zaterdag 6 februari 2010

De Israelische aanval op de meelfabriek van Gaza - een Monty Python moment in de Guardian?

Dvar Dea neemt een van de vele beschuldigingen van de commissie Goldstone onder de loep, en komt tot de conclusie dat het absurd is te beweren dat een zware bom de meelfabriek in Gaza trof. Hieruit blijkt ook weer duidelijk de tunnelvisie waaraan de Goldstone commissie leed. Andere verklaringen dan dat Israel bewust de meelfabriek bombardeerde om zo de burgerbevolking honger te laten lijden worden niet in beschouwing genomen.
Imagine a stop motion animation where a big heavy hammer hits a wooden surface, but instead of a loud bang and a crash a faint chirp like sound is heard and the stricken wood has a small crack on its surface, nothing more. This type of absurdity is usually associated with the cartoons from the famous 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and not with respectable media services, such as the Guardian.

However, according to this distinguished British newspaper an 500 kg airplane dropped Israeli bomb produced the following damage to the El Bader flour mill, Gaza's only flour producing factory, seen in the pictures below taken from the IDF reply to the Goldstone report and a BBC report from June 2009.

Al Bader flourmill January 9 2009

Al Bader flourmill January 10 2009

Al Bader flourmill January 11 2009

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

Does that look like the kind of damage caused by a 500 kg bomb?

According to the Guardian, a UN demining team found the front half of a Mk82 airplane dropped bomb in the second floor of the Al Bader flour mill on January 25, 15 days after the place was supposedly bombed by the Israeli air force and destroyed the Gaza Strip only flour producing mill, as claimed by the Goldstone report and its defenders, who built a charge of war crimes against Israel saying we prevented food from the population of the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, even though food keeps coming in daily from Israel.

According to the site of the Federation of American Scientists, the Mk82 is a 500 kg airplane dropped bomb, it is an unguided bomb, a dumb weapon, intended to create maximum blast and destruction, a fact that is not evident from the pictures above. The blast is so powerful that its casing is designed to slow down its fall so the bomber will have enough time to escape the blast. Now let's back up and look at those pictures again - if a jet fighter like the F-16A-D needs time to get the hell out of that thing how come the structure is intact, the roof is still there, and the machines look damaged but nothing like what we would expect from a 500 kg explosion? And judging from the quoted UN demining team in the Guardian who found the fragment in the second floor of the mill, the second floor is still there. In other words:

Guardian Gaza kaboom

And another thing: How did the supposed incriminating fragment get there? Where is its the point of entry? This is not a simple question, because according to ORDTECH MILITARY INDUSTRIES, a Greek defense company established in the mid-1980s, this 500kg bomb isn?t meant to penetrate, but to take out "fragment sensitive targets" in the outdoors such as, troops, oil facilities and radar. A building on the other hand is a good protection against fragments, therefore a bad target for this type of a bomb.

All this adds up to the following absurdity. The IDF has a detailed account of its activities at the time of the alleged bombing. It describes a complex ground battle that took place in the area of the Al Bader mill, involving troops, tanks and Apache helicopter gunships on the Israeli side, and booby trapped houses on the Hamas side, some of them adjoining the flourmill.

From the IDF response to Goldstone, p. 41 - 44:

163. With respect to the allegation of deliberate targeting of the el-Bader flour mill, the IDF conducted a command investigation, which gathered evidence from numerous sources, including relevant commanders and officers and ground and aerial forces. In addition, the investigator received information from the Israeli CLA, which was in direct contact with the owner of el-Bader flour mill, Mr. Rashad Hamada. The command investigation included several findings, which are delineated below.

164. From the outset of the Gaza Operation, the immediate area in which the flour mill was located was used by enemy armed forces as a defensive zone, due to its proximity to Hamas?s stronghold in the Shati refugee camp. Hamas had fortified this area with tunnels and booby-trapped houses, and deployed its forces to attack IDF troops operating there. For example, 200 meters south of the flour mill an IDF squad was ambushed by five Hamas operatives in a booby-trapped house; 500 meters east of the flour mill another squad engaged enemy forces in a house that was also used for weapons storage; and adjacent to the flour mill, two booby-trapped houses exploded.

165. The IDF ground operation in this area began on 9 January 2009, during night time. Before the ground operation, the IDF issued early warnings to the residents of the area, included recorded telephone calls, urging them to evacuate. Such telephone calls were made to the flour mill as well.

166. While preparing for the operation, the commanders identified the flour mill as a ?strategic high point? in the area, due to its height and clear line of sight. Nevertheless, in the planning stage, it was decided not to pre-emptively attack the flour mill, in order to prevent damage to civilian infrastructure as much as possible.

167. In the course of the operation, IDF troops came under intense fire from different Hamas positions in the vicinity of the flour mill. The IDF forces fired back towards the sources of fire and threatening locations. As the IDF returned fire, the upper floor of the flour mill was hit by tank shells. A phone call warning was not made to the flour mill immediately before the strike, as the mill was not a pre-planned target.

168. Several hours after the incident, and following a report about fire in the flour mill, the IDF coordinated the arrival of several fire engines to fight the fire.

169. The Military Advocate General reviewed the findings and the records of the command investigation and other materials. In addition, the Military Advocate General reviewed the information included in the Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Report, as well as the transcript of the public testimony of Mr. Hamada to the Fact-Finding Mission.

170. Taking into account all available information, the Military Advocate General determined that the flour mill was struck by tank shells during combat. The Military Advocate General did not find any evidence to support the assertion that the mill was attacked from the air using precise munitions, as alleged in the Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Report. The Military Advocate General determined that the allegation was not supported in the Report itself, nor in the testimony to the Fact-Finding Mission by Rashad Hamada, who had left the area prior to the incident in response to the IDF?s early warnings. Photographs of the mill following the incident do not show structural damage consistent with an air attack.

171. The Military Advocate General found that, in the specific circumstances of combat, and given its location, the flour mill was a legitimate military target in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict. The purpose of the attack was to neutralize immediate threats to IDF forces.

172. The Military Advocate General did not accept the allegation in the Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Report that the purpose of the strike was to deprive the civilian population of Gaza of food. In this regard, he noted the fact that shortly after the incident, the IDF allowed Palestinian fire trucks to reach the area and extinguish the flames, as well as the extensive amount of food and flour that entered Gaza through Israel during the Gaza Operation.

173. Although the Military Advocate General could not conclusively determine that the flour mill was in fact used by Hamas?s military operatives, there was some evidence of such use. The Military Advocate General noted that Mr. Hamada testified before the Fact-Finding Mission that after the operation he found empty bullets on the roof of the flour mill. This could not have been the result of IDF fire, since ? as was evident from the findings of the command investigation ? the IDF forces which occupied the mill?s compound three days after the incident did not occupy the roof of the mill, where they would have been exposed to enemy fire.

174. Accordingly, the Military Advocate General found no reason to order a criminal investigation regarding the case.
English spelling mistakes are at the source

The Guardian wishes to discredit all that by a single item, full of holes:

1) A bomb fragment, from a bomb that produces an explosion far more powerful then the one evident in the pictures above.

 2) An unknown point of entry. The UN demining team says they have two, as yet unavailable pictures, which may or may not show a point of entry.

3) An unknown point in time for this particular fragment to reach the mill, since it was found 15 days after the alleged bombing. Enough time for it to get there because of a separate set of circumstances, and to cool off if it was due to an explosion.

4) Other scenarios were not examined and discredited. It is important to note that there are other scenarios possible, more consistent with the evidence. It could have exploded elsewhere and the blast threw the fragment into the mill, it could have broken apart in mid air, or may be the actual content of the bomb was many times below 500 kg.

I, on my part, know that my sense of humor and creative absurdities are many times below those of Terry Gilliam, but apparently that is not the case when it comes to the Guardian?s accusations against Israel, at least the creative absurdities part of it. The problem is they weren?t trying to make a joke. And although first reaction is a giggle or two, it is really, really, not funny at all.

Hat tip: IsraelMatzav

Related link: When ludicrousness stops being funny, the Guardian Gaza report.

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at Dvar Dea,


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