14 Israel-Gaza notes

In the spirit of David Bernstein’s “Some Israel-Gaza notes” at the Volokh Conspiracy, I would like to add my own notes summarizing points I have been making here, some of which Bernstein also makes.

1. Hamas has promoted phony casualty statistics as a propaganda tool and the media have dutifully provided the statistics every day without any reservation. The media fail to report the source of the statistics as anything other than Gaza health officials.

2. Bernstein puts it this way: “The Ministry of Health counts everyone not in uniform as a civilian. Most Hamas fighters don’t wear uniforms. The UN is sometimes sourced for the figures, but the UN gets its figures from … the Gazan Ministry of Health.” MEMRI set forth casualty statistics in “Reporting of casualties in Gaza” on July 14. Bernstein links to updated casualty statistics posted here at Aussie Dave’s IsraellyCool site. The Times of Israel reports the analysis of an Israeli intelligence center on this issue in “When numbers in Gaza masquerade as fact.”

3. MEMRI has posted Hamas media management instruction regarding the inflation and use of civilian deaths as a propaganda tool. MEMRI’s highly illuminating report is “Hamas Interior Ministry to social media activists: Always call the dead ‘innocent civilians’; don’t post photos of rockets being fired from civilian population centers.” So far as I am aware, if you didn’t pick up this key to Hamas media management here on Power Line, you haven’t picked it up.

4. Despite Hamas’s attempt to prevent images depicting the use of civilian facilities for martial purposes, the IDF has made relevant videos available. The IDF, for example, has posted videos illustrating the use of apparently civilian facilities for purposes including the firing of missiles. The IDF YouTube channel is here.

5. Among the facilities featured in the IDF videos are Hamas hospitals, schools, mosques, and graveyards. Here is one of Hamas firing rockets from civilian areas, posted yesterday by the IDF.

In the video below, Hamas terrorists fire from a Gaza school.

If you haven’t picked up these videos here, I doubt you have picked them up anywhere, yet they provide invaluable context for understanding the war.

6. Hamas uses Gaza Terrorist Theater to promote the theme that Israel irresponsibly causes civilian deaths when the opposite is the case. The most notorious incident of the current conflict is the alleged deaths that occurred at the UN Gaza school last week. Yesterday the IDF released the results of its study of the incident, reported here by the Times of Israel’s Mitch Ginsburg:

An Israeli army inquiry into fighting at a UN facility in Beit Hanoun Thursday found that IDF mortars did not play a role in the killing of 16 people in the school courtyard, dismissing claims that the military was responsible for their deaths.

The army admitted that an IDF-fired shell did hit the UN-run school’s yard, but at a time when there were no people in the area.

“A single errant mortar landed in the school courtyard, injuring no one,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Sunday in a conference call.

Ginsburg has posted the IDF photo supporting the IDF analysis with his article.

7. The Gaza school story replicates on a larger scale the Gaza Terrorist Theater invoking the death of Jihad Masharawi in 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense. The media were tools of Jihad then and they are tools of Jihad now. It is way past time for them to get a clue.

8. Permit me to repeat what I said on this point yesterday. The IDF is the most scrupulous reporter on the scene in Gaza by far. The Gaza Terrorist Theater continues with all on-the-scene broadcast and cable network reporters in Gaza playing their assigned roles and performing as miserably as ever in the pageant of “Tools of Jihad.”

9. Israel’s discovery of the extensive Hamas terror tunnels was a turning point in the war. Lawrence Franklin explained why last week in the Gatestone column “Hamas mega attack planned through Gaza terror tunnels.” We posted Omri Ceren’s email summary to us in “Hamas’s big plan disrupted.”

10. The lack of interest in civilian deaths in Syria by contrast with Gaza is noteworthy. More than 700 Arabs were killed in Syria on Thursday and Friday in what was probably the bloodiest 48 hours of that conflict to date. I bet you haven’t heard a single word about those deaths and you can’t help but wonder why. Jeffrey Goldberg purports to explain why in “Obsessing about Gaza, ignoring Syria (and most everything else).” Goldberg quotes one Joyce Haram, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Hayat: “Only reason I can think of is Muslim killing Muslim or Arab killing Arab seems more acceptable than Israel killing Arabs.”

11. On a related note, Jay Nordlinger passes on “the comment of the month” in this article by Professor Marc Lynch of George Washington University. Quotable quote from Lynch: “It must be so awkward having to check whether the dead child is from Gaza or Syria before deciding whether to be morally outraged.”

12. John Kerry is reliably reported to have adopted key Hamas demands in a ceasefire proposal presented to the Israeli government on Friday. The Israeli government has unanimously rejected John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, characterized by the Israelis as a capitulation to Hamas. The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren has filed an updated report on the Kerry ceasefire proposal here.

13. On Sunday Barack Obama placed Israel under enormous pressure to undertake an immediate ceasefire, yet Israel has not completed its important mission of eliminating Gaza’s terror tunnels. He is undoubtedly threatening to withhold funding for Israel’s depleted Iron Dome defense if the Israeli government refuses to cooperate. One could have predicted this based on the general theory that Obama reliably supports the interests of America’s enemies and undermines the interests of America’s friends, yet it is a striking illustration of the phenomenon.

14. John Podhoretz commented on Obamna’s ceasefire demand yesterday here, Bernstein here. By functionally aligning itself with Hamas, the Obama administration is undermining Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other key players who resist Iran and/or the Muslim Brotherhood for good and sufficient reasons, as should we. Isi Liebler puts it this way: “Obama abandons Israel.”