Friday, June 18, 2021

  • Friday, June 18, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times reviews the incident that killed the most civilians in the May fighting, the collapse of the Abul Ouf Building where 22 innocent Palestinians died.

Already the subhead shows the bias:

As the article shows, Israel didn't bomb the apartment building - if that was the target, the IDF would have issued a warning. 
In an interview, an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said that on the morning of May 16, several Israeli aircraft fired 11 missiles along a 200-yard stretch of Al Wahda Street, aiming to destroy a tunnel and command center beneath it. Drone video filmed soon afterward by the Israeli military showed a row of craters left in the road by GPS-guided bombs.

But while most of the adjacent buildings remained standing, the Abul Ouf Building collapsed in what the official described as “a freak event.”

The military had not known the exact location of the command center, nor how far it extended under nearby buildings, Colonel Conricus said. When the bombs exploded deep underground, they unexpectedly dislodged the Abul Ouf Building’s foundations, he added.
The Independent, which reported about this on May 24, confirmed this:

When questioned about the purpose of the attack, the Israeli army said Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, bears responsibility for “intentionally locating its military infrastructure under civilian houses, thus exposing civilians to danger”.

It said a “preliminary” investigation into the attack found that Israeli aircraft struck “underground military infrastructure” that was located under the road.

The underground military facilities collapsed causing the foundations of the civilian houses above them to collapse as well leading to unintended casualties,” a statement read.
Hamas built tunnels directly underneath buildings. When the tunnel walls collapsed, the buildings above did as well. 

Ridiculously, the NYT publishes Hamas' denial that their tunnels are underneath civilian centers:
Hamas has acknowledged building a network of tunnels under Gaza for military purposes, but in a news conference on May 26, Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Hamas political wing in Gaza, denied that any of them lay under civilian areas, dismissing the accusation as “baseless.”

However, the United Nations believes Hamas built at least one military tunnel under a U.N. school.
Yet Hamas has claimed that it has built 500 kilometers of tunnels in Gaza - and none of it beneath civilian centers? 

One other detail about Wehda Street that the Independent mentions, but not the New York Times:
The air raids turned one of the busiest streets in Gaza, and the main access point to the strip’s chief hospital al-Shifa, into a crater-marked moonscape. 

It is well known that Hamas has a major headquarters in the basement of the Shifa hospital. This strongly indicates that Hamas has tunnels leading from the hospital itself to the rest of the "metro" network. (Wikipedia confirms that Shifa is at the end of Wehda Street.)

The NYT pretends to be evenhanded in discussing whether war crimes  were committed:

Rights experts said the use of such powerful weapons in a dense urban environment put civilian lives at risk and was a possible war crime. And if Hamas installed military facilities underneath residential areas, that too is prohibited under the laws of war.

Based on just the reporting in that article, it is clear that Israel did not commit any war crimes. Most of the buildings along the route did not collapse, and clearly the Israeli military commanders did not expect the Abul Ouf building to be destroyed. To be a war crime, it must be determined that the military knew it was likely that there would be unacceptable civilian casualties, which is clearly not the case here. 

And if it is known that Hamas has crucial military targets literally underneath civilians, it does not mean those targets are protected under international law. They can be targeted, carefully, in ways that minimize the danger to civilians - which is exactly what Israel did.  

Hamas, by building an extensive tunnel network directly underneath thousands of innocent people, is completely and wholly responsible for any loss of life from their tunnels being targeted. And the media simply does not get it. 









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