Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Associated Press is flatly denying the Israeli military’s cover story for why it bombarded the al-Jala tower in Gaza, which housed media offices of AP and al-Jazeera, and where dozens of journalists were based. Israel maintains that there was a Hamas intelligence unit in the building that was targeting Israel.
This Israeli allegation is, of course, ridiculous. Hamas’s attacks on Israel are via little rockets with no guidance systems. A third of the Hamas rockets are so feeble that they actually land inside Gaza and have hurt Palestinians. The rockets fly blind and most land uselessly in the desert. So what would an “intelligence office” in an office building be doing that posed a danger to Israel? If they were on a computer on the internet, they could be anywhere– they didn’t have to be in the al-Jala.
Plus, AP are reporters and I trust them that they would have investigated and known if Hamas was operating in their building, since they wouldn’t want their staff to be in the cross-hairs.
So the Israeli military is lying. It actually destroyed al-Jala because it was a highrise that gave AP and al-Jazeera journalists good sightlines for the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli generals don’t want those images going out to the world, because they are evidence of war crimes. The AP CEO admitted that the world will know less about what is going on in Gaza because that building was demolished.
The International Criminal Court in the Hague is already beginning an investigation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
The ancient Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu enthused, “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.”
More recently, Mao Zedong wrote,
- “To win victory we must . . . make the enemy blind and deaf by sealing his eyes and ears and to make enemy commanders lose their heads by causing bewilderment and confusion.”
The Israeli Air Force does not need to be invisible out of fear of the enemy, since the Palestinians in Gaza have no air defenses, and so fighter jets and helicopter gunships can strike them at will in broad daylight, openly knocking down office and apartment buildings with impunity. Although the Israeli Air Force calls up residents an hour before to give them time to run out of the doomed edifice, Palestinians are reporting that the bombardment is causing secondary collapses in nearby buildings where residents weren’t forewarned, and that victims are being buried in rubble. And, of course, a major explosion like that sends debris flying, blinding and injuring people, including children, as a sort of secondary shrapnel
The Israeli military does, however, need to be less visible because of world public opinion, which takes a dim view of shooting fish in the barrel as a tactic.
Even before this atrocity, the Committee to Protect Journalists had complained about Israeli attacks on journalists:
- “On May 12, Israeli forces in the West Bank city Tulkarem arrested Hazem Naser, a Palestinian camera operator for the Amman-based broadcaster Al-Ghad, according to a report by his employer; he remains in detention today, and authorities have not disclosed the reason for his arrest.
Separately, two members of a right-wing Israeli demonstration in Tel Aviv assaulted a TV crew working for the Israeli public broadcaster Kan News yesterday, according to news reports.
Also, an Israeli air strike injured at least two Palestinian journalists with the Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency . . . in Gaza, their employer reported.
“Israeli authorities must cease arresting and attacking journalists, who play a vital role reporting the news and bringing clarity amid chaos,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.”
So Israel’s response was to destroy a whole communications office building full of journalists who had to run for their lives, leaving behind notes and footage that Israel did not want to see the light of day.
Basil Maghribi at Arab 48 reports that the number of victims of Israeli bombardment in blockaded Gaza rose Saturday night to a total of at least 150, including 41 children and 22 women, since last Monday, while the number of injured rose to more than one thousand.
He writes that a medical source in Gaza told him at dawn on Sunday of two more deaths and dozens of people wounded during a fierce bombardment hat targeted several areas in the Gaza Strip. Muhammad Abu Silmiya, the director of Al-Sihha hospital said that two were killed and that 15 critically wounded arrived at the hospital, among them 3 women and 5 children.
Eyewitnesses say that Israeli fighter jets launched a simultaneous set of violent and unprecedented airstrikes on homes and streets in several districts of the Gaza Strip. Residents told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that they were startled by the terrifying boom of explosions that shook homes and caused some buildings to collapse on their residents. They said that many victims were still under rubble.
They said that the airstrikes targeted roads and infrastructure in the west of Gaza City and to the south of Gaza in the city of Khan Yunus.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza issued a brief statement that the Israeli Occupation is again targeting defenseless civilians, children and women.