Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Reply to Amira Hass

This is a reply I sent in to Haaretz to another infamous article by Amira Hass that stalwart defender of the great Palestinian lie in her latest article, “Family who lost 29 members in Gaza war: We envy the dead”.

In her article, as usual, Ms Hass totally quotes the testimony of an “innocent” Palestinian and she gives his words legitimacy by publishing them in full without a full background check. This is part and parcel of her history of written words in Haaretz. She nary questions the authenticy of those she quotes among the Palestinians in order to bring the full weight of negative criticism only against Israel. Never has she criticized the Palestinians and their leadership in the manner she relays her hypocritical criticism towards Israel.

Here is what I wrote:

To sit comfortably in a nice, clean and safe civilian office far away from the nitty gritty of real life and real death house to house fighting you cannot fathom the totally horrific world of death and surprise that exists in combat. Any soldier who has ever served their country in combat and has walked the walk, knows that when fighting in areas where there are civilians terrible things can and will occur.

I can and will agree with you to an extent that there should not be an excuse for dead civilians. But hindsight is most definitely better than foresight in the true heat of battle. In a combat situation you do not have the time to fully assess who is a civilian and who is not. When bullets, mortar fire and RPG rounds seek you out from all angles and your brain is full of fear of the shrapnel from a nearby IED or grenades and their concussions. You react out of training and the instinct for survival. When fully exposed to the full and very real terrors of warfare, you are filled with adrenalin as you attempt in a split second to determine your next movement fully conscientious that the next sound you hear may be your last. The ever present and constant noise ringing in your ears, the screams of those wounded or killed. Sweaty, dirty, thirsty and full of fear for your immediate survival, you strain with every part of your being to keep yourself focused on staying alive.

In summary, until you have been in the situation where another is just around the corner waiting to kill you, you cannot fully comprehend how mistakes can and sadly do happen.

In this article by Amira Hass, one is given the total impression of war at it’s most horrid form. Civilian casualties are a terrible price and there are many such cases of terrible instances such as these in all war zones. As someone who has been in military service I have seen this too many times.

As to the words written here by Amira, she gives credence to the claim by the Palestinians that the IDF is solely to blame. Let us look again at the testimony. In the testimony it is not fully explained just who killed the Samouni clan family members. There are some contradictions in the story which tell that the death of the family members may not have been caused by IDF fire:
As was reported here last month - on January 4, under orders from the army (IDF), Salah Samouni and the rest of the family left their home, which had been turned into a military position, and moved to the other, the home of Wael, located on the southern side of the street."

Now what does this indicate to us? It indicates that the IDF was interested in protecting the family and not exposing the Palestinian civilians to danger. Otherwise why risk the lives of IDF soldiers by escorting them to the other house.

"The fact that it was the soldiers who had relocated them, had seen the faces of the children and the older women, and the fact that the soldiers were positioned in locations surrounding the house…” Shows the concern for their safety by the IDF soldiers. Then he continues; “Nothing prepared him for the three shells and the rockets the “IDF” fired a short time later.”

Now I ask you “IF” as Salah Samouni states; “…soldiers were positioned in locations surrounding the house…” and they knew, according to him, that the Palestinian civilians were there then"WHY" would the IDF fire at the house if Israeli soldiers were indeed in the houses next door?

Furthermore from the testimony of Salah Samouni one is given a picture that the entire clan were all pro-Israeli. He even goes so far as to state that in the past several family members worked in the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, which until 2005 was located right next door.

Yet, it is not what is told by Ms Hass that is entirely relevant to the story as a whole. What the readers are NOT informed by Ms Hass is that after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza the terrorist movements converted the now deserted Jewish settlement into a fortified area resplendent with trenches and concrete bunkers. That it's area of once flourishing hot houses, left intact at the behest of the Israelis to encourage farming, where instead leveled and converted into a training ground for fighters. Ms Hass further neglects to mention that mortar fire and rockets were constantly launched from this area on Israeli civilian areas with out warning.

Readers are not informed by Ms Hass that members of the family were not all innocents. Clan members Tawfiq Rashad Hilmi al-Samouni, Muhammad Ibrahim Hilmi al-Samouni and Walid Rahad Hilmi al-Samouni, were affiliated with Islamic Jihad and boasted of this fact to others in Zeitun. There are others from the village who also had once worked with Israelis in the settlements and within Israel proper and they and their son's are not affiliated with the terrorists. An Islamic Jihad flyer even noted that Muhammad and Walid al-Samouni were active in fighting against the IDF in the Zeitun neighborhood. So could they have been fighting from within the houses as is common in street to street fighting? Maybe they had seen the soldiers enter the house and fired RPG rounds thinking there were still soldiers inside?

Ms Hass further fails to explain why they were not in bomb shelters as our civilians were? If the Palestinians are so concerned about their civilians, as we Israelis are, why did they build fortified bunkers for fighting instead of bomb shelters? There is really no excuse for dead civilians other than the fact that if there was no cause for fighting they would be alive today.

Regrets and shows of remorse are those feelings usually expressed by peoples of a higher level of moralistic beliefs. The death of children and other innocents is abhorrent to all who adhere to the value of life. That if the Hamas and the Palestinians had fully accepted the Oslo peace accords and had foregone their inflated dreams the Samouni clan family members would be very alive today.

This article further reinforces the fact that Ms Hass consistently fails, time and time again, to point out to the readers her total lack of criticism of her Palestinian friends and their responsibility in the lamentable loss of life on both sides. Honest readers must question her validity and journalistic authenticity as a news source untainted by some personal agenda. Real journalists of the higher moral plane will relate the whole story, no matter how offensive their stories are, thoroughly researched and based on factual proof, so that they can withstand criticism.

In conclusion, Amira try to remember that as a real journalist and not as a propagandist, "Hearsay is never the whole truth."

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