I’ll admit to feeling sort of vindicated by this story in the independent Israeli mag +972 after being verbally taken to the woodshed by a liberal American Rabbi on Twitter yesterday who felt the need to school me about how Hamas was responsible for the terror attacks in Southern Israel last week. All I was trying to do was reconcile conflicting statements by the IDF and the Prime Minister but the Rabbi didn’t want to hear it and despite being VERY polite and respectful to him (he was not to me), once I asked a question that went just a tad bit below the surface talking points, ie. the implications of the IDF saying that they never claimed the PRC was responsible and that they didn’t know why Prime Minister Netanyahu did say that, the good Rabbi bolted and stopped responding to me. Typical of any debate involving Israel-Palestine.
Anyway, at least some journalists seem to think it actually matters who was responsible for the attacks, given Israel responded with overwhelming force almost immediately. Luckily for Israel, the U.S. media isn’t quite so inquisitive.
An unknown group carried out a combined attack from Sinai into Israel, hitting a number of targets. Six Israeli civilians were murdered and two soldiers were killed; so were seven of the terrorists and a number of Egyptian security personnel. While the attacks were carried out, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak quickly told the public the people responsible were the Popular Resistance Committee of the Gaza Strip; within hours the IAF attacked a house in the Strip and killed several of its leaders. Later that day, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the people responsible for the attacks were killed. This attack by the IAF is what spurred the recent round of escalation – and it’s worth noting the IAF has been raising the flames in the regions for about a month, with the Israeli media quietly ignoring it.
During the weekend, the news website Real News interviewed a senior IDF Spokesman officer, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, who’s in charge of the IDF Spokesman with the international media. Leibowitz denied that the IDF connects the PRC to the attacks, said she was not responsible for that the prime minister said, but claimed that the attackers did come from Gaza, citing as proof the fact they were using Kalashnikov assault rifies (Sic! 2:28 and onwards in the video). I dunno how to put it to Col. Leibovitz, but Kalashnikovs are the most common light assault rifle in the world – a gift that keeps on giving from the defunct Soviet Union – and are rather easy to get all over the Middle East.
In a phone conversation with Leibovitz yesterday, she said “senior officials have already expressed themselves on the issue”, and declined to provide more information on the attackers, aside from insisting on them being Gazans. I asked her if she could provide me with the identity of the attackers killed by the IDF, which was until recently standard procedure, carried out within hours of an attack. She said this is unfortunately impossible, and repeatedly insisted they were Gazans. B’Tselem researchers in the Strip, contacted via B’Tselem today, were unaware of the identity of the attackers. Again, usually they are quickly identified and a mourners’ hut is rapidly constructed. They were killed on Thursday; if they resided in the Strip, their families would have heard of their deaths by now.
Yesterday evening the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm reported that Egyptian security forces have identified three of the dead attackers. Egypt has a strong interest to claim the attackers were Gazans, since this would lessen its responsibility for the attacks; nevertheless, they say at least two of the attackers were known terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula. As far as I could find out, the rest of the bodies are in the hands of the IDF – which, again, does not reveal their identity.
And probably with good reason. After all, it seems Barak and Netanyahu pulled off a major disinformation campaign here, which the IDF (in the form of Colonel Leibovitz) has to cooperate with, somewhat unwillingly. They took us to a false war against the Gaza Strip. You can’t really blame Leibovitz: She’s a uniformed officer. She can’t contradict “senior officials [who] have already expressed themselves on the issue”.
Assuming no other reliable evidence shows up, which at the moment is doubtful, we must ask ourselves: Why did Barak and Netanyahu pull off what seems to be a major deception of the Israeli public, which puts to shame any such deception since the Abu Nidal group tried to assassinate Israel’s ambassador to Britain in 1982, Shlomo Argov. Sharon, Begin and Eitan needed a pretext to begin their war of deception in Lebanon – the bright idea of, under the guise of fighting the PLO, enthrone the friendly Maronites. When Eitan was informed that the assassins were Abu Nidal’s men, he replied with “Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal – we need to screw the PLO.” That’s how it began.
That’s a long excerpt but go read the whole thing.
Earlier today I read an analysis- I can’t even remember where- that said that given Hamas has upheld the ceasefire and been fighting with rival extremists in Gaza who have been firing rockets into Israel over the past few weeks, it would seem that Hamas has nothing to gain by attacking Israel and then denying it. If anyone has anything to gain it’s the rival Salafist groups who seek to undermine any rapprochement between Hamas, the PA and Israel. Also, while the PRC has been connected/affiliated with Hamas in the past, they always claim responsibility when they have engaged in some attack. The fact that whoever was responsible for this act of terrorism against Israel, has not claimed responsibility, should raise eyebrows and new questions.