Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rocket tally from IDF much lower than from Gaza groups

As of this morning, the IDF says that 2600 rockets had been fired from Gaza to Israel.

Hamas claims to have fired 2090 rockets.

Islamic Jihad claims to have fired 2039 rockets.

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade hasn't added them all up but they have fired about 10 a day, and the PRC perhaps 5 a day. Other groups also claim a number of rockets a day.

There is nearly a 2000 rocket gap.

How to explain this?

Are the terror groups exaggerating? I'm sure that there is some of that.  But their counts are very precise by rocket type.

Is the IDF lying? They have no incentive to lie to minimize the rocket threat.

The terror groups seem to count mortars, and I'm not sure if the IDF does. That would account for quite a few.

My guess is that there are a lot of rockets that are blowing up on at the launchpad, some are being double-counted from joint operations, and hundreds are falling short in Gaza, injuring and killing many - like the ones that killed kids in Shati and Shifa yesterday.

If only there were credible, objective observers in Gaza who could tell us what is going on instead of parroting Hamas talking points.

07/29 Links Pt2: Why Anti-Zionism Is Modern Anti-Semitism; 8 Times Kerry Betrayed Israel

From Ian:

Why Anti-Zionism Is Modern Anti-Semitism
Israel’s defensive Operation Protective Edge against Hamas rocket fire revealed that it took a military conflict to show that anti-Zionism cannot be decoupled from anti-Semitism.
As veteran observers of contemporary anti-Semitism are aware, the rejection of Jewish state sovereignty in Israel (i.e., anti-Zionism) has always been an inherent part of Jew-hatred.
In the late 1960s, the Austrian Jewish writer and Auschwitz survivor Jean Amery wrote, “Anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm.” To put it mildly, Amery’s definition of modern anti-Semitism wasn’t accepted by post-Holocaust Europe as a force to be combated. Anti-Zionism was deemed by many Europeans to be a politically and socially correct world view. In short, they viewed it as a form of legitimate “Israel criticism.”
Pro-Israel Hackers Overtake Hamas Sites
On Sunday, a number of Hamas-friendly websites were hacked by a Pro-Israel cyber team.
Users who viewed the various web sites expecting to see radical jihadi Islamist content were caught off guard and instead shown a split-screen display of videos taken from Israel and Gaza.
On one of the hacked jihadi sites, the user was treated to “Ramadan in Gaza,” where viewers are pointed to videos of chaos and destruction in the Gaza Strip during the now three-week long Operation Protective Edge. On the other side of the screen, viewers saw “Ramadan in Israel,” which showed Muslims casually enjoying their holiday without interruption.

Pictures Don’t Justify Anti-Israel Media Bias
The problem is the willingness of much of the international media to buy into Palestinian propaganda while ignoring the plain facts about the culpability of Hamas for the fomenting of the current conflict and the casualties that have resulted from its launching of the latest round of fighting. A media that isn’t willing to place the video of Palestinian suffering in a context of Hamas decisions to build shelters in the form of a vast tunnel network for their fighters and rocket arsenal while staking out civilians as human shields to be killed when Israel responds to rocket and tunnel attacks is one that can’t then turn around and advise Netanyahu that his country’s public-relations problems are its own fault. To the contrary, the willingness of much of the international media to whitewash Hamas and vilify Israel has only convinced Israelis that this is not the moment to hazard their lives on promises from the Palestinians or the Obama administration.
Asymmetrical warfare between a nation state and a terror movement that operates for all intents and purposes as an independent state in Gaza does generate problems for Israel. But if the goal is peace, then the only answer for Israel and the United States is to crush Hamas, not allow the pictures of the suffering that the terror group has orchestrated to force–as Kerry’s proposals have indicated–the West to grant them concessions. If both the administration and journalists like Fournier don’t understand this, the fault lies with them, not Netanyahu.

Italian journalist confirms Hamas killed kids at Shati and sanitized the area

A tweet from Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati tells the truth about the incident at Shati and Shifa yesterday, and it reveals even more than that:

In this one tweet, we have confirmation:
  • The rocket that killed the 9 children came from Hamas.
  • When Hamas made the area off limits to reporters, it was cleaning the area from any debris that could show the truth.
  • Hamas intimidates even good journalists from telling the truth, so much so that they won't report what they see while they are in Gaza. 

This is more than an independent confirmation of what the IDF said.

It is more than a confirmation that the IDF tells the truth and that Hamas knowingly lies.

This is a scandal: Every single Gaza reporter who was there in Shati and Shifa are keeping their mouths shut.

Yesterday I wrote that every reporter got it wrong. I was too kind. Every reporter knowingly trampled on the truth.

If reporters being in Gaza only promotes Hamas propaganda and willfully ignores the truth, then what value is there to send "journalists" there to begin with? You might as well just translate the Hamas Ministry of Information webpage and call it a day. Because that is exactly what the reporting out of Gaza has been like.

Every single report on TV from Gaza should have this disclaimer:

 "Our reporters have been threatened, implicitly and perhaps explicitly, by Hamas to only report one side of the story.Viewers must not trust anything they are saying."

There is an assumption of fairness in journalism, a contract between the media and the viewers. This contract has been broken, as far as I can tell, by nearly every single reporter in Gaza in nearly every report, with a couple of rare exceptions.

I understand that it isn't easy to report from a war zone. But when reporters are so willing to follow the dictates of the local government, and to allow themselves to be threatened without reporting that fact, then their reporting is nearly worthless, and they simply cannot be trusted.

EoZ Gaza War E-Book

I took my top articles about Operation Protective Edge as of last Sunday and created an e-book (in PDF format.)

For a $25 donation, I'll send you a copy.

Use the PayPal button on the top right of the blog or you can send an Amazon gift card.

(If you have given me a donation of over $25 in the past three weeks and didn't receive your copy already, let me know.)

Yes, it's a fundraiser, but I am working ridiculous hours to keep the blog updated during this war, and I want to be able to do even more.

If you want to understand the IDF viewpoint, you MUST read these

One of the problems that the IDF has is that the people making accusations against it don't understand how the army can possibly justify some of its actions.

This is inevitable. An army cannot be fully transparent during a war without compromising the security of its troops and citizens.

But we do have history.

The most famous - and most famously flawed - indictment of Israeli actions during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 came from the UN's Goldstone Report.

What most people did not hear about were the two responses made by the IDF to the report.

When you read the responses, you get the impression that Goldstone, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and the media's criticisms of the IDF are somewhat like an 8-year old trying to understand the US tax code.  Their assumptions and guesses about how a military works, what the intent of the IDF was in various operations, and even about what international law really says are breathtakingly naive.

So far, the level of criticism indicates that no one has bothered to do the most basic research, reflecting a willful blindness rather than an honest desire to gather facts.

There could be valid criticisms of IDF actions in the previous Gaza ground war. But the critics - if they are going to be intellectually honest - owe it to themselves to actually read the IDF responses to criticisms last time, if for no other reason than to not be as staggeringly ignorant this time around.

07/29 Links Pt1: Excuse Me For Living; US diplomacy is going bankrupt; It's terrorism, stupid

From Ian:

Hamas denies agreeing to 72-hour cease-fire
Fatah official Yasser Abd Rabbo claims announcement was made with consent of all Palestinian factions, however Hamas says cease-fire cannot exist while Israeli forces are inside Gaza.
Times of Israel Live Blog: Hamas says it’s ready for 24-hour truce as IDF indicates op reached goals
Military death toll at 53 after 10 soldiers killed Monday; IDF kills senior Islamic Jihad officer and strikes home of Hamas’s Haniyeh, amid massive airstrikes; rocket barrage fired at central Israel in wee hours
Excuse Me For Living
Israel has all the proof it needs that world opinion will never consider its right to exist important. The Obama White House, and a lot of the US News Media, portray the Hamas-Israel conflict as something like an amateur soccer match, with the uneven score (40-odd Israeli soldiers killed versus 1000-plus Palestinians, mostly civilians) showing that the contest is unfair, that Israel has “gone too far,” that they have entered the same moral zone as Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, carrying out a “genocide.”
Of course, this is a real hot war, not a diversity training exercise, or a self-esteem course, or any sort of the kindergarten psychotherapy that has come to form the basis of American thought and policy. And a vicious world opinion uses America’s own moral fecklessness the way Hamas uses women and babies to shield its rocket installations.
Apparently world opinion also doesn’t take seriously Israel’s founding maxim, “never again,” meaning that Israelis will not passively wait for world opinion to save them from an enemy that plainly and clearly seeks to annihilate them, as happened 1933-45. The Hamas organization is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. That is not a rhetorical gimmick; it is its declared unwavering primary goal. (h/t The_Kenosha_Kid)
Twelfth Lesson of Gaza War: The Israeli Left is Waking Up
Writing in Haaretz, July 10, Avineri bluntly conceded: “We were mistaken.”
The Israeli left was mistaken to believe “that we were talking about a dispute between two national movements, and that the other side felt the same way,” Avineri wrote. “The Palestinian side does not believe that we are talking about a dispute between two national movements: It believes that we are talking about a dispute between one national movement–the Palestinian–and a colonial imperialistic entity that will eventually die off.”
“The Palestinian title for the two-state solution is different than the Israeli version,” Avineri pointed out. “The Israeli stance talks about ‘two states for two peoples’ but in the Palestinian version the phrase ‘for two peoples’ does not appear. It only talks about ‘two states.’ If someone thinks that this is just poor phrasing, he should ask his Palestinian counterpart to express an opinion about the ‘two states for two peoples’ version and he will sooner or later get the answer that there is no Jewish people…in the Palestinian narrative, the Jews are not a people or a nation, but only a religious group, and therefore they are not entitled to a state.”
Avineri concluded: “The source of the dispute is not borders, settlements or even Jerusalem…[T]o ignore these deep-seeded views constitutes a lack of intellectual honesty.”
Lesson Twelve from the Gaza War: The Israeli Left is going to have a lot of soul-searching to do. And it’s starting already.
Articulate Zionist Young Man Of DoomTM
More disproportionate force inflicted on two anti-Israel protesters, at the hands of another of our secret weapons.
Get this kid a political party with Mohammad Zoabi and I’ll sign up.
18 year old vs 2 grown men Atlanta Stands with Israel 7 25 14

Hamas killed 9 Arab children yesterday. No one seems upset at them.

The evidence that two Hamas rockets were wildly fired and killed at least ten people yesterday is overwhelming.

The first and best piece of evidence is that the IDF denied doing anything in that area to begin with. Usually they say they were targeting terrorists and it takes them many hours to even begin to release results of an investigation, but in this case they knew immediately that it wasn't them - because they weren't there.

In every case I can recall of that sort of categorical denial by the IDF, it always ended up being proven true.

Here is what the IDF investigation found.

Presumably this came from the Iron Dome radar that calculates the trajectory of every rocket that is fired from Gaza in seconds. Given that one of the rockets headed for Ashkelon, and that terrorists shoot the same kinds of rockets in each volley, we can see that all of the rockets were probably Grad-types - Qassams don't reach Ashkelon.

The destruction we saw was consistent with a Grad rocket.

Other bits of evidence came in. A WSJ reporter tweeted (and then deleted) that the damage to the hospital was inconsistent with an airstrike.

An early tweet that may have been deleted from a reporter said that he saw a "shallow crater" at the Shati camp, again inconsistent with an Israeli airstrike.

Hamas barred the media from the area as they presumably cleaned up any evidence of the rocket - something they have done in the past when there was a high-profile misfire that they want to blame on Israel.

Reporters in Gaza still give credence to Hamas claims as if the terror group that brags about targeting millions of civilians is trustworthy.

It is also worth noting that, yet again, "eyewitnesses" say they saw an airstrike and it was not. This has happened countless times but lazy reporters keep quoting "eyewitnesses" who have no idea of what they are saying (or that are lying, as often happens.)

The funny thing is that no one has ever protested about the children Hamas kills. UNRWA isn't protesting Hamas' disregard for the lives of the people they say they are prottecting.

No NGO is calling this a potential crime against humanity. Probably because they only accidentally killed Gazan children while they were aiming at Israeli children, which isn't  problem at all for these hypocrites. The NGOs manage to read the minds of Israeli generals to determine intent, yet they ignore direct terrorist threats against civilians and policies designed to endanger their own people as not quite enough evidence.

Hamas finally admits some casualties

It took three weeks, but Hamas could not keep hiding its dead.

This morning they admitted that over 110 of their "soldiers" have been killed so far in the conflict. They did not release the names, however, which would allow people to see how some people described as "civilian" by the UN and NGOs are anything but.

This may have been a reaction to a leaflet dropped by Israel yesterday that sarcastically asked Gazans where all of these Hamas terrorists were being buried, with the names of some of the terrorists the IDF killed listed on the reverse side.

The Terrorism-Info site, which has ties to the IDF, has so far verified 291 terrorists killed, 301 civilians, and 355 still being researched.

Gaza is not occupied by Israel under international law - if you actually read international law

A number of so-called "fact checks" have been written that claim (among other things) that Israel legally occupies Gaza.

This is a topic I have discussed many times, so here are the highlights.

The Hague Conventions definition of 1907 is the only legal definition of occupation. That's it. The Fourth Geneva Conventions does not define it at all.

And here it is:

Art. 42. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.

The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

Amnesty International expanded on this definition when the US invaded Iraq:
The sole criterion for deciding the applicability of the law on belligerent occupation is drawn from facts: the de facto effective control of territory by foreign armed forces coupled with the possibility to enforce their decisions, and the de facto absence of a national governmental authority in effective control. If these conditions are met for a given area, the law on belligerent occupation applies. Even though the objective of the military campaign may not be to control territory, the sole presence of such forces in a controlling position renders applicable the law protecting the inhabitants. The occupying power cannot avoid its responsibilities as long as a national government is not in a position to carry out its normal tasks.

The international legal regime on belligerent occupation takes effect as soon as the armed forces of a foreign power have secured effective control over a territory that is not its own.It ends when the occupying forces have relinquished their control over that territory.

The question may arise whether the law on occupation still applies if new civilian authorities set up by the occupying power from among nationals of the occupied territories are running the occupied territory’s daily affairs. The answer is affirmative, as long as the occupying forces are still present in that territory and exercise final control over the acts of the local authorities.
Clearly, Gaza has a government that is not controlled by Israel, and just as clearly, occupation requires a physical presence on the territory itself.

Interestingly, Amnesty never refers to their own definition when talking about Gaza.

They aren't the only hypocrites whose definitions of "occupation" changes only for Israel. The UN, when asked specifically how they can define Gaza as occupied, sputtered nonsense in response, saying that Gaza and the West Bank are considered a single territory, and therefore if the West Bank is occupied then Gaza must be too. This means that they disagree with The Hague 1907 definition which clearly defines occupation as being applied only to the part of territory under control. By the UN's definition, all of Cyprus would be occupied by Turkey because some of it is occupied by Turkey.

The UN also specifically denied that Libya was occupied by the US and allies when its situation was quite analogous to Gaza today.

HRW likewise has one definition of occupation for the world, and another one for Israel. 

For those who want to get into more details, see this post about an ICRC-commissioned paper that went into considerable detail on not only the definition of occupation, for which there is near consensus, but also for when occupation ends.

Finally, see this post about how the ICRC gave more details on why they consider Gaza occupied despite the legal experts they hosted that say otherwise, and the complete demolition of that argument by an international law scholar, including his pointing out of obvious lies by the ICRC head.

Oh, and Hamas admits that Gaza isn't occupied.

In short, anyone who claims Israel occupies Gaza is making an argument that no one has ever made in respect to occupation anywhere else in the world. It proves yet again that when it comes to Israel, the very definitions of words are uniquely different for Israel.

(By the way, any territory that the IDF controls during the war would be considered occupied, and Israel would have legal obligations towards residents of the areas it controls. That situation is the exact reason there is a definition to begin with. But when Israel withdraws, Gaza goes back to being effectively controlled by its government, a government that Israel is powerless to change itself without a true occupation.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Obama defends killing civilians - when the US is doing the killing (UPDATE)

The rules for Israel are, as always, different than the rules for the rest of the world.

From The New Yorker, January 27, 2014:

“I think any President should be troubled by any war or any kinetic action that leads to death,” Obama told me when I brought up Yousafzai’s remarks. “The way I’ve thought about this issue is, I have a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans—killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes. That’s not speculation. It’s their explicit agenda.

Obama said that, if terrorists can be captured and prosecuted, “that’s always my preference. If we can’t, I cannot stand by and do nothing. They operate in places where oftentimes we cannot reach them, or the countries are either unwilling or unable to capture them in partnership with us. And that then narrows my options: we can simply be on defense and try to harden our defense. But in this day and age that’s of limited—well, that’s insufficient. We can say to those countries, as my predecessor did, if you are harboring terrorists, we will hold you accountable—in which case, we could be fighting a lot of wars around the world. And, statistically, it is indisputable that the costs in terms of not only our men and women in uniform but also innocent civilians would be much higher. Or, where possible, we can take targeted strikes, understanding that anytime you take a military strike there are risks involved. What I’ve tried to do is to tighten the process so much and limit the risks of civilian casualties so much that we have the least fallout from those actions. But it’s not perfect.

“Look, you wrestle with it,” Obama said. “And those who have questioned our drone policy are doing exactly what should be done in a democracy—asking some tough questions. The only time I get frustrated is when folks act like it’s not complicated and there aren’t some real tough decisions, and are sanctimonious, as if somehow these aren’t complicated questions."

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a pair of reports in October fiercely criticizing the secrecy that shrouds the administration's drone program, and calling for investigations into the deaths of drone victims with no apparent connection to terrorism. In Pakistan alone, TBIJ estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed.

Every single justification Obama gives for killing civilians applies to Israel. With one major difference: he is killing people a half a world away.

Israelis all live at the front, under direct, immediate threat - less than two minutes away from possibly being killed, day in and day out.  Nothing theoretical or indirect about it. Israelis would gladly trade places with Americans to have enemies thousands of miles away.

But they aren't allowed to eliminate the threat, according to Obama - even when the threat is more immediate, more concrete, more real, and the actions needed are far more clear and direct.

Someone should ask Obama why his critics aren't allowed to be "sanctimonious" about the difficulty of waging a war without civilian casualties - but he is.

UPDATE: Here is an alleged transcript of the conversation between Obama and Bibi on Sunday: There are serious questions as to its accuracy.

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
Talk about sanctimonious!

Some of today's tweets (including ElderToons)

See also this.

07/28 Links Pt2: Why Zionism is more important than ever before; Gal Gadot Slams Hamas Cowards

From Ian:

Chloe Valdary: To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman
The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.
• If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation—you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”
• If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”
Brendan O'Neill: Is the Left anti-Semitic? Sadly, it is heading that way
Indeed, some of the most influential trends in Left-wing politics over the past five years – including the Occupy movement and the Wikileaks movement – were both given to conspiracy-theorising and both also had a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism. So Occupy was kickstarted by Adbusters, a magazine convinced that powerful corporations control the masses’ fickle minds. In 2004, Adbusters published a disgustingly anti-Semitic article titled “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”, which listed the neocons in the Bush administration and put a black mark next to the names of those who are Jewish. Not surprisingly, Occupy itself, which was obsessed with the baleful influence of small cliques of bankers and other faceless, evil people, often crossed the line into anti-Semitism, as the Washington Post reported. And Wikileaks, too, which is also a borderline conspiracy-theory outfit, what with its obsession with the “conspiratorial interactions among the political elite”, has had issues with anti-Semitism: one of its key researchers, Israel Shamir, was exposed by the Guardian as being “notorious for [his] Holocaust denial and publishing a string of anti-Semitic articles”.
It is not an accident that the three key planks of the Left-wing outlook today – the anti-Israel anti-war sentiment, the shallow anti-capitalism of Occupy, and the worship of those who leak info from within the citadels of power – should all have had issues with anti-Semitism. It is because the left, feeling isolated from the public and bereft of any serious means for understanding modern political and economic affairs, has bought into a super-simplistic, black-and-white, borderline David Icke view of the world as a place overrun and ruled by cabals and cults and sinister lobby groups. And who has always, without fail, been the final cabal, the last cult, to find themselves shouldering the ultimate blame for the warped, hidden workings of politics, the economy and foreign turmoil? You got it – the Jews.
Wonder Woman Gal Gadot Slams Hamas 'Cowards' Who Hide Behind Women and Children
The brunette stunner sent out an unapologetic prayer for Israel over the weekend via Facebook. Her social media message didn't end there. She then savaged Hamas for what she called horrific and cowardly behavior.
"I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children...We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom! #weareright #freegazafromhamas #stopterror #coexistance #loveidf”
Within two days, the post gathered 172,303 “likes” and 4,692 “shares.” In addition, it attracted 15,786 comments – both in support of the Fast and the Furious star (and soon-to-be Wonder Woman) and harshly critical of her in particular, and Israel in general."
Where Orim Almost Gets Lynched
Lucky escape from an attack by Islamic mob on Al Quds Day
Our friend Orim – a pro Israel Arab – decided to turn up at an Al Quds march.
Waving an Israeli flag.
Near-lynch hilarity ensues.
Orim, we admire your bravery, but please be safe.
And if you try a stunt like this again, I will kill you!