Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Atrocities, or Just Insults?

Several days ago, Arabist flagged an account of Palestinian children being shot execution-style in Gaza which I said in comments sounded like a crude attempt at propaganda. Unfortunately, it hasn't ended there, with further reports such as this one:
"Abed Rabbo’s family had dealt with Israeli soldiers before, in March 2008 during a brief Israeli incursion. Nothing had happened then, and they just expected a search of their house this time around. The Israelis made him and his family line up and wait as tanks lined up across them. Then a red-haired soldier sporting Haredim long locks came out of a tank, shot his 2-year old daughter Amal ('her guts spilled out of her stomach') and then his 7-year-old daughter Sohad. They then destroyed a nearby ambulance, and when they found a man with a horse cart to help them, the man and his horse was shot. According to Rabbo, he and his wife (who is still under shock) were left alive and their daughters targeted and kept from medical care on purpose, to teach them a lesson. His third daughter was also shot (and will probably be disabled for life) and is receiving medical care in Belgium."
Arabist has also noted this report from Gulf News:
"Doctors operating the only brain-scanning machine at an Egyptian hospital near Gaza have been almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children arriving with bullet wounds to the head.

"On just one day last week, staff at the Al Arish hospital in Sinai were called to perform CAT scans on a nine year old, two 10 year olds and a 14 year old, each of whom had a bullet lodged in their brain after coming under fire during the Israeli ground assault on Gaza...

"Dr Yahia, a professor of neurosurgery, believes that the bullet was shot from close range. 'If it changes course inside the brain it has high velocity and its penetrative force is also high,' he said.

"'I can't precisely decide whether these children are being shot at as a target, but in some cases the bullet comes from the front of the head and goes towards the back, so I think the gun has been directly pointed at the child.'

"Dr Ayman Abd Al Hadi, a medical team leader at the hospital, said: 'We've had one child with two bullets in the head and nowhere else. We think this shows something.'"

These atrocities seem unspeakable, and certainly don't reflect the Israeli mainstream, or even most of the right. If there's anything to them, they probably come out of the same 10% or so of Israelis who think Baruch Goldstein, who perpetrated the 1994 Hebron Massacre, was a hero, and cheer for Yigal Amir at Jerusalem Beiter soccer games. There was definitely significant incitement in the field:
"In addition to the official publications, extreme right-wing groups managed to bring pamphlets with racist messages into IDF bases. One such flyer is attributed to 'the pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg' - the former rabbi at Joseph's Tomb and author of the article 'Baruch the Man,' which praises Baruch Goldstein, who massacred unarmed Palestinians in Hebron. It calls on 'soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you ... to function according to the law 'kill the one who comes to kill you.' As for the population, it is not innocent ... We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy.'"

Today brings reports of investigations into graffiti that reflect a worldview conducive to massacres. It's a long way from graffiti to shooting children, but unfortunately we do have a pool of reports suggesting that some radical militants capable of the latter burrowed their way into the IDF and rode it into Gaza. This requires looking into.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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