IMEU Fact Check: Israeli Claims About the Assault on Gaza

“The Claim: Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005.

The Facts:
Although in 2005 Israel removed approximately 8000 Jewish settlers who had been living in illegal colonies in Gaza under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s so-called “disengagement” plan, Israel continues to exercise “unconsented-to effective control,” the legal definition for qualifying as an occupying power. Israel continues to control Gaza’s airspace, coastline, and all of its entry and exit points except for one controlled by Egypt, which has cooperated with Israel in maintaining the siege and blockade of Gaza.
The international community, including the United Nations, the United States, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all consider Gaza to be under continued Israeli military occupation. According to an October 2004 Human Rights Watch statement:
“The Israeli government’s plan to remove troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip would not end Israel’s occupation of the territory. As an occupying power, Israel will retain responsibility for the welfare of Gaza’s civilian population.”

“Under international law, the test for determining whether an occupation exists is effective control by a hostile army, not the positioning of troops… Whether the Israeli army is inside Gaza or redeployed around its periphery and restricting entrance and exit, it remains in control.”
In 2004, Dov Weisglass, a senior advisor to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told an interviewer that the Gaza withdrawal was designed to put the peace process and efforts to create a Palestinian state in “formaldehyde,” stating:
“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process… And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

“The disengagement is actually formaldehyde… It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”
In reality, after withdrawing its settlers in 2005 Israel laid siege to the territory, effectively locking the door and throwing away the key to what many have described as the world’s largest “open-air prison.”

The Claim: Tunnels dug into Israel by Hamas were designed to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

The Facts:
On July 29, The Times of Israel newspaper quoted a senior Israeli intelligence official stating that the Israeli military believes that recently discovered tunnels into Israel were intended to carry out attacks against military targets, not civilians, contradicting strenuous allegations made publicly by Israeli officials.
The Israeli government has yet to provide any evidence to support their claims that so-called “terror tunnels” were actually designed to be used in attacks against civilians.
To date, there have been no recorded attacks against Israeli civilians emanating from tunnels, while there has been at least one documented attack against an Israeli military target by Palestinian fighters using a tunnel.

The Claim: Hamas is to blame for the massive number of civilians killed and injured by the Israeli military in Gaza because Hamas uses Palestinians as “human shields.”

The Facts:
While it’s true that Hamas and other armed groups operate in populated areas in Gaza, a tiny, densely populated strip of land under tight Israeli siege with few open areas, there is no evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian groups deliberately use Palestinians as human shields.
According to a July 25 Amnesty International Q&A on the ongoing violence in Gaza:
“Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to ‘shield’ specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.”

“Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate. However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as ‘human shields’ for fighters, munitions, or military equipment. Under international humanitarian law even if ‘human shields’ are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply.”
Regarding similar claims made by Israeli officials during Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, Operation Cast Lead, which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, Amnesty stated in a 2009 report:
“Amnesty International, for its part, did not find evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian groups violated the laws of war to the extent repeatedly alleged by Israel. In particular, it found no evidence that Hamas or other fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks.”

By contrast, Amnesty International did find that Israeli forces on several occasions during Operation ‘Cast Lead’ forced Palestinian civilians to serve as ‘human shields’. In any event, international humanitarian law makes clear that use of ‘human shields’ by one party does not release the attacking party from its legal obligations with respect to civilians.”
While there’s no evidence that Hamas and other Palestinian groups deliberately use civilians as human shields, the Israeli military has a long and well-documented history of using Palestinian civilians as human shields, a practice officially known as the “neighbor procedure.”

The Claim: Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank in June, which sparked the current outburst of violence.

The Facts:
Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials immediately blamed Hamas and promised to hold the group accountable for the disappearance of the teenagers, launching a massive crackdown in the occupied West Bank in response, they offered no evidence and many experts were skeptical of the claim from the start. For their part, Hamas officials denied responsibility.
Shortly after the teens disappeared, an Israeli security official in the West Bank told a reporter:
“What we do know, is that this was likely an opportunistic move. The men behind this may have ties to a larger terror group, but this does not have the markings of a well-planned, complex operation.”
On July 25, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld was quoted by BBC reporter Jon Donnison saying that Israeli officials did not believe the Hamas leadership was involved in the murders, and that they had been carried out by a lone cell operating on its own, contradicting the official position of the Israeli government. Although Rosenfeld later backtracked after the comments made headlines, saying he was misquoted, Donnison stood by his report and Rosenfeld’s initial statement is consistent with all available evidence and the opinions of many observers.
The murders were not consistent with Hamas’ history of kidnappings, which have been designed to capture soldiers to exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, not to murder civilians.
Many analysts believe the Israeli government exploited the teens’ disappearance in order to justify cracking down on Hamas and to undermine the recently formed Palestinian Authority unity government, which Hamas supported and which had been recognized by the United States and the international community despite Israel’s fierce opposition. According to reports, the Israeli government deliberately misled the public for weeks, concealing the discovery of the bodies of the teens while continuing a massive military operation in the West Bank, ostensibly to search for them while still alive”.

You can check the links here,

http://imeu.org/article/fact-check-israeli-claims-about-the-assault-on-gaza

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‘Celebrities & Nobel Laureates Stand Up for Gaza in New Video’

“A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck D, Jonathan Demme, Gloria Steinem, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, Mira Nair, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza”.

See more here,

http://freedom4palestine.org/

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Jeremy Bowen: I saw no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields

“Trouble has been brewing between Israel and Hamas for months. The signs were there before the Israeli and Palestinian teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, and before Israel’s crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. It’s all horribly familiar. Missiles, rockets and threats, and another Israeli prime minister saying that this time military action would make his people safer.

History shows that military action merely deepens the conflict. Only a proper peace deal will make Palestinians and Israelis safer. There is no chance of one right now, which means more small wars, which will eventually become much bigger ones.

Palestinians who live in Gaza often call it the world’s biggest prison. They mean that about 1.8 million people live in a small strip of land, and most of them are not allowed out by Israel and Egypt, which control the border crossings. In Gaza, the human spirit is strong and it can be a surprisingly cheerful prison, but not now, of course.

The main route into Gaza for a journalist is through the Erez checkpoint from Israel. Erez looks a shiny airport terminal, empty and echoing except for the security guards with automatic weapons, and bored young women in the glass passport booths checking their mobiles. To cross, you need a foreign passport and an Israeli press card.

After a series of corridors and steel turnstiles is a concrete wall with a steel door. It slides open, controlled by a distant Israeli at the other end of the CCTV, and Gaza is on the other side. Next comes a kilometre-long wired-in walkway. If you’re lucky, a few Palestinians granted permission by Israel to approach the gate will be waiting. They run a shuttle service that links up with taxis that take you to the Hamas checkpoint. Israel destroyed their small terminal when the current war started. Now they’re back to noting down passport numbers in a ledger on a table under the shade of a tree.

It wasn’t always like that. When I started visiting Gaza in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians crossed Erez every day to get to work. Paul Adams, my BBC colleague, told me that when he first went to Gaza, teaching on a gap year in 1980, he took a party of Palestinian children on a public bus from the West Bank for a day at the seaside.

Now, anyone who could negotiate a public bus service from the West Bank to Gaza would at the very least get a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The diplomat who found a way to stop the killing on Gaza’s beaches and streets would deserve much more than that.

I saw Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, giving an interview to the BBC after Israel had killed more than 60 people in the Gaza district of Shejaiya. He said he regretted the civilian casualties in Gaza but they were the fault of Hamas. Netanyahu said Israel had warned people to get out. Some had taken the advice; others had been prevented from leaving by Hamas.

I was back in London for my son’s 11th birthday party by the time all those people were killed in Shejaiya. But my impression of Hamas is different from Netanyahu’s. I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields. I saw men from Hamas on street corners, keeping an eye on what was happening. They were local people and everyone knew them, even the young boys. Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told me that Hamas, whatever you think of it, is part of the Palestinian DNA.

I met Sourani first when he was condemning abuses by Yasser Arafat’s men. He has taken an equally tough stance on Hamas. Now he says Israel is violating the laws of war by ignoring its legal duty to treat Palestinian civilians as protected non-combatants.

Hamas, human rights groups say, also violates the laws of war by firing missiles at civilians. I used to be very cynical about international humanitarian law. When I heard, some time around the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, that the UN was setting up a tribunal to prosecute war criminals in the former Yugoslavia I thought it was a bad joke. I feel differently now, especially after testifying four times at the tribunal. I don’t think anything similar is coming for the Israelis and Palestinians. But the laws of war are the best way we have to measure the degrees of horror that human beings inflict on each other.

When I left Gaza, Palestinian rockets were landing uncomfortably close to Erez crossing. When the alert sounded, our Israeli driver leapt out, leaving the engine running, and took cover behind a wall. It is very frightening to be caught up in a rocket attack like that. Israeli civilians have been protected by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, by a big investment in civil defence (in the border town of Sderot, even the bus stops double as bomb shelters) and because their people are trained from childhood about how to take cover.

But it is wrong to suggest that Israeli civilians near Gaza suffer as much as Palestinians. It is much, much worse in Gaza. I defy anyone with an ounce of human feeling not to feel the same after ten minutes in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital with wounded and dying civilians. In the mortuary, it’s so overcrowded that the bodies of two children are crammed on to a single shelf. One day, they had only found enough of the remains of six women and children to fill a single stretcher.

Before Gaza, I’d spent most of the past two months in Baghdad, Beirut, Jerusalem, Aleppo and Damascus. The Middle East is on fire. I haven’t seen anything like it since my first reporting trip to the region in 1990. I don’t think anyone knows how to put the fire out”.

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2014/07/jeremy-bowens-gaza-notebook-i-saw-no-evidence-hamas-using-palestinians-human

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Hamas Did Not Kidnap And Kill Three Israeli Youths [see comments for link]

Israel’s reasons for attacking Hamas are coming apart at the seams.

 

 

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Only An Evil Man Could Blame Gazan Civilians For Their Own Deaths!

We can now add evil to Chris Proudlove’s growing list of shame. Today this evil man posted a blog titled

 

GAZANS VOTED IN  HAMAS WARMONGERS

 

In his vile and evil ramble he says,

 

What about the innocent adults and children who have died in the Mediterranean coastal enclave during the current conflict with Israel? Well, blame the electorate who voted for Hamas knowing it is the jihadists group’s aim to “obliterate Israel.

 

How can anyone who claims to be a ‘Christian’ make such an evil and vile comment?

 

On a related subject. B’Tselem has listed the names of the dead Palestinian children murdered. You can find their names here,

 

http://www.btselem.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lies Keep Rolling Off Mike Fryer’s Tongue

In an article on the Christians for Zion website titled ‘Hamas refuse to discuss a ceasefire’ Fryer makes the following claim,

Israel are open to a discussion on a possible ceasefire with Hamas but Hamas are refusing to enter into any discussions regarding a possible ceasefire.

Israel are also refusing to to entertain the possibility of a ceasefire as can be seen in the following quotes from Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Thursday that a cease-fire with Hamas was not on the agenda.

I am not talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now,” Netanyahu told the committee. “It’s not even on the agenda.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.604284

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said late on Friday that he would continue the military campaign until he achieved his goal.

“No international pressure will prevent us acting with all our force against a terror organisation that is calling for our destruction. We will continue to forcefully attack anyone who is trying to hurt us,” he said on Friday.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/israel-bombs-hit-centre-disabled-gaza-201471274035753506.html

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that his country will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations.

“The objective is to restore quiet to the cities of Israel, and I intend to achieve this objective,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28275414

I know at the beginning of the week Hamas are wanting a ceasefire along the lines of the 2012 ceasefire and as i understand it this has now chanmged but for Fryer to claim as he has is a downright lie.

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Mike Fryer Spreading False Information.

Christians for Zion director Mike Fryer who is in Israel and claims,

I am currently in Israel and able to gather first hand reports of what is happening not only in the Southern Israeli communities but also from areas such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which have also been under attack from HAMAS.

Has today made the following claim,

The BBC reported today that “Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks” when the truth is that approximately 100 mainly terrorists have been killed as their terrorist positions and facilities have were destroyed.

That is a lie. According to a BBC report the UN say three quarters of the dead are civilians including at least 21 children and 11 women.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/media.aspx?IsMediaPage=true

Here’s a BBC report,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28275414

How can this supposed ‘Christian’ tell so many barefaced lies!?!

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