Israelis Deny Responsibility for Beach Blast

On June 9, it was widely reported that an Israeli attack killed a Palestinian family that was picnicing on a Gaza beach. This claim was reported as fact; this London Times account, headlined “Babies die as artillery barrage hits families on picnic beach,” was typical of the less sensational coverage:

ISRAELI artillery fire killed a Palestinian family who were picnicking on the beach in Gaza yesterday, as the shoreline was packed with people on a Muslim holiday.

Body parts, bloodstained baby carriages and shredded holiday tents were left strewn on the sand near Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, after the late- afternoon strike that killed at least seven people, thought to include the parents and children of one family.

The alleged artillery shelling caused Hamas to announce that it was ending the “truce” it ostensibly had observed since last year.

Now, however, Israeli authorities have completed their investigation and concluded that the explosion was not caused by an Israeli shelling after all:

In a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz told reporters that following an extensive three-day investigation the IDF had collected sufficient evidence to prove that Friday’s explosion was not caused by Israel.

Presenting the technical findings was Deputy Head of the IDF Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Meir Klifi, who headed up the investigation into the incident on Friday. Standing in front of an array of maps and movie screens, Klifi showed aerial photographs of IDF attacks on northern Gaza that day while presenting the time line of events that led to the deadly explosion on the beach.

It appears that the explosion came from ordnance buried on the beach, the source of which is unknown.

The broader point, of course, is that the Israeli military has shelled Gaza only because terrorists have repeatedly used Gaza as a base from which to launch rockets into Israel, in hopes of killing Israeli civilians. It is typical of the twisted way in which events in that region are covered that the apparently-mistaken claim that Israeli forces had accidentally struck Palestinian civilians was the occasion for far more publicity and condemnation than the deliberate murder of Israelis by Palestinians. I can’t explain the thinking that lies behind this kind of distortion, but something similar is at work when the actions of American soldiers are viewed under a microscope (Abu Ghraib, Haditha) while the terrorists’ consistent and deliberate strategy of mass murder elicits mainly yawns from international observers.

Via Power Line News.

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