Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Stretcher or rocket?

But last night, in the wake of media pressure, the IDF had updated its assessment: The officers said the object in the ambulance was a weapon, but nonetheless 'it's impossible to swear' that it wasn't a stretcher.

UNRWA claims it is difficult for one man to carry a Qassam; the IDF experts say the weight of a Qassam-1 is no more than five kilograms.

It seems that analysis of the image relies more on what was going on at the time the images were recorded than on what exactly can be seen in the frame in question.

The series of images, recorded in Jabalya on October 1, shows militants placing an explosive device in a pit under the road, in an attempt to attack IDF soldiers. The UN ambulance is seen nearby. People accompanying the militants who placed the explosive are seen entering the ambulance, carrying the object in question.

The military logic is this: There was no stretcher involved here, and the object displayed in the images is, apparently, a weapon.

The problem facing the IDF is that the eye of the professional and the eye of the average news watcher differ greatly. What appeared obvious to the IDF analyst seemed to the civilian to be an UNRWA man carrying a stretcher into the van.