Saturday, January 24, 2009

SEE NO HAMAS

[See no Hamas Rally in Melbourne last Sunday: The Age ignored this child-monster and the cops didn't take the parents into custody for child abuse. A Greens Senator addressed these people and a hitherto unknown Jew claimed she was "ashamed to be a Jew" - but not ashamed that she was part of this hideous and racist freak show!]

A headline story in today's Melbourne Age about changes in US policy on the Israel/Arab conflict (Obama redraws Middle East) is unfortunately neither particularly informative nor convincing. It tells of "a significant shift" in policy, and then basically describes an Obama line that sounds essentially like the old Bush line with a few subtle nuanced changes. We have a "new" Middle East envoy in George Mitchell who has been there and done that before and failed in the past under Bush but the article doesn't mention this at all. Hamas' response to Obama's "sweeping" changes of policy is that it believes Obama represents no change at all and that his efforts will fail. In this report, the Age sees no Hamas and its readers are thereby robbed of the important ingredient in making any assessment of the Obama administration's prospects for success in this area (also leaving it open in the future to blame Israel for any failures in its policies).

One thing the Age does today is that it discloses to its readers the details of the Italian report in Corriere della Sera of growing sceptism of Palestinian information about casualties published during the three week long Israeli campaign - Israelis seize on toll claim. For the better part of a month, the Age has been publishing "official" Palestinian figures of the casualty numbers as a result of the conflict. The figures were always dressed up as being from the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza (that's the Hamas ministry but the Age sees no Hamas) but the data has always been treated with suspicion as the numbers vascillated daily and the proportion of civilian deaths changed improbably from day to day. Yet, the Age continued to publish the numbers and still won't reveal the Israeli side of the story. In this Jerusalem Post article - Israel disputes Gaza death toll, we learn that the jury is still out as far as the Israelis are concerned but it leaves no doubt that they consider the civilian death count figure has been grossly exaggerated. The Israeli doubt on the figures is not explained in the Age article which sits as a mere sideline among a number of stories in today's edition.

And that's one of the problems with the Age. It's quick to come out with accusations of bad conduct on the part of Israelis and to highlight them with blazing headlines but, when the time comes for the mea culpa (like the microscopic apology for publishing Michael Backman's anti-Semitic trope in its business pages), it usually goes missing.

Which brings us to the tragedy of the Abed Rabbo family of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. The Age's Jason Koutsoukis today covers the story as told by a grieving father of how he alleges an Israeli soldier shot dead two of his daughters on 7 January - Soldier gunned down my daughters, says Gaza father. The bulk of the story is that of the father. The IDF is investigating.

And, Hamas?

"Why do they come after us?" Mr Abed Rabbo said. "We are not militants here, we are not Hamas. We are just ordinary people.

See no Hamas? I'll come back to that.

Abed Rabbo's story has been told elsewhere in the past week or so. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young mentioned it to whip up the 2,000 strong crowd at a rally in support of Palestine outside the State Library last Sunday. No doubt, the crowd included some well meaning people but it was also strongly represented by supporters waving Hamas and Hizbullah flags; anti-Semitic thugs mouthing off racist slogans and carrying some vile posters like the one in the photograph above, taken at the rally. None of this was mentioned in the Age report published the following day Thousands march in Melbourne against Gaza war. Andra Jackson of the Age saw no Hamas. And like the Age, the police turned a blind eye so one can only conclude that while we do have race hate laws in this country, they are wasting their space in the statute books.

But back now to the Abed Rabbos of Jabalya. The death of the sisters was also covered in an article by Newsweek's Rod Nordland (Hamas and Its Discontents) that raises the question of who is responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza. Nordland's investigation also brings up another related matter - that of the veracity of eyewitnesses in wartime situations:-

"In eastern Jabaliya, just north of Gaza City, an entire neighborhood—at least 50 homes—had been bombed by the Israelis, then occupied with tank units, and then methodically demolished house-by-house, some of them with bulldozers, others with high explosives. In several hours of interviews, every one of the residents interviewed in eastern Jabaliya insisted that there had been no provocation from the area, no resistance fighters, and no rocket launchings. "They are punishing us because they can't reach the resistance to punish them," said Majdi Qatari, a lawyer whose home was one of those destroyed, leaving 13 people homeless. Near him, Najah Abd Rabo shook her head and said Israeli actions were beyond comprehension. "They were claiming there are tunnels under here," she said. Hamas fighters use tunnels, often short ones that are little more than bunkers, to pop out and launch attacks and then get back in, hiding from Israel's ubiquitous surveillance drones, reemerging in a house or backyard as an unarmed civilian. "There aren't any tunnels around here, we are not resistance," she said. Yet not more than 20 feet away from Najah, there was just such a tunnel, which Israeli troops had unearthed. Right in the middle of the road, it had a convincingly camouflaged roof that matched the rest of the road. Inside it was shored up with timbers and concrete."

I highlighted the name of the witness (Najah Abed Rabbo). She saw no Hamas but, like most of her neighbours, in saying so she lied to the journalist about the existence of a tunnel that was used by Hamas fighters. It could be simply a co-incidence that, just down the road, another Abed Rabbo gave the same reporter his version of how his daughters met their deaths. And this other Abed Rabbo also saw no Hamas.

No Hamas in the middle of the Jabalya refugee camp where Hamas is at its strongest, in a street where Hamas operatives had tunnels and a fierce gunfight is raging. And still nobody sees Hamas.

Israel the democracy will investigate the deaths of the Abed Rabbo girls and the IDF tank crew will have the opportunity to give their version. Perhaps their testimony will reveal that somewhere in the battle, they saw Hamas. In any event, if they have committed a crime, the Israeli people will demand the appropriate punishment. It's what separates them from the barbarians they're fighting against.

In the meantime, that a representative of our parliamentary democracy uses unsubstantiated and unverified allegations of this nature in an atmosphere already thick with hatred against Israel and the Jewish people is utterly reprehensible. And a media that sees no Hamas in a war that lasted three weeks and claimed the lives of perhaps a thousand people has much to answer for as well.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that how Senators usually work?

They take someone's story, don't check the facts, and repeat it at a shonky hatefestival to whip us the local lads?

The hyphenated named bitch would last 5 minutes in Gaza under Sharia law imposed by Hamas. Why doesn't she go there and join Mrs. Farhat in the Hamas Parliament?

Anonymous said...

I find it very disturbing that Australians can unquestioningly support Kadima, and label their critics as anti-Semitic.

There were many independent journalists in Israel during the bombings, but Kadima refused to let them into Gaza. Why?

Certainly not for their safety. Kadima was very proud to boast 'precision' attacks in Gaza, although some of their own footage casts doubt on this.

I am proud to be a Jew but very ashamed of Israel. There is plenty of evidence that their attacks on Gaza were indiscriminate and disproportionate.

Seems like a classic case of the persecuted becoming the persecutor. I will not be a part of it.

Why isn't the Age talking about Hamas? Probably the same reason they are not talking about Kadima. Let's be honest -there are plenty terrorists in both governments.

B J Gordon said...

Anonymous 5:27

I'm not a Kadima supporter but could you point to any part of its constitution that resembles the Hamas Charter with its references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the destruction of Israel or the killing of Jews?

Indiscriminate and disporportionate?

Take the time to read Dershowitz and then come back when you know what those concepts mean.

What's disproportionate when you're defending your citizens against 6,000 missiles fired against them (and not the Israeli army)?

As to your final paragraph, just get a grip on yourself, take a Bex and have a good lie down.

Portofino said...

The Jew who is ashamed to be a Jew is Kate Rhodes, an American-Jewish educator. Thinks she's a colossus but in reality her hair wouldn't part if her brain exploded.

Anonymous said...

There are more questions raised about the Abed Rabbo deaths in Israellycool - http://www.israellycool.com/.

Aussie Dave compares the family's version as given in the SMH (and the Age) with the one in Britain's Independent and comes up with a number of points worthy of looking at (and that's before the Israeli investigation is undertaken). Summarised, they are:-

* different versions as to when the grandmother was shot and whether she was waving a white headscarf or flag;

* different versions as to the number of times the children were allegedly shot (between 3 and 12times;

* the omission in the Independent report of the relevant fact relating to when Sammer was allegedly shot - "running bunning back up the steps toward the house.";

* according to the SMH, the grandmother was shot three times, with bullets passing through her upper arm and her torso underneath her rib cage, and another being lodged in her abdomen. How did the soldier who was allegedly aiming at the family fail to kill her and why in the accompanying photo does she looks as if she has nothing more than an arm wound?;

* in the SMH version, the soldiers dragged the family into the house, but in the Independent version, the soldiers let them alone;

* in the SMH version, there was no delay in finding an ambulance, since one of the neighbors was an ambulance driver, yet in the Independent version, there was a delay before an ambulance could reach the building "because the road from the west had been made impassable by the churning of the tanks" - and even then, the family only got to an ambulance after a 2 km walk;

* in the SMH version, the ambulance driver complained that he was prevented from getting to the hospital by IDF soldiers, resulting in the family walking there on foot, yet the Independent version makes no mention of this, and in fact makes it sound like the ambulance did make it to the hospital;

* in the Independent version, the father was able to see ringlets visible below the soldier's helmet (to show he was an orthodox Jew) - this despite trying to avoid being hit by bullets;

* How is it even possible, given (as the Independent actually mentions) "the small minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who serve in the army are in a unit which did not take part in the Gaza offensive and only a very small number of settlers who also favour that hairstyle serve in other units"?

The story of the children is a tragedy but the bullshit meter is running high on this one.

Bring on the enquiry!

Anonymous said...

Kate Rhodes has proven that she is what I would call a Jewish anti-Semite.

I don't normally like making such accusations but she has proven it by her own statement.

Critics of Israel often point out that it is wrong to accuse them of anti-semitism when all they are doing is criticising that country and/or its policies and I agree with that. There are many Israelis who do the same thing and they should not be accused of anti-Semitism.

But Rhodes criticises Israel and then claims she is "ashamed to be Jewish". Well, if she's not being anti-Semitic in her attack on what Israel's doing, then why does she have to refer to her Jewishness?

Anonymous said...

Well this Jew is ashamed of being a Jew because the Jews in charge of the Israeli cabinet did not act soon enough to try to stop the Palestinians from sending missiles across the border... The Palestinains are responsible for deaths of their civilians if the allow Hamas to hide amongst their woman and children sobeit.. If I was hiding thugs and murderers in my house form the Cops I should be held responsible for any deaths caused by the COps ..The Palestinian plight is self inflicted the Jews left Gaza in 2005 and the siege is only becuase Palestinians are addicted to violence and cant help them selves sending rockets and bombs across the border.. This Jew says we should be a lot tougher !

Anonymous said...

aside from the personal attacks, you guys have been far from fair to Anonymous 5:27.

Any reasonable debate would have answered the questions raised. They seem perfectly valid to me.