"An honest witness will not lie, but a false witness lies with every breath." - Proverbs 14:5

It seemed that another Gaza conflict page could not be necessary, but 2018 saw a new tactic from Hamas. Under the pretence of staging a protest march, they were throwing their people against the Israeli security border fence where they would either break through and create mayhem or be killed in the attempt, handing Hamas a media victory in the guilable outside world.

Gazans burning tyres while attempting to breach Israel's border and attack Israelis

Gazans burning tyres while attempting to breach Israel's border and attack Israelis

Simon Plosker of HONESTREPORTING.com explained on May 18 2018

Gaza Border Coverage: Shame on the Media

We're seeing a veritable tsunami of media commentary, most of it highly critical of Israel in the aftermath of this week's Gaza border violence.

New information is now coming to light that calls into question the overwhelming and knee-jerk reaction of the media and elsewhere to place almost the entire blame on Israel for the violence and deaths that occurred.

The overwhelming narrative adopted by the media was one of Israel shooting dead unarmed civilians protesters who posed little to no threat.

This despite plenty of evidence to the contrary including social media posts from the protest organizers calling for participants to bring concealed weapons and encouraging them to breach the fence and kill or kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians.
Yet, with the death toll at some 62 Palestinians, the truth is steadily leaking out.

50 of the dead were claimed by Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel as their operatives.
In addition, Islamic Jihad have claimed three more of the dead as their own.


"But the IDF didn't know their affiliation when snipers opened fire on them."
So what?

However, it does go some way to explaining the malevolent intentions of those Palestinian men that most likely led to their deaths either in mounting direct attacks on the IDF or attempting to breach the security fence.
The Associated Press has published a dedicated report, which will hopefully make its way into many international media outlets.
While other media outlets such as CNN have reported the story, most of the British media, which has been some of the harshest, has, so far, conspicuously ignored it.

Some may question the credibility of al-Bardaweel when he claimed 50 Hamas dead. Yet, the media appear to have no problem with the credibility of casualty figures released by the Hamas controlled Gaza Ministry of Health.
Also of note is the attitude displayed by some media that still sticks the knife into Israel by implying that this is really about Israel's own PR efforts. Take this from AFP:
The remarks were seized upon by Israel in an attempt to fend off the harsh global criticism over the deaths and prove they were orchestrated and led by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Why is it that the media malign Israel's efforts to provide legitimate public diplomacy yet cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the deliberate media strategy deployed by Hamas?

Israel the baby killer?
The death of a baby is a tragedy however it comes about. Eight-month old Layla Ghandour was allegedly a victim of Israeli tear gas leading to shocking articles such as the one in the UK's Daily Express.

What the Express isn't telling its readers is that a Gazan doctor told the Associated Press that the baby had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by tear gas. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to disclose medical information to the media.

Unaddressed by the Los Angeles Times is why Palestinian parents bring babies (in this case with a heart defect) to a clash where they know tear gas and smoke from burning tires would be in the air. A similar New York Times report shed just a little more light on the question:
Layla was dozing at their home in Gaza City when a call went up: A bus was waiting, outside a nearby mosque, to take residents to the border fence, where the protest was raging. Her 12-year-old uncle, Ammar, bundled her up in his arms and carried her out the door.
The boy assumed that Layla's mother was already on the bus. In fact, she was in another part of the house, suffering from a toothache. Still, Layla was hardly the only infant at the protest. Entire families had come along, some snacking on ice cream or sandwiches, as the protests raged hundreds of yards away.

A gas libel
As for the headline "Drones Drop Lethal Canisters" as seen in the Express above, this is simply a libel. Tear gas is a recognized form of non-lethal riot control and the IDF was clearly not dropping tear gas in order to kill.

Just as bad was a staff-ed in The Independent that referred to the death of the Palestinian baby:
In this context it is worth reminding ourselves of the worldwide wave of revulsion against chemical weapons we have seen in recent weeks. Palestinian victims deserve the same sympathy and protests as anyone else when their children suffer from gassing.

Drawing an equivalence between Israeli tear gas used as a means of non-lethal riot control and the use of chemical weapons as in Syria is both inaccurate and utterly despicable.

How Hamas encourages the riots
None of the media have asked the most obvious question – why would anyone bring babies or children to a riot in the first place?
A Gazan terrorist was apprehended by the IDF after attempting to infiltrate into Israeli territory. Watch him explaining how Hamas forces civilians to participate in violence against Israel.

Brett Stephens  writes in the New York Times:
The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk?

Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times's Declan Walsh reported, "Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women"?

Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence?

Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas's leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza's hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

A "disproportionate" response?
Many media outlets and commentators have noted the difference in casualty figures between Palestinians and Israelis (one IDF soldier has been lightly wounded by shrapnel).
The charge of disproportionate force has been leveled at Israel on numerous occasions, particularly within the contexts of military operations in Gaza in the past.

Eric Yoffie responded in Haaretz to the disproportionate charge:
Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times acknowledged in passing possible grounds for blaming Hamas. But she more or less dismissed such claims, and noted "(t)he Israeli military's disproportionate violence."
John Cassidy, writing in The New Yorker, used similar language, pointing out that the "the casualty count was hugely asymmetrical."

Again: Excuse me?
Charges of disproportionality are among the most common leveled against Israel in her long struggle against Hamas, and they are among the most infuriating.
Are Goldberg and Cassidy suggesting that if there were a lot more Israeli dead, and a hundred Jewish bodies were strewn across the desert in southern Israel, then Israel's action would be acceptable, or at least more readily forgiven? If not directly stated, that is what is implied.
Indeed the term "disproportionate" has has been abused by those who have employed it without bothering to research precisely what it actually means in terms of international law.

Media complicity?
Some commentators have noted the role that the media have played in Hamas's PR success.
Matti Friedman in the New York Times:
The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn't really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences.
Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

Liel Leibovitz in Tablet:
That so many of our elites still fall into a cheap propaganda trap set up by a terrorist cult is dispiriting, to say the least. That they further the goals of a terrorist organization by furnishing the backdrop to its macabre and murderous theater is deplorable. But after 2005, and 2009, and 2014, it has become increasingly hard to credit the idea that anyone involved on any side is naive about the nature and consequences of their actions.
What's truly disturbing about yesterday's events is the idea that they were theater. In other words, that the press knows exactly what it is doing—that news organizations are knowingly partnering with Hamas, and gladly whitewashing the crimes of a ghoulish leadership in return for pictures that they want as much as Hamas does, and that they are happy to pay for in uncritical coverage and free airtime.
That kind of cynicism, at the expense of Palestinian lives, is truly breathtaking, even for the Middle East. And it makes us all complicit.

Alan Dershowitz in The Hill:
One thing is crystal clear: Hamas will continue to use the "dead baby strategy" as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job of defending its civilians but it is certain that the media can do a better job of accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.
Israel as a moral actor

Debate will rage for some time concerning the actions of both Israelis and Palestinians and plenty of observers on all sides will probably conclude that Hamas, thanks to the body count that it encouraged, has come out on top, at least in the battleground of the media.
Criticism of Israeli policies is legitimate. Indeed, millions of Israeli citizens do just that on a regular basis as is normal in a democracy. Israel's army should be held to the same standards as other Western militaries such as those of the US and UK.
Where the line has been crossed is efforts by some to demonize Israel as a uniquely evil and malevolent state.

One of the reservists at the scene has written of his experiences in The Times of Israel:
I want to testify that what I saw and heard was a tremendous, supreme effort from our side to prevent, in every possible way, Palestinian deaths and injuries.
Of course, the primary mission was to prevent hundreds of thousands of Gazans from infiltrating into our territory. That kind of invasion would be perilous, mortally dangerous, to the nearby communities; would permit terrorists disguised as civilians to enter our kibbutz and moshav communities, and would leave us with no choice but to target every single infiltrator. That's why our soldiers were directed to prevent infiltration, in a variety of ways,using live ammunition only as a last resort.
The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence. In addition, over the past few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas, who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel.
When there is no alternative, and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence, the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and to only injure those on the other side.

The media have played a central role in this latest assault on Israel's legitimate right to defend its borders and its citizens. Will the media climb down from their knee-jerk response now that new information has come to light?
It takes guts to admit you got it wrong but at least one journalist has done just that.
Either way, far too much of the media should hang their heads in shame for the scandalous coverage that has polluted our TV screens, newspapers and online news sites over the past few days.

 

The "Baby Killers" story - later revelations - it was totally false

Layla Anwar Ghandour - falsely claimed to have been victim of Israeli tear gas

This report emerged later - - .timesofisrael.com/hamas-paid-family-to-say-baby-killed-by-tear-gas-says-gaza-terror-suspect/

(Edited extracts)

Mahmoud Omar, A 20-year-old Palestinian indicted on terror-related charges told Israeli investigators during his interrogation that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid his relatives to falsely tell the media that his baby cousin died of tear gas inhalation.

According to the indictment, Omar told authorities that two weeks prior to his arrest, he was among the 40,000 Gazans taking part in the May 14 protests at the border when his mother called to inform him that his baby cousin had died.
Upon arriving home shortly thereafter, the suspect was told that Layla had died of a blood disease similar to the one that took the life of the deceased infant’s brother, who succumbed to the condition at the same age in 2017.

Omar told investigators that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid Layla’s parents, Miriam and Anwar Ghandour, NIS 8,000 ($2,206) to tell the media that the infant had died due to tear gas inhalation at the Gaza protests.

Members of the family subsequently gave a series of interviews blaming Israel for Layla’s death. In an article published by AFP on May 15, for instance, the baby’s mother, Mariam al-Ghandour, said, “The Israelis killed her.” The baby’s mother was not asked whether the baby had a preexisting medical condition, and the family indicated to the AFP reporter that she had been healthy.

Layla’s mother Mariam, herself only 17, and other members of the family precisely detailed to the AFP reporter the purported sequence of events that led to Layla’s death at the hands of Israel. She explained to AFP that she had a dentist appointment “so I left Leila with my brothers at home.” She added: “My little brother took her and went to the border.”

The brother, 11-year-old Ammar, for his part, told AFP he mistakenly thought his sister was at the border with his mother and other family members. “So I took her with me on the bus.” He added: “I feel I am the reason (for her death).” Close to the border he said he eventually found his mother Heyam and handed Leila over to her. They stayed only a few minutes, Heyam insisted, before tear gas rained down on them.
“I could barely breathe,” she said. “We got away from the gas and gave Leila to my sister and went looking for two other children so we could leave. She drank juice but was crying a lot. Then she went silent. I thought she was sleeping.”
It was only when they got off the bus that they noticed her skin had turned blue, the family said. “I rushed to the hospital. They told me she had been dead more than an hour,” Heyam told the AFP reporter.

The ministry spokesman, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, posted a photograph of Ghandour on Facebook, and wrote that she had died due to gas inhalation.
After her funeral, a doctor in Gaza, speaking anonymously, told the AP news agency that he believed a serious preexisting medical condition was to blame for her death.

 

One of the dead "protesters"

As reported by United with Israel staff

On May 14, at the height of the Hamas-led riots held on Israel's border with Gaza and the bloodiest day in the nine weeks of the "March of Return," Saadi Abu Salah, 16, died.
He was one of 62 Palestinians, mostly terrorists, killed that day while storming Israel's internationally recognized border.


Saadi's ties with Hamas run deep. His father and uncle, affiliated with Hamas, had been imprisoned in Israel. Several of Sa'adi's cousins are serving time in Israeli prison for acts of terrorism.
Despite his young age, the terror group sent him to the front lines near the border fence, where their operatives played a dominant role in the riots – a fact made obvious by the large number of Hamas fatalities in these violent clashes.
Saadi was given wire cutters in order to cut through the border fence in preparation for a mass infitration into Israeli territory, thus putting his life at risk. He was shot by IDF forces defending Israel's border

His funeral was attended by Hamas officials and operatives, and his body was wrapped in a Hamas flag for burial.
Hamas held a memorial service for him two days later, during which a professionally produced, 14-minute video was screened about Saadi, lauding him as a "heroic Shaheed."
The video, with a soundtrack of martial music, shows the boy burning tires, sabotaging the border security fence and clashing with IDF soldiers. Extensive footage of Saadi's actions may indicate that a Hamas photographer had been following him and documenting his participation in the violent events while waiting for him to die.

In the video, a masked Palestinian terror operative from the so-called "tire and fence-cutting unit" reads a death notice, saying Saadi excelled at burning tires and cutting through the border fence.

Brainwashing Youth to Die - see also Indoctrination
The dead teen's father says in the clip that his son had always talked about his desire to become a Shaheed, a Muslim religious warrior who dies fighting the "infidel," and he even prayed to Allah to grant him his wish.
Hamas' cynical objective in this event was to brainwash other Palestinian youth to become the next Saadi Abu Salah, an Israeli think tank explained.
"Hamas' objective was to glorify Saadi Abu Salah and turn him into a role model for other boys Hamas uses for its own purposes," the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), which investigated the phenomenon, wrote.
The objective of the memorial was to show Saadi's "courage, glorify him and turn him into a role model," ITIC explained.

In another report, ITIC points out that the incorporation of youth into the Hamas terror apparatus makes the distinction between civilians and combatants during warfare exceedingly difficult and could result in a rise in civilian casualties in a conflict.
The practice of pushing youth into the service of terror is reminiscent of Hamas' use of human shields during warfare, which constitutes a war crime.

 

"Medic shot on border"

Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic from Gaza, had become an icon before her death on 1 June. In recent weeks, images of her were being widely circulated online; a recognisable fixture at Gaza’s weekly demonstrations, she was often photographed wearing her white medic uniform with colourful headscarves and a determined expression on her face as she entered dangerous terrain in order to treat the wounded.
Najjar was an unarmed first responder helping victims of the demonstrations dubbed the “Great March of Return” in Gaza . . . . . . The Independent

Razan al-Najjar: 21-year-old Palestinian medic who died while acting as a human shield

But in her own words, in an interview for home consumption, she stated that she was there as a "Human Shield" for Hamas. Indeed she fulfilled this role completely by getting shot and gathering condemnation for Israel around the world. But it was hamas that was committing war crimes by using her as a human shield.

In another video for home consumption she is seen picking up and throwing a smoking cannister, with the celebration and approval of "demonstrators." What the cannister was and what was being said is not known, but it appears that she is being celebrated as a participant in the "demonstration."

Fire Kites

Another feature of the 2018 pseudo-demonstration is the use of fire kites (plus devices attached to baloons filled with medical helium.)

Flying kites sounds inoccuous, but these kites carrying molotov cocktails have destroyed large areas of crops and nature reserves in southern Israel.

Fire kites under construction - carryin the message, "Oh sons of Jewish women, leave our land or we will slaughter you."

These and similar kites have also been used to carry explosive devices.

There have been fire kites launched by Arabs within Israel.

 

Hamas business as usual

One day's life in Southern Israel

Updated 10/08/18

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