How Gaza was spun
By Andrew BOLT (Herald Sun -- Monday, January 26, 2009}
Report after report during the fighting in Gaza stressed how Israel was carelessly killing civilians - and so many of them.
But reports by largely Left-leaning journalists from an area controlled by a terrorist group that could make life very nasty for them and their contacts cannot lightly be trusted. Both of the key claims against Israel turn out to be suspect.
First, Fairfax’s Jason Koutsoukis finds that Hamas, at least, knows well that Israeli troops restrain themselves in a fight - and tried to exploit that restraint in ways that put the lives of innocent Palestinians at risk:
Mohammed Shriteh, 30, is an ambulance driver registered with and trained by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.... Mr Shriteh said the more immediate threat was from Hamas, who would lure the ambulances into the heart of a battle to transport fighter....
In fact, Hamas reportedly used one hospital as a hideout and headquarters:
Senior Hamas officials ... are believed to be in the basements of the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, which was refurbished during Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip… During a cabinet meeting a week ago, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said senior Hamas officials found refuge in the hospital basement because they know Israel would not target it, due to the patients in the upper floors.
This is the same hospital where Mads Gilbert, the Marxist Norwegian doctor who backs terrorist attacks against the US, worked for several days and gave countless interviews accusing Israel of war crimes against largely innocent Palestinians. Oh, and performed in one highly questionable medical intervention for the cameras.
And what of all those innocents that Israel slaughtered? True, hundreds did, tragically, die, as Hamas fought from behind their human shields, but once again it seems the truth was spun:
Italian journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, who works with the Corriere della serra newspaper, reported Thursday that Hamas had vastly overstated the number of civilian deaths in Gaza. While Hamas claims that 1,330 residents of Gaza were killed in the operation and approximately 5,000 wounded, the real number of casualties was far lower, Cremonesi says.
Cremonesi’s report was based on his own findings after touring hospitals in Gaza and talking to families of those killed or wounded.... Cremonesi estimated that between 500 to 600 people were killed in the fighting. Most were young men between the ages of 17 and 23 who were members of Hamas, he said.
Many hospitals had several empty beds, he reported… The Italian report also confirmed Israeli allegations that Hamas had used civilians as human shields and used ambulances and United Nations buildings in the fighting.
And, typically, the only clear case we have so far of innocent Palestinians being deliberately gunned down during Israel’s invasion has received almost no coverage and zero outrage from the the UN and the rest of the “pro-Palestinian” bureaucracy:
The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Social Welfare Affairs, Mahmoud Habbash, ...confirmed that Hamas had been torturing and executing Fatah members in the Gaza Strip during and after Operation Cast Lead. Nineteen Palestinians were murdered in cold blood by Hamas, Habbash said, while more than 60 others were shot in the legs.
Ihab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza, confirmed that his men had arrested scores of “collaborators” with Israel during and after the war.... Musa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas official in Syria, confirmed that his movement had executed “collaborators” during the war.