Guest Op-Ed: Israelis Misused Weapons in Gaza to Target Civilians

An informed observer writes in a guest op-ed for IC:

I am troubled by the publication of Uri Dromey’s piece in today’s Guardian.

My reaction to the content is that the piece attempts to blame the victims– which is a well known sophist technique. As for the misleading explanations of what seems to be the use of legitimate weapons in inappropriate ways and contexts, my reaction can be summarised as “what absolute bollocks!”

The pictures of airburst phosphorous being used to set areas on fire are conclusive evidence of misuse.

Smokescreens use ground burst. If I had ever wanted a smoke point to cover a flanking movement then I wanted the smoke as a dense cloud on the ground at a height that exceeded the height of my people. Armoured Fighting Vehicle also have small smoke dischargers on the turrets and hulls designed to put a cloud of smoke in front of the vehicle to give time to reverse out of danger or to debus and engage the enemy.

Flechettes are used in claymore mines and so called beehive rounds and are used to counter attacks by massed infantry. I had no expectation that the few hundred Hamas fighting men in Gaza would do a human mass Banzai charge against any Israeli unit. That would have achieved the Israeli objective in a few minutes, in a manner similar to Picketts Charge at Gettysburg.

The only mass of humans I could see were the women children and old men taking shelter in schools and hospitals and UN premises.

I would have used claymores to cover the killing zone in any ambush I was planning particularly in jungle ambushes, as they cut through the undergrowth and foliage and kill indiscriminately anyone and anything in the KZ.

Wikipedia gives us a useful introduction to Flechette based weapons:

‘Beehive is an anti-personnel round fired from an artillery gun, packed full of metal darts, flechettes, which are ejected from the shell in front of the target by the action of a mechanical time fuze. It is so-called because of the ‘buzzing’ sound the darts make when flying through the air and in the manner of numerous bees around an actual beehive. It is deadly when used against concentrations of enemy troops due to its shotgun effect in similarity to claymore mines. The beehive round can be considered an evolution of shrapnel artillery ammunition.

The first round actually termed “beehive” was first fired in combat in 1966, to great success,[1] and was thereafter used extensively in the Vietnam War, though the later development of the Killer Junior air burst technique eventually usurped beehive’s role. Beehive rounds were extensively used in the Vietnam War, for defence of firebase perimeters against massed enemy attacks, and because it could penetrate the thick canopy of the jungle and “pad”[jargon] it out. The primary beehive round for this purpose was the M546 APERS-T (anti-personnel tracer) shell which projected 8000 flechettes and was direct fired from a near horizontally levelled barrel of a 105mm howitzer[2].’

If this savage assault on the population of Gaza had been planned during the six months of the preceding ceasefire, then whoever selected ammunition loads of flechette weapons must have been planning for a massacre.

The point about Fallujah is misleading. In a manner similar to the evacuation of the women and children from the Alamo, the non combatants in Fallujah were given a week or ten days to leave. Anyone who stayed identified himself as a fighting man.

The unfortunate inhabitants of Gaza had nowhere to escape to because the border crossings were closed. The idea that phone calls warning them to leave buildings was adequate is misleading because it is widely reported by reliable sources that this was used as a weapon of psychological warfare to spread fear and confusion.

I find Amnesty’s report provides enough evidence to convince me that something similar to a Wannsee Protokol may exist somewhere in Tel Aviv and that Senior Israeli officers and politicians have a case to answer at the International Criminal Court. Doubtless I will be accused of anti-semitism for saying it, but I find myself in the company of Sir Gerald Kaufman, Mary Robinson and a glittering array of QCs and eminent jurists in doing so.

I find the Guardian giving this piece of Newspeak a platform without identifying at the end of the piece that the author is closely linked to the Israeli forces worrying.

The Guardian used to be a newspaper that could be relied on to present a point of view that was an antidote to the authoritarian and right wing point of view expressed in newspapers like Daily Telegraph, Times, Jerusalem Post. It is unsettling to find them giving a platform to someone who Professor Avi Schlaim denounces as a propagandist.

If the Independent, whose editorial independence is vouched for by the integrity of Robert Fisk as a correspondent, were to succumb to its financial problems, along with Channel 4 TV– and The Guardian were to have been subverted we would be left with a biased set of mass media that channel to us Israeli propaganda.

Perhaps the Editor of the Guardian might need to examine his conscience.

End/ (Not Continued)

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