Saturday, December 03, 2011

Washington Post repeats PCHR lies about civilians in Gaza

In an Washington Post article about how Gazans have to live with the constant presence of Israeli drones, we read:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says 825 people have been killed by drones in Gaza since the capture of Shalit, who was released in October. Most of those killed, according to the organization, have been civilians mistakenly targeted or caught in the deadly shrapnel shower of a drone strike.
The WaPo says that PCHR is saying that the civilians killed in Gaza are mostly mistakenly targeted. But PCHR claims that Israel deliberately targets civilians. The name of the report I am quoting is "Targeted Civilians."   This is the first indication that PCHR is not telling the truth.

I could not find any specific report at PCHR listing the victims of drone attacks to see how many were really civilian, but we have already shown that the PCHR definition of "civilian" includes members of every major terror organization.

A small example:

In that same report on the Gaza war, they say:
At approximately 17:20 on 3 January 2009, an IOF drone fired a missile at the western gate of Martyr Ibrahim al-Maqadma Mosque in the north of Jabalia Refugee Camp, near Martyr Kamal ‘Odwan Hospital. The missile landed only 2 meters away from the mosque’s gate. 12 civilians, including 4 children and a father with his son, who were praying at the time of the attack, were immediately killed. Another 30 civilians were injured in the attack. A number of the injured were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Later, medical sources announced that 3 had died. A total of 15 civilians were killed in this attack.
However, 6 or 7 of those killed were actually terrorists congregated outside the mosque - the targets of the attack.

Another from the same report:
Also at approximately 14:00 pm [January 7], IOF drones bombed al-Salatin area in the north of the Gaza Strip. Mohammed ‘Ali Ahmed al-Sultan, 55, who was near his house was killed as a result.
PCHR calls him a "civilian" but here is Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades memorial page for him, where we learn that even at the age of 55 he volunteered to be a member of the Qassam Brigades and that he was "in the first row in battle, fighting the enemies of God, the invaders." He was apparently relaying the positions of Israeli planes to the "mujahadeen" at the time he was targeted. In no way could be considered a civilian.

All in all, as I have documented, the PCHR categorized some 363 terrorists killed as "civilians" during the Gaza war.

Without the PCHR details I cannot prove that most of those targeted by drones are militant, but from reading about every airstrike over the past five years, I am certain that the percentage of civilians killed by drones is far less than 50%.

But the Washington Post does not bother to find out these basic facts. Israeli drones have been shown to be remarkably accurate and effective in targeting terrorists - not perfect, but about as good as any weapons used in history in a heavily populated area. But rather than dig a little deeper in a long article about drones, the WaPo uncritically believes an NGO that has been shown to lie, repeatedly, in its reports about this specific topic.