A rocket attack that killed 11 Gazan children and hit a hospital during the summer war was the work of Palestinian terrorists, not an IDF strike, according to a report by Amnesty International, an NGO extremely hostile to Israel. Amnesty reported, consistent with conclusions of the IDF (and others who fisked the attack), that the explosion at the Al-Shati refugee camp on July 28 “which killed the children buying sweets on the first day of Eid ul Fitr” was the result of Hamas rockets.
Times of London today (March 26) reported the following:
The explosion at the Al-Shati refugee camp on July 28…was the result of misfired rockets by Hamas, Amnesty International concluded.
Hamas blamed Israel for the bombing at the time, but a relation of one of dead child said that Palestinian militants went to the scene and tried to hide the evidence of their involvement.
“I saw the body of the rocket [and] I knew it was a local one,” the family member told The Times. “Some people came and hid it on the spot — however, it was really hot.”
He said that he held Hamas, as governors of Gaza, responsible but that no one from the group had ever visited the family or apologised. Two adults also died and another 19 were injured.
The piecing together of one of the worst incidents of the war was done by independent ballistics experts working for Amnesty. They concluded from photos of blast damage and surviving parts of the missile that the strike was by a Palestinian rocket which fell short. Another rocket from the same salvo struck the Shifa hospital.
The Independent, as with other British news sites, filed a story on the Amnesty report this morning. However, unlike other new sites, it evidently felt the need to balance news on the misfired Hamas rocket with another story imputing Israeli guilt.
Here’s a snapshot of the two reports, one above the other, on their Middle East page, where you can see the “he said, she said” angle.
The March 26 report seen above, A father who still blames Israel for the death of his son amid the conflicting accusations, by Kim Sengupta, cites the Amnesty report blaming Hamas, but also quotes at length the wheelchair bound victim, Mahmoud Abu-Shaqfa, who lost a child in the attack, about the injuries he sustained.
However, the headline chosen by Indy editors is quite curious, as most of the article is simply a human interest story about the suffering of the victims. Only one line in the entire piece focuses on Abu-Shaqfa’s claim that Israel was to blame.
That’s what I think about all the time, not who was responsible. I have heard that it might have been Hamas, but I don’t think they have rockets that big. I think it was the Israelis.”
Though the opinion of the victim may indeed be relevant, the Indy journalist could have informed readers of the strong possibility that Mr. Abu-Shaqfa was constrained in what he felt he could say due to fears of Hamas retaliation. If he did believe the rocket which severely injured him was indeed fired by Palestinian terrorists, there’s quite obviously – due to the thuggish nature of the Islamist regime – a very good chance he didn’t feel free to say so.
If even foreign journalists admitted to being intimidated by Hamas during the war, just imagine the pressures ordinary Gazan civilians must face when confronted with the decision of whether to criticize the regime.
Finally, we were struck by this remarkable admission by the Indy journalist midway through her article, presumably commenting on the failure of news outlets at the time to determine Hamas’s guilt in the attack.
Sorry, but we’ve always operated under the evidently quaint assumption that it is the primary job of foreign journalists in conflict zones to “examine the evidence” before filing reports.