Monday, May 30, 2022

From The Guardian:
An Israeli airstrike on an agrochemical warehouse during last year’s war in Gaza amounted to the “indirect deploying of chemical weapons”, according to a report analysing the attack and its impact.

Incendiary artillery shells fired by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) hit the large Khudair Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Tools warehouse in the north of the Gaza Strip on 15 May last year, setting fire to hundreds of tonnes of pesticides, fertilisers, plastics and nylons. The strike created a toxic plume, which engulfed an area of 5.7 sq km and has left local residents struggling with health issues, including two reports of miscarriages, and indications of environmental damage.

The extensive investigation, which involved analysing mobile phone and drone footage and CCTV, dozens of interviews with residents, and analysis from munitions and fluid dynamics experts, used 3D modelling of the warehouse to determine the circumstances of the attack.

It is the first publication by Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq’s newly established forensic architecture investigation unit, a first-of-its-kind collaboration in the Middle East with Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, which carries out spatial and media analysis for NGOs and in international human rights cases.

We've seen just a few months ago how Forensic Architecture suggests Israeli crimes by backing up nonsense assertions with the illusion of comprehensive research filled with impressive 3D modeling that doesn't prove anything. To the average observer, the sheer amount of "research" and effort seem to give support for their charges, but when you look at it carefully, it is simply smoke and mirrors.

In short, Forensic Architecture and Al Haq say that Israel fired the Elbit Systems M-150 smoke projectile several times towards the Khudair Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Tools warehouse. They show video that shows that the projectiles are indeed smoke projectiles, and they seem to come from artillery to the southeast.

Those are reasonable assumptions, backed by their evidence.

Then they go off the rails. They claim that this was a deliberate attempt to burn down the factory to cause an environmental disaster and ruin the lives of Gazans. 

That is, of course, nonsense.

I am the first to admit that I have no idea why the IDF would use smoke munitions, usually used as a smokescreen for ground forces, in this attack. I do not know what was in the mind of the commander who decided to launch this attack, or what tactical advantage smoke munitions would provide.

One thing is clear, though: If Israel wanted to destroy the factory and cause an ecological disaster, this is the worst possible munition to use!

It took 8-9 minutes after two of the shells landed before a fire was started from materials igniting nearby. For most of the shells, no fire was started at all. If Israel wanted to blow up the factory, this is not the way any military commander would do it. 




A firecracker would be more likely to ignite the chemicals than a smoke bomb. 

The choice of munitions seems to indicate the opposite: that Israel wanted smoke, but no fire, in the factory. Perhaps it had intelligence that Hamas was building explosives with the factory's fertilizer, and wanted to stop the manufacturing while minimizing chances to burn down the factory. 

The report quotes their go-to "expert" - the same one that CNN used to "prove" Israel shot Shireen Abu Akleh - Chris Cobb-Smith, to say that there is no military reason to use the smoke bomb. 

Why would the army use it, then? The "expert" is silent. But his quote is framed to make it appear like it was a deliberate attempt to burn down the factory, which is absurd.

Of course, the anti-Israel Al Haq and Forensics Architecture did not look to investigate any alternative theory to the one that makes Israel look as bad as possible - a deliberate act of WMD against Gaza. They don't bother to explain the inexplicable of why Israel would choose the worst means to accomplish its nefarious goal.

Because they don't care about the truth. The entire report is meant to be make a completely ridiculous accusation, and assume that the audience's antisemitism is higher than their bullshit meter. Which it almost invariably is - because of reports like this being treated respectfully in outlets like The Guardian.


(h/t Adam Levick)




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