Sunday, August 24, 2014

  • Sunday, August 24, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Amira Hass at Ha'aretz:

On the night of August 5, Gaza’s Interior and National Security Ministry posted a comment on its Facebook page decrying the damage caused by publishing names and photographs of “resistance fighters who fell in battle” (shahids), along with information on where they died.

The Israeli military spokesman seized on this comment as a smoking gun: proof that Hamas was deliberately concealing militant fatalities to boost the apparent numbers of civilians killed.

The Israel Defense Forces cannot refute the images of dead women and children that are broadcast abroad, so instead the army is trying to construct a narrative proving that its targets — and the aftermath of its attacks — are legitimate.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is a vital partner in constructing this narrative. The center, which is checking the name of each Palestinian said killed in the Gaza fighting (it has gotten to 450 so far), estimates that some 46 percent of them are “terrorist operatives.”

... If concealing the names of fatalities is really part of Hamas’ propaganda strategy, a way of forging a counter-narrative to that of the IDF, then it contradicts the deep Palestinian and Hamas ethos of pride over those who were killed fighting the Zionist enemy.

“Even if Hamas had decided to hide the names of its fallen combatants and their numbers for a long time, the families wouldn’t agree,” a veteran Hamas activist told Haaretz.
Oh, a Hamas activist said it! It must be true!

This is of course a lie. Hamas hid the names of its "martyrs" after Cast Lead, and they were adding new ones for months on their website afterwards. In the end, the 49 that they admitted were killed during the operation ballooned up to between 600-700 that they admitted much later.

No families of the "martyrs" seemed too upset then.

The IDF and Amit center saw the Palestinian Facebook comment as a warning and an instruction not to release information, for propaganda purposes. But Palestinians saw it as an expression of concern. Releasing the casualties’ names would enable Israel to target their families as well by bombing their homes, thus turning even more civilians into “targets” or “collateral damage.”

This is not propaganda; it is the reality in which 1.8 million Palestinians have been living in the past six weeks.

“The occupation gathers this information and testimonies and uses them to excuse its crimes against the civilians and destroy the homes,” the Palestinian Facebook post says.

The IDF’s English translation of the post omits the words “against the civilians and destroy the homes.”

The Facebook post was not the only expression of Hamas being upset at revealing the names of fighters. At the very beginning of the war Hamas' Interior Ministry released a statement - on Facebook, YouTube and its own website - commanding Gazans (especially those on social networking sites) to call everyone an innocent civilian.

Hass' supposed debunking of this Facebook post does not address the explicit instructions of Hamas earlier, nor the threats against reporters who crossed the line.

Also, there is no evidence that the IDF targets families of the terrorists they kill afterwards. This is a fantasy that Hamas made up, and a slander that Hass repeats.

Not only that, but PCHR stopped identifying "members of armed groups" in their daily reports in July, before this Facebook post. They never did this in Cast Lead or Pillar of Defense. It seems fairly obvious that Hamas gave them a friendly visit telling them what they are and aren't allowed to report - and it has nothing to do with supposedly protecting Gaza families of terrorists already killed.

So far B’Tselem has documented 72 direct bombardments that have destroyed buildings and killed their inhabitants. Of the 547 people killed in these strikes, 125 were women under 60, 250 were minors and 29 were men and women aged 60 or older. B’Tselem also gives the name of an operative in Hamas’ military wing who was killed in the bombing.
While B'Tselem's methods of verifying who is a terrorist are laughable, even they found more than one case of a terrorist killed in the bombings. They found 9 "military branch operatives" hiding in the civilian homes that they could verify. The terrorists B'Tselem identified generally do not share the last names of the families in the houses, meaning that they were either using the families as human shields or the families were knowingly harboring them. That accounts for the deaths of 66 of those killed in those houses - according to B'Tselem.

Chances are very good that there were far more that B'tselem's telephone researchers did not identify - because Gazans are instructed to lie, the most important fact that Hass is trying to whitewash.

The UN team, Palestinian human rights organizations and B’Tselem are examining every fatality, seeing every body in the hospital, checking every death report and talking to eyewitnesses, family members and survivors.
Another lie. As the Meir Amit Center (that Hass hates so much) and I showed, Al Mezan and PCHR identified a 13-year old as a civilian victim among a crowd of nine civilians - yet the "13-year old" was really 26 and every single "civilian" was a terrorist member of the Abu Rish Brigades. If these NGOs had checked the bodies, as Hass falsely claims, they would have known that the 13-year old was fictional. The only explanation is that these upstanding, tireless "human rights" researchers accepted Hamas' Health Ministry lies as fact and didn't bother to check anything.

If the PCHR and Al Mezan Center were anything close to as conscientious as Hass claims, such mistakes would be impossible.

Hass then goes on to make unsubstantiated claims to explain why a lopsided number of victims are young males of fighting age.  CAMERA takes that apart as well.

There is nothing credible in this article. Which makes it perfect for Haaretz.

Interestingly, unlike most of its stories, Haaretz is apparently so eager to push Hass' Hamas agitprop that it did not place it behind their paywall as they usually do within 24 hours of publication.

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