Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dec. 27 : The Second Anniversary of Operation Cast Lead

This poster commemorating Operation Cast Lead has been making the rounds- on facebook, on listserves and on various anti-Israel websites. Its nearly breathtaking in its audacity. Look at the figures. 1180 "civilians" + 317 "kids" + 117 women. This adds up to 1616, not the 1415. Why the difference? Is this an acknowledgment of Iranian militants killed in Gaza?

The claim of 1180 "civilians" comes well after Hamas admitted that 700 combatants (originally claimed as "policemen" or "civilians" ) were killed during Cast Lead.

From the Huffington post:

So, in a recent interview with a London paper, Al-Hayat, Fathi Hamad, Hamas' Interior Minister, responded to these criticisms as follows:

"It has been said that the people were harmed by the war, but is Hamas not part of the people? It is a fact that on the first day of the war Israel struck police headquarters and killed 250 members of Hamas and the various factions, in addition to the 200-300 operatives from the [Izz al-Din] al-Qassam Brigades. In addition, 150 security personnel were killed, and the rest were from people. (The original text of the interview in Arabic, as reprinted in the Hamas newspaper Felesteen, can be found on the website of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. It was also reported by Agence France Presse)

This statement not only supports the Israeli numbers, but it also acknowledges what Israel has long said about the 250 policemen who were killed on the first day of combat: they were "members of Hamas and the various factions" and were indeed "combatants" by any realistic definition of that term.

Fathi Hamad's figures are in striking contrast to those originally issued by Palestinian groups which claimed that only 48 combatants were killed and that the total amounted to a mere 17 percent of all fatalities.

Even if these figures were assumed to be accurate, there is a huge discrepancy between women and men killed. If Israel were targeting civilians, the gender ratio of those killed would be closer to 50/50. Only 8% of those killed in this conflict were women.

And the "children"? Invariably, the Palestinian "children" killed are older teenaged boys, cynically used as child combatants by Hamas. Blogger Elder of Ziyon identified some of these children from websites celebrating their martyrdom

Ahmed Rasmi Mohammed Abu Jazar "Mujahid" 16 years old
Nabil Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Ti’eima "Shahid Mujahid" 16 years old
Sha’aban ‘Adel Hamed Hanif 16 years old "al Mujahid"
Tareq Yaser Mohammed ‘Afana 16-years old Al Qassam Brigades member
Mahmoud Majed Mahmoud Abu Nahla 16 years old "Shahid Fighter" in ICT
Adham Na’im Mohammed Abdul Malik (17 years old) Islamic Jihad spotter
Belal Hamza Ali ‘Ubeid "Abu Khalid" 17 years old Al Qassam member
Samed Mahfouz Mahmoud Abed Rabbu, Islamic Jihad member, 16 years old
Mohammed Jaber Mohammed ‘Eleyan 16 years old member of PRC/Nasser Brigades
Feras Fayez Kamel Abu Samra 17 years old "hero martyr" on Paldf forum

The final word on Operation Cast Lead belongs to British Col. Richard Kemp who has testified:

"Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.

The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks."

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