 23, 2005, at a celebration of the “victory” of having driven the Israelis from Gaza after the “Disengagement,” a victory float of Hamas “activists” and their arsenal exploded, killing more than a dozen Palestinian civilians including several children drawn by the sight of the weaponry. Hamas tried, in true Pallywood style, to blame Israel, but with a less than united front between Hamas and Fatah, the real story leaked so badly the press did not snatch at the proferred bait. Of course, once the Israelis were no longer to blame, the story — Palestinian militants kill Palestinian civilians — had no legs. For the MSM, it died there.

II. The resurrection of the mutilated flesh: On January 1, 2009, Mounir1426 put up one of his first videos at LiveLink entitled, ISRAEL CARNAGE CIVILIANS CHILDREN GAZA. The explanation offered: Israel just bombed a large civilian street market in Gaza. His logo reads: FOR GAZA.

III. Viral Spread: The video spread rapidly particularly in Muslim and radical anti-Zionist circles, with half a million hits in some cases. Including a French site. [Documentation of its viral spread welcome here.]

IV. The immediate response of the critical blogosphere nails the video as incorrect. Already Sunday, January 4, Little Green Footballs summarized the discussion to that point. Even the poster of the video admitted error (although he refused to take down the libelous running header for fear of “losing the conversational thread that would ensue with changing it).

V. France2 runs with it: On the afternoon, Monday, January 5, 2009 France2 ran the following program in which they both reported Palestinian claims of a bomb hitting a house and killing a family of five, and then this report of a Gaza market place:

The narrators voice (not Charles Enderlin but that of Renaud Bernard, a signatory of the embarrassing letter of support for Charles after his loss in court) tells us:

“To show the violence of the combat, Arab televisions and Internet broadcast these images, photographed by a telephone. It would be a question [il s’agirait] of a missile strike on the first of January. The military [in the footage] wear the Hamas armband. In the crowd there are military, but also many civilian corpses.

Analysis

This sequence of events is immensely revealing about the dynamics, the driving forces that keep up Pallywood inertia, long after they’ve been brought to light. In a sense, this is the “Adnan al Haj” incident of the war, the poster-child for how the war has been waged in the media theater, and prima facie evidence of the perduring MSM attraction to Pallywood footage.

First, note that the original incident is actually a terrifying example of the contempt for human life that the people in Hamas — and many other Palestinian leaders — have for the lives of their civilians. To parade with live ammunition so badly maintained that it explodes in front of gawking youth at a demonstration, renders our legal term “criminal negligence” impoverished. This is a terribly and terribly revealing insight into the mentality of people enlisted in a death cult.

Of course, as with the Gaza Beach tragedy a year later, Hamas tried to blame Israel for their work — the classic scapegoating instinct that informs so much of Pallywood. At the time, given the presence of an opposing Palestinian voice (political rival Fatah), their efforts failed. But since the MSM showed no interest in the affair once it violated their framing narratives, what might have offered Western audiences an important insight into the dynamics of Palestinian political culture, failed to make much of an impact in the MSM.

But it stayed in the toxic blogosphere and reappeared as a Hamas originally wanted to use it — an accusation against Israel for precisely the brutality that Hamas directs, not at Israeli civilians, but at their own! It would be harder to find a more morally corrupt act of disinformation than this, even though such deeds abound in cyberspace.

Second, note how rapidly France2 was forced to retract, from the action of the blogosphere. This is, in a sense, the equivalent victory for the French empirically-critical blogosphere, whose gestation period benefited from the revelations of the Al Durah case, and which had already made itself felt when France2 circulated their stunningly ignorant petition for Charles Enderlin. The many comments on the Figaro article about it are overwhelmingly critical of France2 and fully aware of the links between this and the Al Durah affair. As one punned, “Pourvu… que sa Dura. [“As long as/would that it last/s.”]

The apology of Etienne Leenhardt, Adjunct Director of Information at France2, is revealing:

It is an error on our part to have broadcast these images, which in fact, date from 2005. The sequence that we broadcast was supposed to ilustrate the war of images on the Internet. The people who prepared the subject went too fast. It’s a good warning inoculation for our production unit. It reminds us to be very attentive on verifying our sources. We will present our excuses to our viewers tomorrow [Tuesday], during the JT of 1 PM.

Arlette Chabot, key player in the Al Durah trial, added her dismissive apologies — “In any case it’s not a manipulation, and the diffusion of the images only lasted 10 seconds…”

Note that the France2 team in Paris had every opportunity to check the viability of this video on the internet before running with it. A half a minute would have revealed the real story to any minimally competent fact checker. But it’s actually worse: France2 is the poster child for Western media dupe to Pallywood. They were forced to show (and felt compelled to censure!) their footage before a packed courtroom, and when they tried to defend themselves with their own video, they made more mistakes.

Part of what makes this video so shocking to people who know this material, is how sloppy this is. And it doesn’t stop at one piece of footage. It’s a whole mentality, fed by a systematic lack of familiarity with the issues at play.

Apparently the whole fiasco wasn’t warning enough. France2 and Enderlin tried to maintain their dignity even as it maintained a flatlined learning curve.

And what about the documentary that came to their defense that warned against toxic content on the internet? Surely they knew about that.

So, une petite piqure, a little shot innoculating them from missteps is actually pretty weak language. France2 actually participated in the very viral war of images — on the side of the haters, on the side of those who are destabilizing Arab governments throughout the Middle East, and tearing up the streets of Paris and London.

This is hardly a “petite bavure,” a little slip. On the contrary, this incident deserves closer attention and denunciation. Fortunately, call for serious censure has come from a number of anti-raciste organizations in France, including LICRA the one whose director is supposed to do the investigation into the Al Durah case. France2 cannot be happy.

Note the careful circumlocutions and the framing of the presentation: the narrator makes it clear this is not France2 footage, that it may be suspicious (although that word is never uttered). He may well know that this is unrealiable but wants to use it anyway.

And the reason for that, is that this footage fits into his narrative seamlessly: “Israelis slaughter Palestinian civilians mercilessly.” The preceding scene covered a strike that Palestinian sources claim came from an Israeli naval vessel firing off the coast. Then, to drive home the point, he runs with the toxic footage.

The narrative is clear: Everything we ever read about how Western imperialists engaged in rampant, genocidal slaughter of native populations… is true again, of the Israelis. Think a scene from The Last Samurai, where he feverishly remembers the slaughter of Indian civilians… that’s the Israelis.

(The bitter irony of it all, is that the Arabs are unquestionably frustrated genocides, who openly declare their intentions to anyone who cares to listen.)

What this incident reveals most strikingly is what one might call the irresistible appeal that MSM reporters — especially Europeans like the folks at France2 — have for footage and stories that make Israel look bad, or even worse, like the most ruthless murderers around. Little truffles of moral Schadenfreude that make Europeans feel so superior to the Israelis, a sense that permeates the challenges posed to them by TV anchors with limited understanding of the conflict. With such bait within reach, our journalist could not resist snapping at it.

The wretched irony here is that had Stephane Malleterre and his Canal+ crew, who did an investigative report on the toxic elements on the web, rather than putting Philippe Karsenty and me in the same bag with Holocaust Deniers and 9-11 Truthers as “conspiracy nuts,” but showed how France2 had fed a worldwide hatred by being duped by Talal abu Rahmeh, then perhaps this might have been avoided. Had Canal+ held its colleagues at France2 up for criticism as dupes of this conspiratorial toxic web culture, rather than smeared us, who know? Maybe France2 would have already gotten their “inoculation”?

And so, the cost of spreading the toxic environment that fuels the street demonstrations, that rally useful fools like Annie Lennox, France2 feeds the fatal addiction of Europeans for anything that gives them a sense of moral superiority to the Israelis. Alas, what a tragedy for everyone, Palestinians included.

pouring gas on jihad ansm

CNN Defends their Pallywood Error. Let’s See Mr. Mashharawi’s Rushes

The CNN footage from the Gaza Hospital is still hotly contested. Follow the multiple postings at LGF and an update at Powerline. Here below, I deal with CNN’s defense of the footage in detail because it so resembles the kinds of arguments that Charles Enderlin made about his own monumental gaffe with Talal abu Rahmeh and his “Al Durah” story.

January 9, 2009 — Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)

Gaza video genuine, journalists say

You wouldn’t know it from the title, but there’s only one “journalist” whose opinion is cited in the article (unless Mashharawi the cameraman under suspicion is also considered a journalist).

(CNN) — There’s no truth to accusations by bloggers that a Palestinian camera crew staged a video showing the death of the videographer’s brother after an Israeli rocket attack, said the team’s employer.

In the video, camerman Ashraf Mashharawi is seen holding his brother.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” Paul Martin, co-owner of World News and Features, said of accusations leveled by bloggers at videographer Ashraf Mashharawi.

“He’s a man of enormous integrity and would never get involved with any sort of manipulation of images, let alone when the person dying is his own brother,” Martin said. “I know the whole family. I know them very well. … [Mashharawi] is upset and angry that anyone would think of him having done anything like this. … This is ridiculous. He’s independent.”

I don’t know much about Paul Martin, but it’s clear he spends lots of time in Gaza, and manages to have considerable access to Hamas “militants” whose narrative he seems to feel the world needs to understand. In any case this remark is nothing short of breathtaking. Mashharawi’s about as “independent” as Diana Buttu. The idea that a cameraman working in Gaza is not a militant for the Palestinian cause (perhaps not Hamas, but even that’s unlikely in the last years), is close to preposterous. No genuine independent could survive there for any period of time.

But the rhetoric is crucial here. Just like Charles Enderlin defending Talal, the ploy here is to present Palestinian cameramen as living up to the highest Western standards of journalism. And of course, this is only for public consumption. As Charles told me off the record when I pointed out that Talal’s rushes were full of staged scenes, “Oh sure, they do this all the time.” But on the record, “Talal is a top journalist.”

As for the “I know the whole family…” that’s just what Charles told me that Talal would never lie to him because their families had shared meals together. The credulity of these Western journalists who think that because they’ve sat down with their Palestinian colleagues and broken bread that means that their newfound friends would break ranks with their people’s struggle, is somewhat breathtaking.

Raafat Hamdouna, administrative director at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said Friday that “Mahmoud Khalil Mashharawi, a 12-year-old, was brought to the hospital, and he was breathing, but he was hit in the head and all over his body by shrapnel. He died later in the hospital. He was treated by the Norwegian team. When he was brought in, he was breathing. The team did their best to save him. I am not really sure if they even tried to rush him to the surgery room, because he was badly hurt.”

Mashharawi’s video footage originally appeared on British television’s Channel 4 and later on CNN. It showed futile attempts by doctors to resuscitate Mashharawi’s 12-year-old brother, Mahmoud, after he and his 14-year-old cousin, Ahmed, had been wounded in what the family said was a rocket attack from a remote-controlled drone Sunday.

Ahmed also was taken to the hospital, but he had been fatally struck in the head and chest by shrapnel and had lost a foot, Hamdouna said. Hamdouna said the hospital records reported Ahmed’s age as 16, not 14, as the family said.

At the time of the attack, the family said, the two boys were playing on the rooftop of the family’s three-story house. The video showed a blood-splattered area where an explosion had taken place and where shrapnel had pierced the roof.

Mashharawi has regularly worked with World News and Features since 2004, Martin said. His multimedia company serves television, radio and newspapers.

Martin said accusations that Mashharawi owns a company that hosts Hamas Web sites were falsely based on Mashharawi having worked at a company that created the PS suffix to allow anyone of any political persuasion to create Palestinian Web sites.

The video footage appeared on CNN television networks and on CNN.com for 24 hours before CNN removed the material in the belief that it had no further right to use it. CNN, standing by the video, has since reposted it. Some bloggers had cited its removal as evidence that CNN did not stand by its reporting.

Responding to accusations that the resuscitation efforts of Mashharawi’s brother appeared inauthentic, Martin said that, based on his years of reporting from Gaza, doctors often go through such efforts even with little hope that a patient can be saved.

This is rich. Note that CNN did not consult a doctor on this one, but Martin’s experience in Gaza. I’ve consulted a doctor and a number of people with experience in CPR have commented both at my article at PJMedia and at LGF. But here it’s Martin’s long experience in Gaza that comes into play. There are two ways to explain this remark, neither of them working in the way Martin would like.

  • 1) Doctors in Gaza are so incompetent that what appears to Western experts as a joke, really is their best effort. The incompetence is doubled by Martin’s qualifying remark: as commenters have noted, if the patient is dying, the CPR should be more vigorous.
  • 2) Doctors “often go through such efforts even with little hope that a patient can be saved” as long as the cameras are rolling. Maybe Martin wasn’t paying attention to that detail.

In the video of the incident, the boy appears lifeless when brought to into the hospital.

In a brief conversation with CNN, Mashharawi said that doctors tried everything they could to save his brother and that he rejected suggestions that any of his work was inauthentic.

Before bloggers made their accusations, Mashharawi told CNN, “I believed at that moment if I didn’t record that nobody will believe what’s happened to my brother. Because it is unbelievable. Until now, I can’t believe what’s happened.”

It’s not clear what’s “unbelievable. That a child would be hit by rockets in a war zone and die in a hospital is hardly unbelievable. That one needed to film it for the sake of “proof” strikes me as pretty unconvincing. That he filmed it to arouse anger against Israel with the pathos of the scene, strikes me as more likely; and as I argued in the Gaza Beach tragedy documentary I made, this is “exploiting grief.”

To get a sense of the difference in cultures here, no Israeli cameraman would film the death of a family member (or anyone else) and then give it to Western media to show the world the plight of the Israelis. None.

What’s most appalling about this article — but will eventually, I suspect, redound to CNN’s discredit — is that they ran this article based on the denial of two already committed sources. CNN made no effort to corroborate any of this. It’s just “he said, she said.”

What we need is the rushes that Ahraf Mashharawi shot that day
, that we see in edited form. Like the rushes of Talal, we’ll be able to judge better what was going on that day if we could see them. And unlike Talal’s rushes, let’s see them uncensored. I suspect we won’t, because when it comes to the clash between Palestinian journalism, channeled through advocacy journalists, the clash between narrative and evidence is so great, they cannot afford to let us see.

I may be wrong. This may be genuine footage. I am open to being convinced so. But let us see the evidence.

CNN Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo: Heartrending footage Staged by Norwegian Doctors

This morning CNN ran a heartrending story:

(CNN) — At a Gaza hospital, doctors tried to revive a 12-year-old victim of the violence, but their efforts were in vain. Mahmoud died.

Recording the tragedy at the hospital was his brother, freelance cameraman Ashraf Mashharawi.

Just a short time earlier, Mashharawi had been filming other, less personal images of the war– scenes like incoming missiles and the damage they do. Then, he got a phone call. Mashharawi was told the family home had been hit by a rocket.

His brother, Mahmoud and his 14-year-old cousin Ahmad, had been allowed to play on the roof after days of being cooped up inside as Israel continued its assault on Gaza.

Both boys died after the rocket hit.

The family had believed their house — now pockmarked by shrapnel and splattered with blood — was safe from the conflict. The family says the rocket was fired by a pilotless Israeli drone.

Mashharawi filmed the doctors’ efforts to save his brother’s life at the hospital; he also captured images of relatives cradling the boy wrapped in a white sheet after his death. Why? Because he said his family wanted the world to see the human toll of the conflict.

Just hours after play turned to death, Mahmoud was laid to rest.

Israel says it does not target civilians and it does all it can to avoid civilian casualties. Israel says it is unaware of the incident in this report.

With it, they ran an even more heartrending video of the cameraman’s footage.

Except, the footage seems to be a fake. A medical doctor commented at the indispensible Little Green Footballs:

I’m no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can’t tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the “resuscitation scene” at the beginning is fake, and it’s a pretty lame fake at that.

So the question is, were they re-enacting the resuscitation scene by repeating their actions on a corpse, because the child had died earlier? It’s likely that the answer is no, that child is still alive, and is just an actor pretending to be a child who was killed. Why do I say that? Because the big guy in the white coat, if he’s really a doctor, nurse, nurse’s aid, EMT, or any sort of health care provider at all would be entirely aware that tickling the boy’s sternum doesn’t really look like actual chest compressions. If the boy was dead, the man would have done a more convincing job in compressing the chest. The taps on the chest that he’s doing are the sort of thing you see in bad TV dramas, when you don’t want to make the poor actor playing the victim uncomfortable by really pushing on his chest. I think the man in the white coat knows this child is actually alive, and is making the simulated chest compressions gentle so as not to hurt the child. My guess is that he assumed the videographer, like those on better TV shows, would have been smart enough not to film as far down as the man’s hands on the chest.

CNN has now taken down the video, but left the story up. England’s Channel 4 has a similar story, also emphasizing the pathos of the affair:

Despite his own family tragedy Ashraf Mashharawi managed to send us the images surrounding his brother’s death and the impact on his family.

The family were keen that the story of what happened to them today should be told.

This incident deserves close attention. Like the Gaza Beach tragedy which the Palestinians turned into a Pallywood extravaganza, blaming Israel for a Palestinian “mistake,” this one has many of the usual suspects:

  • The Palestinian child who plays a part in the tragedy “for the camera,”
  • The Palestinian cameraman who, “with his little camera has a humanitarian message for the whole world” — his excuse for exploiting grief, for making propaganda out of tragedy.
  • The Western “volunteer” there to help the beleaguered Palestinian people. Then it was “military expert Mark Garlasco,” here it’s Norwegian radical and occasional doctor, Mads Gilbert, a radical Marxist (there still are some!) who thinks the US deserved 9-11 and who has spent many hours telling reporters what a disgusting people the Israelis are.
  • The Western media, ever eager to have their heart-rending story of Israeli cruelty and Palestinian suffering, who, when caught making an error, quietly remove the problem without admitting the error. (In a section entitled “From the blogs: Commentary, Controversy, Debate, none of the three that appear mention the problem.)

If indeed this is a false story, it tells us, above all, about how radically unreliable our information from Gaza. Here we have a European doctor engaged in staging a scene for the camera. As with the scenes from Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, we’re dealing with a public secret: staging is permissable.

All of our statistics and stories about what’s happening in Gaza come from Palestinian sources and NGO’s/UN personnel. Many who might discount Palestinian sources nonetheless credit the UN spokespeople and NGOs. In my viewing of the coverage, I’m struck by the Pallywood-style editing we are presented: no long shots, almost every sequence is less than 3 seconds, and it’s impossible to see whether the person is genuinely injured (e.g., many with no sign of blood). I am not denying that there are dead and wounded, but it may be that the numbers are significantly less that we are told, in particular the percentage of civilians, which, with every day, has become increasingly inflated.

Some have argued that it’s a good thing that the MSM has not made it into Gaza. I’m not so sure. Although I think the Western media is exceptionally badly behaved — an Augean Stables of bad habits — it’s not as wretched as the full-bodied weaponized mode of the Palestinian and Arab media. There is a difference between dupes and demopaths. I think had they been there, it’s very likely that a fair amount of the open faking that goes on might not happen so openly. Who knows, among the swarm of Western reporters, maybe somone would have the courage to say, “this is loony.”

And loony it is: the Western news media serve as the major battalion for Hamas in their battle with an Israel they cannot hope to defeat militarily. Alas, they serve a master who desires their destruction every bit as much as they desire the destruction of the Jews.

PS. I’m going to have to start giving out Most Valuable Idiot of the Hour awards at this rate.

Astounding Update on Gaza Beach (2006): Father played with unexploded ordnance

On June 9, 2006, just before the “Summer War”, a tragedy struck the Ghalia family on a beach in Gaza: an explosion killed most of the family members and badly wounded others who came to Israel for treatment. I have written much and put out a video on the “Gaza Beach Massacre” and even produced a short documentary analyzing the case. Now, as an aside in an article by Amir Oren in Ha-Aretz (HT/Chaim Sonnenfeld), we find out what happened according to one of the Ghalia girls who came to Israel for treatment after her body had been thoroughly cleaned of shrapnel by Palestinian doctors — at danger to her life.

However, several months later, the Olmert-Peretz government abandoned the offensive approach. The decision to also deploy artillery against rocket attacks was quickly canceled following the disaster that befell the Ghalia family on a Gaza beach. One of the girls in the family, Ilham Ghalia, who was hospitalized in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, told a story that was different from what Palestinian propaganda would have us believe: Her father caused the lethal explosion when he handled an unexploded ordnance left behind from a previous incident.

It’s not clear what she knows about what her father was playing with, whether it was Israeli or Hamas ordnance. (I speculated that it might have been Hamas ordnance in the documentary.) But what is clear is that the nonsense the media immediately circulated, and was later thoroughly “confirmed” by HRW “military expert” Mark Garlasco, was sheer Pallywood fiction.

The article continues in a rather disconcerting fashion:

Decision makers in the government and IDF for some reason shelved her admission, which relieved Israel of blame. This anemic attitude contributed to the failure to prevent the attack on Kerem Shalom and the abduction of Gilad Shalit.

Tzipi Livni told Christiane Amanpour that the Israelis have learned from the past. Let’s hope so.

NPR Steps in the Pallywood Doodoo: Another delicate evacuation

One of the things that struck me when I first viewed the Pallywood footage from September 30, 2000, was the astonishing degree of brutality with which the wounded were evacuated — rarely a stretcher, mostly grab him, yank him, and throw him in the ambulance. Here’s an example from Talal abu Rahme’s rushes from that day.

What struck me in looking at the footage from Gaza starting on December 27, was how brutally they evacuated genuinely injured people. Here’s a man whose leg is clearly and severely injured.

It’s one thing to evacuate a “fake” injured person in such a manner, but quite another thing to do the same to really injured people. I guess the inertia of the style of evacuation overrides any feedback from the person one is supposedly helping. I remember noting the brutality to Enderlin who laughed and said, “Yes, I have a colleague from the Western media who was injured and said the evacuation was more painful than the injury.” Sounds like a metaphor.

In the meantime, here’s an example from my eagle-eyed colleague Yaakov-ben-Moshe at The [Rancid] Breath of the Beast that made it by the less-than-sharp-eyed “journalists” at NPR.

ugh

If the lad is injured, surely this must hurt a lot. But here’s a close-up of his face.

crop of ugh

What’s his face saying? I think you Western journalists are such fools, that even though I’m smiling at you, I’m going to appear in your MSM as an Israeli-caused casualties and tear the heart strings of some bubble-headed celebrity like Annie Lennox.

And guess what? He’s right!

As we said at the end of our 2005 movie, Pallywood, “The End… is not in sight.”