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‘New Yorker’ story recycles Israeli propaganda on death of Gazan family in 2006

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Huda Ghaliya, in an iconic image that was broadcast worldwide following the death of her family in Gaza in 2006. (TV image from Ramatan News Agency)

Earlier today Phil posted on Shani Boianjiu’s story “Means of Suppressing Demonstrations”, which appears in the current New Yorker. Phil referred to it as “Israeli army literature.” He didn’t know how accurate he was.

Boianjiu’s story begins:

Lea, the officer, had stopped feeling her own body. She lay on top of an anti-sniper barricade, holding up a page from a newspaper, blocking the stars. She had to stretch out her arms to hold the wide page above her head.

“Oh,” she said.

“The Army didn’t do it,” Tomer said. He flicked his cigarette butt down onto the asphalt of Route 799. He was talking about Huda, the little Palestinian girl on the beach. The picture in the newspaper showed her screaming on red sand, amid the body parts of the seven people who had been her family.

“I know,” she said. “This is a manipulation.”

The world said that the Israeli Army had done it with artillery fire, but the Israeli Army knew that the family had been killed by a dormant shell that Palestinian militants had left by the sea.

“The little Palestinian girl on the beach” is a real person. Huda Ghaliya was in sixth grade when her family was killed on the beach in Gaza, and her photo was broadcast around the world. The New York Times reported at the time:

Eleven-year-old Huda unwittingly became a symbol of Palestinian pain and loss during an afternoon picnic with her family on a hot day when a cameraman captured her shrieking “Father, Father, Father!” as she hovered over the bloody bodies of 13 dead or wounded members of her family, hit by what was apparently an errant Israeli artillery shell.

Similar to Muhammad Al-Dura’s death in 2000, Huda’s story quickly became a propaganda battle. The Israeli goverment claimed, as does Boianjiu, that Huda’s family was killed by a Palestinian munition in the beach. However, Human Rights Watch had researchers on the ground and followed the incident closely.

From “Investigate Gaza Beach Killings” (6/14/06):

Human Rights Watch researchers currently in Gaza interviewed victims, witnesses, Palestinian security officers and doctors who treated the wounded after the incident. They also visited the site of the explosion, where they found a large piece of unoxidized jagged shrapnel, stamped “155mm,” which would be consistent with an artillery shell fired by the IDF’s M-109 Self-Propelled Artillery.

Human Rights Watch spoke to the Palestinian explosive ordnance disposal unit who investigated three craters on the beach, including the one where the civilians were killed. According to General Salah Abu `Azzo, head of the Palestinian unit, they also gathered and removed shrapnel fragments consistent with 155mm artillery shells.

Eyewitnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described between five and six explosions on the beach between 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., the time frame when the IDF fired artillery onto the beach and when the seven civilians were killed. Two survivors said they heard the sound of an incoming projectile and saw a blur of motion in the sky before the explosion that killed the seven civilians. Residents of northern Gaza are familiar with the sounds of regular artillery fire.

Doctors also confirmed to Human Rights Watch researchers that the injuries from the attack, which were primarily to the head and torso, are consistent with the heavy shrapnel of artillery shells used by the IDF. Doctors said the shrapnel they removed from Palestinian patients in Gaza was of a type that comes from an artillery shell.

According to readings from a Global Positioning Satellite taken by Human Rights Watch, the crater where the victims were killed was within the vicinity of the other artillery craters created by the IDF’s June 9 artillery attack and was the same shape and size. One crater was 100 meters away from the fatal crater, and the rest were 250 to 300 meters away.

Some Israeli officials have suggested the explosion may have been caused by a mine placed by Palestinian militants, rather than one of their artillery shells, despite the fact that they cannot account for the final landing place of one of their six shells.

However, according to on-site investigations by Human Rights Watch, the size of the craters and the type of injuries to the victims are not consistent with the theory that a mine caused the explosion. The craters are too large to be made by bounding mines, the only type of landmines capable of producing head and torso injuries of the type suffered by the victims on June 9. Additionally, Palestinian armed groups are not known to have, or to have used, bounding mines; the Palestinian government bomb squad said it has never uncovered a bounding mine in any explosive incident.

From “More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF” (6/15/06):

A digitally dated and time-stamped blood test report of a victim treated at a Palestinian hospital that admitted wounded from the June 9 killings on a Gaza beach suggests that the attack took place during the time period of an Israeli artillery attack, Human Rights Watch said today. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied responsibility for the killings, saying that although they fired six artillery shells onto the beach between 4:32 p.m. and 4:51 p.m., the fatal incident must have occurred after that.

Human Rights Watch first challenged this conclusion, concluding that the IDF most likely caused the killings, in a press release based on an investigation by its researchers in Gaza.

Human Rights Watch researchers examined the computer-generated record from the Kamal Adwan hospital, which documents the blood test of a victim from the beach incident being taken at 5:12 p.m. on June 9. Furthermore, hand-written hospital records log patients from the incident as having been admitted starting at 5:05 p.m. If the records are accurate, based on the time needed to dispatch an ambulance and drive from the hospital to the beach and back, this suggests that the fatal explosion took place at a time when the IDF said it was firing artillery rounds. Both sets of records also directly call into question the account of the IDF that ambulances did not reach the beach until 5:15 p.m. that day.

Altering the records would require re-setting the computer’s clock and re-writing pages of the hospital’s admissions log. Human Rights Watch researchers said that the pages they saw documented patients un-related to the beach incident, followed by two pages of victims from the beach. The first of those were admitted at 5:05 p.m. The researchers saw no evidence that the times might have been altered.

Israeli military officials have also suggested the explosion, which killed seven members of the Ghalya family and wounded many others, might have been caused by a mine. But Human Rights Watch researchers also examined blood-crusted shrapnel given to them by the father of a 19-year-old male who suffered abdominal wounds in the beach explosion. They determined that the shrapnel is a piece of fuse from an artillery shell.

Finally, from “Gaza Beach Investigation Ignores Evidence” (6/20/06):

The Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) investigation of the Gaza beach explosion that killed eight Palestinian civilians and wounded dozens is incomplete because it excludes important evidence, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch researchers met yesterday with Israeli Major-General Meir Kalifi, who led the internal IDF investigation, to discuss its findings. After the meeting, Human Rights Watch reiterated its call for an independent investigation into the deaths.

The meeting revealed that the IDF’s conclusion that it was not responsible for the deaths on the beach was based exclusively on information gathered by the IDF and excluded all evidence gathered by other sources.

Boianjiu uses this discredited Israeli investigation to ground her story where Palestinians cynically attempt to garner sympathy through staged encounters with the Israeli military. Boianjiu’s story is fiction, but the context is pure hasbara.

Ironically, Boianjiu responded to our earlier post over Twitter, chiding us that we didn’t understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction:

Boianjiu’s narration of the deaths in Gaza is about as truthful as Harry Potter, but unlike that bespectacled wizard, her fictions are in the service of obfuscating a very real tragedy and an ongoing oppression.

About Adam Horowitz

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59 Responses

  1. Cliff
    June 19, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Why is she so ignorant of the difference between historical ‘fiction’ or something ‘based on’ historical events, as she clearly implies – versus something totally fiction like Harry Potter?

    Or maybe Zionists think Zionism is as legitimate as Harry Potter and hence, she’s actually an ANTI-Zionist!

    Nope. She’s just a liar and saving face by being a Twit on Twitter.

    Being published in ‘The New Yorker’ is a big deal. She wrote an entire novel about this crap, right? She is basing it on her real experiences in the IDF?

    Anyways, predictable piece of propaganda from a propaganda outlet.

    • Bumblebye
      June 19, 2012, 6:02 pm

      The book’s called “The People of Forever are not Afraid: Coming of Age in the IDF”.
      It should’ve been called “50 Shades of Zionism”.

      • annie
        June 19, 2012, 6:21 pm

        i’m going totally BALLISTIC. just finished skewering the new yorker for publishing this trash (will be published in due time) so i’m over at the authors twitter page and run into a tweet from random house pr informing me it’s an excerpt from a BOOK.

        i’m thinking about writing random house and asking them if they would be interested in a fictional account of the holocaust where the jews, y’know, kinda ask for it on account of the publicity.

        and taking some famous incident/nazi atrocity (one that just happened to be a turning pt in the war akin to breaking a ceasefire) but fictionalizing it and then claiming it was ‘whoops’ cause by jews.

        i’m so not letting go of this nakba denial. people have short memories. they wanna publish this crap we can rerun the timeline and teach the newbies who it was that broke the ceasefire, what happened weeks before shalit was abducted, when the blockade began (repackaged name of the economic embargo) and why.

        random house? no no no. they are so not it getting away with this scott free. i will be plummeting them.

        color me LIVID

      • Ira Glunts
        Ira Glunts
        June 19, 2012, 6:30 pm

        “The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid” has a publication date of …. you couldn’t make this up … 9/11!!!

      • American
        June 19, 2012, 6:32 pm

        Go get them annie!!!….you rock girl.

      • Bumblebye
        June 19, 2012, 6:57 pm

        Oh dear. This’ll send you an even darker shade of LIVID:
        She’s the first named of 5 authors under 35 to be honored by the National Book Foundation 2011.

      • proudzionist777
        June 19, 2012, 7:02 pm

        Anthrax attack?

      • annie
        June 19, 2012, 7:08 pm

        She is at work on her first novel

        so what has she published that led to this honor?

        maybe since it is not published yet she could change the name and the place and not have it replicate a real victim who she maligns by fictionalizing the death of a family in a way that implies the facts were manipulated by the victims instead of the perpetrators.

        this is nakba denial she’s traveling in. the publishers should be ashamed.

      • Bumblebye
        June 19, 2012, 7:18 pm

        I suspect it’s the kind of pap that a lot of zio families will be buying as a gift in an attempt to convert the disenchanted younger generation to their ’cause’. There’s almost 15months til it’s out, so plenty of time to raise a stink about disgusting fictionalisations such as Adam has highlighted. It goes to show how important it is to Israel to see pretzellated versions of the deaths of Palestinians presented instead of the truth.

      • annie
        June 19, 2012, 7:46 pm

        15 months? sept 11, 2012

        the kind of pap that a lot of zio families will be buying as a gift in an attempt to convert the disenchanted younger generation to their ’cause’

        kiddie idf porn,making apartheid look like summer camp. from her bio..’i was instructing the soldiers how to be safe..’

      • Bumblebye
        June 19, 2012, 7:59 pm

        The site I linked to above says “…forthcoming in 2013”. So I added Ira’s 9/11 and came up with 15months – unless it’s been brought forward elsewhere? Oh, Ira’s link does say 2012. There’s still time to kick up a stink.

      • annie
        June 19, 2012, 8:02 pm

        i opened Ira’s amazon link and it said sept 11, 2012.

        i’m still reading accounts of the massacre. i remember clearly when it happened. so horrific.

        what she wrote is akin to calling this death pallywood. she should be ashamed. this will come back to bite them. she might sell alot of book but this is revolting. utterly revolting.

      • seafoid
        June 20, 2012, 7:58 am


        they can try the hasbara but slowly its efficacy is being whittled away by the work of you and many others . This story is important but it is dwarved by the system which Israel runs in Gaza. Gaza is going to bring down Zionism. The sheer macabre awfulness of the system is laid bare in Gaza

        1. Access to food is a policy tool of Israel
        The released documents, whose existence Israel had denied for eighteen months, reveal that the state approved “a policy of deliberate reduction” of basic goods, including food and fuel, in the Gaza Strip.

        2. What undernutrition does to the most vulnerable- children,,contentMDK:20207804~menuPK:528430~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:344939,00.html

        Poor nutrition during intrauterine life and early years leads to profound and varied effects including:
        – Delayed physical growth and motor development
        – General effects on cognitive development resulting in lower IQs (lower by 15 points or more in the severely malnourished)
        – Greater degree of behavioral problems and deficient social skills at school age
        – Decreased attention, deficient learning, and lower educational achievement.

        3. the media campaign
        All other goods are available in the Gaza Strip markets, and in abundance. This is the result of the Israeli government’s decision, following the flotilla in May 2010, to allow most good into Gaza

        4 . the destruction of the sewage system during Cast Lead and the ban on construction afterwards
        Gaza’s sewage system is “completely broken”.

        5. the spread of disease
        Israeli scientists find new strain of MRSA bacteria spreading in Gaza City
        Antibiotic-resistant bug may spread through cats, say researchers.

        Israel is now in Mengele territory

  2. pabelmont
    June 19, 2012, 5:10 pm

    This suggests a New Yorker story which, read at face value, purports to be fact but is actually false Israeli propaganda (nasty, purposful fiction; lies), but which was (or may have been) intended as (gentler) fiction.

    What does the NY say when presented with Adam’s analysis? Did you write them a letter?

  3. Krauss
    June 19, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Her trivial and purely idiotic reaction to the brutal killings of an innocent family, by comapring them to Harry Potter says it all.

    Of course the story was hogwash from the beginning and as I wrote in the earlier post, it’s pure hasbara. It’s a plantstory. Let’s be honest.

    And as I said, and as Phil said, the New Yorker would never have had a pro-Afrikaaner propagandist getting prime time like she got. And her crazed and unhinged reactions just show that she was never interested in telling the truth.
    She even seems to be laughing about it. She’s mentally sick.

    • Ranjit Suresh
      Ranjit Suresh
      June 19, 2012, 8:59 pm

      Well, why would the New Yorker never have a pro-Afrikaner propagandist? What’s the difference?

      Let’s be real here. Anybody, of any racial, ethnic, or religious minority, who demonstrates such an extent of moral myopia as this deserves to be called out and exposed. Exposed as what they are: utter frauds.

  4. James North
    James North
    June 19, 2012, 5:41 pm

    This excellent post by Adam reminds me once again why Mondoweiss is indispensable. Her tweet at the end is astonishing.

  5. MRW
    June 19, 2012, 5:53 pm

    How much did Brand Israel pay her?

  6. giladg
    June 19, 2012, 6:08 pm

    Talking about Gaza, today that is, over 40 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel. How are you ever going to know what really goes on between the peace loving Palestinians and Israel if you rely on CNN and this site for your news? Just like when 8 Israeli’s where killed last year on the Egyptian border, the news was about the Egyptians who were killed by Israeli forces after the incident and not the initial attack on the Israeli’s. Not easy to be pro-Israel during these times.

    • Bumblebye
      June 19, 2012, 6:21 pm

      Uh-huh, riiiight, and Gaza has only been bombarded by Israeli bombs for the last several days, with deaths and massive destruction. Couldn’t possibly be a connection. We know ‘they’ hate Israel for no known reasons.

    • talknic
      June 19, 2012, 7:39 pm

      giladg June 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Could have something to do with retaliation to recent indiscriminate Israeli attacks, 64 years occupying Palestinian territory, illegal annexation, illegal settlements, dispossession, territorial theft, refusal to adhere to the UN Charter, International Law, hundreds of UNSC resolutions.

      As to the 40 rockets and mortars being fired into Israel. How do you know they were fired into Israel? Israel says it has no borders with Palestine. 40 rockets and mortars pails into insignificance when compared to the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Israeli explosives fired on Gaza, the thousands of Palestinian civilians killed, the millions of stateless Palestine refugees because of Israel’s refusal to allow RoR or Palestinian Independence.

      Most rockets fired by the Palestinians actually land in territory Israel had illegally acquired by war by 1949, never legally annexed to Israel.

      You do realize that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens have been duped into believing they’re living in Israeli territory. Ripped off by being sold land in territory which has never belonged to Israel, unwittingly building their homes and livelihoods and lives in territories “outside the State of Israel”.

      Hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians abused by successive Israeli Governments to create illegal facts on the ground through encouraging them to ILLEGALLY be in occupied territories and allowing Israeli civilians to be armed in occupied territories, thereby making them valid military targets, endangering them and their families.

      Hundreds of thousands of Israelis forced into military service in order to illegally acquire territory “outside of the State of Israel”. Feeding them lie after lie after lie until they believe the bullsh*te they’ve been told.

      What sort of Govts have they been who’d follow such a course of deception for so long and what sort of people would support such governments? Only two words spring to mind. One of those words is ‘fools’

    • dbroncos
      June 19, 2012, 10:11 pm

      “Just like when 8 Israeli’s where killed last year on the Egyptian border…”
      Are you referring to the 8 Israeli guards who were killed near the wall of the Israeli administered Gaza concentration camp?

  7. lysias
    June 19, 2012, 7:26 pm

    New Yorker blog page on this piece allows one to make comments. Here are the seven comments that have so far appeared:

    Add your comments

    “Oh wait, my mistake. This is fiction.” Of course it’s fiction, but would the New Yorker print something so blatantly propagandistic and one-sided from the Palestinian side? I doubt it.
    Posted 6/19/2012, 6:13:19pm by Radagast
    Report abuse

    It’s unbelievable that you would print this–it’s little more than propaganda, no better than if you printed something crudely anti-semitic from a member of Islamic Jihad. What did you print back in 1950–humorous stories about lynching parties in the South?
    Posted 6/19/2012, 6:09:13pm by Radagast
    Report abuse

    reeks of privilege and one-sided ignorance
    Posted 6/19/2012, 5:12:03pm by muniratalla
    Report abuse

    Oh wait, my mistake. This is fiction. PURE fiction. My bad.
    Posted 6/19/2012, 5:04:11pm by Empiricon
    Report abuse

    Amen. What has happened to jounalistic standards? The opening story is a regurgitation of a bald-faced IDF lie. All you have to do is Google “Huda Ghaliya” and the very first listing is a comprehensive refutation of this propoganda.
    Posted 6/19/2012, 4:27:11pm by Empiricon
    Report abuse

    Agreed. An utter disgrace.
    Posted 6/19/2012, 12:22:15pm by Senhal
    Report abuse

    It’s a disgrace that the New Yorker published this story.
    Posted 6/19/2012, 11:11:07am by darknessatno
    Report abuse

    • seafoid
      June 20, 2012, 9:51 am

      The bots arrived later

      Yup, I see Annie here from Mondoweiss, where Jews are Nazis and we are responsible for 9/11 to name just one conspiracy. Annie also believes that the Syrians murdering their people is an Israeli conspiracy.

      posted by LongliveIsrael
      Read more

      “One of the great things in this story is the juxtaposition of desires: Lea suffers from an inability to want anything, whereas the Palestinian demonstrators want, perhaps, too much. ”

      Those greedy Palestinian bastards. Isn’t the status quo good enough for them ? Why do they get so uppity in front of massah ? Don’t they know that it just brings a whuppin’?

  8. DICKERSON3870
    June 19, 2012, 7:40 pm

    RE: “Huda Ghaliya was in sixth grade when her family was killed on the beach in Gaza, and her photo was broadcast around the world.” ~ Adam Horowitz

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Gaza beach explosion (2006)]:

    (excerpts) The Gaza beach blast was an incident on June 9, 2006 in which eight Palestinians were killed and at least thirty others injured in an explosion on a beach near the municipality of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip.[1][2] The aftermath of the incident was captured on video and showed a distressed eleven year old girl, Huda Ghaliya, reacting to the loss of family members, most of whom were killed in the incident. The footage of Ghaliya, which received considerable media attention, was broadcast on news networks around the world, making her a symbol of Palestinian suffering.[3] The German newspaper ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ questioned the reliability of the video footage.[4][5]
    On 9 June 2006, between 4:31 and 4:50 p.m., Israeli artillery and a navy gunboat fired 8 artillery shells at the beach, with two shells landing 200 metres away from the family.[6] The Israeli army and Israeli officials initially took responsibility.[2] A subsequent investigation by the Israeli Defence Forces concluded that the explosion was not caused by the shelling of the beach and blamed it on a Palestinian land mine.[7][8][9] This investigation was criticized by Human Rights Watch[10] and The Guardian.[11] The IDF acknowledged a flaw in the report in that it omitted mention of two 76mm naval shells, the IDF maintains had landed too far away to have caused the explosion. At this point, the IDF acknowledged that the cause of the blast may have been an unexploded 155mm artillery shell from an earlier shelling, but suggested it might have been used as an IED by Palestinians.[2]
    Huda Ghaliya’s sister Ilham was reported in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz as saying her father caused the lethal explosion when he handled unexploded ordnance left behind from a previous incident,[12][13] however other sources list her as one of the immediate victims of the explosion.[14] Her brother Ayham, in an interview with the same newspaper, said the explosion was caused by an incoming shell.[15]. . .
    . . . The Israeli army claimed it was targeting Qassam rocket launchers, shelling the beach 250 metres away from the blast, ten minutes prior to it. An Israeli military investigation later concluded that the family was not hurt as a result of the Israeli shelling.[20] The Times and Human Rights Watch expressed doubts regarding the IDF investigation, saying that it failed to account for two shells fired from an Israeli naval vessel at the same time as the explosion and called for an independent inquiry into the deaths.[10]
    On June 16 it was reported that Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst and battle damage assessment expert at Human Rights Watch,[21] had examined a piece of shrapnel removed from the abdomen of one of the victims and had concluded that the shrapnel was part of an artillery fuse.[22] . . .

    SOURCE –

    • gaza beach (VIDEO, 02:28) –

    • Palestinian family murdered by Israelis (Graphic) (VIDEO, 02:50) –

  9. DICKERSON3870
    June 19, 2012, 7:42 pm

    P.S. A DIFFERENT INCIDENT A FEW MONTHS LATER – “IDF panel: Errant shell in Beit Hanun likely result of human or technical error”, By Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Hasaretz, 11/08/06
    GOC Southern Command: Shells were aimed 500 meters from where they hit, artillery may have malfunctioned.

    (excerpts) An Israel Defense Forces inquiry committee, headed by Major General Meir Kalifi, is examining two main options for what caused an IDF shell to stray 500 meters off course to the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, killing 19 Palestinians, mostly women and children.
    The committee believes that the disaster was the result of either a technical problem or human error. The problem (or error) could have occurred in either the artillery battery’s radar or its firing computer, both of which are operated manually. . .
    . . . Based on the committee’s findings to date, the course of events leading up to the incident is as follows:
    At 4 P.M. on Tuesday, four new and improved Qassam rockets were fired at Ashkelon . . .
    . . . The Gaza Division. . .instructed the artillery battery stationed at Be’eri to be prepared to shell the site. . .
    . . . The battery then made the usual preparations to adjust the range: It fired three or four shells at a site a few hundred meters away from the real target and used the battery’s radar to find out where they had landed, after which it adjusted the guns’ settings accordingly.
    At about 5:30 A.M. Wednesday morning, the battery fired 12 shells programmed to land about 1,200 meters from the houses of Beit Hanun. These shells hit the target and caused no casualties.
    At 5:45 A.M., the battery fired another 12 shells, this time programmed to land about 450 meters from the houses. All were launched from a single barrel to increase the accuracy. According to the battery’s radar, 10 shells hit the target, but the radar was unable to determine where the other two had landed. A few minutes later, the first reports of civilian casualties in Beit Hanun began arriving.
    The IDF is still not sure whether only the missing two shells hit the al-Ottomana house, or whether there were more.
    Artillery gunners who saw photographs of the damage on television said it looked as if a sizable number of shells had landed on it.
    According to the IDF, the “normal” margin of error for an artillery shell under these conditions is about 200 meters, which is why IDF regulations for Gaza state that artillery targets must be at least 200 to 300 meters from civilian houses. But a 450-meter deviation would require only a three-degree deviation in the gun barrel, which is “undetectable by the human eye,” said Brigadier General (reserves) Zvi Fogel, a former senior artillery officer.
    Fogel told Haaretz that there are two possible explanations for the error: a problem with the radar, which resulted in the gun’s range being wrongly adjusted Tuesday evening, or a problem with the battery’s computer, which wrongly implemented the correct range settings obtained from the radar. . .


    • DICKERSON3870
      June 19, 2012, 9:08 pm

      P.P.S. MORE RECENTLY: “IDF halts operation of Keshet system”, by Hanan Greenberg, Ynet News, 1/08/11
      Initial IDF probe into Friday incident at Gaza border that killed one soldier, injured five, reveals one of three mortar shells launched by IDF missed target, hit paratroopers. IDF halts operation of mortar deployment system until investigation completed

      (excerpts) System malfunction or human error? An IDF paratrooper unit launched three mortar shells at terrorists near the Gaza Strip border on Friday evening. The two first shells hit the target, while the third one probably missed, instead injuring five soldiers and killing Sergeant Nadav Rotenberg.
      Following the incident, the IDF halted operations on the Keshet mortar system. At least two other incidents were reported during the past two years, in which soldiers and civilians were injured from improper use of the system. . .
      . . . On Friday evening, approximately at 6:45 pm, three suspicious figures were spotted approaching the security fence. A paratrooper force was deployed to the area, while another unit was stationed further away and received coordinates for the location of the terrorist cell.
      The unit launched mortar shells using the Keshet weapons system – a computerized system with the ability to aim precisely and fire 120mm mortar shells at targets using coordinates.
      Most IDF infantry brigades have been using the system since 2008, and it is considered a useful technological tool for battlefield operations.
      An initial investigation indicated that the two first shells exploded near the terrorist cell, which later escaped the scene and could have been injured, while the third shell missed the target by a few dozen to a few hundred meters, hitting instead Sergeant Nadav Rotenberg and his fellow unit members.
      The IDF continued to fire mortar shells deeper into the Strip, and for several hours the circumstances of the incident remained unclear. Finally, the shrapnel that penetrated the soldiers’ bodies was identified as originating from the Israeli shell. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE –,7340,L-4010491,00.html

      • seafoid
        June 20, 2012, 9:39 am

        It’s systematic, Dickerson. And an IDF investigation isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

        I never fail to be amazed by the contrast between the brutality and inhumanity of the zionist machine and the superhuman effort that goes into the hasbara to convince the goys that nothing is deliberate.

      • ColinWright
        June 22, 2012, 4:21 am

        It’s worse than that. ‘The goys’ are only convinced because they prefer to be convinced.

        It’s like the carload of agricultural implements the Nazis used to hitch onto the trainloads of German Jews leaving for the East. More critical observers noticed the same carload coming back a week later to be attached to the next train — but that wasn’t the point.

        The point was to allow those who preferred to believe to believe. Israel’s lies are intended for those who wish to be lied to in the first place.

  10. dbroncos
    June 19, 2012, 10:00 pm

    “…her fictions are in the service of obfuscating a very real tragedy and an ongoing oppression.”

    Her fictions are in the service of a fascist regime’s genocidal campaign to erase the Palestinian nation.

  11. NorthOfFortyNine
    June 19, 2012, 10:56 pm

    Shani Boianjiu = Joan Peters in khaki. -N49.

    • Sumud
      June 24, 2012, 12:04 am

      My thoughts also N49.

      Peters, but also Leni Riefenstahl – without the talent.

  12. Kathleen
    June 20, 2012, 10:35 am

    Phil, Adam, Annie…Samer Shehata assistant professor of Arab politics, Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies is really addressing the issues. Israel supports the Egyptian military coup because it serves Israel’s purpose. Screw the Egyptian people if they vote for the Muslim Brotherhood. Screw an election…this does not serve Israel.

    You are going to want to listen to this program taking place right now. Lots there about how Israel supports an Egyptian military coup. He even talked about Israel’s continued defiance towards international laws, Un resolutions etc.

    Political turmoil in Egypt

  13. Kathleen
    June 20, 2012, 10:43 am

    Thanks for this Adam. That video clip of Huda calling out for her family was/is bone chilling. So cruel…so inhumane. And then on top of it the IDF lies about their crimes. Lost all sense of humanity.

    “After the meeting, Human Rights Watch reiterated its call for an independent investigation into the deaths.” Israel will block this somehow

  14. Denis
    June 21, 2012, 1:00 am

    This beach story is, of course, very disturbing, but there is something wacky about it, and I’m not just talking about Boianjiu coming out of nowhere and scoring a piece for the New Yorker. And I’m not just talking about the IDF’s idiot story. I think Boianjiu and NY’r did the Palestinians a favor by resurrecting this story. Say what you want about Boianjiu’s story line, but the Palestinians really do thrive on media attention directed at Israeli atrocities. They have to. The media are just about the only thing standing between these people and extinction.

    The Israelis’ story about what happened in certifiable bosh. That story is, as I read it, that, yes, Israeli gun-boats were shelling targets near the beach that day but they didn’t hit Huda’s family. By the wildest of coincidences, on the very same day the Israelis were shelling the area those folks detonated a 155mm shell left over from an earlier shelling. This is the story posted by Dickerson in Adam’s story. I don’t know why the IDF goes to the trouble to concoct such idiocy.

    But there is more to this story that is not adding up. A lot more.

    Dickerson also posted on Adam’s story 2 videos of Huda finding her father dead. [Dickerson is doing some brilliant research here, BTW.] One vid given as 2:28 min is not identified but appears to be from BBC. The other is given as 2:50 min is from Mosaic. There is something funny going on here.

    First, these are not the same footage of Huda, but you have to run them next to each other and do an almost microscopic exam to see the difference. For one thing the quality is discernibly different. But more subtle is the difference in angles. At 2:50 in the Mosaic vid and 2:29 in the BBC, Huda’s head is right under a white structure on the beach in the background. In one vid her head occludes the object in the other it doesn’t. You can see these sorts of angle-differences throughout both vids.

    What does this mean? It must mean there were two cameras running, very nearly right next to each other, probably held by the same person or same device. That is odd.

    But it is not nearly as odd as the ground. These vids show close ups of the victims. There is one pile of victims with some plastic chairs knocked over nearby. And then there is Huda’s father’s body, which is about 120 feet away from the others, if Huda’s stride is about 4 feet. The odd thing is that nowhere – and I mean NOWHERE – is there any bomb crater. The sand around the pile of bodies is undisturbed except for normal foot prints you find on any beach. You get an even better look at the sand around Huda’s father – no indication of a crater or an explosion or shrapnel. No blood. Nothing but normal foot-prints. Very odd. Regardless of whether it was an incoming 115mm or a left-over 155mm, an explosion is an explosion, and they don’t happen in sand without leaving a hole.

    Then watch Huda in the background during the vids. Mostly she is standing there watching the aid workers carry off the bodies of her family. Not expressive at all. Probably in shock. I would be. Then she suddenly runs that 120 feet or so to where her father is and goes into convulsions. Of course the camera guy (guys?) is right next to her, and, of course, she knows that. At one point in her grief she sort of vainly brushes the sand from off her shirt and face.

    The video then artfully pans away so we can see the entire scene: Huda, her father, the sand dune – no crater, no visual evidence of any explosion. No blood.

    WTF is this camera person doing? He just keeps shooting. He does nothing to help the girl. He does nothing to check the father, even though there are no visible wounds and he might just be dozing. Who is this guy, Robert Redford shooting an Oscar? Michael Moore?

    But here is the oddest bit of all. Look at the still pic at the beginning of Adam’s piece. Huda is on her feet. The camera is a good 6 feet above her for a very effective top-down angle. Her father is now mostly covered, his right hand is no longer above his head as it was in the video. There is a scattered deck of playing cards in the sand to Huda’s left, they all look like spades. This photo had to be staged. Look at the video: there is nothing next to the body to climb up on to get the angle in that pic. Someone had to set up a ladder – Huda’s still screaming inconsolably and they’re setting up a shot. The covered body, the playing cards – these are not shown in the videos. So somebody covered the body, moved its arm, dropped a bunch of spades in the sand – all while this poor girl is standing there screaming???? Sorry . . . this just strains credulity too much. You can believe anything you want, but I’ll usually go where common sense leads me.

    As reported by the Wiki article on this event, there have been some questions about this event being staged. See FN #4. The German daily Sued Deutsche interviewed the photographer, Zakaria Abu Irbad. He said the girl asked him to film her to “show the world the crimes Israel is committing.” Somehow, that seems more than possible.

    Given the Human Rights Watch report on this incident, I don’t think there’s much room for doubt that something happened and 7 people were killed. While I would not believe a word the IDF says about anything, before I get my knickers all in a twist about the graphic and disturbing videos and still shots, there are a lot of questions that need answers. I think we need to at least consider the possibility that they were staged by the Palestinians to media-milk the incident. Wouldn’t be the first time. Which brings us back to Boianjiu’s story-line.

    • seafoid
      June 21, 2012, 4:17 am


      Are the people Israel killed still alive ?

      • Denis
        June 21, 2012, 4:18 pm

        It’s a good question.

        Just guessing, but I think what likely happened was an Israeli round killed these 7 people, but then the Pallywood crew went out there and staged a recreation to show the world.

        I’m putting a more complete analysis of this event up on my website and haven’t looked at everything yet, but the videos and stills I am seeing were staged, as the photographer, Mr. Harbed, acknowledged.

        So, I guess to answer your question: I believe that the family the Israelis killed are dead but that the people shown in the video were not killed and are, therefore, not dead. Hasbara goes in two directions, IOW.

      • seafoid
        June 22, 2012, 2:20 pm


        You should have quit while you were ahead.

        Your hasbara is showing.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 21, 2012, 9:52 am

      A forensic investigation of video and still footage by someone who, like you, demonstrates not even the most elementary knowledge of the subject, should be simply disregarded.

      • Denis
        June 21, 2012, 4:22 pm

        Woody, it doesn’t require a PhD in forensic science to see that the still photo at the top of this post is staged.

        It doesn’t take a PhD in forensic science to realize there are no bomb craters in any of the videos or stills.

        All it takes a brain working on at least an IQ=50 level and a healthy modicum of skepticism.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 21, 2012, 5:37 pm

        “Woody, it doesn’t require a PhD in forensic science to see that the still photo at the top of this post is staged.”

        Actually, yes it does. (Training, at least, if not a doctorate). That’s why they can make a lot of money doing what they do: because it’s not something that anyone can do in his spare time.

        Was the photo cropped? What was the focal length used?

        If you can’t answer those questions then you cannot reach the conclusions you reached about that photo. Do you know? Do you even know why they are important?

      • ColinWright
        June 22, 2012, 4:47 am

        That’s right. It didn’t happen. The gas chambers were actually bomb shelters, and the crematoria were for baking brea…

        Whoops. Sorry. Wrong denial.

        The irony is that it wouldn’t matter even if the photograph WAS faked. Israeli crimes are far too massive and well documented for it to matter. I’ve seen a Holocaust shot I’m fairly sure is a product of Soviet propaganda. It doesn’t matter.

        You’re just looking for a way of denying the greater reality to yourself.

      • seafoid
        June 22, 2012, 2:23 pm

        It’s pathetic, Denis. It didn’t work with Mohamed ad Durra either.

        Israel kills Palestinians for sport. We all know that.

      • Sumud
        June 24, 2012, 12:17 am

        Israel kills Palestinians for sport. We all know that.

        And profit – don’t forget that. Israel is one of the largest weapons manufacturing countries in the world and they test their weapons on Palestinians beforehand.

      • June 24, 2012, 7:44 pm

        For a guy that can’t even spell his name correctly I would say, go get your GED, then move on to a GED/PhD and then ‘maybe’ (When your synaps are hitting on all cylinders) we will have you return to ‘waste’ more computer ‘ink’ on this site.

      • June 24, 2012, 8:01 pm

        More truth than poetry here. However, the D.I.M.E. (Tungsten/aluminum based anti-personnel munitions) that tore Palestinian men, women and children to shreds in Gaza during Israel’s horrific Operation Cast Lead pogrom, 12/27/2008 – 01/21/2009, were being ‘field tested’ for the US Pentagon however.

  15. talknic
    June 21, 2012, 5:16 am

    Wiki? Hilarious, its editorial policies don’t require truth or fact, but second hand opinion, entered by the third hand of the editors. An encyclopedia it isn’t, especially when it comes to the I/P issue.

    At the top of the page

    <a href=" “The neutrality of this article’s title, subject matter, and/or the title’s implications, is disputed.”

    The links go to Israeli news sites and not the German paper. A search of the German paper shows no article. No interview.

    Then we have your two cameras… WOW!!! How very observant you are. AMAZING!!! So observant you fail to notice that this footage is a shot of a …… TELEVISION SET!!

    “Look at the still pic at the beginning of Adam’s piece. Huda is on her feet.”

    She is SITTING on the slope of a sand dune Sitting with her legs crossed (‘scuse me folks) you Ziocaine addled moron!

    “The camera is a good 6 feet above her for a very effective top-down angle.”

    She is SITTING WITH HER LEGS CROSSED in front of a small sand dune which can be previously seen at 2:14 in this video Her father’s corpse is also laying on the slope of the dune.

    The cards can be clearly seen previously here in this third (a pro-Israeli propaganda video)

    ” At one point in her grief she sort of vainly brushes the sand from off her shirt and face”

    You claim sitting is standing. You claim a video shot of a news program on a television set is a second camera. You claim “..the playing cards – these are not shown in the videos”, when they clearly are in the video (4th video). Then anguish is vanity.

    Finally, your analytical talents are very similar to one Samuel T

    • ColinWright
      June 22, 2012, 4:40 am

      The claim is necessary because if the photo is NOT faked, then the writer has to confront the reality of the crime that Israel committed.

      Therefore, the photo is faked. It’s the same mechanism that drives Holocaust denial

      • Denis
        June 22, 2012, 5:09 pm

        You’re getting pretty twisted, here Col’. As soon as people start throwing around the world “Holocaust,” you know they have nothing worthwhile to add.

        “if the photo is NOT faked, then the writer has to confront the reality of the crime that Israel committed. Therefore, the photo is faked.”

        As I clearly said above, the faked photo-shoot does not mean such an attack didn’t occur. And I am willing to “confront the reality” of Israel killing Palestinians — whether a family on a beach or goat-herders in their pastures — without photographic evidence. That’s not the point. The point is: Palestinians are liars, too. Get used to it.

        What you are incapable of acknowledging is that there are enough examples of Palestinians faking these events to warrant caution. If you want to watch a horrible video of a massacre of a family on a beach and not be skeptical even tho’ there is no bomb crater, there is no shrapnel, there is not even a disturbance in the sand, the dead “father” has rosy cheeks and no blood or wounds, and a professional photographer for the Palestinian press just happened to be right there — then be gullible, that’s fine. That’s your right. And if you want to somehow tie this whole thing to the Jewish Holocaust, sure . . . go ahead. As Jefferson said, we all have inalienable, God-given right to make ourselves look like idiots. [Just paraphrasing, of course.]

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 22, 2012, 6:42 pm


        What was the focal length? Was the photo cropped and how? Why are those things important?

      • ColinWright
        June 24, 2012, 12:43 am

        ‘You’re getting pretty twisted, here Col’. As soon as people start throwing around the world “Holocaust,” you know they have nothing worthwhile to add. ‘

        Well now. That’s funny. I keep encountering the ideological parallels between Naziism and Zionism — and the tactics defenders of Israel resort to remind me of nothing so much as those employed by Holocaust deniers.

        There is that ‘Nazi’ rule about internet debate — but sometimes there really are Nazis. They just don’t call themselves that.

      • ColinWright
        June 24, 2012, 12:51 am

        ‘. . . go ahead. As Jefferson said, we all have inalienable, God-given right to make ourselves look like idiots. [Just paraphrasing, of course.]’

        …and you know what you can do as well. Just paraphrasing, of course.

    • Denis
      June 22, 2012, 6:55 pm

      A couple of thoughts in response to the good points you raise, and the other ones, too. . .

      Yep, I see you are right that the girl, is in a sitting position on the dune. The same original photo published with Thorsten Schmitz’s story in Suddeutsche is much clearer and shows more of the area — link below. Her sitting doesn’t change the obvious: the shot is totally posed.

      Also, that photo is not contemporaneous with the video shots you refer to. In the videos, the “body” does not have a blanket over it. The guy’s shirt is open. As you can plainly see — no wounds, no blood, no blood on the sand. Nobody seems too concerned about moving him. If you watch that “body” throughout the video, it’s arms are all over the place. Now above the head, now on the chest, now along side the torso. I see no blood and no intestines. I see no blood stains on the blanket. I see no signs the guy has been wounded or is dead. His color is awfully good for having lain in the sun for 30 minutes after having his intestines ripped out.

      Re: the playing cards. Good eye. The Israeli propaganda film you linked to — thanks — shows them the most clearly. But in other shots of the same spot, they are not there.

      I don’t think the cards are a major point, but it is interesting even that they are there at all. Was Abba playing 7-card stud when the shell exploded and the cards all fell face-up nice and neat like that? No sand covering them, or the shoes and other articles neatly placed nearby the “body”? Well, all I can say is that somebody wasted a perfectly good flush in spades. Last time I had a flush like that, I lost to 4 queens.

      The Palestinians claim these people were killed by a 155mm shell. I have been in combat, I have called in 155 artillery, I have slept in 155 craters, I have seen first hand what a 155 shell does. Believe me, all those people would not be piled up like that, the playing cards would not be nicely laid out like that, the white picnic table top would not be intact, and even if it were not a direct 155 hit, if it were close enough to kill all those people, everything would be buried in about 6 inches of sand from the 4 foot deep crater it left. Something is bogus here.

      Given that the Israeli film you provided has it’s own hasbara objectives and has its own reasons for skepticism, it still raises some poblematic questions. And until those questions are answered, anyone would be a sucker to believe the Palestinian film is legit. Like, if the brother held the father with the father’s guts spilling out all over everything as the brother says, why is there no blood on the brother? Why is there no blood on the father? Why after being dead for over 30 minutes do all these bodies still have good color? Why does the brother lie down next to Abba waiting to be carried away on a stretcher?

      You complain that there are no links in the Wiki piece to the actual German article — The War of Images. Here

      If Sie kein Deutsch sprechen, me either. Go to Google translate. Or I can send you the translation. The author Thorsten Schmitz also comments on the lack of a crater and other anomalies, in addition to the photographer’s confession that the girl said she wanted to pose. Google translate: “She asked me to film them you want to be seen with her father and show the world that Israel is committing crimes..”

      That’s very interesting. When did she ask this? He shows her right from the beginning when they are picking up the bodies — she is in the background throughout. Then she starts to run toward the father. At what point did her conversation with the photographer take place? To me she looks like a self-conscious 10 year old in a 5th grade school play.

      Even if the video was staged, that does not excuse the Israeli killings — these or any others. It’s just that the world is quickly beginning to move away from the Israelis b/c they smell so bad. That smell is largely from their lying. If the Palestinians don’t smell any better, the world is going to move away from them, too.

      As far as the line in the Boianjiu NY’r piece that is so offensive to people on this blog, I can totally see it. Concluding that this whole thing was “manipulated” is more than justified from what I see. What people are missing is the last line in Boianjiu’s piece — the one about the two IDF soldiers and the young Palestinian boy walking together, and how they could be mistaken for being a family. That image of the Israelis and the Palestinians as a family could go a long way to moving this mess in the right direction. I hope that is what Bioanjiu was trying to do.

      • June 23, 2012, 9:36 pm

        Sure glad you’re not Judge Richard Goldstone and you didn’t visit Gaza after Operation Cast Lead to investigae the Israeli pogrom and report to the UN. On the other hand (Combat vet that you are) you probably have more ‘huevos’ than the intimidated old judge and wouldn’t have recanted the truth just because you weren’t allowed to attend your granchild’s barmitzvah, huh? Interesting, the rest of the Goldstone Crew refused to change one period on the Goldstone Report they ‘co-authored.’ Cest Le Vi, Quimosabe!

      • ColinWright
        June 24, 2012, 12:45 am

        ‘A couple of thoughts in response to the good points you raise, and the other ones, too. . .’

        Lol. Speak of the devil. That post reads just like the sort of thing that is meat and potatoes on Holocaust Denial sites. Try going to some; it’s identical.

      • ColinWright
        June 24, 2012, 12:50 am

        ‘…It’s just that the world is quickly beginning to move away from the Israelis b/c they smell so bad. That smell is largely from their lying. If the Palestinians don’t smell any better, the world is going to move away from them, too…’

        And THEN Israel will be a pariah, and the Palestinians will be pariahs. And the Israelis will leave because Palestine isn’t their home, and the Palestinians will stay — because it is their home.

        Funny how it all works out, isn’t it? No matter how you play it…

  16. piotr
    June 21, 2012, 9:37 am

    The trope of victims staging bloody incidents has a long tradition, and Jews are of course familiar with it, as they were on the receiving end too. And while it is possible that Palestinians etc. exaggerated some events, IDF is absolutely notorious in issuing series of brazen and inconsistent lies. Other military organizations do it too, including US military, but sheer inventiveness of IDF stands alone.

    For example, when a Palestinian women died in the aftermath of massive application of tear gas in her village, IDF spokesmen “without attribution” first issued version that she actually was a victim of an honor killing. Then it was modified to a version that she was a victim of breast or lung cancer, and that she was not even close to the demonstration. The last was actually true, because IDF troops saturated a big area with tear gas. Finally they admitted that she had a reaction to tear gas but “it would not be fatal if she were treated in an Israeli hospital”. That was in the case which was unusually well documented with videos and so on.

    And there is a typical Hasbarah attack when there are some massive undeniable atrocities, but they latch to some disputed detail. For example, IDF bombarded residential areas of Beirut quite unrelated to the fighting in south Lebanon, and there was a huge dispute if a certain photograph of Beirut should have two plumes of smoke or only one, because the two plumes were so similar. Two identical laser targeted bombs in the same wind conditions perhaps could create two very similar columns of smoke, or perhaps not, it was undeniable that hundreds of bombs were dropped. But the only “justification” of the atrocity was that there was one plume, not two.

    And this is consistent pattern. First, all facts about atrocities like bombardment of residential quarters of Beirut are deemed irrelevant except for photos and videos. The public is functionally illiterate after all, only pictures matter. Then a selected video or photo is challenged and it becomes THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS. And then we get tales of Palestinians and Lebanese killing themselves for show. And now this story goes one step further: eyewitness testimony of fictional characters.

    Decency and shame are of course killed in a war minutes after killing the truth, so rhetorical question to Sen. McCarthy is moot.

  17. ColinWright
    June 22, 2012, 4:35 am

    This comment from Beinart’s attempt to defend the story (by the excellent device of implying Weiss isn’t sophisticated enough to understand it) is interesting:

    ‘But if we don’t read “Israeli army fiction,” we’re shirking the demands of moral empathy. ‘

    A bit off. First, WHAT ‘demands of moral empathy’? I feel no need to empathize with IDF soldiers whatsoever. Am I obliged to sift through reams of letters from convinced Nazis so that I can ’empathize’ with them? Should the New Yorker publish some? We could probably get up a fine collection that would allow us to ’empathize’ with their point of view. Maybe go for a little ‘balance’ in our understanding of events. Hey: the Germans were literate people. There are probably even a few short stories lying around. We can ’empathize’ with the hatred and revulsion the good soldaten felt when they entered the shtetls of Eastern Europe.

    It’s a ‘demand.’ We should impose it on ourselves. Come to see it from their point of view.

    I’m sure they had a point of view. The psychotic who rapes a six year old and then chops her hands off so there’ll be no fingerprints has a point of view. IDF soldiers have a point of view. I’ll choose whether or not I wish to empathize with it on my own.

    The irony is that someone like Beinhart probably WANTS to read this sort of thing periodically. He needs to muddy up his own spectacles. He might see too clearly otherwise. The only one shirking anything here at all is Beinart, and what he’s shirking is what a clear look at the situation would tell him. He wants to dodge that horrible moment where he has to say ‘I am a Jew and I am ashamed of Israel.’

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