Thursday, August 25, 2016

  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Newsweek wrote in 2014:

In a house in Rafah in southern Gaza, near the Egyptian border, Nabil Siyam, aged 34, slowly lays out pictures of his family. He only has one arm, the other was blown off by an Israeli bomb during the summer war. The pictures show his wife, Shireen, and their children – Mustafa, 9, Ghaida, a girl aged 8, Abdul Rahman, 6, Badruddin, 5 and Dalal, also a girl, aged nine months. All but Badruddin were killed by the same bomb; the little boy lost a kidney and now plays on his father’s lap. Also killed were two of Nabil’s brothers, two of his brothers’ wives and three of their children, who lived in this house.

Staring ahead with bloodshot eyes, Nabil, a vegetable farmer, says that when war broke out in July the family felt safe here. Gazans nearer the border came to this area to flee shelling where they lived. Nobody could escape into Egypt, which had closed its crossing at Rafah, and obviously it wasn’t possible to escape across the Israeli border into the line of fire. On the other side was the sea. “Everyone was trapped.”

On 21 July, Israeli rockets hit the house next door and, at 6am, Nabil and his terrified family fled. “We ran into the street, children were with mothers. We got 10 meters away when I heard a drone. I heard the sound of the bomb – it is a special sound – and looked up. The Israelis must have seen us. Drones see everything. The next thing I knew was a cloud of dust and I looked around for my children.”

As well as the 12 members of Nabil’s family, who died outright in the bomb, two cousins were badly injured, including 15-year-old Mohammed, who lost a leg and was transferred to a Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem for surgery. Fighting for his life he was transferred again, this time to Turkey, so doctors could remove shrapnel from his lung. “If I die I want to come home to be buried with my family,” Mohammed told his grandfather, who accompanied him to Turkey
There were many other articles about the Siyam family and how Israel callously murdered them for no reason.

In war, the truth is the first casualty. And so it is in this case. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for even the most professional army to investigate and uncover the facts, well after people are already convinced that they know what happened from sloppy media and NGO reporting.

In this case, the many news outlets that flatly blamed Israel for the deaths of the Siyam family were wrong.

The 13 members of the Siyam family and relatives were killed by mortars shot by terror groups that fell short in Rafah.

As the IDF investigation that was just released says:

The factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism and presented to the MAG indicate that no attack – aerial or otherwise – that could have resulted in a strike on the family as alleged was carried out by IDF forces in the area in question and on the relevant date. The FFA Mechanism also ruled out the possibility that the types of munition described in a number of the reports had been utilized.

Nonetheless, it was found that at the relevant time, and in close proximity to the Siyam family's residence, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip fired a series of mortars, aimed at the territory of the State of Israel. A number of these launches were "failed launches", wherein the mortar shells that were aimed at Israeli territory, fell within the territory of the Gaza Strip. Images showing the points of impact of the munitions that struck the Siyam family and the surroundings of their residence, which were provided to Israel by one of the organizations and transferred to the FFA Mechanism for examination, also indicate that the strike in question was not caused as the result of an aerial attack as alleged in the majority of the reports. The FFA Mechanism and the MAG Corps made representations to the legal representative of the organization which had claimed that the strike on the Siyam family had been caused by IDF munitions, in order for them to present evidence that would support such an allegation. These representations did not receive a response.

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism, the MAG found, that contrary to the allegations, it could be concluded, with reasonable certainty, that the members of the Siyam family were not harmed as a result of IDF activity.
Notice how much the IDF did to investigate this. Besides painstakingly cataloging all its strikes from planes, drones and tanks, it also managed to gather photographs of the damage, calculating the trajectories that must have created the types of damage seen and correlating them with its own separate evidence of mortar and rocket fire that were shot from Gaza. No news organization or NGO has the capability to do anything close to this, and it is easier for them to flatly blame Israel rather than even consider that the strike came from the many terror groups who wantonly shot rockets and mortars by the thousands during the war - even though there have been many documented cases of Gaza casualties from Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets in that war and previous ones.

It appears that the organization that made the legal complaint against Israel that did not respond to requests for more information that would buttress its blaming Israel was the Al Mezan Center.

Will Newsweek and other media outlets that reported as fact that the family was killed by an Israeli airstrike issue a correction, two years after the fact? It seems highly improbable.

Will Amnesty adjust its "Gaza Platform" to incorporate this new information? The very idea is laughable, given how inaccurate that tool is and Amnesty's refusal to correct its many errors, all against Israel.

Will B'Tselem adjust its statistics? That is the most interesting question.


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