Tuesday, June 27, 2006
While Hamas quite publically goes through the motions of demanding the release of all Palestinian "women and children" from Israeli jails, such posturing is really little more than a sick joke. After all, among the jailed "women and children" Hamas refers to are many teens who all but volunteered for Israeli jail time and don't want to leave. More sickeningly, their humanitarian-ish demands include freedom for the Palestinian "woman" inhumanely jailed on the political charge of trying to blow herself up in the Israeli hospital where she was being treated for burns from a cooking accident -- with the aim of killing and maiming as many of her fellow patients and the doctors who cared for her as possible.
The Hamas attempt to protray their invasion and kidnapping as a noble and heroic act on behalf of such innocent, victimized women and children would be laughable were it not for the great masses of media who eat this stuff up, and excrete it right back out. Israel should be under no illusions that negotiations with such a party will lead to the release of Gilad Shalit, their kidnapped soldier. It is for this reason only that the tanks and personnel carriers are once more poised at Gaza's doorstep.
Now look at this picture and tell me what you see:
To many, this is just a perfectly innocent picture of Palestinian militants setting up explosives to blow up the Israeli soldiers they expect will soon pass by in search of their kidnapped comrade.
But, while there is a slight chance these explosives could take out an Israeli soldier, it is far more likely that history will remember the explosive charge shown in the photo only as one more atrocity committed by Israel in what will likely be publicized as "Jenin II." That's right, in all likelihood, after this bomb blows up -- this bomb we see being laid before our very eyes -- after it takes down all the nearby walls of surrounding houses, the worlds' photographers -- perhaps including Ahmed Jadallah himself -- will be brought back to this very same spot to photograph and report on the cruel war crimes committed by the Israelis as they massacred and wantonly blew up poor refugees' homes.
In case you've forgotten, in case you don't see it yet, here is a little of what it was like in the original Jenin, in which Israel was universally castigated for its heartless massacre of innocents and for the destruction of whole swathes of Palestinian houses:
It isn't hard to see what is coming. It's happened before. Have any lessons been learned? In 2002, Israel risked and lost its own troops by going house to house instead of bombing from the air, just to reduce Palestinian civilian casualties -- and were repayed for such unheard of sacrifice by the global media's blind parroting of the Palestinian charge "War Crimes."
According to a CNN report  Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant Tabaat Mardawi, told CNN enthusiastically from his prison in Israel, that, after learning the IDF was going to use troops, and not planes, "It was like hunting ... like being given a prize. ....He added: "I've been waiting for a moment like that for years."
Mardawi told CNN that Palestinian fighters had spread "between 1000 and 2000 bombs and booby traps" throughout the camp. . Time Magazine said that "some of the bombs were huge – as much as 250 lb. of explosives...compared with the usual 25 lb. a suicide bomber uses." A total of 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the street fighting. 13 died in a single day (April 9), when, Palestinian fighters lured the IDF into a trap. [...]
Time Magazine also wrote about the heavily wired (booby-trapped) refugee camp. It stated, for example, that on the outskirts of Jenin, an IDF armoured Caterpillar D9 detonated 124 explosive charges. Time also reported that an unnamed "senior Palestinian military officer" told them that it was probably the gunmen's own booby traps that [had] buried some civilians and fighters alive.  [...]
Rumors of massacres in Jenin swirled through Palestinian communities which were then echoed in the world press for several weeks, pitting world public opinion against Israel.  This was not helped as Israeli authorities prevented the international press from entering the refugee camp for two weeks.
Later inquiries by human rights groups and the UN commission did not find evidence of massacres by Israeli forces in Jenin. [...]
Palestinian Information Minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, accuses Israel of digging mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the camp, whilst Secretary-General of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Abdel Rahman claimed [slanderously] that "thousands" had died, the most serious accusations of the episode. [...]
In late April and on May 3, 2002, the United Nations (UN), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released reports about the Israeli military incursions into Jenin. The reports documented that approximately 30 Palestinian militants, 22 Palestinian civilians, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting and thus felt no evidence that a massacre took place.
This time, the camera-bearing remotely-piloted drones should already be in the air, ready to film the fake funerals, and Yasser Abed Rabbo's empty mass graves. And the photographs of the soon-to-be-destroyed houses should be seen BEFORE they are blown up, with their bombs and bombers proudly mugging for the camera, confident no one will remember once the "after" shots make the front page. The IDF should have a comprehensive media plan in place before any action in Gaza, so they are prepared to handle the inevitable blame they will receive for having forced the Palestinians to wire their own homes with explosives.
Also on the case:
Elder of Ziyon: "Remember when Israel first mentioned the possibility that the Gaza family had been killed by a Hamas bomb buried on the beach? Pro-terror Hamas supporters scoffed that Hamas would never do something like that - bury explosives in areas that Palestinian Arab children might play." (Once you see his photo, you'll remember it.)
Life of Rubin sees it too, and the danger to Palestinian kids, even if their own militant parents don't.
Daled Amos also notes that freeing the female hospital bombers isn't really enough after all: "After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the terrorists demanded the release of imprisoned women and children in exchange for his safe return. Now, [with the apparent kidnapping of another Israeli] Hamas has upped its demands--threatening even more kidnappings until all Arab prisoners are released." As usual, Daled Amos has a lot more and is worth a click to read.
UPDATE (next morning): As the IDF moves into Gaza, I sincerely hope I'm wrong, and that the operation succeeds in quickly sending a clear message leading to the release of Gilad Shalit with no more loss of life on either side. I hope everything I've written above is proven totally wrong and shockingly cynical, and that everything goes, well with a happy ending for all -- Gilad released, the Palestinian explosives returned to their hiding places, and IDF forces safely returned home.
My prayers are with Gilad Shalit and his family, the IDF forces intent on rescuing him, and indeed with all the innocent civilians in harm's way -- Palestinian and Israeli alike -- that no harm befall them. I only hope peace may finally come when Israel's enemies no longer believe there is anything to gain through terror and continual warfare. May we all unleash the power of our prayers for such good results. If you'd like some inspiration for your prayers, try Olah Chadasha, Life in Israel or Oleh Yahshan, Shlemazl, and Hayom.
More details on the operation and updates at Euphoric Reality, Hashmonean and of course Israellycool.