Saturday, January 3, 2009

Four lies about Israel and Gaza

[Click here for Jack's latest Gaza update (#8). Click here for this week's Haveil Havalim, which includes many posts on Gaza.]

I've noticed four lies repeated persistently by anti-Israelis on-line; here are the lies and their refutations.

1. The lie: "Israel is using white phosphorus against civilians in Gaza."
According to the Geneva Convention, white phosphorus may not be used against civilians. SOTT, among other anti-Israel sites, shows a photo which it claims is an example of White Phosporus use against civilians in Gaza; see it here. They provide no evidence, only the allegation, coupled with statements about Israel shelling Gaza in general.

In truth, though, the photo comes from this Guardian article (I won't waste time wondering whether they paid a fee to the Guardian or AP for the picture)... and the article makes no mention of white phosphorus, or civilians for that matter, in relation to that picture.

Update: I have now seen the AP's original picture, and compared it to other photos of white phosphorus shells. It is possible that this is white phosphorus - however, the photo shows clearly that this is not a civilian area. Per the photo, and per the AP blurb as well, it's an open area near the Israel/Gaza border.

Here is the AP blurb: "A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. Israeli warplanes, gunboats and artillery units blasted more than 40 dozen Hamas targets Saturday, including weapons storage facilities, training centers and leaders' homes as Israel's offensive against Gaza's Islamic militant rulers entered a second week. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)"

2. The lie: "Israel is bombing Gaza indiscriminately."

This lie appears here, among other places:
Michael Hudson, professor of international relations at Georgetown University said that by backing Israel's position the US was opening itself up to attack. "If you're identified with an Israel that is bombing indiscriminately and disproportionately, this is really good for Osama Bin laden, it's good for extremists all across the region and I fear that Americans as well as Israelis will now suffer," he told Al Jazeera.

The truth, though, is fairly clear: Considering the fact that Israel has flown hundreds of sorties over a population of 1.5 million people, I think it's fairly clear that "bombing indiscriminately" would have resulted in thousands of casualties, and not the few hundred Hamasniks who have been killed.

3. The lie: "Israel is using depleted uranium shells in Gaza."
This is an old Arab canard; they've used it against Israel in every war they've ever had. This time it's put forth by Dr. Mads Gilbert, a visiting physician and, apparently, now a weapons expert.

Check out this site, though, to see what the UN concluded when they investigated the same claim in Lebanon. No use whatsoever.

4. The lie: "Israel is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza."
We've seen this one claimed all over the Net, including this clever use of Yahoo Answers for propaganda purposes.

Too bad for them that sites like this show Israel bringing in the aid, huh?

Unless, of course, you think Israel was blocking aid by refusing to allow Cynthia McKinney's ship to land in Gaza. But if you actually believe they were bringing aid rather than political theater, then I must acknowledge that there will be no convincing you of anything related to reality.

Update: And here's a possible fifth lie. CNN reports here that the Palestinian death toll is up to 485 - but does it include the 35 "collaborators" killed by Hamas the other day on suspicion that they would aid Israeli forces?


  1. milosevic-
    Your first link is to an AP picture from an article that has no mention of white phosphorus.
    Your second link is pictures that bear no resemblance to the first.
    So what's your point?

  2. milosevic-
    1) Your photographs are far from conclusive. The articles to which they were originally attached didn't make the claim - for that reason.

    2) Your "war crime" claim is entirely preposterous. You are aware, of course, that international law permits use of phosphorus against non-civilian targets, correct?

  3. milosevic-
    I had a chance this evening to study the AP original of that photograph. I agree that it is possible that this is white phosphorus.

    However: The background of the image clearly shows that this is not an area with civilians. It's an open field just inside the border from Israel (as described in the official AP blurb on the AP site, by the way - register for AP images and then go here to see it).

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  6. Milosevic,

    There is a big issue here. Your friends in Hamas intentionally do not wear uniforms. When they are killed it is not always possible to identify them as having been terrorists, as opposed to civilians.

    This is an intentional tactic on their part. When you add in their intentional storage of weapons in public places and terrorist activities in mosques and hospitals you are going to kill civilians.

    Unlike Hamas, Israel doesn't want to kill the civilians. That serves no purpose for Israel. Unfortunately Hamas is happy to exploit their own people and does things to see that palestinians are killed.

    So unless you are going to spend some time raging at Hamas for their actions you haven't much ground to stand upon.

  7. milosevic said...
    The Times:

    "Israel is bombing Gaza indiscriminately":

    Israel Bombs Gaza Market


    wow what a ham-ass shill you are. You bought this hook,line, and sinker. what a sucker.

    This video is actually footage of ham-ass blowing up their fellow countrymen.

  8. Sorry, folks, but I have had to ban the commenter "milosevic". Not because of being anti-Israel, but because of knowingly posting lies.

    I can deal with him citing anti-Israel lobbyists at the UN.

    I can deal with him quoting an article that explicitly states Israel would be allowed to use white phosphorus in the ways depicted in AP photos.

    But I cannot accept him linking to videos that have already been debunked. Specifically, he linked to a video of Hamas's own rockets exploding at a parade of theirs in 2005, and claimed it was of an Israeli assault on a market in Gaza.

    Seeya, milosevic.

  9. You left out the biggest lie of all:
    "Israel is causing civilian deaths"

    No, actually, Hamas is causing them, by violating any known rules of warfare and staging attacks from within civilian areas, disguising themselves as civilians, and using their own FAMILY MEMBERS and other peoples' children as human shields.

    ARG! I am so angry at all the stupid, stupid reporters and interviewers who don't ever mention the hamas culpability in all this.

  10. My favorite is the International Red Cross in Geneva (remember the Geneva conventions, boys?) worrying about Gazan hospitals being overwhelmed with wounded, but not mentioning a single thing about CONFIRMED reports that Hamas has been using these same hospitals to store guns and missiles, in clear violation of the Geneva conventions.

  11. Tzipporah-
    It's all about the underdog. People have this simplistic, knee-jerk response of feeling bad for the apparently weak Hamas. It's sad that in a matter of life and death, they don't bother to read any further.