Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thank God, It Was Only Rumors

STANLEY HELLER
Counterpunch
1.04.09

http://www.counterpunch.org/heller04012009.html
STANLEY HELLER
Counterpunch
1.04.09

http://www.counterpunch.org/heller04012009.html


Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit has instructed the Military Police Investigation unit to close the inquiry into Israeli soldiers` accounts of serious violations of the army`s rules of engagement during the Gaza Massacre or as the IDF so winningly calls it: “Operation Cast Lead”. It turns out the General discovered all the charges `were based on hearsay and not first-hand experience.` Just a bunch of rumors.

Thank God for that. Those shells were just rumors, the ones that hit the U.N. warehouse and the al-Quds Hospital. It wasn’t white phosphorus. The jellyfish-like white tentacles that are a signature for a white phosphorus burst were probably a Palestinian fireworks display. The Abu Halima family was wrong. There was no shell that exploded in their house killing four children. Human Right Watch made a mistake. It must have been a sandstorm or a jinn.

Stories that Israeli soldiers wrecked and defiled Palestinian homes were obviously urban legends. After claiming to visit one home near Jabalya camp Israeli newspaper columnist Amira Hass wrote,

“There are houses where excrement was smeared on the walls, or where dry piles of it were found in corners. In many cases, the smells indicated that soldiers had urinated on piles of clothing or inside a washing machine. In all the houses the toilets were overflowing and clogged, and there was filth all around. When the Abu Eidas returned to house No. 5 in Jabalya, they discovered pots of urine and excrement in the refrigerator.”

Where did she come up with this tall tale? The courageous Israelis who commented on her article nailed her good, “What Propaganda”, said Gershon Reed” , “Yes, Amira War is Hell”, said Baruch Gold. “More Hamas Propaganda”, said “Rambo”.

In an effort to clear up confusion Israeli army chief Gabi Ashkenazi announced, `I can say that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.` Well there you have it. It comes from the Chief of Staff, himself. The International Red Cross complained that the Israeli army was firing on ambulances. No doubt the charge is a lie. An Israeli handwritten order on a piece of paper that stated: “Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue’, was obviously just a joke. Have humanitarian organizations no sense of humor?

Amos Harel, the Haaretz military affairs reporter, tells about the testimony given to Danny Zamir who interviewed soldiers who had graduated from his pre-military preparatory program at Oranim Academic College and who had fought in Gaza. Zamir claimed that soldiers told him accounts of soldiers killing a woman and two of her children, shooting and killing an elderly Palestinian woman, and destroying property at will. Supposedly a soldier told Zamir, `That what`s great in Gaza, you could say - you see someone walking down a track, not necessarily armed, and you can simply shoot them. In our case, it was an elderly woman.” Obviously Harel or Zamir made it all up.

In another article Harel brings up testimonies about the army’s use of the so-called `neighbor procedure`. What’s wrong with asking a Palestinian to invite his neighbors to come out for a polite chat with the Israeli army? Harel says Israeli soldiers force Palestinians to do this. Nonsense. Hearsay. Baseless slander. Israelis don’t take human shields. By definition that’s only something Arabs do.

Another Haaetz columnist Gideon Levy wrote, “An army whose armored corps has yet to encounter an enemy tank and whose pilots have yet to face an enemy combat jet in 36 years has been trained to think that the only function of a tank is to crush civilian cars and that a pilot`s job is to bomb residential neighborhoods.” What does Levy know? An old woman could be a suicide bomber. A six year old could be a suicide bomber. So the IDF destroyed 20 ambulances. Ambulances could be carrying terrorists. As a U.S. bumper sticker said in Vietnam days, “Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.”

Bleeding heart Amnesty International bellyached about the use of flechettes in Gaza. “Flechettes are 4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks..” They are “ anti-personnel weapon designed to penetrate dense vegetation”. Well, doesn’t Israel have to fight the terrorists who hide in Gaza’s vast jungles? Amnesty claims Wafa` Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was one of those killed by flechettes in Gaza. Where does it come up with this science fiction?

Since the IDF is a most moral army the photos of hateful graffitti soldiers allegedly wrote on houses in Gaza were necessarily faked. Journalist Amira Hass says there were sentences like “We came to annihilate you; Death to the Arabs; Kahane was right; No tolerance, we came to liquidate.” She writes about scribblings cursing the prophet Muhammad. Clearly bogus. So what if the graffiti “appears alongside the names of army units and individual soldiers.” Hasn’t she heard of Photoshop?

And where did the Israeli journalist Uri Blau come up with this dubious report? “Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children`s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty.” He claims “A sharpshooter`s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade`s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull`s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, 1 shot, 2 kills.’ He even has a photo. Still, he must have made a mistake. The most moral army in the world doesn’t shoot pregnant women. It wouldn’t brag about its cruelty on casual wear. Givati Brigade T-shirts no doubt feature purple bougainvillea flowers emblazoned with the slogan “Purity in Arms”.

Stanley Heller is host of “The Struggle” TV news magazine Contact him at mail@TheStruggle.org

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