Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

Facts do support Israels' claims of self-defense

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About Maurice Ostroff
A reply to an article in the Kansas City Star

Facts do support Israel’s claim of self-defense

Maurice Ostroff

 

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.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,19960056-5006301,00.html

 

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.

 

 
AHMED F. SHAIKH ON ATTACKS ON LEBANON

Facts don’t support Israel’s claims of self-defense

By Ahmed F. Shaikh

Now that the dust has settled on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, it’s time to sift through the conflicting claims and take stock of what really happened.

This space has been used by the good Rabbi Scott White to accuse Hezbollah of starting the war and for being responsible for its end. Israel was suggested to have acted merely in self-defense. The public record, however, does not support this.

Journalists Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh have reported that Israel planned for attacks on Hezbollah months before the kidnapping of two of its soldiers in July. As far back as May, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed a military campaign against Lebanon in a meeting with President Bush, who gave him the green light, Parry reports. Israel, therefore, was just waiting for any pretext on which to launch a war.

In fact, the Israeli media have been focusing on this story for weeks, but curiously, it’s received little press coverage in the United States.

The editorial staff of The Kansas City Star and other major media outlets have supported Israel’s claim that it did not target Lebanese civilians, but once again, the public record does not bear this out. Israeli Chief of Army staff Dan Halutz boasted that Israel’s bombing would “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years” and that “nothing is safe in Lebanon, as simple as that.”

His boast turned out not to be hollow rhetoric. Israel’s illegal use of cluster bombs against civilian targets killed more than 1,088 civilians, made 800,000 refugees and destroyed at least 30,000 homes and places of business, as well as 80 bridges, six hospitals, and untold numbers of churches, orphanages, and other institutions.

A Human Rights Watch report from Aug. 10 states that Israeli attacks on civilians “constitute war crimes”, and that Israel’s deliberate wholesale bombing of villages, towns and other population centers “violated one of the most fundamental laws of war.”

An editorial in The Star (8/4/06) stated that high Lebanese civilian casualties were “in accordance with Hezbollah plans to create propaganda opportunities for itself.” Several other reputable media sources, as well as Israel itself, also accused Hezbollah of using civilians as human shields. However, Human Rights Watch and other independent investigations found not even one instance of Hezbollah hiding its guerrillas or weapons in civilian-populated areas.

Israeli Major Lior Taylor, a veteran of two Israeli invasions of Lebanon, confirms this with his observation that Hezbollah guerrillas “fight from bunkers in outlying areas.”

The question now is: Will the good Rabbi Scott White and the editorial staff of The Star apologize for whitewashing Israel’s crimes?


Ahmed F. Shaikh is an emergency room physician living in Leawood.

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