A few days ago, Phil reported on Yousef Munayyer’s take on the nauseating Wolf Blitzer interview with “CNN analyst” (and former Israeli Ambassador to the US) Michael Oren on the recent IDF sniping murders of two Palestinian teenage boys. Oren suggested the boys might be alive and well, recounting a well-rehearsed but fabricated history of Palestinian death performances staged to tug at the heartstrings of deluded Western liberals:
Remember the Mohamed al Doura case which helped trigger the second Intifada, great questions whether Mohamed al Doura could have been shot by Israeli forces, whether he was shot at all.
In 2006 a report from Gaza about a family of eight Palestinians killed supposedly by Israeli tank fire. It turned out upon further investigation that they were killed by a Hamas mine, and even in 2012, during the latest fighting in Gaza, a picture of a Palestinian man holding the body of his son purportedly killed by Israeli planes, it was on the front page of the “Washington Post.” It turns out that that picture was staged as well.
In the al-Dura case, an Israeli investigation concluded that the Palestinians faked the entire affair. Although cameras captured the father and son caught in crossfire while at least six or eight bullet holes were forming in the wall inches from their heads, supposedly they were actually highly skilled, extraordinarily fearless actors who were not injured at all! The Israeli investigators adopted this theory that had been relentlessly promulgated by a French analyst named Philippe Karsenty. You can catch any number of his presentations on youtube. I attended one in New York and felt like I was the only person in the room not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Israel apparently did concede that the Palestinian family slaughtered on the Gaza beach in 2006 was dead, but its own investigation cleared it of any wrongdoing. Israel blamed Hamas for planting on a beach frequented by lots of ordinary folk a land mine that just happened to explode under the sand at the same time Israel was firing shells a couple hundred meters away. A good analysis debunking the land mine theory can be found here.
Then there is this last episode of the WashPo front page photo of a father grieving over the baby he was carrying that Oren claims turned out to be “staged as well.” The incident took place on the first day of the Israeli attack on Gaza from November 14 to 21, 2012. The father was a BBC employee named Jihad Misharawi, cradling his 11-month old son Omar. Here is the original WashPo photo and article.
About four months later, the UN Human Rights Commission issued its annual report on Israel/Palestine, including an addendum that focused on the November events. The report referred to the incident as follows:
On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.
So did Oren get this one right? Of course not. First of all, the UN report’s speculation regarding the source of the explosive, if accurate, does not remotely suggest that the event was “staged” at all, as Oren claimed. The WashPo photo was of a real father wailing over the real death of his real baby. Oren’s entire point that this incident constituted evidence of Palestinian fakery, cited in support of his speculation that the two teenagers recently shot to death on camera were well-trained Pallywood actors, is absurd.
Even more importantly, the UN report relied upon by the Israelis, including Oren, who seek to absolve Israel of fault for killing the Misharawi baby, was a comprehensive 16-page report that referred to this incident in a single sentence. Far from exculpating Israel of blame for the seven days of carnage, the report was a stern indictment of Israel for killing over a hundred civilians, including 33 children and 13 women, and injuring hundreds more. The report also condemned Hamas for firing rockets that landed in Gaza, possibly killing six civilians, including one woman and three children (including the Misharawi incident).
The UN report painstakingly recounted numerous incidents in which Israeli forces shelled civilian locations, resulting in civilian deaths. Just a small sample:
13. On 19 November, a father, his 12-year-old daughter, and his 19-year-old son were allegedly killed by a drone missile while collecting spearmint in a farm adjacent to their house in Ahmad Yassin Street, north of Gaza City. Information collected by OHCHR indicates that the victims were farmers. In a similar case, on 21 November, an 84-year-old man working on his olive farm and his 14-year-old granddaughter were killed by a missile that landed in their farm, east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip.
14. On 19 November, two civilians, including a boy, were walking next to a field on a paved road in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, when a missile hit them, killing them instantly. A three-year-old girl was injured in the same incident. . . On the same day, two farmers and a school guard were travelling in a truck reportedly carrying tomatoes in Dier El Balah, central Gaza Strip, when an Israeli airstrike hit their truck, killing the three of them. . . On 21 November, an 8-year-old boy was killed and five other children as well as an 80-year-old man were injured, in an airstrike in Zaitoun area, Gaza City. The children were reportedly playing in the privately-owned courtyard when the missile hit.
15. On 20 November, two 16-year-old boys were killed, allegedly by a drone missile, while hunting birds in an open area located approximately 700 meters away from the fence, east of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Relatives of the victims reported that the IDF did not grant access to the ambulances to retrieve the bodies for at least five hours. . . On 17 November, the IDF targeted a 31-year-old civilian in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, who was attempting to rescue three persons who had been hit and killed by a missile that struck a farm just a few minutes prior.
16. The IDF targeted residential buildings and properties during the last few days of the crisis, with some reports estimating that a total of 382 residences were destroyed or sustained severe damages due to Israeli attacks. In certain cases, attacks on residences resulted in casualties among civilians.
17. On 18 November, an Israeli air strike without prior warning hit a three-storey house belonging to the Al-Dalou family in Al-Nasser neighbourhood, central Gaza City. The airstrike killed 12 people, five of whom were children and four were women. Ten of those killed belonged to one family.
And on and on and on. Peruse the entire report yourself if you have the stomach for it.
Can you imagine the perverted mindset of the dedicated hasbarists who culled through the UN report’s mountain of damning evidence that the IDF routinely targeted civilians with lethal force, only to rejoice at finding this one isolated nugget where Israel may be blameless?
To recap, the UN report trumpeted by Oren and others explicitly condemned Israel for numerous lethal attacks killing 101 Palestinian civilians, 33 of them children, while raising the possibility that errant Palestinian rockets killed an additional six civilians, including this one particular baby.
While it almost seems beside the point, it is by no means certain that the Misharawi baby died from a Hamas rocket rather than from Israeli shelling. The UN conclusion appears to have been based mostly on the fact that damage to the Misharawi home was much less than that usually caused by an Israeli missile. However, Misharawi himself attributed the death of his son and sister-in-law on “shrapnel” and “secondary explosion” and dismissed the Hamas rocket theory as “rubbish.”
When CNN hired Oren as a consultant, it ostensibly was to provide “balanced but insightful commentary.” Right! Someone has to counterbalance Wolf Blitzer’s blatant anti-Israel bias. Thanks for the insight, Michael Oren!