Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hamas Sets the Record Straight

My latest article in Kaminando y Avlando, the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Cape Town's monthly publication:


Spreading Lies About Israel: For Once, Hamas Sets the Record Straight

The damage Judge Richard Goldstone caused with his biased UN report about the Gaza War was predicable. Despite the many issues with the report raised by many prominent voices, not to mention Goldstone himself (“If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven”), far too many people and countries accepted the report as factually accurate. In the past two months however, one organization has come forward, revealing Goldstone’s dishonesty on two major points in his report: The opening strike of the Gaza War in December 2008, and the total civilian death count. Who’s the honest organization defending Israel’s take on the war? Believe it or not, it’s the terrorist organization, Hamas.

Hamas was caught off guard by Israel’s surprise air strike on December 27, 2008, which was the beginning of a war aimed at stopping the relentless rocket fire aimed at the towns and kibbutzim of Southern Israel. This attack, which killed 250 to 300 Hamas operatives, per the Israeli version, was covered in Goldstone’s report as follows:

417. Except for the statements of the police spokesperson, the Israel Government has presented no other basis on which a presumption can be made against the overall civilian nature of the police in Gaza. It is true that the police and the security forces created by Hamas in Gaza may have their origins in the Executive Force. However, while the Mission would not rule out the possibility that there might be individuals in the police force who retain their links to the armed groups, it believes that the assertion on the part of the Government of Israel that “an overwhelming majority of the police forces were also members of the Hamas military wing or activists of Hamas or other terrorist organizations” appears to be an overstatement that has led to prejudicial presumptions against the nature of the police force that may not be justified.

Goldstone’s lie (bolded) has finally been exposed by an anti-Israeli source: Hamas's Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, who admitted that during the first day of Operation Cast Lead, 250 Hamas fighters were killed. Hamad, who confirmed the figures in an interview with the London-based Arabic language daily Al-Hayat, said that the so-called "police officers" who were killed during the first day of the operation were actually 250 Hamas fighters, and that 150 additional "security personnel" were also killed. Goldstone’s twisted lies about this strike highlight a worrying trend within the report. It’s unfortunate that Goldstone’s lie was only revealed to most as a result of Hamad’s surprising honesty, and not through the IDF’s explanation of the strike.

Hamad continued to surprise by admitting that the civilian death count thrown around by many NGOs was grossly exaggerated. With the Gaza War’s conclusion, both Israeli and Palestinian NGOs began spreading the lie that the civilian death count in the war was 75%+ (for example, B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO, alleged that 75% of those killed were civilians, while PCHR, a Palestinian NGO, claimed 70-85% of the dead were civilians). Despite being confronted with a repeat of the ‘Jenin’ lie, the IDF acted slowly as they didn’t have all the information necessary to disprove the allegations. The damage was done: The anger on the streets, be it in Israel or outside of Israel, increased dramatically. Ambassadors were recalled. Countries berated Israel, and their courts threatened to charge Israeli leaders with war crimes. Israelis started to get concerned that their army had purposefully attacked civilians. However, one can only hope this damaged can begin to be repaired by Hamad’s interview with Al-Hayat. In this interview, Hamad acknowledged that 600 to 700 Hamas members were killed in the Gaza fighting – more than double the number of combatants published by the NGOs’ and Richard Goldstone’s unreliable version of events. 60%+ of the dead in the Gaza War were Hamas terrorists.

Israel, despite fighting in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, had managed to target terrorists with a reasonable level of success. Tragically, there were many civilians who lost their lives during the three weeks, but there were no “disproportionate” or “indiscriminate” Israeli attacks against the civilians of Gaza, as Goldstone alleged in his report.

Goldstone says that, since the report was published a few years ago, no one has actually challenged the ‘facts’ presented therein. Although this is yet another of Goldstone’s fabrications, perhaps the unlikely testimony from Hamad will be the final nail in the report’s coffin. Despite the unexpected ‘help’ from Hamas, the report has already caused tremendous damage to Israel internally and on the international stage. It is essential that Israel learn and internalize (yet again) the lesson that it will always be attacked - from within and without - with falsehoods. We do make our mistakes, and when we do, we need to acknowledge and learn from them. However, let's be entirely sure that the truth hasn't been deliberately ignored and swept under the rug in order to launch more disgraceful and hateful attacks on the Jewish State.


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