Introduction — August 7, 2014
A couple of facts need to be pointed out in relation to what follows.
Implying that Hamas used Palestinian civilians as shields, Israeli army spokesmen claim “”We have many pictures that prove Hamas was fighting among civilian populations and schools as well as using mosques”.
Given that Gaza is one of the most densely populated tracts of land anywhere on the planet, Hamas fighters could hardly avoid “fighting among civilian populations and schools”.
To suggest that they used them as “shields” is disingenuous, if not deliberately misleading. It was, after all, Israeli policy that forced so many Palestinians to live so closely together in such a tiny strip of land.
Moreover, we would urge some healthy scepticism when confronted by the crocodile tears of Israeli military spokesmen who claim that Palestinian civilian casualties were “an unjustifiable mistake.”
In this regard a confidential report for official Israeli spokesmen and women should be required reading for all journalists covering the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Authored by political strategist Dr Frank Luntz and published in 2009, the report urged:
“Persuadables [sic] won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show Empathy for BOTH sides!”
This may explain why Israeli spokesmen voiced sympathy for Palestinian civilians even as the IDF was busy killing them.
Time and again during Operation Protective Edge the IDF was given the exact coordinates of hospitals and U.N. schools sheltering displaced civilians and yet those sites were repeatedly hit by Israeli shells. Too often to be a simple “mistake”.
Indeed according to former IDF sergeant Efram Efrati, he was reliably informed by soldiers in Gaza that many Palestinian civilian casualties were deliberately targeted in revenge for fallen IDF comrades.
Gaza offensive ‘fiercest,’ ‘deadliest’: Israel
Anadolu Agency — August 5, 2014
The Israeli army believes its latest Gaza Strip offensive was the hardest and costliest on both sides.
“The war was the fiercest,” Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, shortly after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the coastal enclave.
“It saw the heaviest shelling from our part, the fiercest fighting by both sides and the biggest losses in terms of those killed and wounded from both sides,” he added.
“We have killed 800 Hamas fighters,” Adraee said.
The Israeli government and Palestinian factions had endorsed an Egyptian proposal for a three-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip starting Tuesday.
Israel has since completely withdrawn its forces from the besieged Palestinian territory.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 1867 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed and 9470 wounded in unrelenting Israeli attacks since July 7.
The Israeli army, for its part, has confirmed the killing of 64 troops and the injury of 651 others in Gaza combat operations, while three civilians were killed in rocket attacks on Israeli cities.
For its part, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, says it has killed 161 Israeli troops and captured one.
Adraee said Israeli troops had pulled out of the Gaza Strip after having destroyed 32 tunnels.
“We have already achieved the goal of our mission in Gaza,” he told AA.
“We cannot talk about 100 percent success in destroying the tunnels. There might still be some tunnels left,” admitted the Israeli spokesman.
“This was why our troops remain on the border with Gaza to protect our citizens in southern Israel,” he added.
The Israeli army spokesman admitted that children and women were killed in Israeli attacks.
“This is an unjustifiable mistake. But we were largely targeting militant sites,” he said.
Adraee asserted that Israel had since the beginning of the offensive formed committees to document responses to any accusations of committing war crimes in Gaza.
“We have many pictures that prove Hamas was fighting among civilian populations and schools as well as using mosques,” he said.
Palestinian groups have repeatedly refuted Israeli accusations of using civilians as human shields or using schools, hospitals and mosques to launch attacks.
The Israeli army spokesman sounded optimistic that the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire could develop into a durable ceasefire.
A delegation representing all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, has been holding talks with Egyptian officials over the past days on a durable Gaza ceasefire.
Israel said it would send a delegation to Cairo within hours for the same purpose.