Facts about the battle of Shejaiya the Guardian didn’t report

On July 20th, we posted about two Guardian reports, by Harriet Sherwood and Peter Beaumont, on recent fighting between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shejaiya, a few kilometers from Israel’s border.

We noted that the Guardian devoted 625 words to the battles that took place in Shejaiya and, while focusing almost entirely on civilian casualties, failed to include even a word about the reason for the military operation.  Specifically, Sherwood and Beaumont didn’t inform readers that the civilian neighborhood of Shujaiya housed an underground terror headquarters and storage areas for rockets, bombs, and other weapons.

Below are excerpts from two articles about the battle, written by two of the leading Israeli journalists, Ron Ben Yishai and Nahum Barnea, both in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot.

The translation is by CAMERA:

Ron Ben Yishai
Yediot Achronot“Gaza time, Cairo Time”
Sunday July 20, 2014 (excerpts)

 

Regarding the fighting in Shejaiyya: it is reasonable to assume that the main reason there was so much resistance, was the lack of surprise. Four days prior to entering Shejaiyya, the IDF demanded again and again from the residents to evacuate. Towards the entrance, the IDF started a heavy artillery attack on the outskirts of Shejaiyya. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad, therefore, had four days and a warning of a few hours that the IDF is going in. This is why – as opposed to Hamas fighters escaping to their hiding places when the IDF launched the sudden ground attack – this time they hid traps, prepared anti-tank ambushes and waited for the Golani brigade, tanks and bulldozers to come in.

Another reason is that Shejaiyya is in effect a military compound prepared for fighting, which is planted in the heart of the civilian population. All of the assets that are important for the terror organizations are there: welding workshops for manufacturing rockets, labs for making explosives, rocket warehouses, hidden rocket launchers, command centers, and a tunnel system that enables the terrorists to move between these facilities quickly without being concerned about getting hit from the air. There are also entrances to tunnels that lead into Israel.

Shejaiyya’s location makes it preferable in the context of distance and as an observation point – for shooting towards the local surroundings as well as towards the Tel Aviv area and northwards. This is why it’s not surprising that Hamas and Jihad decided to fight for Shejaiyya, and they had time to prepare for such fighting.

Golani did what they came to do, fought and died, but it is quite clear that they continued and completed the mission, including extricating their [wounded and dead] friends.

That was the reason that the IDF began a heavy attack on Shejaiyya in the morning, with artillery, planes, helicopters and tanks. There was concern that Hamas will try to grab bodies of soldiers who lay dead in the streets, or wounded Golani soldiers. In order to cover the rescue mission and prevent [the terrorists from] coming close, the IDF shot into the neighborhood, and this is why many Palestinians who were not involved in the fighting were hit – including women and children. These photos did, and are still doing, damage for Israel in the international arena. But, as just said, there was a necessity to act in order to prevent the kidnapping of dead or injured soldiers. It seems the international community understands this.

Nahum Barnea
Yediot Achronot, The Bint Jbeil of Gaza

Monday July 21, 2014, page 2 of the print edition (excerpts)(The words of an IDF officer to the journalist Nahum Barnea):

“Shejaiyya probably has the most concentrated number of tunnels in Gaza. The neighborhood is dense, the homes are high, some have five or six stories… Many residents fled. Some stayed. Hamas people were threatening them with weapons. I saw this with my own eyes. We dropped warning pamphlets on them telling them to leave; we called them on the phone; we shot towards the outskirts of the open areas; we shot close to the houses. We could not do more than this. Anyone who had half a brain left and whoever stayed, stayed.”

Guardian cartoon mocks IDF efforts to avoid civilian casualties

The IDF routinely drops leaflets, sends recorded messages and places calls and text messages (and often sends ‘knock on the door’ warning shots) in advance of attacks in Gaza, warning civilians to distance themselves from Hamas weapons and operatives – and to take refuge in designated safe areas – as part of efforts to minimize civilian harm.  (The IDF also often delays or calls off attacks if civilians don’t heed such warnings.)

Hamas on the other hand has admitted to using Palestinians as human shields to prevent Israeli attacks on rocket launchers and terror tunnels (often hidden beneath civilian structures, such as homes and even mosques), often telling their civilian population to stay in their homes prior to an attack.  Such Hamas tactics represent a tacit acknowledgement that the IDF goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming civilians, and can be expected to proceed with much greater caution when engaging in an attack on Hamas terrorists if civilians are in the vicinity.  

Also, as Jeffrey Goldberg noted: Dead Palestinians also represent a crucial propaganda victory “for the nihilists of Hamas”.

In stark contrast to Hamas’s cruel indifference to the suffering of their own population, it’s unclear if any army in the world goes to such lengths to avoid civilian casualties as the IDF.

No matter. Much of the media – and other ‘commentators‘ – have been on a crusade to obfuscate this clear moral divide.

To boot, a ‘First Dog on the Moon cartoon which appeared in the Guardian on July 21st:

headline

dog on the moon

 

  • As we’ve noted, contrary to the suggestion in the frames, Palestinians called by the IDF are informed of designated safe zones where they should flee. 
  • Contrary to what the text in the cartoon implies, the homes in question are targeted because they’re used by Hamas to store weapons (such as rockets) or other instruments of war. Indeed, reading the cartoon, you’d be forgiven for believing that the IDF launches missiles at civilian homes for no particular reason.
  • Finally, note the second to the final frame, which really says it all: Israeli warnings to civilians are summed up as a threat that the IDF will kill Palestinian children if they (presumably Hamas fighters) choose “to fight back”.

The cartoon is a lie, graphic agitprop which represents yet another example of the foreign media running interference for the reactionary, antisemitic extremist group currently waging a war of their own choosing against the Jewish State.

 

Jenin redux? Guardian omits reports of rockets, terror tunnels in Shejaiya

Here’s the scare headline accompanying a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Peter Beaumont on July 20th:

scare headline

The article centers on a few recent battles in Gaza, including a large anti-terror operation in the northern city of Shejaiya.

Regarding Shejaiya, we are told the following:

All morning, terrified people ran from their homes, some barefoot and nearly all empty-handed. Others crowded on the backs of trucks or rode on the bonnets of cars in a desperate attempt to flee. Sky News reported that some had described a “massacre” in Shujai’iya. Witnesses reported hearing small arms fire inside Gaza, suggesting gun battles on the streets. Heavy shelling continued from the air and sea.

Bodies were pulled from rubble amid massive destruction of buildings in the neighbourhood. Masked gunmen were on the streets.

Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet of the 13-day war. The assault was most intense in the direction of Shujai’iya, where an orange glow of flames lit up the sky. At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds. Later in the night jets flew low passes over the coast.

The Guardian saw families squeezing into the back of what few vehicles were available as streets further east were pounded by artillery fire.

Columns of people, many of them too scared, angry and shocked to speak, approached down the main road to the east and from side streets even as small arms fire was audible in the distance.

One of those fleeing was Sabreen Hattad, 34, with her three children. “The Israeli shells were hitting the house. We stayed the night because we were so scared but about six in the morning we decided to escape,” she said.

“But where are we supposed to go? The ambulances could not enter and so we ran under shell fire.”

Three other men pass by in a hurry clutching bedding in their arms. Asked what they had seen they would only answer: “Death and horror.”

Many of those escaping Shujai’iya made for Gaza’s central Shifa hospital, which was engulfed by chaotic scenes and ambulances ferrying the dead came in a steady steam, among them a local TV cameraman, Khaled Hamad, killed during the overnight offensive, wheeled out wrapped in a bloody plastic shroud.

Those who had fled congregated in corridors, on stairs and in the hospital car park. Staff put mattresses on floors to accommodate the injured, while some patients were being evacuated.

Aish Ijla, 38, whose leg was broken by shrapnel, said: “We live very close to the border. When the shells started we couldn’t leave the house. It is two storeys. The shells were hitting the upper floor so we all moved downstairs. There were 30 of us in the house. Then the shrapnel started hitting the door.

“It was quiet for a moment and we decided to run. But as we were on the road a shell landed near me, breaking my leg. I told the family to go on with out me and carried on going for a little bit and stopping then going on. Eventually an ambulance reached me after two hours.”

An accompanying article by Sherwood and Beaumont included this about Shujai’iya:

Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet of the 13-day war. The assault was most intense in the direction of the Shujai’iya neighbourhood, where a constant orange glow of flames lit up the sky.

As the assault continued into Sunday morning, Israel disclosed that four of its soldiers had been killed in the ground offensive.

At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds. Later in the night, jets flew low passes over the coast.

As Sunday dawned, a thin pall of smoke hung over the seafront while tank fire echoed through deserted streets.

Large numbers of residents of the areas under attack fled the outskirts for Gaza’s city centre, while residents called radio stations pleading for evacuation.

In total, the Guardian provided 625 words to the battle in Shuja’iya, and failed to include even a word about the reason for the military assault, despite the fact that Israeli officials were quick to post the following information:

This civilian neighborhood in Gaza is home to extensive Hamas infrastructure. In only 13 days, Hamas has fired over 140 rockets from this neighborhood into Israel.

IDF soldiers have found 10 openings to terror tunnels in Shuja’iya. These tunnels are used for infiltrating Israel, smuggling weapons, and launching rockets at Israeli civilians.

The IDF warned civilians in Shuja’iya to evacuate the area many days before striking the terror infrastructure within it. Dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages are just some of the many actions the IDF has been taking to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.

Hamas knows that Israel is reluctant to attack areas with many civilians. The terrorist organization fights from within civilian population and uses them as human shields.

Hamas ordered the residents of Shuja’iya to ignore the IDF’s warning and stay in the neighborhood. By doing so, Hamas put them in the line of fire.

Despite the fact that many of the residents ignored warnings and didn’t leave the neighborhood, the IDF continued to operate in the most precise and surgical way possible, targeting only terrorists and their infrastructure.

The IDF agreed to the Red Cross’ request for a two-hour humanitarian window in Shuja’iya. This humanitarian window was opened despite the threats emanating from the neighborhood, including continuous Hamas rocket fire at Israel.

Hamas broke the humanitarian window when firing at Israel during the two-hour period. Still, the IDF agreed to the Red Cross appeal to extend the Humanitarian widow by another hour.

In light of the selective reporting and unsubstantiated accusations of massacres, you should recall that for two weeks in April of 2002, the Guardian ran wild tales of an Israeli massacre in the West Bank city of Jenin — a massacre that didn’t happened.

As Harry’s Place wrote in 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the non-massacre:

On the heels of a thirty-day Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in Israeli cities which included thirteen deadly attacks (imagine thirteen 7/7’s in one month), Israel embarked on a military offensive in the West Bank.  The fiercest fighting in this offensive occurred in the refugee camp just outside the West Bank town of Jenin, the launching point for 30 Palestinian suicide bombers in the year and half previous (seven were caught before they could blow themselves up; the other 23 succeeded in carrying out their attacks).  In this battle, which lasted less than a week, 23 Israeli soldiers were killed as well as 52 Palestinians, of whom at most 14 were civilians (there is some marginal dispute about that last figure).

[Seumas] Milne referred to ‘hundreds’ killed, ‘evidence of atrocities,’ and ‘state terror.’  Not to be outdone, Suzanne Goldenberg reported from Jenin’s ‘lunar landscape’ of ‘a silent wasteland, permeated with the stench of rotting corpses and cordite.’  She found ‘convincing accounts’ of summary executions, though let’s be honest and concede that it’s not generally difficult to convince Goldenberg of Israeli villainy.  In the next day’s report from Jenin, a frustrated Goldenberg reported that the morgue in Jenin had ‘just 16 bodies’ after ‘only two bodies [were] plucked from the wreckage.’  This didn’t cause her to doubt for a moment that there were hundreds more buried beneath or to hesitate in reporting from a Palestinian source that bodies may have been transported ‘to a special zone in Israel.’  Brian Whitaker and Chris McGreal weighed in with their own equally tendentious and equally flawed reporting the following week.

Only on the tenth consecutive day of breathless Jenin Massacre reporting did Peter Beaumont report on detailed Israeli accounts refuting the massacre accusations, though predictably this was presented as part of an Israeli PR campaign rather than as conclusive proof.  Two days later, Beaumont conceded that there hadn’t after all technically really actually been a massacre but then proceeded to repeat a handful of falsities as fact all over again.  Without a doubt, though, the most memorable article the Guardian published on Jenin was its April 17 leader ‘The Battle for the Truth.’  The high dudgeon prose included the following sentences: ‘Jenin camp looks like the scene of a crime’; ‘Jenin smells like a crime’; ‘Jenin feels like a crime’; ‘Jenin already has that aura of infamy that attaches to a crime of especial notoriety’; and, unforgettably, the assertion that Israel’s actions in Jenin were ‘every bit as repellent’ as the 9/11 attacks in New York only seven months earlier.

No correction or retraction has ever been printed for this infamous editorial.

On the contrary, though mounting evidence emerged that the whole massacre calumny was a fabrication (never adequately reported by the Guardian), twice over the following year this leader article was obliquely cited — once in condemning another Israeli action by comparing it to the ‘repellent demolition of lives and homes in Jenin’ and most outrageously under the headline ‘Israel still wanted for questioning.’

Whilst it’s too soon to tell if subsequent Guardian articles on the battle in Shuja’iya will be modeled after their Jenin Lie, the galling omissions in the first two reports by Beaumont and Sherwood suggest, at the very least, the media group has learned nothing from past journalistic failures.

Related articles

Al-Durah Redux? Facts emerge contradicting Guardian presumption of IDF guilt in Palestinian deaths

The deaths of two Palestinian rioters in Betunia in the West Bank on May 15 has generated considerable media attention, in large measure because the incidents were apparently caught on video.

One heavily edited security camera video distributed by Defence for Children International/Palestine – a radical NGO which supports Muslim Brotherhood-organised ‘Freedom flotillas’ and continues to promote the ‘Jenin massacre’ libel – purports to show the two Palestinians allegedly being shot (within one hour and 15 minutes of one another) through the chest with real bullets fired by Israelis.

Here’s the video:

A DCI-Palestine spokesperson said the videos “clearly show two kids being hit directly with something other than a rubber bullet”, a narrative repeated by pro-Palestinian activists, and many in the mainstream media.

Naturally, the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont – in two reports he’s filed since the incident – seems to have no doubt whatsoever that Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the two Palestinians, killing them both, and has indeed all but mocked Israeli denials.

Both reports by Beaumont (Video footage indicates killed Palestinian youths posed no threat‘, May 20, and ‘Footage of Palestinian boys being shot is genuine, says Israeli rights group‘, May 20) primarily focus on the narrow question raised by some (including the IDF and some critical commentators) regarding whether the original CCT footage was manipulated to distort what really happened in Betunia.  

However, he significantly downplays what has emerged as the central element of the story: the dearth of any evidence whatsoever indicating that Israeli soldiers used live fire (real bullets) as opposed to rubber bullets, as the latter could all but certainly could not have killed Palestinians in a manner described by Palestinian sources.  

Beaumont’s May 20th report does note that “a preliminary investigation determined that live fire was not used by security forces”, but argues that “the composite picture presented by the evidence points to the conclusion that the two teenagers were” indeed shot with “live fire”.  His May 22nd report is even more tendentious, leading off by citing a statement by B’tselem “contradicting Israeli army claims that the footage is likely to have been forged”, and mocking the Israeli response.

Additionally, though he cites the new CNN video purporting to corroborate Palestinian accounts, he simply ignores two important take-aways from the clip: that, based on a careful review of the video, the Israelis were certainly firing non-lethal rubber bullets at the Palestinians, and that the bullet produced by the father of one of the victims did not at all look like it could have been the bullet which passed through his son’s body.

Before viewing the CNN video, here are the two relevant stills:

1. Was the “bullet” recovered?

First, at 3:22 of the clip, here’s the bullet produced by the victim’s father which he claimed killed his son:

CNN Betunia Bullet

However, as Vic Rosenthal noted after consulting a firearms expert:

The bullet that the father of the victim said had been removed from the backpack was a 5.56 mm bullet such as is used by the IDF. But it was only slightly deformed. If it had passed through a person’s chest and then was stopped by books in a backpack, it would have been completely crushed. “That bullet looks like it was fired into sand,” the expert said.

Additionally, as CAMERA’s Dexter Van Zile noted:

Appearing [yesterday] on Israel’s Channel Two, [Israeli weapons expert] Yosef Yekutiel stated that if the bullet actually went through the victim’s body the way Palestinian doctors say it did, it would look entirely differently from the one displayed by the boy’s father.

2. Did Israelis use live-fire or non-lethal rubber bullets on rioters?

Here’s a still (at 1:53 of the video) of the Israelis who were allegedly firing at one of the Palestinians who was killed:

rubber bullet

Firearms experts cited by Vic Rosenthal, experts consulted by Israeli Channel 2 and others have noted that the weapon used by soldier in the clip clearly appears to have the rubber bullet extension by virtue of the thickening in the barrel (again suggesting that they couldn’t have used live fire). Additionally, the “manner in which the victims fell, the absence of blood at the scene, and the lack of entry or exit wounds”, experts have noted, are all inconsistent with being shot with live ammunition.

Here’s the CNN video in question.

Here’s the video (edited and uploaded by Elder of Ziyon with translation assistance from CiF Watch) of the Israeli TV (Channel  2) analysis referenced by Dexter Van Zile and Vic Rosenthal:

 

One big question remains that those accepting the Guardian/ MSM narrative of the shooting must answer:

How can they assert that live fire was used by Israeli soldiers when NO evidence has emerged to buttress this claim, and when all the evidence to date suggests that only rubber bullets were used – non-lethal fire which couldn’t have caused the damage claimed?

Further, if no live fire was used by Israeli forces, the narrative advanced by Palestinians and their media supporters is almost fatally undermined.

Whilst it’s too soon to say if this is an instance of lethal journalism in the spirit of Al Durah‘, the failure of journalists like Beaumont to ask important questions about the shooting suggests that, once again, the bulk of the work in critically examining Palestinian claims will fall on media watchdog groups, citizen journalists and analysts not compromised by the pack mentality and the immediate presumption of Israeli guilt.

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IDF official slams Australian report suggesting Palestinian kids were tortured

My colleague Tamar Sternthal published a superb response at CAMERA to wild allegations in a Feb. 10th Australia Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners” report concerning the alleged torture of Palestinian children during interrogation.  

Here’s an excerpt:

“Simply fictitious,” responded a senior Israel Defense Forces official when asked about allegations leveled in a Feb. 10, 2014 Australia Broadcasting Corporation “Four Corners” report concerning brutal torture of Palestinian children during interrogations.

In contravention of journalistic codes of ethics, reporter John Lyons never gave Israeli officials the opportunity to respond specifically to the alleged instances of extreme abuse described. CAMERA, therefore, checked with Israeli authorities, reaching a high-level official intimately knowledgeable about the minors interviewed in the “Stone Cold Justice” broadcast.

One of them, Fathi Mahfouz, who was arrested on April 10, 2013 at the age of 15, and held for 82 days, claimed on camera that during his interrogation he had been hung from a cross-like structure for hours and beaten, and had been subjected to hitting and electric batons.

Another child, Qsai Zamara, alleged that his 18-day nightmare at the age of 14 included an interrogation in which he was whipped with a hose and threatened with electrocution.

About these two children, the IDF official stressed that they had never made these claims in court. Mahfouz appeared in court one day after his April 10 arrest, and he returned to court again on April 14 when he entered into a plea bargain, confessing to the crime for which he had been indicted, which was throwing rocks at military vehicles and personnel from a distance of 15 meters during a wide scale demonstration. During these two appearances, he never raised any allegations of being suspended from a cross or being beaten. “The only claim [of abuse] he made in court was on the 14th that the border policeman who arrested him in some way injured him and the court ordered that a protocol of a hearing be sent to the internal affairs office of the police, part of the Justice Ministry, for investigation.”

“Never once did he make a claim regarding his interrogation at any stage,” added the official, who confirmed that Mahfouz was represented by a lawyer in court.

Similarly, Zamara never voiced claims of torture during his court appearances. He was arrested on April 22, 2013, and brought to court the following day for a remand hearing in which he was represented by a lawyer. Three pages of arguments were made on the April 23 hearing, and “never once does he mention the terrible torture he [later said he] was subjected to.” On April 25, he again appeared in court when his indictment was filed. Any alleged torture that took place during interrogations would have happened in this window of time, and yet “never once had Zamara claimed that he had been so viciously attacked or tortured.”

It’s unbelievable that now, 10 months afterwards, he’s making these amazing claims of what happened to him,” stated the incredulous official.

Read the rest of Sternthal’s post, here.

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Qalandiya “Martyrdom”: Harriet Sherwood Tweets from the Palestinian street

Several Palestinian rioters were reportedly killed this morning after Israeli border police were ambushed while attempting to arrest a terror suspect in Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem. A Border Police spokesperson reported that during the anti-terror operation over “1,500 Palestinians poured into the streets and attacked the officers with firebombs and rocks.”

The IDF said soldiers rushed to the scene after the Border Police officers came under attack, and that soldiers opened fire after they felt their lives were in “imminent danger.”

A video uploaded onto YouTube today appeared to show Palestinians on rooftops in Qalandiya raining down rocks and other objects on Border Police vehicles during the incident.

Whilst we of course await Harriet Sherwood’s report on the incident, which the Guardian has thus far only covered via AP, here are her Tweets evidently live from the scene:

At 1:44 PM, ‘martyrdom’ had been officially confirmed.

Sounds Israeli: The music of ‘Fools of Prophecy’

I had the pleasure of seeing the band Shotei Hanevuah (Fools of Prophecy) perform live during my first and only trip to Israel prior to making Aliyah, and I’ll likely forever associate their sound – a fusion of dub reggae, hip-hop, dance and eastern Mediterranean music - with the magical time when I first fell in love with Eretz Yisrael.

Here’s a very raw version of their hit song ‘Ein Ani‘, performed in front of an IDF unit in 2012.

Pallywood Light: Guardian video claiming to show ‘Jews attacking Palestinians’ fails to deliver

Following the murder of an Israeli man, 32-year-old Evyatar Borovsky, by a Palestinian terrorist in a stabbing attack at a bus stop in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported on the incident, as well as on subsequent retaliatory attacks by “Jewish settlers”.  

The Jewish ‘attacks’ evidently occurred near the Yitzhar community where Borovsky lived, as well as in the Palestinian villages of Burin, Hawara, and Orif – and a nearby highway (route 60). According to multiple reports, some Israelis threw rocks at Palestinians and some set Palestinian fields ablaze.

The claim that there were some retaliatory attacks by Jews following Borovsky’s murder doesn’t appear to be in doubt.

However, the Guardian also published a video story on May 1, with the following title:

video

Here’s the video caption:

A group of masked Jewish settlers set fire to a house and fields across villages in the West Bank before attacking Palestinians. Palestinian villagers clash with the settlers on a hill overlooking the village of Orif. Israeli soldiers arrive to disperse the crowd with stun grenades. The attack was in retaliation to the killing of Israeli settler Eviatar [sic] Borovsky

However, upon viewing the one minute and six second Guardian video, we couldn’t help but notice the absence of any clips actually showing ‘Jewish settlers attacking Palestinians’, despite text on the bottom of the screen at various moments stating that such attacks were taking place.

Here’s the video in its entirety.

Here’s what we just saw:

  • Israeli soldiers on patrol
  • Israeli soldiers talking to what appear to be Palestinians
  • Tear gas and stun grenades are employed by Israeli forces
  • A Palestinian man (at the 54 second mark), purportedly injured, being carried to an awaiting ambulance

Here’s what we did not see, despite claims made in the title and accompanying text:

  • Jewish settlers attacking Palestinians
  • Jewish settlers burning Palestinian fields

Whilst the events described by the Guardian may have indeed occurred, the video they produced and posted certainly did not present any visual evidence to buttress these claims.  

Though there have been far more egregious examples of ‘Pallywood‘ in action (i.e., intentionally misleading or doctored Palestinian film footage; and the staging of certain scenes) it is reasonable to ask why the Guardian editor who published this video failed to engage in basic journalistic critical scrutiny of what the clips were claiming to document.

A Jew, a jihadist and the Guardian: A brief illustration of photographic sympathy

Yesterday, April 30, we posted about a report by Harriet Sherwood on the murder of an Israeli man, 32-year-old Evyatar Borovsky, by a Palestinian terrorist affiliated with Fatah in a stabbing attack at a bus stop at the Tapuach Junction, in the northern West Bank. The report also noted that, on the same day, Israeli forces killed a jihadist bomb-maker and arms dealer in Gaza named Hitham Ziyad Ibrahim Mishal, who was believed to be responsible for a recent rocket attack on Eilat.

Mishal was active in multiple Salafi-jihadi organizations, and reportedly “dealt in the manufacturing, upgrading and trade of firearms, rockets and bombs, which he delivered to various terror organizations.”

Sherwood’s report in the Guardian was entitled ‘Israeli security forces deployed in West Bank after settler is stabbed to death and included this photo depicting grieving Palestinians in Gaza:

new

Here’s the Guardian caption:

A Palestinian boy, right, mourns as men comfort a relative during the funeral of Hitham Masshal, whose body is being carried in the background, in Gaza City’s al-Shati refugee camp. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

While certainly not at all surprising, it’s important nonetheless to note that Guardian editors did not show the following photo, which was published elsewhere in the media, showing three of Evyatar Borovsky’s surviving children at his funeral yesterday.

kids-635x357There is another even more heartbreaking photo online of one of these young boys – arms wrapped around his father’s coffin – which we will not show. However, if you’d like to learn more about the life of Evyatar Borovsky (and his widow, Tzofia) you can see the following reports.

The Guardian: Where Jews are “hardline”, while Hamas tries to ‘rein in extremists’.

In an April 7 post, we asked how many of the roughly 800 Jews currently living in the ancient city of Hebron Harriet Sherwood had spoken to or interviewed.  Our interest in the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent’s familiarity with Hebron’s Jews was piqued by the following sentence in her April 4 report about an outbreak of violence in the West Bank – including in Israelis cities such as Hebron.

After the funeral Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers close to an extremist Jewish settlement in the heart of the city. The Israeli military responded with teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets

We noted that by referring to a community of hundreds of Israelis as “extremists”, Sherwood was lazily imputing widespread fanaticism without evidence – and, more broadly, conveying a message that there’s something radical or extreme about the desire to maintain even a small Jewish presence in Hebron, the oldest Jewish community in the world.

Our April 7 post is relevant in contextualizing Sherwood’s report on today’s terrorist attack in the West Bank – in which a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli man to death, then grabbed his weapon and fired at nearby border police.

Sherwood begins her piece, entitled ‘Israeli security forces deployed in West Bank after settler is stabbed to death‘, April 30, with the following information, which includes a curious reference to the victim’s home town:

Large numbers of Israeli security forces have been deployed in the West Bank after an Israeli settler was stabbed to death by a Palestinian amid fears that the killing could trigger widespread confrontations.

Eviatar Borovzky, 30, a father of five children and a part-time security guard at the hardline settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, died of his wounds at the scene of the attack.

Even if the contention that some Jews who live in Yitzhar are “hardline” has merit, it’s unclear what significance the politics of the victim’s home city has in understanding the attack, anymore than the fact that the terrorist suspect is reportedly from a city (Tulkarem) where several deadly terrorist attacks have originated would have relevance.

Sherwood’s report also included the following:

Around the same time [as the attack on Borovzky],an Israeli air strike killed an alleged Palestinian militant in Gaza in the first targeted assassination since the eight-day war last November. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said Haitham Masshal, 24, had been involved in a recent rocket attack on the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. It described him as a “Global-Jihad-affiliated terrorist” and said he had “acted in different Jihad Salafi terror organisations and over the past few years has been a key terror figure”.

Hamas, the Islamist organisation which controls Gaza, has observed the ceasefire agreement that ended November’s conflict. However, in the past two months there has been renewed intermittent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, blamed on small extremist organisations that Hamas is trying to rein in.

So, according to Sherwood, Hamas is trying to “rein in” extremism in Gaza.

Briefly:

  • Hamas is recognized as a terrorist movement by the US, EU, Canada, Japan, the U.K., and Australia.
  • Hamas’s founding charter cites the wisdom of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to “prove” that Jews are indeed trying to take over the world.
  • Hamas has carried out hundreds of deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
  • Hamas leaders have called for genocide against the Jews.

Regarding the final bullet point, here’s one example: Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior leader and co-founder of Hamas, is seen in this video waxing eloquently (on Al-Aqsa TV in 2010) about the the Jews’ future in the Middle East:

No, there’s clearly nothing “extremist” or “hardline” about that!

Israel launches operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ to cripple Gaza terrorist infrastructure

After a period of four days which saw more than 120 rockets fired by Gaza terrorists at Israeli cities, causing injuries and endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens, the IDF  has launched Operation ‘Pilar of Defense‘ with the aim of hampering the terrorist organizations’ rocket launching and weapons build up capabilities.”

IDF Spokesperson told The Algemeiner that “the operation began about an hour ago with a pin-point strike on Hamas terror chief al-Jabari”, adding that “since then…we have targeted about 20 different sites in the Gaza strip focusing specifically in long-range rocket capabilities that have been developed in Gaza.”

We’ll keep you posted on the Guardian’s coverage of the operation as it develops.  

You can follow The Muqata who’s live blogging on the operation.  Our Twitter feed for updates is here.

The Guardian yawns in reaction to Gaza terrorists targeting Israeli school children

A guest post by AKUS

On Sunday, August 26th, two rockets hit the small industrial area of Sderot at about 9:00 am. Had they fallen about 100 meters to the west, they would have landed in the densely populated “shikunim” (low-cost housing projects) across the road. The satellite picture below shows the area where the rockets fell. The white oblongs are the little workshops and factories in the area, and the long one on Kopenhagen Street is a supermarket.

The timing was not coincidental – it is the time in the early morning when children go to school and adults go to work and are more likely to be caught out in the open. Had the kassam that hit the factory in Sderot fallen into one of the suburbs shown to the left, above, there would have been a high probability of killing or injuring people leaving home to go about their day’s activities.

Today, at the time children return from school, two more rockets were fired towards the town. Again, the timing was not coincidental. The objective was to hit people – children – caught in the street between school and home.

Three rockets were fired at the area on Saturday. During the school holidays, Ma’ariv reports that over 100 rockets were fired at the area (I heard a few of them)

The people firing these rockets are the so-called “militants” that the Guardian brings to write op-eds and columns that attempt to cover up the use of terror against Israeli civilians, and, specifically, as we can see from the timing of the rockets, children. There is not a mention of these attacks in the Guardian, currently obsessing again over Rachel Corrie while ignoring all the Israeli Rachels who get no trial, no plays written, and no sympathy.

The IDF has announced that the rockets were fired by the Salfist Jihad group in Gaza. Nevertheless, Israel holds Hamas responsible as the group that purportedly governs the Gaza Strip, and retaliated, destroying an arms warehouse owned by Hamas. The Salafis may be trying to push Israel to war, and they are about one child’s death away from succeeding. If Hamas does not want a repeat of Cast Lead, it had better do something about this – quickly.

A public bomb shelter in Sderot, painted so as not to scare children.

The Gaza you’ll never see in the Guardian

H/T IDF, who was responsible for much of the information in this post

The tired narrative advanced by uninformed observers, the mainstream media (and, certainly, more ideologically extreme sites like the Guardian) about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict often includes the flippant cliché that Gaza is a “concentration camp” or an “open air prison” — and that Israel is to blame.

Such lazy characterizations of the situation in Gaza are simply fictitious. 

First, Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destructionand rockets fired from the strip routinely strike southern Israel. So, is it really difficult to comprehend why the IDF can’t allow imports into Gaza without first inspecting the contents to ensure that there aren’t weapons?

Further, not only is there no “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza but, in certain areas of the territory, the economy is booming. Every day, the IDF transfers thousands of tons of goods and gas into Gaza - products delivered to Palestinian merchants and international organizations such as UNRWA.

But some things can’t go in, right?

Wrong.  All items can go in, even dual-use items — those that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, like certain fertilizers that can be used to build rockets.  (Such dual-use items merely require permits, and are typically sent to Gaza via international aid agencies to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of Hamas terrorists.)

While no single photograph can capture the entire reality of life in Gaza, the common refrains, that Gaza is a “big concentration camp” or a big “prison camp”, are simply lies.

As a 2010 report in the Washington Post described:

“[Gaza] grocery stores are stocked wall-to-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurt and hummus to Cocoa Puffs smuggled in from Egypt. Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States.”

Take a look at Gaza as you rarely see it in the media:

The central public library in Gaza. Photo by Laura Goldman

Palestinians shop at the new al-Andulusia mall in Gaza City, August 2011. Photo by Hatem Moussa, AP

Here’s a brief video about the new al-Andulusia mall in Gaza.

More photos from Gaza:

A wedding in Gaza

A street vendor at the Friday market in Gaza City

A cake shop in Gaza City 

The gold market in Gaza City

The Kazem ice cream shop in Gaza

A small boat takes Palestinian leisure-seekers into the Mediterranean Sea for a fare.

Check out these additional photos from Gaza as well as these examples of staged photography.

CiF Watch ‘When Pigs Fly’ Edition: Guardian publishes 100% POSITIVE story about Israel

The following Guardian report (The Israeli Defence Forces: First for women, July 9), was written by Nick Hopkins.

Though Hopkins is the Guardian’s defence and security correspondent, the report was placed on the Life Style page of their site:

The odd placement notwithstanding, Hopkins’ piece represents something of a first for the Guardian: an entirely positive take on Israeli society, reporting on gender equality in the IDF – relative parity between men and women serving in Israel’s armed forces which other nations’ militaries are trying to emulate.

Indeed, there were some passages which were not only completely free the Guardian’s institutional bias against the Jewish state, but actually were indistinguishable from what would be written in pro-Israel blogs.  Here’s an example.

“Though the Israeli military has a very macho image, the IDF is the most progressive in the world – when measured in terms of  at least. Almost one-third of the force and 50% of its officers are female. In the UK, only 13% of the armed forces are women, while there are only slightly more in the US army (13.4%).” [emphasis added]

Yes, that was really written in the Guardian!

Hopkins’ praise of Israel’s progressive prowess continues:

“The British military is one of several around the world that has sought advice from the IDF on equality, though the UK is unlikely to catch up in the short term, despite recent efforts to do so.”

Of course, none of this is new to those of us familiar with the rights afforded women (and gays) in the IDF, but I never thought I’d live to see the day when the Guardian’s “purity of ideology” would ever allow for such journalistic “treif” – unvarnished truth about Israel’s undeniably progressive nature.

Hopkins continues:

“There are laws that demand women must be recruited to the IDF, and a series of legal challenges have shattered barriers to what they can do thereafter. The process started in 1949 with a law that demanded equality in the IDF – and 92% of roles in service are now open to women…Women now regularly serve in anti-aircraft brigades, in the artillery, and as fighter pilots.”

Again, contrasting the IDF with the British Armed Forces, Hopkins notes:

“In the UK, women remain banned from small units in the frontline because of fears that, in the heat of a battle, male colleagues may seek to look after them, rather than concentrate on fighting.”

We hope, of course, that the UK will continue to look to Israel for guidance regarding other gender equality issues and, further, that the Guardian uses this report as a teachable moment for their staff, thus ushering in a new Guardian era of (CP Scott-inspired) Zionist advocacy, and philo-Semitic commentary.

Yeah, I know, when non kosher animals grow wings!

Happy Independence Day!

Every year since the very first anniversary of Israeli independence (with the exception of 1957), the Ministry of Education has produced a poster celebrating Yom HaAtzmaout

Anyone flying in or out of Israel will probably have noticed the exhibition of those posters at Ben Gurion airport. I always make a point of looking for ‘my’ poster – the one produced in the year in which I came to Israel – and noting how many have followed. But my favourite of all the many beautiful designs is the very first one from 1949 which carries a quotation from the Declaration of Independence that is just as relevant today as it was all those decades ago. 

“This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.”

קובץ:Israel 01 Independence Day 1949.jpg

In contrast with most other nations, that natural right still has to be defended and protected by Israelis. As we make the difficult transition from a day of commemoration for those who gave their lives defending their country to a day of celebration of 64 years of Jewish self-determination, here is a film tribute to the current generation of Israel’s soldiers who stand guard every day of the year to defend our country, our independence and our natural right to both. 

Happy Independence Day! יום עצמאות שמח

With thanks to Shoot East for their permission to use the film.