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Gaza Beach Libel By: HonestReporting.com
HonestReporting.com | Thursday, June 15, 2006


It is now becoming clear that, despite the claims of the Palestinians and the international media's rush to blame Israel,  the deaths of seven Palestinian civilians on a beach in Gaza on 9 June were not caused by the IDF. Investigations by the IDF and others over the past few days have revealed new evidence that a Hamas mine was most likely the cause of the beach blast:

1) Shrapnel removed from two of the wounded Palestinians evacuated to Israeli hospitals was not from Israeli-made ordnance.

2) No large crater was evident on the beach as would be expected from the impact of an artillery shell landing from above. The blast site would suggest the likelihood of a mine exploding from below the sand rather than above.

3) The IDF fired six shells towards the Gaza area, one of which remained unaccounted for. All of the shells were fired, however, more than 10 minutes before the blast that killed the Palestinians.

It is now increasingly likely, that in true "Pallywood" fashion, as seen in the Mohammed Al-Dura case and the Jenin "massacre" libel, the Palestinians have attempted another cover-up in order to smear Israel:

1) Palestinian Television broadcast doctored scenes showing file footage of Israeli naval vessels shelling Gaza, interspersed with video of the beach victims, despite the fact that the Israeli Navy was not responsible for any shelling at the time. Click here to see the footage courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.

2) Suspicions were initially raised by the Palestinian refusal to cooperate with Israeli investigators and the remarkably swift cleansing of evidence from the blast scene by Hamas gunmen who arrived shortly after the incident. Palestinian spokespeople usually display parts of Israeli shells to the international media - but not this time.

3) Israeli intelligence suggests that Hamas had mined the beach area in order to prevent Israeli naval commandos from landing there as part of anti-terror operations to prevent Qassam missile launches.

THE MEDIA'S PREMATURE RESPONSE

Even though there was no evidence as to who was responsible, other than Palestinian claims of Israeli culpability for a "massacre," the international media immediately bought into the Palestinian storyline. This, despite the continuing barrage of Qassam missiles, some of which had fallen on Gaza, and the "work accidents" caused by Palestinian explosives detonating prematurely, which should have made journalists think twice. Here are some examples of those who did not:

The Washington Post's headline: Israeli Fire Kills 7 Beachgoers in Gaza

Excerpt: Israeli artillery fire targeting the northern Gaza Strip on Friday killed at least seven Palestinian civilians and wounded 30 others, Palestinian hospital officials and witnesses said.

Contact: letters@washpost.com and ombudsman@washpost.com

The New York Times' headline: Errant Shell Turns Girl Into Palestinian Icon

Excerpt: Eleven-year-old Huda unwittingly became a symbol of Palestinian pain and loss during an afternoon picnic with her family on a hot day when a cameraman captured her shrieking "Father, Father, Father!" as she hovered over the bloody bodies of 13 dead or wounded members of her family, hit by what was apparently an errant Israeli artillery shell.

Contact: letters@nytimes.com and public@nytimes.com

Australia Broadcasting Corporation's headline: Israel faces criticism over Gaza beach shelling

Excerpt: Seven Palestinians died on Friday, when the Israeli military shelled the beach where they were enjoying the Muslim day of rest, an eighth victim died in hospital on Saturday.

Contact: http://www.abc.net.au/contact/contactnews.htm

CNN's headline: Beach strike shakes Hamas cease-fire

Excerpt: An Israeli navy gunboat fired shells onto a northern Gaza beach Friday, killing at least seven people and prompting the military wing of Hamas to call off a 16-month-old cease-fire with Israel.

Contact: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/

The Guardian's headline: Death on the beach: seven Palestinians killed as Israeli shells hit family picnic

Excerpt:  A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children.

Contact: letters@guardian.co.uk

The Independent's headline: Palestinians killed on Gaza beach by Israeli gunboats

Excerpt:  Israeli naval gunboats killed at least seven Palestinian civilians and wounded about 40 others as they relaxed in the summer heat on a beach in northern Gaza yesterday.

Contact: letters@independent.co.uk

The Times of London's headline: Girl who saw family die on beach becomes icon and media celebrity

Excerpt: In the days since a wild-haired Huda Ghalia was filmed howling with anguish amid a family picnic blown apart by shellfire, she has become an instant symbol of suffering across the Arab world.

Contact: letters@thetimes.co.uk

CONSEQUENCES FOR ISRAELI DIPLOMACY

Aside from the very real damage caused to Israel's public image, the images and headlines transmitted around the world also demonstrated the sometimes insidious influence of the media on Israel's diplomatic standing. Coming at the same time as Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's visit to the UK, it was therefore damaging that the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett launched a scathing attack on Israel following the incident, which the British press interpreted as casting a shadow over the trip. In addition, the French also rushed to issue condemnation of Israel, deploring "Israel's bombardments on a beach in the Gaza Strip, whose disproportionate character has cost the lives of several civilians and injured many others."

HonestReporting is aware of the political and diplomatic damage that biased or inaccurate reporting causes for Israel within international governmental circles. Contact details for elected representatives from a number of countries can be found on HonestReporting's website along with those of many national and international media outlets.

While the media may choose not to believe the results of the IDF inquiry, it has a duty to report on the developing story and the new evidence that has emerged. HonestReporting calls on its subscribers to hold the media to account for its initial premature judgments and to also ensure that the real story is published.

QASSAM BLITZKRIEG ON ISRAEL

Palestinian terrorists continue to launch Qassam missiles from Gaza, subjecting Israel to an intolerable blitzkrieg of over 100 missiles launched since the weekend, wounding at least two Israelis in Sderot and causing damage to a number of buildings in Sderot and the western Negev.  No country, including Israel can be expected not to take action under these circumstances.

While attempting to escalate the situation further, Islamic Jihad terrorists were prevented from launching even more deadly Katyusha missiles by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday. Unfortunately, due to Palestinian terrorists operating from within densely populated areas, a number of civilians also died when the terrorists' vehicle was hit by an Israeli missile. Due to the continuous barrage of Palestinian missiles, Israel has been left with little choice but to take action to defend its citizens.

As seen by this and recent events, Palestinian terrorists show scant disregard for the lives of their own people as well as Israelis, continuing to cause suffering in the region.

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