Thursday, September 04, 2014

  • Thursday, September 04, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
The IDF held a briefing for reporters on Tuesday giving new details about Operation Protective Edge. The briefing was wide-ranging, covering Hamas' professionalism, its rocket fire, the number of militants likely killed, and many other topics.

The New York Times highlighted this part:

A senior Israeli military intelligence official acknowledged on Tuesday that only several hundred Hamas operatives out of a total that he put at 16,000 were killed during this summer’s 50-day war in Gaza, leaving the group’s fighting force largely intact.

The official, briefing reporters at military headquarters here on the condition of anonymity, in line with army protocol, added that the militant groups in Gaza were believed to have held on to 2,500 to 3,000 rockets, about a third of the stock they had before the fighting began on July 8. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and some smaller groups launched about 4,000 rockets, and the Israeli military estimates that it destroyed another 3,000 before a cease-fire halted the fighting a week ago.

Although Hamas leaders have presented the struggle as a victory for their organization, Israel has “good evidence” that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “suffered a huge, even dramatic hit,” the intelligence official said, arguing that success cannot be measured in numbers. He said that senior commanders were killed, probably thousands of operatives were wounded and significant damage was done to the groups’ military infrastructure.
Then comes something interesting but not elaborated on:
Of the rockets fired by Hamas, 875 fell inside Gaza, according to the official — some of them fired at Israeli ground forces who had entered the Palestinian coastal territory, some that were aimed at Israeli territory but misfired. The official said he believed that still others were fired intentionally at the local Palestinian population, “from what I saw in the systems.”
Hamas is firing rockets at its own population and the NYT thinks that the big story is that Israel didn't hurt them that badly?

Die Welt headlined their article "Hamas apparently shelled its own population" and went into more detail:
Not only Israel was said to have been in the crosshairs of Hamas [rockets]: A total of 875 [rockets] fired during the war and an unknown number of mortar shells fell in Gaza itself down. Many of them were duds - the weapons are chronically inaccurate.

Others were aimed at Israeli troop concentrations in Gaza itself. But a large part "were in my opinion deliberately fired by Hamas on densely populated areas in Gaza," said the Israeli officer. Otherwise he could not explain their trajectory.

The English-language media is reluctant to highlight any evidence that Hamas would shoot at its own people. Yet we know that it shot its political enemies during the fighting, we know that it used human shields, we know that it purposefully placed weapons caches in schools and hospitals and mosques. If the purpose is to gain propaganda points by showing off dead civilians - something that Hamas itself told Gazans to emphasize at the beginning of the fighting - why is it so unbelievable that Hamas would shoot rockets at its own people as well? Hamas knows very well that not a single NGO in Gaza would bother to check out whether deaths and damage were done by Israeli or Islamist fire - Israel would be blamed reflexively.

The IDF sees the source, trajectory and future destination of every rocket fired from Gaza. Look at the trajectories of these rockets:


The terrorists who fired the rockets were not aiming at Israel or at Israeli forces. (IDF ground troops never went that far into Gaza.)  Rockets aren't that inaccurate.

The same briefing also showed evidence of purposeful Hamas fire from schools:
The intelligence official presented more evidence to bolster Israel’s assertions that Hamas waged its campaign largely by hiding behind its own civilians. An aerial photograph appeared to show a rocket firing site in the yard of a school in Shejaiya. In before and after pictures, a fabric canopy believed to be hiding the rockets appeared intact, then ripped. Another previously unpublished photograph showed a schoolyard in Beit Lahiya that was empty by day. By night, it was dotted with what looked like several rockets laid out on the ground and boxes that the official said contained more rockets.
If Western reporters and NGOs manage to wrap their heads around the simple fact that an Islamist terror group  is wiling to endanger and kill their own people to score cheap propaganda points, then many of the deaths of civilians in Gaza may be seen in a new light. Too bad that the reporters and NGOs on the ground in Gaza don't have the ability to think objectively.

(h/t EBoZ, Gastwirt)

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