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July 24th 2014 print

Christopher Carr

The Big Lie in Gaza

Prevailing opinion concedes that Israel has the right to defend itself. But this pro-forma position is largely cancelled by the argument which says that if Israel is too effective in its self-defence, it will be guilty of "a disproportionate response"

hamasAfter night after night of Hamas-inspired propaganda masquerading as news reports, I have had enough. Why is it that supposedly experienced reporters in Gaza City seem so willing to play the useful idiot? Are they just plain stupid or is the explanation more sinister? Has the world’s oldest hatred not only corrupted opinion but also the selection of facts?

The images of wounded children and other civilians on commercial news bulletins as well as the ABC and SBS have one unmistakable message; the Israeli Army is targeting civilians. The Israelis are blowing up hospitals, schools, kindergartens, private homes. We see doctors wailing to the cameras, “Why are we being targeted? “. Casualty figures put out by Hamas are accepted as fact by reporters. The low-information viewer is invited to the conclusion that the Israeli army actions are savage and inhumane. In passing, we may learn that Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel. Or again, we may hear that Hamas ignored a ceasefire which Israel had agreed to. But these facts are smothered by the rancid condemnation of Israeli actions.

“Respectable” opinion concedes that Israel has the right to defend itself. But this pro-forma position is largely cancelled by the argument which says that if Israel is too effective in its self-defence, it will be guilty of “a disproportionate response”. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, is only the latest in a conga line of dupes and fools to give expression to this formulation as the following report of an interview with John Kerry makes clear:

Kerry’s comments are clear. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” he says, then repeats it. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.” It’s an apparent reference to Israel’s insistence that its incursion into the region would be limited. “It’s escalating significantly,” the person on the phone replies and Kerry then says: “We’ve got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight.” He then calls it “crazy” to be “sitting around.”

“When you said it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Wallace asked, are you “upset that the Israelis are going too far?”

“It’s very difficult in these situations,” Kerry said, repeating that the United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself. He then explained his comments by saying, “I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does in respect to young children and civilians.”

This is but one short step away from arguing moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

It is bad enough that reporters cannot raise the obvious issues and inexcusable, not to mention disgraceful, that the Obama Administration is guilty of what can only be described as deliberate obfuscation. After all, the facts are in plain view:

(1)          Hamas sites its rocket launchers next to hospitals, schools, kindergartens and other centres of civilian population in order to maximise civilian casualties.

(2)         The network of tunnels, designed for the infiltration of Hamas fighters into Israeli territory, is deliberately located under buildings, many if notmost housing civilians. Once again, efforts by the Israeli Army to destroy these tunnels will necessarily involve civilian deaths and injuries.

(3)         Despite the evident ability to build tunnels and underground rocket-assembly plants, no air-raid shelters have been provided for civilians. This is a deliberate policy. Civilians are the sacrificial lambs on the road not only to the destruction of Israel but the eventual goal of a global caliphate.

It takes a special kind of stupidity or worse, malice, not to recognise that Hamas is waging a war of annihilation and committing war crimes. How is it that the supposed leaders of the West cannot see the plain meaning and relevance of the following provisions of the Geneva Convention:

Geneva Convention IV

Article 28 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” 

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 28.

Additional Protocol I

Article 12(4) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
Under no circumstances shall medical units be used in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack. Whenever possible, the Parties to the conflict shall ensure that medical units are so sited that attacks against military objectives do not imperil their safety 

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 12(4). Article 12 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.37, 24 May 1977, p. 69.

Article 51(7) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations. 

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 51(7). Article 51 was adopted by 77 votes in favour, one against and 16 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 163.

ICC Statute

Pursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(xxiii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]tilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

II. Other Instruments

New Delhi Draft Rules

Article 13 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules provides:
Parties to the conflict are prohibited from placing or keeping members of the civilian population subject to their authority in or near military objectives, with the idea of inducing the enemy to refrain from attacking those objectives

The breach of these conventions by Hamas is in plain sight. Its criminality  could not be clearer. Game, set and match one might have thought.  What is stopping the media, The European Union and the Obama Administration from recognising and stating the utterly obvious?