For me, one of the most frustrating aspects of human nature is how people seem so willing to believe the lies of politicians. Even worse, is the gullibility vis-a-vis the lies of military men. Somehow the site of a uniform seems to cause all normal mental functioning to shut down. But most frustrating of all, is how for most Jews — for whom the Israeli army is seen as payback to Hitler — it is impossible for them to believe that the Israeli army can lie, no matter how much evidence you lay at their feet.
When I started this weblog, my main goal was to provide clear cut analysis and evidence for my main contentions about the conflict and about the Israeli army. But I know that people who disagree with me will try to dismiss the evidence I bring as lies and distortions. Of course, in most cases events and actions are subject to interpretation. No matter how logical an argument may be, no matter how cogent the case may sound, it is a rare moment when I can bring irrefutable proof that the Israeli army brazenly and knowingly lies. This moment is the subject of this entry.
Many of you might remember that in July, 2002 the Israeli army dropped a bomb on Salah Shehadeh, a Hamas operative. Nine children aged between two months and 13 years were among the 13 bystanders killed in the strike, which took place shortly after midnight. Shehadeh’s wife and three children were also among the victims. You can read my comment at the time here, here and here.
Some other interesting tidbits, just to remind you, was that Sharon called the action “one of our major successes.” It also served to reheat up the battlefield, as all of Israel’s “targeted assassinations” do.
The event caused alot of press noise – one ton bombs on densely populated areas was still considered an unusal act of war. This was, after all, before Bush’s “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq. So the Israeli army, in typical CYA fashion, made all kind of absurd claims, which I debunked in the above mentioned articles. But as quoted there, the Israeli army repeated over and over and over at the time that they didn’t know innocent civilians would be there, especially not Shehadeh’s family:
“In what amounted to a forest of finger-pointing, they placed implied blame on intelligence officials who had failed to warn Sharon and Ben-Eliezer of the civilian presence in the area. Had they known, the officials insisted time and again, the attack would have been aborted.”
“‘Anyone who thinks or imagines that the prime minister, the defense minister, or the army chief of staff would have decided on and approved carrying out this attack in this place knowing that this would harm innocent people, simply has no idea what he is talking about,’ declared Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.”
“Matan Vilnai, a reserve ex-general and former overall military commander of the Gaza Strip, said that in the aftermath of the bombing, he had immediately contacted Shin Bet officials for clarification. ‘They told me, ”Matan, we thought that he was alone with one of his aides. We didn’t know of anything beyond that.””
Ok. Those are the facts. Now, in a most astounding turn of events, Dan Halutz, head of the IAF, speaking on behalf of the Israeli army admitted today the following:
“…the military was aware that the wife of Salah Shehadeh, the leader of the Hamas military wing, was near him when an F-16 warplane dropped a one-ton bomb on his Gaza home in July 1992, killing the two of them and 12 other civilians. Halutz said this was the only case in which non-combatants were knowingly placed in the line of fire. ”
I repeat: the Israeli military admits without shame that they knew Salah Shehadeh’s wife was with him when they dropped that one ton bomb on him. And I repeat: at the time the Israeli army vehemently denied this very fact, and brought all kinds of spokesmen like Vilnai and Shalom to promote this point. So the Israeli army is also admitting that at the time it was lying through its teeth.
Next time you hear anyone defending the honesty and integrity of the Israeli army and government, just respond with two words: “Dan Halutz.”