Facts do support Israel’s claim
The article by Dr. Ahmed F. Shaikh “Facts
don’t support Israel’s claims of self-defense” (KansasCity.com Sep.
17) and his call for apologies by the Star’s editorial staff call for comment on a factual basis, rather than mere conjecture.
Dr.Shaikh writes that Robert Parry reported that Israel was
just waiting for any pretext on which to launch a war. Just a little research of media news reports, not opinions, reveals
how far off the mark were Mr. Parry’s assumptions. That Israel didn’t
plan for this war is plainly evident from the fact that the Israel government has established a committee to investigate why
the army was woefully unprepared. The chief of staff had booked to go on holiday
two days before the war started and AP has reported that reservists complain
of poor preparation, conflicting orders and even a lack of ammunition, food, battle clothing and supplies.
The article also refers to an editorial in
The Star (8/4/06) which stated that Lebanese civilian casualties were “in accordance with Hezbollah plans to create
propaganda opportunities for itself,” and the writer refers to the claim by Human Rights Watch of not even one instance of Hezbollah hiding its guerrillas or weapons in civilian-populated areas. Based on the HRW report, Dr. Shaikh’s view is understandable as a humanitarian, but it is very sad
that HRW has based its conclusions on a faulty methodology.
As suggested by Dr. Shaikh let’s look
at the facts. Even Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW admitted reluctantly in a September 17 article in the Jerusalem post “Of course Hizbullah did sometimes hide among civilians, breaching its
duty to do everything feasible to protect civilians and possibly committing the war crime of deliberate shielding, but that's
not the full story”.
By its own admission, in the same article,
HRW's investigators were not present when any of these incidents occurred, but relied on locals, who may well be biased. The Australian Sunday Herald published pictures showing Hizbullah men riding in on
arms-laden trucks and using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy caliber weapons; and then,
dressed as civilians, quickly melting into the background.
This has been confirmed, for example, by
many authoritative sources including CNN's Nic Robertson who admitted that Hezbollah 'Had Control' of an Anti-Israel Piece
he wrote. In examining damaged buildings he was unable to "see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi
driver by day, and a Hezbollah fighter by night....” http://newsbusters.org/node/6552
Using the statement out of context by Israeli
Major Lior Taylor, that Hezbollah guerrillas “fight from bunkers in outlying areas” to support a claim that Hezbollah
fighters do not hide among and pose as civilians is not worthy of Dr. Shaikh. In a lengthy interview with Kevin Sites, Major
Taylor’s actual words were "The villages are used as logistic bases, but they usually fight from bunkers in outlying
areas. They have tunnel systems with camouflaged entry points where they can enter in one place and exit somewhere else."
This is completely compatible with the description
by the neutral organization Global Security, of how Hezbollah can fire their rocket launchers from civilian areas and return
in a few minutes to protected caves.
Dr. Shaikh concludes with “The question
now is: Will the good Rabbi Scott White and the editorial staff of The Star apologize for whitewashing Israel’s crimes?”
As a fair minded man, I believe that If Dr. Shaikh, will spare a few moments
to read some of the factual information available on my web site http://maurice-ostroff.tripod.com/id89.html, he will revise his opinion.