Cutting through the bullshit.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Accidents will happen

If it wasn’t so sick, it’d be funny. If it wasn’t so commonplace, it’d be incredible.

The Economist’s headline accepted Israeli claims at face value, calling it ‘Israel’s bloody blunder’.

As the Jerusalem Post reports,

"Although the Palestinian civilians killed in this incident may have been killed by Israeli fire, they are in fact the victims of Hamas terrorism," [Israel's deputy UN Ambassador Daniel] Carmon said, condemning the Hamas-led Palestinian government for rejecting international demands that it recognize Israel and renounce violence.

Scores of people blasted to smithereens, 19 dead, can only be because their powerless ‘authority’, which doesn’t even have authority to collect the rubbish unimpeded by occupation forces, refuses unilateral recognition of the legitimacy of the occupation and to unilaterally relinquish the use of force. Nothing could be more obvious than that!

"The Palestinian leadership cannot demand national rights, while refusing to fulfill its national responsibility," he said. "The Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for what happens in its territory and population."

US Ambassador John Bolton called for restraint on all sides.…saying "there is no question that Israel has a right to defend itself and the lives of its citizens."

The sages writing NY Times editorials concur,

There is more than enough blame to go around…The Hamas movement — voted into power last winter — is refusing to even implicitly recognize Israel…Hamas’s military wing has called for attacks on American targets in retaliation for the Gaza deaths.

How dare they call for retaliation!

In another Post article, ‘Error caused Beit Hanun tragedy’,

Maj.-Gen. Meir Klifi, who headed the investigation into the incident… said his team found that the "Shilem System" kit had been installed in the cannon by IDF technicians five days previously…The kit had been in use since the 1980s and after "hundreds of thousands" of firings showed a margin of error of 25 meters, Klifi said. However, for reasons that ar e not entirely clear, the system failed - with tragic results. [emphasis added]

Now let’s get this in perspective. An artillery shell is not a weapon that puts small hole in the victim’s body. It creates a blast that destroys everything in the area of impact. And the targeting technology is only accurate to 25 metres, so instead of destroying everything in the area of the target, it could destroy everything in any other area within 25 metres of the target. And the media excoriate those firing Qassem rockets because they are not accurate and could inadvertently harm noncombatants?! And now, when one of these Israeli shells is even more inaccurate than they expected, it becomes a tragic error? Get real!

A few points that may be pertinent:

· Gaza is not a country, it is a small area under Israeli occupation, notwithstanding the ‘withdrawal’ last year and leaving aside all the other depredations inflicted since June, etc.

· Gaza is not at war with Israel.

· Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.

· Israel is firing weapons into this densely populated area that are at best only accurate to 25metres.

· These weapons routinely take out noncombatants.

· This time the weapons were allegedly more inaccurate than usual and killed a large number of people in their sleep.

· The shelling of the allegedly untargeted area went on for a full fifteen minutes

So a ‘sincere’ apology makes everything alright!

It’s just like the shelling of the Gaza beach in June – ‘Sure, we were shelling the beach and people were having picnics there, but it’s not our fault that some of them got hurt.’

If any kid anywhere doing something they knew was dangerous inadvertently hurt someone, nobody would accept their claim that they didn’t intend to hurt anyone as a valid excuse, nor their apology as ample redress.

Israeli satirists, Shai and Dror, summed it up nicely in Ma’ariv,

…We have done our part. We did the killing, we did the apology. Now the ball is in your court. You are stubborn. You don’t know how to forgive. You have no compassion, somebody makes a mistake and you just pounce and take advantage of it…Know what? Our conscience is clear. We have apologised. As far as we are concerned, the case is closed. Do you want to go on being stuck on the same point? That’s your problem. We are moving on.

The next artillery shell is already on its way, followed by the next apology. And then one more shell and one more apology. That’s the way we are. Moral and considerate, killing and apologising. Thanks, sorry for the killing and see you next time.

Anyway, it wasn’t just an apology,

Peretz reiterated his regret for the tragic accident and, in an effort to aid the victims, he ordered the Rafah border crossing to be opened until 5 p.m., with preference given to ambulances, medical and humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip

That is just so magnanimous, allowing humanitarian aid for a change. It shows the remorse is real.

So what gives here?

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