Monday, October 16, 2023

You don't know what's going on in Gaza. Neither does the media, the "experts" or anyone else. We do know that Hamas routinely lies, though.

Here's a picture of Jihad Mishrawi, a  BBC News  reporter holding his dead son Omar in Gaza in 2012, on the front page of the Washington Post at the time. The caption says that Omar was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Many other media, especially the BBC itself, reported the same thing. 

But it wasn't true. I amassed evidence (based on photos from the inside of the house where the explosion occurred and interviews with neighbors) that indicated that Omar was killed by a Hamas rocket.

The BBC was unhappy, and sent a reporter to chat with the family, and he reiterated that Omar was killed by Israel.

Months later the UN  (and other sources)  admitted that the baby was killed by a Hamas rocket that fell short.

Omar is far from the only child that has been killed by Gaza terrorist rockets aimed at Israel over the years. In one day in 2021 Hamas rockets - in three separate incidents - killed 16 Gazans, including 8 children.

By default, Israel is always assumed to be targeting these civilians with airstrikes. Very often, they are killed by terrorist rockets.

Given that Hamas is now shooting record numbers of rockets into Israel, dwarfing the number shot in the earlier conflicts, almost certainly there are more rockets falling short - and killing civilians. 

But the only source for information on the dead is... Hamas. Who always blame Israel no matter what. Even though they appear to be setting off  IEDs against their own people trying to escape Gaza.

It's a bit crazy to assume that Hamas, which now denies targeting women and children last weekend, is telling the truth about deaths in Gaza today.

But even after years of this misreporting, the media still assumes the worst from Israel, and accepts Hamas (including their Health Ministry) claims uncritically.

Over the years I have documented hundreds of Gaza casualties classified as "civilian" by NGOs and Gaza organizations who were in fact terrorists:

Abdullah Abdul Rahim Mustafa al-Madhooun, called a "civilian" by PCHR

I have documented hundreds of innocent Gazans who were human shields, killed when Israel targeted major terrorists who were in their houses.

Yet the media still assumes that people killed are just hit randomly by the IDF for no reason.

I wish the IDF was more forthcoming with documenting how these slanders are lies. But with so many of the lies disproven so many times, why does anyone still believe anything the Hamas health ministry, or Gaza NGOs, say, without checking all the facts?

At this stage of the current war, Hamas is not reporting how any of its members have been killed. It is clearly spreading misinformation.  NGOs like PCHR are - almost certainly at Hamas' request - not reporting on the terrorists they know were killed. In addition, they are not gathering information as they used to because the fire from both sides is far more intense than in the past and fact finding is dangerous, even for biased organizations. 

Which means we know even less in the current war than we did in previous Gaza operations. 

What we do know is that Israel does not randomly shoot buildings without intelligence. It does not attack civilians for no reason  - it has nothing to gain and a lot to lose. Hamas, on the other hand, gains when Gaza civilians die - in PR points against Israel.

Add it all up, and you can see that the casualty reports and specific incidents we are hearing from Gaza are suspect. 

(The top half of this post was a tweet - by far the most popular tweet I ever wrote, over 1.4 million views..)

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