Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to gin up a war: A provable conspiracy

The current Gaza crisis arose from the kidnapping of three Jewish teens. A few weeks ago, I discussed this Global Research story which suggests that Israeli intelligence engineered the event as a "false flag" operation. My response:
The kidnapping case does have a couple of hinkey aspects: A strangely tardy official investigation, and an unusual gag order concerning the deaths. But so far, we don't have enough evidence to talk "false flag."
Now we know more. It turns out that the "false flag" scenario was only partially true. Although Israelis did not engineer the kidnapping, they made cynical use of it.

Even New York Magazine (no-one's idea of an anti-Semitic publication) has seen fit to publish a few massive chunks of the truth:
When the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped in the West Bank, were found late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words. "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay," he said, initiating a campaign that eventually escalated into the present conflict in the region.

But now, officials admit the kidnappings were not Hamas's handiwork after all.

BuzzFeed reporter Sheera Frenkel was among the first to suggest that it was unlikely that Hamas was behind the deaths of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. Citing Palestinian sources and experts the field, Frenkel reported that kidnapping three Israeli teens would be a foolish move for Hamas. International experts told her it was likely the work of a local group, acting without concern for the repercussions...
Repeated inconsistencies in Israeli descriptions of the situation have sparked debate over whether Israel wanted to provoke Hamas into a confrontation. Israeli intelligence is also said to have known that the boys were dead shortly after they disappeared, but to have maintained public optimism about their safe return to beef up support from the Jewish diaspora.
This is excellent research, although it doesn't take us far enough. Moon of Alabama offers what may the best summary of what must now be regarded as a proven conspiracy -- not a theory. (The post you are reading owes much to the M of A piece.)

The key fact: Israeli officials knew from the very start that a small gang of local thugs abducted those three boys. That triple kidnapping/murder was a criminal act, not an act of war -- a matter for policemen, not soldiers. Nevertheless, Netanyahu loudly issued a false claim that the Israeli government could prove that Hamas had kidnapped those young men.

We can prove that Israel engineered a war conspiracy by citing this story published in The Times of Israel on June 22:
Israel has “unequivocal proof that this is Hamas,” Netanyahu said ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We are sharing this proof and information to this effect with several countries. Soon this information will be made public.”
Again: We now know that no such proof ever existed. The Israelis knew the truth at the time this lie was uttered.
Israeli police, intelligence officials and Netanyahu knew within hours of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens that they had been killed. And they knew who the prime suspects were less than a day after the kidnapping was reported.

Rather than reveal these details to the public, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency imposed a gag order on the national media, barring news outlets from reporting that the teens had almost certainly been killed, and forbidding them from revealing the identities of their suspected killers. The Shin Bet even lied to the parents of the kidnapped teens, deceiving them into believing their sons were alive.

Instead of mounting a limited action to capture the suspected perpetrators and retrieve the teens’ bodies, Netanyahu staged an aggressive international public relations campaign, demanding sympathy and outrage from world leaders, who were also given the impression that the missing teens were still alive.

Meanwhile, Israel’s armed forces rampaged throughout the occupied West Bank and bombarded the Gaza Strip in a campaign of collective punishment deceptively marketed to Israelis and the world as a rescue mission.

Critical details that were known all along by Netanyahu and the military-intelligence apparatus were relayed to the Israeli public only after the abduction of more than 560 Palestinians, including at least 200 still held without charges; after the raiding of Palestinian universities and ransacking of countless homes; after six Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces; after American-trained Palestinian Authority police assisted Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian youths in the center of Ramallah; after the alleged theft by Israeli troops of $3 million in US dollars; and after Israel’s international public relations extravaganza had run its course.

The assault on the West Bank arrived on the heels of the collapse of the US-led framework negotiations, for which the US blamed Netanyahu, and immediately after Hamas’ ratification of a unity deal with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu was still smarting from the US recognition of the unity government when news of the kidnapping reached him. Never one to miss an opportunity to undermine the Palestinians, he and his inner circle resolved to milk the kidnapping for maximum propaganda value.
(Emphasis added.) Even the Jewish Daily Forward -- again, not usually considered an anti-Semitic journal -- admits that an "unintended" war in Gaza was triggered by "politics and lies."
The frustration had numerous causes. Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.
Since even the Jewish Daily Forward admits that Netanyahu is a damnable liar, why should we ever again believe this Israeli government -- on any topic?

The excellent work of Noura Erakat offers more details about the rocket fire:
Israel claims that its current and past wars against the Palestinian population in Gaza have been in response to rocket fire. Empirical evidence from 2008, 2012 and 2014 refute that claim. First, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the greatest reduction of rocket fire came through diplomatic rather than military means.
Immediately preceding Israel’s most recent operation, Hamas rocket and mortar attacks did not threaten Israel. Israel deliberately provoked this war with Hamas. Without producing a shred of evidence, it accused the political faction of kidnapping and murdering three settlers near Hebron. Four weeks and almost 700 lives later, Israel has yet to produce any evidence demonstrating Hamas’s involvement. During ten days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank, Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011. It’s these Israeli provocations that precipitated the Hamas rocket fire to which Israel claims left it with no choice but a gruesome military operation.
As M of A, notes, we don't even know with certainty that Hamas was responsible for that rocket fire. Other groups or individuals may have been responsible.
It is obvious that Netanyahoo's war on Gaza, which has so far killed over 1,000 Palestinians, is a war of aggression justified with false claims about a crime which had no connection whatsoever with Hamas or the people of Gaza.

But the United States government, and its various client states (who very likely knew all this since June 12) is still claiming that Israel is only exercising its "right to defend" itself and should be allowed to continue to do so.
I'll be very amused if someone accuses me of being an anti-Semite for relying on material published in The Times of Israel, The Jewish Daily Forward, and New York Magazine.
I've read the same thing, Joe. That this whole disaster was, in fact, provoked by Israel, Netanyahu specifically, because he wanted a way to break the Palestinian's 'unity' government which recognized and included Hamas.

This is the first time I recall our own journalists [not all but some] refuting the Israeli position and taking exception to the reckless language--telegenic dead, for instance. Even Kerry slipped on a hot mic when he criticized the 'pin point strikes' that Israel has insisted it has been using.

This is the first time the world has eyes on the ground through social media. Tweets, videos, Facebook postings and blogging, revealing the true nature of the assault. Even UN safe houses are no longer off-limits. Apparently, nothing is off-limits.

While I watched videos from the West Bank, a peaceful demonstration with Israel soldiers firing from The Wall, I might have easily been watching some Sci-fi movie, a dystopian view of a grim future.

But no, the future is now, the brutish response real. Whatever 'benefit of the doubt' I once gave Israel is gone. Just heard the ceasefire has ended. So, the slaughter will continue.

Shame on us all.

"Israeli police official refutes claim that Hamas kidnapped Israeli teens"...

" “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay,” Netanyahu said in reference to the kidnapping. However, Inspector Rosenfeld’s statements, along with a number of reports concerning the identities of known police suspects, seem to indicate that Hamas leadership was not involved in the vicious crime.

The two more-likely suspects are Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, who have been missing from their homes since the night of the kidnapping. Police found cellphones and prepared food caches in their homes. Both had recently opened bank accounts in their wive's names. Palestinian security forces reported that Abu Aysha and Kawasme were missing to the Israelis the day after the kidnapping occurred, according to Al Monitor.

“That was the first clue in the investigation and the reason why Israel pointed an accusatory finger at the Hamas infrastructure in Hebron,” wrote Shlomi Eldar, a veteran journalist who has covered the Palestinian Authority for the past two decades.

Abu Aysha and Kawasme are known members of the Qawasameh tribe, according to Palestinian security forces. While members of Hebron-based Qawasameh clan identify with Hamas, they have a history of undermining its efforts to end violent conflicts with Israel. In 2003, for instance, the family sent two suicide bombers to blow up a bus in Jerusalem after a tahadiyeh (ceasefire) had been successfully negotiated between Israeli and Palestinian fighters, which was endorsed by Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin."

A motive helps prove a conspiracy;

"Bombing for Oil: Gaza, Israel and the Levant Basin"

"With recent developments between Palestine and Israel we feel its necessary to bring the following facts and potential un-discussed motives into the light. This article will focus on the large natural gas discoveries made in the Levant Basin, off the coast of the Gaza Strip in recent years and the war surrounding who will reap the billions of dollars when those wells become a new major producer in the area. ..."
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