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    Comments

    Ben-David

    More pertinent information:

    Human Rights Watch is funded by George Soros and promotes his left-leaning, pro-Palestinian agenda. Mark Garlasco has a similarly politicized background - although his official bio plays up his Pentagon connection, he is a member of the hard-left anti-war group VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) and was involved in a politically motivated leak of damaging security information:

    http://www.aim.org/media_monitor/4187_0_2_0_C/http://www.aim.org/media_monitor/4187_0_2_0_C/

    I've read reports calling HRW "independent" - implying they are "impartial" - but they are not.

    In addition, the report you quoted mentions a crater - but none of the photographic evidence shows anything like that. An artillery shell fired onto a sandy beach would have left one heck of a hole. Was this video staged?

    Consider this, too: shrapnel gathered by HRW after the fact is next to worthless - given the exchange of fire that's been going on during the current "cease fire" (!)there is no shortage of bits of metal on the ground in northern Gaza.

    Robert

    Surely, if there was an independent investigation, certainly one or both parties will dismiss the conclusion as biased. No matter what the outcome, we already see this incident taking its place in competing 'narratives' of the ongoing antagonism (I recall you've written about 'narratives' before, Judy). Whatever the cause, and whatever the final outcome of this tragic incident, I cannot see a positive or opinion changing aspect to it.

    It would be lovely to think that this ambiguity would result in folk saying: "well, since we cannot work out what went on there, the only thing for it is to preserve the ceasefire. Hard to beleive, but latest reports suggest this is precisely what Hamas has suggested.

    Ben-David

    Uh, Robert - there was never a ceasefire outside of Hamas press releases. The shelling of southern Israel has been continuous, and in fact precipitated this incident.

    Perhaps your news sources have been unquestioningly reporting the Palestinian pronouncements that "Israel's attack breaks the ceasefire" - but Israel fired its artillery AFTER being attacked.

    Repeatedly.

    Hamas has not waited on this or any other excuse to attack Israel.

    This is the old dodge in which "it all started when Israel hit back"... fresh-on-the-scene journalists lock on to the most jarring, emotional images without giving any context.

    Fabián

    Good post, Judy. I think you nailed it.

    Israel is too small to reject charges that it cannot conduct an objective investigation. Bigger countries brush aside this.

    Lynne

    Judy:

    the PA media has already been caught with their pants down falsifying the event by using archival footage to establish the presence of IDF naval vessels. That's not proof positive of culpability for the deadly explosions, but it is proof positive of the extent to which the PA can't be trusted to not concoct evidence.

    HRW's credibility is mixed at best. On the one hand, they helped get the truth out about the Jenin non-massacre, but also admitted, after Saddam's fall, that they knew of Saddam's grizzly torture chambers, the special one at Abu Graib for children as well, but said nothing for fear that they would be kicked out of the country and felt that would not advance human rights in Iraq as they would not be there as witnesses. Now, that's logic I challenge right there. What could be a greater testament to a bad human rights record than throwing out a watchdog group for reporting the truth?

    jeffrey Mushens

    Like Norm, I was shocked and assumed that IDF shelling had gone badly wrong. Like Norm, I'd like an independent inquiry because I suspect that the IDF would be cleared (I hope).

    Why is the IDF shelling a beach used by families?If it's because the terrorists are using families as human shields why isn't the press taking up that story?

    ETABORI

    Friday, June 16, 2006
    Steinberg: HRW's rush to judgement -- launches another PR attack against Israel


    Please see:http://www.pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_Shooting2006.asx

    Friday, 16 June, 2006
    HRW is clearly under pressure to "prove" that its support for the
    Palestinian version is correct --- and the subheading "Palestinians Agree to
    Independent Inquiry" could have been used in the Jenin "massacre" myth
    campaign, and on many other occasions. For HRW and the Palestinians,
    "independent" means the UN or another body dominated by anti-Israel
    ideologues, where the outcome is never in doubt.

    In today's press release, like the previous one, Garlasco and HRW present
    the narrow claims that might support their version, while ignoring all of
    the contradictory data. The claim that the Israeli government has
    attributed this explosion to a mine planted by the Palestinians is also
    incorrect -- there is some unofficial speculation, particularly in the
    media, but no official statement on the possible cause. And it is
    interesting that while Garlasco portrays himself as a military expert, we
    know very little about his actual combat experience, if any. What is his
    political agenda, and why has he not provided a report on the sources and
    manufacture of Palestinian rockets and missiles? For the mass media, the
    NGO "halo effect" remains intact, at least for now.

    Gerald Steinberg
    www.ngo-monitor.org

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: HRW Press
    To: HRW Press
    Sent: Friday, June 16, 2006 1:26 AM
    Subject: Israel: More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF

    For Immediate Release

    Israel: More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF

    Palestinians Agree to Independent Inquiry

    (Gaza, June 15, 2006) - A digitally dated and time-stamped blood test report
    of a victim treated at a Palestinian hospital that admitted wounded from the
    June 9 killings on a Gaza beach suggests that the attack took place during
    the time period of an Israeli artillery attack, Human Rights Watch said
    today. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied responsibility for the
    killings, saying that although they fired six artillery shells onto the
    beach between 4:32 p.m. and 4:51 p.m., the fatal incident must have occurred
    after that.

    Human Rights Watch first challenged this conclusion, concluding that the IDF
    most likely caused the killings, in a press release,
    www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/13/isrlpa13544.htm , based on an
    investigation by its researchers in Gaza.

    Human Rights Watch researchers examined the computer-generated record from
    the Kamal Adwan hospital, which documents the blood test of a victim from
    the beach incident being taken at 5:12 p.m. on June 9. Furthermore,
    hand-written hospital records log patients from the incident as having been
    admitted starting at 5:05 p.m. If the records are accurate, based on the
    time needed to dispatch an ambulance and drive from the hospital to the
    beach and back, this suggests that the fatal explosion took place at a time
    when the IDF said they was firing artillery rounds. Both sets of records
    also directly call into question the account of the IDF that ambulances did
    not reach the beach until 5:15 p.m. that day.

    Altering the records would require re-setting the computer's clock and
    re-writing pages of the hospital's admissions log. Human Rights Watch
    researchers said that the pages they saw documented patients un-related to
    the beach incident, followed by two pages of victims from the beach. The
    first of those were admitted at 5:05 p.m. The researchers saw no evidence
    that the times might have been altered.

    Israeli military officials have also suggested the explosion, which killed
    seven members of the Ghalya family and wounded many others, might have been
    caused by a mine. But Human Rights Watch researchers also examined
    blood-crusted shrapnel given to them by the father of a 19-year-old male who
    suffered abdominal wounds in the beach explosion. They determined that the
    shrapnel is a piece of fuse from an artillery shell.

    "The likelihood that the Ghalya family was killed by an explosive other than
    one of the shells fired by the IDF is remote," said Marc Garlasco, senior
    military analyst at Human Rights Watch. "This new evidence highlights the
    urgent need for Israel to permit an independent, transparent investigation
    into the beach killings."

    Human Rights Watch received a fax today from the office of Palestinian
    Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, saying that the president's office,
    which is holding much of the shrapnel removed from the blast victims, would
    cooperate and share evidence with an independent inquiry team.

    ETABORI

    Please see:

    http://www.pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_Shooting2006.asx

    Steinberg: HRW's rush to judgement -- launches another PR attack against Israel

    Friday, 16 June, 2006
    HRW is clearly under pressure to "prove" that its support for the
    Palestinian version is correct --- and the subheading "Palestinians Agree to
    Independent Inquiry" could have been used in the Jenin "massacre" myth
    campaign, and on many other occasions. For HRW and the Palestinians,
    "independent" means the UN or another body dominated by anti-Israel
    ideologues, where the outcome is never in doubt.

    In today's press release, like the previous one, Garlasco and HRW present
    the narrow claims that might support their version, while ignoring all of
    the contradictory data. The claim that the Israeli government has
    attributed this explosion to a mine planted by the Palestinians is also
    incorrect -- there is some unofficial speculation, particularly in the
    media, but no official statement on the possible cause. And it is
    interesting that while Garlasco portrays himself as a military expert, we
    know very little about his actual combat experience, if any. What is his
    political agenda, and why has he not provided a report on the sources and
    manufacture of Palestinian rockets and missiles? For the mass media, the
    NGO "halo effect" remains intact, at least for now.

    Gerald Steinberg
    www.ngo-monitor.org

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: HRW Press
    To: HRW Press
    Sent: Friday, June 16, 2006 1:26 AM
    Subject: Israel: More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF

    For Immediate Release

    Israel: More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF

    Palestinians Agree to Independent Inquiry

    (Gaza, June 15, 2006) - A digitally dated and time-stamped blood test report
    of a victim treated at a Palestinian hospital that admitted wounded from the
    June 9 killings on a Gaza beach suggests that the attack took place during
    the time period of an Israeli artillery attack, Human Rights Watch said
    today. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied responsibility for the
    killings, saying that although they fired six artillery shells onto the
    beach between 4:32 p.m. and 4:51 p.m., the fatal incident must have occurred
    after that.

    Human Rights Watch first challenged this conclusion, concluding that the IDF
    most likely caused the killings, in a press release,
    www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/13/isrlpa13544.htm , based on an
    investigation by its researchers in Gaza.

    Human Rights Watch researchers examined the computer-generated record from
    the Kamal Adwan hospital, which documents the blood test of a victim from
    the beach incident being taken at 5:12 p.m. on June 9. Furthermore,
    hand-written hospital records log patients from the incident as having been
    admitted starting at 5:05 p.m. If the records are accurate, based on the
    time needed to dispatch an ambulance and drive from the hospital to the
    beach and back, this suggests that the fatal explosion took place at a time
    when the IDF said they was firing artillery rounds. Both sets of records
    also directly call into question the account of the IDF that ambulances did
    not reach the beach until 5:15 p.m. that day.

    Altering the records would require re-setting the computer's clock and
    re-writing pages of the hospital's admissions log. Human Rights Watch
    researchers said that the pages they saw documented patients un-related to
    the beach incident, followed by two pages of victims from the beach. The
    first of those were admitted at 5:05 p.m. The researchers saw no evidence
    that the times might have been altered.

    Israeli military officials have also suggested the explosion, which killed
    seven members of the Ghalya family and wounded many others, might have been
    caused by a mine. But Human Rights Watch researchers also examined
    blood-crusted shrapnel given to them by the father of a 19-year-old male who
    suffered abdominal wounds in the beach explosion. They determined that the
    shrapnel is a piece of fuse from an artillery shell.

    "The likelihood that the Ghalya family was killed by an explosive other than
    one of the shells fired by the IDF is remote," said Marc Garlasco, senior
    military analyst at Human Rights Watch. "This new evidence highlights the
    urgent need for Israel to permit an independent, transparent investigation
    into the beach killings."

    Human Rights Watch received a fax today from the office of Palestinian
    Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, saying that the president's office,
    which is holding much of the shrapnel removed from the blast victims, would
    cooperate and share evidence with an independent inquiry team.

    Schnitzel

    German paper doubts Gaza beach reports

    snippets

    "German newspaper casts doubt on Palestinian claims that IDF shell killed seven family members on Gaza beach. How come Hadil Ghalia was seen wearing dry clothes after the Gaza beach attack when she was reported to have been swimming?

    The newspaper said in footage of the beach taken by an IDF drone at the time of the attack, five craters left by IDF artillery shells could be seen, but that 250 meters away people could also be seen.

    The paper said it is strange that although shells exploded 250 meters away from a beach site where Palestinian families congregated, no one was seen running away or panicking.

    Irbad told the newspaper he was told of the attack by paramedics who guided him to the scene.

    But no paramedics are seen until later in the footage, raising suspicions that he was first to reach the scene.

    Moreover, if Irbad was the first to get to the scene, why were most bodies covered by sheets? Who was there first to cover the bodies? The newspaper asked."

    "The newspaper also doubts Irbad's claim that Hadil was not injured because she was in the water when the shell exploded. His footage show her dry and fully clothed.

    Another question raised by the newspaper is a shot of a man carrying a rifle next to the dead body of Hadil's father. The newspaper said in earlier footage, the same man was seen lying on the beach among the injured.

    The footage also shows paramedics in green clothes and a dozen of bearded men looking for evidence. The newspaper asks whether the men are Hamas affiliates and wonders why they were preoccupied with collecting evidence rather than helping the injured."

    "Asked why he didn't try to calm Hadil instead of filming her he said: "She asked me to film her. She wanted to be seen next to her father to show the world the crimes that Israel is committing."

    The newspaper finally asks: "Did the shocked 10-year-old girl, who had lost her father minutes earlier, give the cameraman direction instructions?" "

    Schnitzel

    "Mahmoud Abbas, saying that the president's office,which is holding much of the shrapnel removed from the blast victims, would cooperate and share evidence with an independent inquiry team."

    And you really think it likely that Abbas would act honourably in this? You can be certain that even if they do have shrapnel from the incident, they will only hand over the correct shrapnel if it incriminates Israel.

    The Remittance Man

    The fact that the Palestinian line seems to be leaping from a 155mm artilery shell (the shrapnel with the convenient "155mm" stamp) to now blaming the Israeli Navy gunboats (whose vessels are fitted with 76mm guns) does lead one to suspect their line.

    The Gaza strip has been fought over many times in the last fifty years, which leads one to suspect that there is plenty of unexploded ordinance lying around. Beaches are also quite often mined to prevent landings and I'd imagine that mine clearance isn't an exact science either.

    The most likely explaination? Take an area likely to contain old, unexploded ordinance and add inquisitive children. From there it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see a kid come running up to his parents proudly saying: "Daddy, look what I've found....."

    RM

    henry gurwood

    Is it true that Israeli shells would in fact have '155mm' stamped on them?

    Was the stamp in English or Hebrew? Again, is either consistent with Israeli munitions?

    The Remittance Man

    Henry,

    A lot of Israeli munitions are actually US made so stamps are likely to be in English if present. From my experience (civilian who has poked around the odd military museum or two) shells are stamped with various codes and descriptions. I can only assume that this is done to prevent misidentification of various items in the heat of battle.

    I mean, could you tell the difference between a 155mm shell and a 140mm shell by sight? Through the goggles of a gas mask? While lots of people were doing all they could to kill you? I guess that's what's described as a supply troopie's worst scenario.

    RM

    Lynne

    Jeffrey Mushens:

    Why isn't the media looking at the story from the perspective that Palestinian civilians are being used as human shields by "resistance fighters", "militants" or whatever they want to call them?

    Force of habit. They've blindly swallowed the propaganda and acted as useful idiots for so long they can't see the forest for the trees.

    Aaron

    I have posted a very long post with quite a few fresh idea's and a few rather terrible mistakes that the HRW 'expert' made.

    regards Aaron

    http://bagelblogger.blogspot.com/

    Sako

    Mr.Fred, you should be able to fit some sort of wave eiaotqun if you go back to when Arafat and his mobsters arrived from Tunisia. After they came, there allegedly were demonstrations against these thugs during which the PLO machinegunned the protesters. There was also a wave of assassinations of locally elected mayors allegedly by those same PLO goons.All I can say is lets wish all of the contending Arab factions in Gaza, Judea and Samaria the very best of luck.chsw

    Laura

    we thought it a mikstae for Israel to move Jews OUT of Gaza and to give Gaza to the Pals, and he was even more angry when we spoke out saying we didn't think the USA should support that move financially...He cursed us as dogs for NOT supporting Israel in ALL matters and left my forums in a childish 'fit of anger'...As most of 'Bones' readers know, I DO support Israel, if I think Israel is correct in it's actions, and right now, I think Israel is VERY correct in it's actions, but I don't even support the actions of the USA 100% of the time, and I don't hesitate to speak out against what I believe to be inappropriate actions here either...Again, I wish ALL Israelis the best and I send you MY prayers and support... You are doing the right thing, I only hope your own government keeps on doing the right thing...

    Libyan

    I agree that the situation is deeifrfnt from Apartheid and the Black Civil Rights Movement in the US, given that security concerns do play a part in restricting Palestinians' freedom of movement in the occupied territories. HOWEVER, if Israel were to disengage from the West Bank and a part of East Jerusalem and proper security measures were put in place with international help, this would create a much more secure future for Israel and an acceptable solution to Palestinian grievances. It's not necessary to like or even sympathise with the actions of Palestinian activists to see that ultimately, this makes sense. If your primary concern is security, there are better solutions, long term, than the current one. If your primary concern is the Jewish right to control Judea and Samaria and endlessly harass the Palestinians living there in order to manage the security issues resulting from this, don't pretend you actually care about the safety of Israelis it doesn't add up.

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