Truth is famously the first casualty of war, and the Israeli war on Gaza is no exception. Yesterday Jon Donnison of the BBC pulled the rug out from under the Israeli government’s pretext for the Gaza onslaught with a series of tweets about a conversation he’d had with Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld about the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June.
The boys were not killed by Hamas, Rosenfeld told Donnison, as he reported on Twitter:
Israeli police MickeyRosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership1/2
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 25, 2014
Seems to contradict the line from Netanyahu government. 2/2 — Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 25, 2014
Israeli police spokes Mickey Rosenfeld also said if kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas leadership, they’d have known about it in advance.
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 25, 2014
Mickey Rosenfeld said lone cells much harder to track. Said they would find whoever was now protecting the two suspects. — Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 25, 2014
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) July 26, 2014
This version of events is so important, because what the Weapons of Mass Destruction were to the Iraq war — a dubious pretext — the three teens are to the Gaza onslaught. Let’s review.
The three teens were abducted on June 12. That same day Israeli authorities received a desperate phone call from one of the boys that contained gunfire at its conclusion. The supposition that the boys were dead was advanced when Israeli authorities found the car in which the abduction had taken place, with evidence they’d been shot.
The information about the gunshots on that desperate last phone call was widely known in the media, but as we reported, the Israeli government issued a gag order against these facts being published. And over the last two-and-a-half weeks of June, the Israelis launched extensive raids across the West Bank, locking down Hebron, supposedly to find the boys. But the major focus of the raids was rooting out Hamas affiliates and arresting them. In fact, the purpose of the raids seemed to be to break up the recent unity government between Hamas and Fatah, which Israel has vigorously opposed.
The boys’ bodies were found on June 30, in a shallow grave in the West Bank; and again the deaths were exploited to punish Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said then, “Hamas is responsible… Hamas will pay.”
By June 16, Hamas increased rocket fire into Israel in response to the crackdown in the West Bank. Israel ramped up its attacks on Gaza conducting 6 airstrikes that wounded two.
On July 7, eight days after the teens bodies were found, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, and it has now killed about 900 people in Gaza, most of them civilians.
As in the case of Weapons of Mass Destruction, many observers and journalists never bought the Israeli story. We didn’t. Annie Robbins picked up reports that Israeli authorities believed that a rogue faction of Hamas was responsible for the killings weeks before Donnison’s tweets– on June 16, she reported Hamas’s denial, calling the Israeli allegations “stupid.”Allison Deger also reported as much. Max Fisher was on to the dishonest Israeli strategy at Vox.
Now Rosenfeld’s statement is going all over the world.
Joseph Dana has been all over the revelation.
Hamas didn’t kidnap the 3 Israeli teens, this piece and many others in the US press could use a correction: …
So has Ayman Mohyeldin:
This would be an imp shift for Israel which blamed Hamas entirely in justifying why it launched gaza war
And New York Magazine is even more cynical about this matter than we are. From Katie Zavadski’s story, It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All:
Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora.
As Donnison said, we can only hope that the three-teens pretext is broadly examined, not just in Israeli and Palestinian public life, but in the American media. It is hardly the first time that a false story about endangered security has been used to justify Israeli violence, from the Lavon affair in Egypt in the 50s to Moshe Dayan’s confession about provoking Syrian attacks that were used to precipitate the Six Day war. The only good news is that many in the west are now seeing through the tactic and beginning to question the veracity of Israeli government sources.