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Monday, April 11, 2005

"Soccer-playing Palestinian teenagers" were weapons smugglers

Even al-Ha'aretz admits this now, although their initial article about this ignored the IDF statement that they were smuggling and entirely believed the Palestinian "eyewitnesses" that the teenagers were just innocently playing soccer. But note even here the "newspaper" tries very hard to hedge its bets.
The Gaza command was meanwhile continuing its investigation of the circumstances that led to the shooting of three 14-year-olds from Rafah, on the Philadelphi route. The Israel Defense Forces is almost certain that the youths were somehow involved in smuggling weapons from Egypt. A videotape from the observation post documents them approaching the Egyptian border, far beyond the reach of a kicked football that Palestinian witnesses said they had gone to retrieve.

A squad commander and a sharpshooter from Golani shot them. The members of this division are backing up the soldiers: The rules of engagement in Philadelphi are different because of the weapons-smuggling. In about 40 incidents over the last two months along the Green Line, troops have not fired as Palestinians crossed over. The people who have attempted these crossings, nearly all of them looking for a way to make some money, were arrested on the Israeli side.

The commander of the Palestinian forces inside Gaza, Mussa Arafat, reported - both to Israel and the PA leadership - that the youths were smugglers. But the PA announcements on the subject focused on condemning Israel for shooting youths.

As did al-Ha'aretz and hundreds of newspapers.