Thursday, July 15, 2010

Historical inaccuracies by El País.

On Monday, July 11, 2010, an article written by Ana Carbajosa, correspondent for El País in Tel Aviv-Yafo, was published under the title El hilo del que pende Ariel Sharon (The thread Ariel Sharon hangs by). The article deals with Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, who is in a coma since January 2006. Facts about him as a political leader are summarized in the article, and some historical inaccuracies are present. Excerpts from the article below (translated as accurate as possible, between quotation marks):

"[Former Sharon's advisor Raanan] Gissin maintains that, as a friend, he doesn't desire Sharon's death. Involved in his role as an advisor, this fervent admirer of the man who led Israel to the war with Lebanon and in which the Sabra and Shatila massacres were produced thinks that Sharon's political legacy would have enjoyed a major recognition if he had died the day he suffered the cerebral haemorrhage.

In Israel, beyond the aggresiveness deployed by the former prime minister in the battlefield, his role as the one who triggered the second Intifada or the brutality of the Operation Defensive Shield that he ordered, he will be remembered as the father of the colonialist movement, who just before going into a coma surprised [everybody] by ordering the evacuation of Gaza's settlements in 2005."

In her article, Ana Carbajosa makes Sharon the one responsible for the 1982 Lebanon War, when it would be more accurate to explain that the Jewish State went to war there as a response to terrorist actions committed by the P.L.O., consisting of rocket attacks on northern Israel from Lebanon.
Carbajosa also blames Sharon for the al-Aqsa Intifada, a usual accusation which consists of stating that Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, a Holy Place to muslims as well as Jews, offended the Palestinians to the point that the aforementioned uprising erupted. It's true that Sharon visited the Temple Mount on Thursday, September 28, 2000, but other facts which led to the al-Aqsa Intifada or that extended it should also be mentioned, such as David Biri's death on the same day after being attacked the day before, the shock among Israelis due to the Ramallah lynching in October 2000, Arafat's refusal to a peace plan proposed by Ehud Barak early that same year (which would include some East Jerusalem's areas for a future Palestinian State), or the Palestinian suicide bombings, which began during the 90s; moreover, to begin an uprising just because a Jew has visited a Holy Place to him is not understandable, after all.
Operation Defensive Shield happened in 2002 due to the Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel during the al-Aqsa Intifada. The aforementioned "brutality" during the Operation consisted of a supposed massacre of Palestinian civilians occurred during the Battle of Jenin. It was initially reported that hundreds of civilians (and even 1,500 ones) had been killed. The truth behind this story is that there were isolated cases of human rights abuses, but any massacre had happened.
Lorenzo Cremonesi, correspondent for Il Corriere della Sera in Jerusalem, while denouncing Israel's military censorship in combat zones, affirmed that he was able to enter Jenin and that any massacre had occurred. Here are his own words:

"The first took place in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002. Do you remember? The camp was surrounded, and the media was not allowed in. From a distance, one could see pillars of smoke and hear occasional shooting. The Palestinians spoke about 1,500 dead - a toll that later dropped to 500. There were rumors of mass graves, of entire families that had been shot in the streets by Zionist soldiers.

On April 13, I succeeded in crossing through the army barricades on foot and reached the hospital bordering on the refugee camp. I was prepared to see scenes of a bloodbath. Anyone who follows what takes place in the arena of war knows that generally speaking, the ratio of dead to wounded is one to three. That is to say, if there are 500 dead, there will be at least 1,500 wounded. What did I find? Absolutely nothing. The hospital was almost deserted, doctors were playing cards in the emergency room, there were two women in labor and one old man who had had an appendectomy.

In one of the wards I finally saw wounded - 25 people who had been lightly wounded. And the stories they told were indeed heart-rending. 'I saw a woman and three children who were shot close by here', one of them told me. Nonetheless, when they were asked for the names of the dead and to show where the bodies were, the responses became evasive. In short, it was all talk and nothing could be verified, nothing was concrete. At the end of that day, I wrote that the death toll was not more than 50 and that most of them were combatants. And indeed, a few weeks later, following a UN investigation, it was reported that there had been 53 dead."

Time reported the following:

"A Time investigation concludes that there was no wanton massacre in Jenin, no deliberate slaughter of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. But the 12 days of fighting took a severe toll on the camp. According to the U.N., 54 Palestinians are confirmed dead. An additional 49 are missing; it is unclear how many of them perished in the fighting and how many either fled or were captured by Israeli troops. In the final count, there may well be fewer dead in Jenin than the 78 killed in Nablus Casbah in a battle that took place at the same time. But it is Jenin that has attracted worldwide attention because of the widespread destruction of property and because some of those who died during the fighting were mere spectators.

Human Rights Watch, which in a published report last week also concluded that no massacre took place, nonetheless documented 22 civilian deaths and said the Israelis used excessive and indiscriminate force during the operation. Time found that as Israeli soldiers moved from house to house, they sometimes compelled Palestinian civilians to take the dangerous job of leading the approach to the buildings. On the other hand, a senior Palestinian military officer has admitted to Time that some of those who died were killed by rubble from the exploding booby traps with which Palestinian fighters had honeycombed the camp."

Please compare these death tolls with those attributed to the alleged massacre. Moreover, please watch this video in order to understand how the Palestinians act when they want to blame Israel, or read again about the Palestinian booby traps which killed Palestinian civilians.

Why not all of this is remembered by Carbajosa in her article when writing about the 1982 Lebanon War, the al-Aqsa Intifada and the 2002 Battle of Jenin?


  1. spanish pple vote with their eyes.If they see pics of dead arabs they becum anti israel.Israel has a policy of NEVER showing any pics of dead jew children killed coldly by projcts a big shadow of strong and denies it can be hurt.Is needed to be taken seriously by its more powerful antisemetic neighbors.However this poilicy also prevents any showing of the really many dead jews childs inocent civilans in israel killed viciusly by terrorists.If these fotos got out it would both show that israels not invulnerble but also it would win support in spain for proisrael feelings.

  2. The writer is somehow blaming the second intifada on other actions by the Palestinians? At least that is how it is written but as such it makes no sense. In any case, it is clear that Sharon's visit and the brutal Israeli response to the protests were the trigger of the intifada. Isolated incidents before or after it cannot account for the popular response of the Palestinians that was the intifada.

    Also, the previous comment misses the point completely... it is well known, thanks to the effort of many independent human rights organizations, that the death toll of Palestinians is way larger than that of Israelis. And, again missing the point there, it turns out that apart of comparing numbers, Israel is committing crimes that Palestine is not: occupation of territory, blockade to Gaza and the West Bank, severe discrimination of its non-Jew population... and let's not forget the occupation of other territories in Lebanon and Syria, indiscriminate invasions of other countries resulting in thousands of civilian deaths caused on purpose... that is what Spaniards see. And if Israel wanted to stop the flow of pictures of dead Palestinians, it is obvious what to do: stop killing them.

  3. What makes no sense is to initiate a violent cycle of protests just because a Jew has visited the Temple Mount. And please notice that the al-Aqsa Intifada began when the Palestinians could have been negotiating Ehud Barak's proposal.
    And by the way, it is not an isolated incident a Jew visiting a Holy Place for him?

    The number of deaths is irrelevant. During the Winter War there were more Soviet casualties than Finnish ones, but justifying the Soviet invasion of Finland considering that fact would be ridiculous.
    You should know that Hamas and other extremist Palestinian groups are trying to achieve a goal which is deadlier in nature than Israel's occupation: a second Holocaust and the destruction of the Jewish State.
    Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 (what wasn't enough for Hezbollah) and if Syria wants the Golan Heights to be brought back, its regime should recognize Israel's inherent right to exist as the Jewish State and guarantee its security.
    The same happens with the Palestinian territories. To be brought back, it's necessary achieve an accord. Please remember that the war which led to the occupation was the result of aggressions and threats against Israel, and that the blockade is the result of the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel by Hamas, in spite of the 2005 Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
    Thousands of civilian deaths caused on purpose? That's just your unfounded opinion. Discrimination against Israeli non-Jews? Ask the Arabs who serve in the Knesset. Invasions of other countries? Israel always entered into another country in case of severe aggresions and threats against it.