"When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!" Jesus - John 8:44
Media coverage of the 2008-2009 conflict was similar to previous conflicts with a few brighter moments. There were occasions on which Israel’s advocates were allowed to speak. There were excellent pieces from Tzivi Lipni, Israeli diplomats and IDF representatives. UK Ambassador Ron Prosser spoke very well on TV and wrote en excellent piece in the Telegraph. Also, surprisingly, BBC’s Newsnight did explain that the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and BBC News carried a very fair analysis from Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan.
Just Journalism have produced a report on media coverage www.justjournalism.com
However, once the casualties started to mount, the British media largely abandoned objectivity in favour of emotional reporting and unquestioning acceptance of Palestinian narrative. The media showed little or no interest in the sustained rocket attacks from Gaza for the last few years that were the cause of Israel’s military operation.
Topics discussed on this page
Charities and NGOs - United Nations - Protest rallies– Humanitarian Crisis– Hospitals– Humanitarian Aid– Human Shields - Collateral Damage– Reporting– Activists– International Solidarity– Lawfare - international humanitarian Law - Human Rights law - Crimes against humanity - War crimes - Disproportionate force - Proportionality– Collective punishment– Geneva Convention– White Phosphorous– Hypocrisy - Holocaust.
Theses were used as sources of condemnation of Israel, giving highly partisan and questionable accounts of events. Charity appeals for Gaza painted a (false) picture of a place with no infrastructure and no humanitarian supplies or electricity or water supplies. On the strength of this picture, a combined charity in the UK (DEC) raised three million pounds in its first week.
The BBC refused to carry the charity’s blatantly one sided appeal, “in order to defend the corporation’s impartiality” according to the director, as did Sky TV. The aim of impartiality must be applauded, even if it was sadly lacking in some of the reporting, but the BBC did screen significant portions of the DEC charity advertisement as a news item. Members of Parliament attacked the BBC for its stand but did not force BBC to change.
Is this why Gaza needs flotillas?
While this was going on, Apple’s expensive new iPhone 5 was selling like ‘hotcakes’ in Gaza despite the world being informed that Gaza is a prison camp, with refugees living in poverty and starving to death.
The new iPhone 5 was selling in the Hamas-ruled enclave even before it has reached Israel.
See videos Gaza Demonstrations
Rallies were held and provided very revealing insights into the roots of the international reaction to the conflict. The coverage of angry Anti-Israel rallies fuelled public revulsion against Israel, whilst underplaying the Islamist, anarchist and pro-Hamas elements of violence.
Emotive rhetoric plumbed the usual depths with the allegations of a new Holocaust in Gaza. This is almost obscene in equating the attempted systematic destruction of the Jewish race with the (regretted) collateral damage suffered by people in Gaza, most of whom were combatants (out of uniform) and the rest were suffering for being used as Human Shields by Hamas.
The Zionist Federation organized a rally calling for Peace for the People of Israel and Gaza and for an end to Hamas terrorism.
The rally, attended by Jews and Christians, was covered on the BBC, but it was heavily outweighed by the many, ugly and spectacular anti-Israel events.
See also Gaza conflict videos
Many useful comments and sources were available on the Internet - the following has been distilled from these.
This chorus of entirely predictable widespread condemnation is the primary reason why no cease-fire will endure. Eliciting condemnation is the essence of the overall strategy of Israel's enemies to demonise and delegitimise the Jewish state in the eyes of the world.
The strategy goes back to Yasser Arafat. When he turned down the Clinton-Barak offer of statehood in 2000-2001, the international community and the media focused its criticism on what Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia rightly characterized as Arafat's "crime against the Palestinian people."
In order to redirect the criticism against Israel, Arafat ordered an intifada of terrorism that included suicide bombings against civilians. When Israel responded with tough measures, much of the world turned against Israel. Calls for divesture, boycotts and war-crime trials increased and criticism of Arafat diminished.
The UNHRC published its, typically bad, report on the Gaza conflict. . See Goldstone Report.
At the time.....
The UN was quoted extensively, criticizing Israel for killing civilians, particularly over thirty alleged deaths at a UN school when the IDF targeted a Hamas mortar squad firing from the compound of a UN-run school. (The IDF web site has footage of a previous incident in which Hamas terrorists fire from the front of a UN school.)
The first investigation by the IDF concluded that its hit on the school had caused secondary explosions that killed so many people. After the conflict was over, it was found that the IDF response had been three mortar shells, that landed outside the school compound in the street and, while nobody died in the school, there were casualties in the street.
Amongst the dead at the Jabalya school were Hamas terror operatives and a mortar battery cell who were firing on IDF forces in the area. Hamas operatives Imad Abu Askhar and Hassan Abu Askhar were amongst terrorists that were identified among the dead.
The UN Director managed to blame Israel on the basis of both, contradictory, accounts of the event. The event clearly demonstrates the difficulty in getting a reliable understanding of what happens in an conflict environment, and from people with a long track record of making up stories of wrongdoing by Israel. (obviously the closest Israeli observers were as far away from the event as the range of the mortar shells)
Why did the UN allow Hamas operatives (terrorists) to use its buildings and thus cause this loss of life?
Why did the UN blame Israel and not Hamas, since they were obviously aware of what Hamas personnel were doing?
Clearly the UN representative was compromised by criticizing Israel on the strength of two very different accounts, when the UN staff were those best placed to know the truth? He must have been complicit to propagating one false account!
The United Nations, and particularly the UNRWA is not impartial. Furthermore, it has a record of employing terrorists
Following up on the story that Israel supposedly targeted a UN school in its battle against Hamas, journalist Joel Mowbray has uncovered the disturbing fact that a UN agency responsible for schools operating in Gaza has a history of employing members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Mowbray's investigative reporting adds credence to the contention that Islamic terrorists are using school facilities as military outposts.
The News media carried plenty of stories originating from NGOs and charities that Gaza was suffering a Humanitarian catastrophe. Israel was alleged to be preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid and placing Gaza under siege. No mention was made of the humanitarian aid that Israel had been delivering or the fact that Israel had been continuing to supply electricity and water.
Hamas Stealing Aid Supplies to Sell to Residents
Hamas operatives have seized control of supplies passing through the crossings—including those sent by Israel and international organizations. Reports say Hamas takes a cut out of all aid that arrives, including flour and medicine. Supplies intended to be distributed without gain among the population is seized by the group and sold to the residents, at a profit to the Hamas government.This scandal has been commented upon in numerous Arabic newspapers including the PA. (monitored by Palestinian Media Watch)
One such incident was recorded January 5, when a convoy of trucks carrying supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened fire upon and seized by Hamas gunmen. Similar incidents occurred with trucks carrying fuel.
Hamas set up an independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its operatives wounded in fighting with the IDF - and, according to Israeli estimates, it is pilfering a significant portion of the medicine allowed into the Strip .
In Shifa hospital, Hamas gunmen actually gunned down in cold blood five Gazans suspected of being ‘collaborators’ in addition to 75 Fatah activists whom Hamas has shot and another 35 Palestinians known to have murdered in ten days.
BBC News screened an interview conducted with Norwegian doctor Dr Mads Gilbert, treating the wounded at Shifa,. Gilbert painted an appalling picture. There were many amputations and head injuries; more and more patients were arriving; there were so many they were dying waiting for surgery. Asked how he was coping, he replied: ‘I’m not coping; the Palestinians are coping and they do all they can’. Gilbert was presented as just an ordinary doctor. But Gilbert appears not to be just an ordinary doctor. He is a political activist and member of the Norwegian Maoist ‘Red’ party. Not only is he viscerally hostile to Israel and a long-standing activist in the Palestinian ‘solidarity’ movement, but he even supported the 9/11 attacks.
By the time the IDF withdrew from Gaza, they were convince that the Hamas leadership was sheltering under Shifa Hospital and that it was impossible to attack them under such a Human Shield. In fact, Article 19 of the Geneva Convention states, "civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, shall be entitled to protection unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy...." so the IDF could have legally attacked the hospital; but did not.
Reports out of Gaza say residents who attempted to flee their homes in the northern area of the Strip were forced to go back at gunpoint, by Hamas men. Other civilian complaints state that Hamas gunmen pull children along with them "by the ears" from place to place, fearing that if they don't have a child with them they will be fair game to the IDF. Others hide in civilian homes and stairwells, UNRWA ambulances, and mosques.
Con Couglin wrote in the Telegraph,
“In common with other militant Islamist groups, Hamas thinks nothing of seeking refuge among the civilian population, knowing that if their better-equipped adversaries accidentally kill or injure innocent civilians while trying to attack Hamas fighters, Israel will receive all the criticism, rather than the Hamas fighters who placed the civilians in harm's way. It is a dilemma British forces encounter every day in Afghanistan, where another militant Islamist group – the Taliban – frequently infiltrates densely populated civilian areas in order to launch attacks against coalition forces.......................”
It could be said that the title of this piece about Human Shields captured the truth of public perception of the conflict. The incident referred to (halfway down his article) is,
“The appalling loss of life this week when Israeli forces shelled a UN compound killing more than 40 people is an illustration of the dilemma facing commanders on the ground, when confronting Islamist militants who refuse to acknowledge the normal rules of engagement.”
This was certainly not the first time that public hostility against Israel derived from a report that later proved to be false. (See Mohammed al Dura)
One of the leaders of the "military" wing of Hamas, Nizar Rian, was killed by an Israeli air strike on his house along with 14 others (including 4 of his wives).
That strike was the result of careful intelligence gathering. When Rian was located, Israeli Army and government legal advisors went through a painstaking process of bringing the strike before court judges to verify its legality according to the Geneva conventions. Fifteen (15) minutes before the strike, the Israeli army called on the telephone and asked the people to leave the house. When they received the call, they gathered people up onto the roof as a human shield. The Israeli helicopter pilot saw them, and as they figured, he didn't want to hurt them.
The pilot then fired a missile into a field next to the house to warn them. They still did not leave. Then he fired onto them a non lethal weapon to cause them to flee. Only after they left the roof did he fire the shot that destroyed the house. When the missile hit, there were a series of other explosions, indicating, as assumed by the Israeli army, that the house was used for weapon storage.
The IDF stepped up its operations against weapons smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor after dropping leaflets on the town of Rafah urging residents along the border to vacate the area. "Because Hamas uses your houses to hide and smuggle military weapons, the IDF will attack the area, between the Egyptian border until the beach road," the leaflet said, according to a local UN official. After the leaflets were dropped, more than 800 families fled to two UN schools turned into temporary shelters. IAF plans then began flying sorties over the area. According to Israel TV Channel 10, the army said that anti-tunnel operations would continue through the night.
More than 600,000 leaflets in Arabic were dropped over different locations in Gaza, warning Palestinian civilians to leave for their own safety and not to cooperate with Hamas. "Israel's enemy is not the civilian population but rather the terrorists," said one leaflet. (israel today magazine)
The Israel Defense Forces has unveiled a new tactic meant to reduce civilian casualties, calling houses before they are to be targeted in order to give inhabitants time to flee the attack.
Palestinians reported that in some cases, the caller leaves a message on their voice mail warning that the IDF will bomb any house where weapons are rockets are found and the owners of the houses will be the ones to suffer the consequences. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052260.html
Israel also sent SMS (text) messages to 100,000 cell 'phones urging Palestinians to flee before their neighbourhoods were attacked. (israel today magazine)
Read the analysis by Britain's leading soldier, on the IDF conduct of this conflict.
Apart from bias or slanted viewpoints there is the issue of sources. There were cases in which sources presented as impartial aid workers in Gaza were found to be highly partisan activists.
The Telegraph carried a story on its foreign news pages by Ewa Jasiewicz, reporting from Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza. It was exclusively about the suffering of civilians and children under bombardment by Israeli air strikes. It made no reference to any Hamas terrorists in the camp. Readers were given no indication that Ewa Jasiewicz was anything other than an objective reporter.
Yet the very next day, she appeared again in the Telegraph's foreign news pages -- but this time being interviewed by Tim Butcher as an 'activist originally from Kingston, Surrey' and the principal source of his story about two children being killed by a bomb from an Israeli warplane, an event which she claimed to have witnessed.
Indeed, Ms Jasiewicz is not a regular reporter at all. She is a highly partisan, deeply committed, experienced anti-Israeli International Solidarity Movement activist. She is an active player on the side of the Palestinians who are committing acts of terror against the Israelis -- which she would describe as legitimate and justified 'resistance'. Nor was this something she had hidden.
Melanie Philips the-telegraph-becomes-an-ism-mouthpiece from the Spectator
To be fair to the Telegraph, it also published an excellent piece by Israel’s Ambassador, Ron Prosser, in which he said,
“As the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pointed out, the loss of life in Gaza was "avoidable". Without the destructive actions of Hamas there would have been no reaction from Israel.”
“As Israel targets Hamas's terrorist infrastructure, we continue to supply Gaza with electricity and aid. Thousands of tonnes of food and medical supplies have passed through the border in recent days. The provision of electricity, aid and support to the civilians of an enemy territory, during a time of war, is a unique phenomenon. “
“Israel provides shelters underneath its communities to protect its citizens. Hamas places missiles in shelters underneath civilians. - - Hamas fires missiles with the express intent of murdering civilians. Israeli intent is directed solely at Hamas combatants.”
After sisters' deaths, Palestinian girl blames Hamas
Recorded from an Interview was on PA TV (Fatah) Dec. 29, 2008
Hamas celebrates targeting Israeli civilians
Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Dec. 28, 2008
See other videos that did not make it to the public media
NGO Monitor - January 21, 2009
The exploitation of international legal rhetoric is a major weapon in the political war to delegitmize Israeli anti-terror operations. Under this strategy, crystallized at the NGO Forum of the UN's 2001 Durban Conference, the terminology of international humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights law is selectively applied to charge Israel with "violations of law," "crimes against humanity," "war crimes," "disproportionate force" and "indiscriminate attacks."
NGOs use the legal language to increase the credibility and seriousness of the charges, and in the Gaza conflict, many are already calling for international "investigations" and "lawfare" (i.e. filing lawsuits against Israeli officials in different countries) based on these accusations.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO have reaped significant political benefits from this strategy in their conflicts with Israel. This NGO Monitor report analyzes common NGO legal claims:
Hamas flouts international law and very few NGOs call it to account. Gilad Shalit, held hostage by Hamas since June 2006 is entitled to the rights and protections of prisoners of war guaranteed in the Third Geneva Convention, including the right to unfettered access to the Red Cross.
Hamas exploits schools, mosques, hospitals and cultural centers to carry out its attacks in flagrant violation of article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This factor is minimized or ignored by numerous NGOs, and the emphasis is placed on Israel to avoid civilian casualties. But international law is clear: in cases of human shields, civilian deaths that result are clearly the responsibility of Hamas and not Israel.
Under international law, the test for proportionality is whether civilian harm is "clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated." Casualty ratios are not relevant, and this standard does not require equivalency in weaponry.
NGO claims that Israel deliberately targets civilians or does not attempt to distinguish between civilian and military targets are entirely without foundation. The NGOs leveling these charges do not possess military expertise, detailed information on the dispersal of weapons by Hamas, and they are not privy to Israeli targeting decisions. Such information is essential in order to make a credible evaluation of Israeli military responses to the thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas.
Restriction on the flow of goods in a war environment does not constitute "collective punishment" under international law and this charge is not only false legally, but factually as well. "Collective punishment" refers to the imposition of criminal penalties and does not refer to the legal act of sanctions or blockades. In fact, pursuant to article 23 of the Geneva Convention (which sets standards for the provision of limited humanitarian aid), Israel has no obligation to provide any goods, even minimal humanitarian supplies, if it is "satisfied" that such goods will be diverted or supply of such goods will aid Hamas in its war effort. As numerous credible accounts have reported, Hamas has diverted supplies from Gaza’s civilian population. Although Israel is under no legal obligation and despite the diversion as well as attacks on the Israeli border crossings, including the April 9 attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot and the May 22 truck bomb attack at the Erez crossing, Israel continues to provide thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. This is above and beyond any obligation under international law, and the claim of "collective punishment" is entirely unjustified.
Calls for "war crimes" investigations and lawsuits are part of the NGO anti-Israel lawfare strategy, in order to harass Israeli officials with civil lawsuits and criminal investigations and to promote a negative media image of Israel. Rather than obtaining "justice" for victims, these cases are intended to punish Israel for its anti-terror methods, to prevent future operations, to interfere with Israel's diplomatic relations, and to advance boycotts and other aspects of the Durban strategy.
discussed by By Dore Gold - (extracts)
Israel's current military actions in Gaza are on solid ground. According to international law, Israel is not required to calibrate its use of force precisely according to the size and range of the weaponry used against it.
What is critical from the standpoint of international law is that if the attempt has been made "to minimize civilian damage, then even a strike that causes large amounts of damage - but is directed at a target with very large military value - would be lawful."
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, explained that international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court "permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur." The attack becomes a war crime when it is directed against civilians (which is precisely what Hamas does).
It was said that when a Hamas rocket makes a direct strike on a crowded school, killing many children, then Israel will finally act. This scenario raises the question of whether the doctrine of proportionality requires that Israel wait for this horror to occur, or whether Israel could act on the basis of the destructive capability of the arsenal Hamas already possesses, the hostile declarations of intent of its leaders, and its readiness to use its rocket forces already. Alan Dershowitz noted two years ago: "Proportion must be defined by reference to the threat proposed by an enemy and not by the harm it has produced." Waiting for a Hamas rocket to fall on an Israeli school, he rightly notes, would put Israel in the position of allowing "its enemies to play Russian Roulette with its children."
Human rights groups were quoted in the media, criticizing Israel for “war crimes” etc saying that white phosphorus shells were used in Gaza. Human Rights Watch claimed shells exploded over populated civilian areas, including a crowded refugee camp and a United Nations school where civilians were seeking refuge. Additionally, Various media outlets ran strident articles about white phosphorus burn injuries.
White phosphorus (WP) is a flare- and smoke-producing incendiary device. The main utility of white phosphorus munitions is to create smokescreens to mask movement from the enemy, or to mask his fire. In contrast to other smoke-causing munitions, WP detonates immediately causing an instant bank of smoke. As a result of this, WP munitions are very common. However, white phosphorus has a secondary effect. White phosphorus burns quite fiercely and can set cloth, fuel, ammunition and other combustibles on fire. It can cause serious burns or death.
White phosphorus weapons are controversial today because of their potential use against civilians. While the Chemical Weapons Convention does not designate WP as a chemical weapon, various groups consider it to be one. In recent years, the United States, Israel, and Russia have used white phosphorus in combat. (See Hypocrisy, below)
The International Red Cross said Tuesday that Israel has fired white phosphorus shells in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, but has no evidence to suggest it is being used improperly or illegally.
The comments came after a human rights organization accused the Jewish state of using the incendiary agent, which ignites when it strikes the skin and burns straight through or until it is cut off from oxygen. It can cause horrific injuries.
"In some of the strikes in Gaza it's pretty clear that phosphorus was used," Herby told The Associated Press. "But it's not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it's being used in any other way."
Herby said that using phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is legitimate under international law, and that there was no evidence the Jewish state was intentionally using phosphorus in a questionable way, such as burning down buildings or knowingly putting civilians at risk.
White phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon.
(Peter Herby is head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Arms Unit) Herby also said of WP, “…..Incendiary weapons do not include: (i) Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems”
A year after the conflict it emerged that two senior officers had been reprimanded. But how significant is it and does it justify the accusations it stirred up? It is difficult to find a clear and fair analysis on the Internet. The following information came from the BBC (not known for fairness to Israel)
Israel has revealed it has reprimanded two top army officers for authorising an artillery attack which hit a UN compound in Gaza last year. In the attack on 15 January 2009 the compound was set ablaze by white phosphorus shells. During the 22-day conflict last year, media pictures showed incendiary shells raining down on a UN compound. The admission is contained in the Israeli response to the UN's Goldstone report, which concluded both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes. The Israeli army has not specifically said the rules of engagement were broken over the use of white phosphorus. These connections may or may not be fair but the following appears to be a quote. Indeed the talk about white phosphorous appears not to be connected to the reprimand.
"Several artillery shells were fired in violation of the rules of engagement prohibiting use of such artillery near populated areas," the Israeli response to the Goldstone report says. The officers were charged with "exceeding their authority" in ordering the use of the weapons in the attack.
A HaAretz report adds something, although most of the article concerned the delay in releasing the information.
The affair for which Eisenberg and Malka were later reprimanded was not mentioned at the briefing - the matter of the unjustified artillery fire: the use of live ammunition to help rescue a Givati Brigade platoon from a situation in which they were under anti-tank missile fire from Hamas - even though the orders allowed firing only smoke shells. The investigation found that Malka exceeded his authority, but his orders did not cause the death of any innocent civilians.
Israel is well within its rights - Alan Dershowitz
What if Israel defended its citizens the way the British, the French, the Americans and the Russians did? When German rockets hit British cities during the World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill retaliated by bombing German cities, killing thousands of German civilians, and promised to continue until Germany's unconditional surrender. The United States did the same following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The French did much worse in Algeria and the Russians showed no concern for civilian life in Chechnya or Georgia.
The IDF, on the other hand, has gone to extraordinary lengths to minimize civilian casualties, despite the reality that Hamas deliberately fires its rockets from densely populated civilian areas and hides its rocket launchers in schools, hospitals and mosques.
Every Hamas rocket attack against Israeli civilians - and there have been more than 6,500 of them since Israel ended its occupation of Gaza - is an armed attack against Israel under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which authorizes member nations to respond militarily to armed attacks against it.
Why then is Israel singled out for such ferocious criticism?The Hamas tactic is encouraged by selective condemnation of Israel. Such condemnation creates a win-win situation for Hamas terrorism. Every time they kill an Israeli civilian, they win; every time Israel kills a Palestinian civilian, Hamas also wins.
US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
The US has said, "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians,
Col Venable denied that white phosphorous constituted a banned chemical weapon. Washington is not a signatory to an international treaty restricting the use of the substance against civilians. The US state department had earlier said white phosphorus had been used in Falluja very sparingly, for illumination purposes. Col Venable said that statement was based on "poor information". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4440664.stm
November 2004: US Troops Use White Phosphorus against Human Targets in Fallujah
US forces use white phosphorus (WP) gas munitions as incendiary weapons against human targets during its siege of Fallujah, Iraq
Bravo Battery 1/10 Shooting White Phosphorus in Afghanistan (Shake and Bake tactics)
In Gaza, Hamas fired a White Phosphorus mortar shell at Eshkol western Negev of southern Israel.
Col Tim Collins, the controversial Iraq war commander, trained his soldiers to use white phosphorus, which burns through flesh to the bone, in combat against enemy troops.
The admission by the former Special Air Service officer, revealed in his autobiography Rules of Engagement, contradicts claims by the Ministry of Defence that the chemical was only ever used to create a smokescreen.
British troops also used white phosphorus to kill Argentinian troops during the Falklands conflict.
Discussing the weapons to be used in the operation in the Basra area, he wrote: "The star of the show was the new grenade which had only been on issue since the previous summer. It absolutely trashed the inside of the room it was put into.
"I directed the men to use them where possible with white phosphorus, as the noxious smoke and heat had the effect of drawing out any enemy from cover, while the fragmentation grenade would shred them."
Col Collins' tactics mirror the United States army "shake and bake" technique which involves forcing troops out of cover with white phosphorus and then killing them with artillery rounds.
A Partial List of NATO Air Strikes on Civilian Populations/Installations – With Reported/Estimated Casualty Toll
Nature of Incident
Reported/Estimated Civilian Casualties
April 5, 1999
Missile Attack on Aleksinac, Serbia
NATO attack on a barracks on the town of Aleksinac . Resulted in missiles striking a residential area hitting apartments, an "emergency centre" and a medical dispensary
10 dead and at least another 30 injured
April 12, 1999
Grdelica Gorge, Serbia
NATO attack on a railway bridge hit a passenger train.
14 killed and 16 injured
April 14, 1999
Road between Đakovica -Dečani
NATO aircraft repeatedly bombed refugee movements over 19 km stretch in western Kosovo,
73 deaths and 36 injured
April 23, 1999
NATO attacked of the Serb Radio and Television headquarters in Belgrade.
16 civilian technicians killed and 16 wounded
April 27, 1999
Missile Attack on Surdulica , Serbia
NATO attack on residential area in the southern town of Surdulica.
16 civilians killed
May 1, 1999
Attack on a civilian bus on Lužane Bridge North of Priština:
A NATO missile aimed at the Lužane bridge hit a passenger bus. The vehicle was cut in two by the strike, near Lužane bridge, 20km (12 miles) north of Priština - one section plunged off the bridge into the river below, the other portion remained burning on the bridge for more than an hour An ambulance sent to the scene was reportedly hit in a second NATO strike.
39 people were killed
May 7, 1999
Cluster bombing of Niš
NATO confirmed that a cluster bomb aimed at an airfield in the Yugoslav city of Niš hit a hospital and a market. Unexploded cluster bombs left lying in gardens.
14 civilians killed, about 60 injured
May 7, 1999
Missile Attack on Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
The U.S. admitted that an out-of-date map used by its intelligence operations had led NATO to mistakenly launch missiles at the Chinese embassy
3 dead, 20 injured
May 14, 1999
NATO bombing of Albanian refugees near Koriša, Kosovo
NATO planes bombed of Albanian refugees near Korisa striking two convoys of ethnic Albanians trying to flee Kosovo,
Over 100 killed
May 19, 1999
Belgrade Hospital Struck
A NATO bombing attack on the Dragiša Mišović hospital in Belgrade hospital. Parts of the hospital were reduced to rubble. NATO admitted a missile aimed at a nearby army barracks went astray
4 killed. several wounded
Bombing of Varvarin, SE Serbia
NATO bombers mounted a daylight raid on a bridge in Varvarin , south-central Serbia when local residents were attending the town's market. The aged and narrow bridge was considered insignificant and no military installations were to be found within a radius of 20 km. Most of the casualties occurred in the second wave, when people had rushed to the bridge to help those wounded in the initial wave.
11 civilians were reported killed and 40 injured about 17 very seriously
May 30, 1999
Missile Attack on Old Age Sanatorium in Surdulica, Serbia
NATO planes hit an old age sanatorium in Surdulica in south-eastern Serbia, the second time civilian targets were hit in the town in just over a month.
At least 11 people killed
May 31, 1999
Novi Pazar, southwest Serbia.
A NATO missile attack on an apartment building in Novi Pazar, southwest Serbia .
At least 11 people and 23 injured
Information from an article by Melanie Philips
Re Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
Yet another slew of unsourced, unverified and unsubstantiated allegations and assertions by unnamed Israeli soldiers claiming appalling acts during Cast Lead was being given pride of place on BBC news bulletins and in the British media. Despite the fact that this was based entirely on hearsay and rumour, it was reported as a credible set of allegations. This has of course happened before. As I wrote here last March, Ha’aretz published similar horror stories from IDF soldiers – which turned out to be untrue, unsubstantiable second and third hand recycled gossip -- or just the soldier’s own opinions.For the BBC and the British media to put out the Breaking the Silence smears is, to put it mildly, sloppy journalism; but the real sting of this is that it simply would not happen in respect of any other country.
Now the Jerusalem Post reports that Breaking the Silence is funded by several European governments, including Britain. So the British and European governments fund an organisation which smears Israel, thus providing the pretext for those governments to put the thumbscrews on Israel and punish it on the basis of ‘pressure’ from the organisations they fund.
StandWithUs has now published accounts by named IDF soldiers who present a very different picture from Breaking the Silence which they feel traduces the army in which they serve.
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs went on the offensive ahead of an anticipated negative UN report on the IDF's operation in Gaza at the start of the year, by releasing a comprehensive, 160-page report on Thursday entitled “Israel's Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects.” The detailed study was prepared in order to place the Gaza operation in its proper factual and legal context, and assesses that Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop its almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks upon Israeli civilians and its other acts of terrorism.
According to a statement put out by the Foreign Ministry, the paper “examines in detail the application of the principles of necessity, distinction and proportionality,” all of which have been called into question by various NGOs lately. After years of exercising restraint, Israel's resort to force in the Gaza Operation was both a “necessary and a proportionate response” to the Hamas attacks, the report concludes. To view the full report, CLICK HERE!
Charities are still speaking as if Gaza is a ruin full of Palestinians living in poverty. Presumably some areas are maintained in this condition for the benefit of charities and media personnel. However, there is another side that makes far more attractive viewing.
Finally - an insight into the humanitarian crisis in Gaza - www.flotillacruiseline.com
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