Friday, November 17, 2006


On 23 September 2005, there was a large explosion at a Hamas rally at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Northern Gaza where members were parading with homemade weapons and explosives.

Associated Press correspondent Ibrahim Barzak wrote that originally "Hamas blamed Israel for that blast, claiming Israeli aircraft fired missiles into the crowd."

Hamas followed this up with rocket attacks on Israeli towns that "were meant as retaliation."

Barzak reported howver, that "the Palestinian Authority held the Islamic militants responsible, saying they apparently mishandled explosives on a large truck which was carrying missiles." The final toll was 19 dead and 80 wounded.

So it came to pass that nineteen Palestinians died in Gaza as a result of an accidental explosion at a Hamas rally, the same number as those who died last week in the accident at Beit Hanoun.

Back then however, the story dissolved completely from public sight once it became clear that Israel had nothing to do with the tragedy.

There was no condemnation of Hamas in the United Nations, the story was moved swiftly out of the BBC and CNN news reports, nobody wrote letters to the Guardian or the Melbourne Age complaining that the tragedy hadn't been given sufficient space in its news sections, the cynics did not question that it was an accident, not a single eyebrow was raised at Hamas' ingenuous attempt to deflect blame on Israel by lying and there were no calls for the leadership of Hamas to be tried for war crimes.

Nobody cared much about the dead.

Least of all the Palestinian electorate which, a mere four months later, elected Hamas to govern them.

And the rockets are still being fired at Israel. Two days ago they killed Faina (Fatima) Slutzker, 57, a resident of Sderot. Not that most of us here in Australia would know if we picked up a newspaper.

It's a very strange world!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nobody really cared much about the 19 Gazans who died at Beit Hannoun either for that matter.

The important thing in the minds of the outraged was that they had Israel to blame.

If they really wanted to minimize Palestinian deaths they would have been urging someone to do something to stop the armed Palestinian terror gangs from firing rockets at Israeli civilians on the other side of the border.

Naturally, there wasn't a breath of news from the Age when one of those rockets murdered a Jewish woman at Sderot and badly injured several others.