Monday, January 26, 2009

The Numbers Game

Israel says that its investigation into the Operation Cast Lead casualty reports indicate that the overwhelming number of deaths were that of Hamas terrorists, and that only 250 civilians were killed. While the death of civilians is troubling, those casualties are the purposeful result of Hamas using human shields and from operating in and around civilian areas so that Israeli counterbattery fire, airstrikes, and ground assaults would hit civilians as well as Hamas thugs.

I've previously shown examples of how Hamas terrorists can fire mortars and appear to be civilians in the process. That way, Hamas can claim that a bunch of guys were playing jump rope when Israeli airstrikes killed them. We'd just have to ignore that the same rope acted as a trigger to let the mortar round drop in the tube to fire it at Israel.

I've previously shown how Hamas prepares its kassam rockets from civilian apartment buildings within earshot of children playing so that if there's a work accident or the Israelis strike at the particular Hamas cell, civilians will be caught in the crossfire.

Palestinians claim that the overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians. When so many terrorists were operating out of uniform, what exactly were you to expect? They aren't going to tell you any differently, even if the overwhelming majority of those killed were young men who happened to belong to Hamas.

Meanwhile, the tunnels are back in business and the flow of contraband and weapons will continue to expand despite Egyptian and Israeli promises to stem the flow of such equipment across the Egypt-Gaza border.

The journalists seem to know where all the smuggling tunnels are located (HT: Israellycool).

They've got ready access to the tunnels, and many indicate that the tunnels were hit, but are quickly coming back online as the smugglers and tunnel builders make repairs. It shows just how difficult stopping the tunnels is, and the lengths to which Hamas and others will go to smuggle items into Gaza.

At the same time, there's troubling word that Israel is once again considering swapping hundreds of terrorists for the release of Gilad Shalit, in addition to reopening the Gaza border crossings with Israel. How exactly does this improve Israel's security? It does not. It only provides Hamas with yet another chance to crow about victory and bring still more people in Gaza to believe that they won the latest round with Israel despite the heavy toll on Gaza.

And no discussion of the Middle East would be complete without noting that addled former President Jimmy Carter thinks that Hamas is trustworthy. Really? What's his proof? There is none. Hamas says that they want to destroy Israel; everything else done is to further that goal. There's no reason to believe anything other than that penultimate theological and ideological position. Nothing that Hamas has said to Carter would counter that position one iota.

That runs counter to a high ranking EU official who notes that Hamas bears full responsibility for all the events that have taken place over the past several weeks in Gaza. Well, we'll see how long that official lasts as a high ranking EU official. Still, it looks like Hamas doesn't quite have the same level of respect as before Operation Cast Lead, even if they still have Carter on their side.

The media hasn't helped Israel either, despite Sky and BBC now refusing to run a pro-Gaza appeal video. For months, the media would downplay (read: ignore) every single one of the Hamas ceasefire violations. There were several hundred kassams and mortars fired at Israel during the so-called ceasefire, beginning with the fifth day.

Now, we're to believe that the real ceasefire violation was Israel's response to Hamas war crimes as the Turkish government is claiming? That's what you get when you report one side of the story for months on end and ignore the precipitating acts. The diplomats read the news too and this is the culmination of such one-sided reporting.

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