Saturday, April 05, 2014

5-Apr-14: Home-made rockets? What damage can they possibly do?

Shifa Hospital, Gaza City [Image Source]
When hostile-to-Israel news sources (like Ma'an) persist in characterizing the rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets as being based on something they call home-made projectiles, those of us who care about such matters need to pay a little attention to what they're not reporting. [There's some background here: "5-Apr-14: Saturday night rocket attack from Gaza; that's 5, mainly unreported, in the past two days"]

Let's recognize that calling them home-made is part of a strategy to dismiss exaggerated Israeli concerns about rockets falling out of the sky and landing - as any reader of the pro-terror news media knows - "harmlessly". 

So in the interests of fleshing out this rather superficial picture, allow us to introduce partisan observers and reporters to Aisha Atiya Mohammedin. She's a mostly-unknown Gazan Palestinian Arab woman, aged 52, who had the misfortune to be inside her own home in the rather miserable northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun (population: somewhere in the 30,000's), located close to the border fence with Israel on Friday March 14, 2014.

Sometime that day, Mrs Mohammedin's living room was re-arranged permanently by an incoming home-made rocket. It appears to have been despatched by some of her terror-loving neighbors.

Now, the media reports make clear that this was not a military rocket or a ballistic rocket. No. It was a home-made rocket like those Israel-bound missiles referred to routinely in the Palestinian Arab media, as well as in certain ideologically-driven mainstream news sources. We're familiar with the term and its resonance from such gentle, etymologically-similar usages as home-made tomato saucehome-made quilts and the like. But the home-made rocket in question, fired from within the Gaza Strip and with Israeli victims in mind, was anything but gentle.

It caused shrapnel injuries to Mrs Mohammedin that included amputating the hand off her right arm. Her injuries were treated in Gaza City's Shifa Hospital but without success, and that is where she died later in the day. Five other people, including three children, all of them hitherto living in the Beit Hanoun residence, suffered injuries. Etab Jamal Mohammedin, aged 24, sustained shrapnel injuries to the face and neck. Wesam Isma'il Mohammedin, just 3, sustained shrapnel injuries to the legs. Ranin Mohammedin, a little girl aged 4 suffered unspecified injuries. And Abdul Fattah, aged 5, the same. Isma'il Mohammedin, described as "the house's owner" and we guess the husband of Mrs Mohammedin, sustained bruises.

Very little coverage is ever given to the victims of those home-made terrorist missiles that fall short. (And for the record, we can't find any reference to the Mohammedin family tragedy anywhere on the Ma'an News Agency site - if we're wrong on this, corrections please.) But one source of coverage - routinely ignored by the mainstream media and almost everyone else - is the Palestinian Arab human rights movement. In fact, the source of the details we offer here about the destruction of the Mohammedin residence and the killing of the mother is the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), based in Gaza City. You can see their report ["Palestinian Civilian Killed and 5 Others Injured, Including 3 Children and a Woman, by Home-Made Rocket in Beit Hanoun", March 16, 2014] online here.

The rocket that attacked the family home was probably fired off by the 'heroes' of Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Elder of Ziyon's excellent blog tracks such things and explains his reasoning.

EoZ also computes that for a two week period in January 2014, 37% of those Gazan rockets seeking Israelis actually fell short. In the two weeks between February 20 and March 5, 2104, the astounding Gazan failure rate exceeded 80%. And in the major barrage of rocket fire in mid March, "some 60% of the rockets fired apparently exploded on the ground or fell short".

Odd, isn't it, that this sort of data analysis fails to get to the NY Times, BBC and Reuters? Is that because it has no impact on the lives of the victimized Gazan Palestinian Arabs? Does it not shed a different sort of light on who's victimizing them?

The IDF has some data of its own ["March Roundup: Increase In Violence Across All Fronts", published April 1, 2014] about the many Gazan "fell shorts":
Over the course of the month [March 2014], approximately 123 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel, out of which 77 rockets hit southern Israel. These figures include the massive rocket attack that took place between March 12-March 14, when a barrage of 70 rockets hit southern Israel, and five additional rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. [IDF Spokesperson]
So a simple calculation: 123 rockets fired; 77 got as far as Israel. So overall more than a third of the in March 2014 terrorist rocket attacks resulted in a "fell short" meaning they crashed into some part of the crowded Gaza Strip, probably (in many cases) onto the heads of their own people with unpublicized consequences of a life-threatening or life-extinguishing nature.

Unless a person pays close attention to Israeli sources of news and analysis, which tend to be close to the action and relatively objective, it's going to be difficult to emerge with a balanced and factual view of what goes on daily in the dark recesses of the terrorist-controlled Hamas enclave. The usual sources just don't deliver.

How many Gazan Palestinian Arabs shared the Mohammedin family's fate? The Gazan terrorists don't want us to know. And the mainstream media reports don't care enough to tell us, possibly because reporting on it runs counter to a narrative of Israeli-caused misery, perhaps because they have no independent sources (other than what is handed to them, pre-digested, by the Hamas overlords of the Gaza Strip) for such data. Those most in the dark about such happenings are news consumers in Arab markets - first and foremost among them the Palestinian Arabs to whom much of this is being done.

Why does this get so little attention? If it means Palestinian Arabs living under the Hamas boot in Gaza are dying quiet, desperate deaths, whose interests does this serve? And what will it take to get the mainstream media to live up to their objective news-reporting obligations on this fraught subject?

We are indebted once again to Malgorzata Koraszewska for translating this article into Polish and publishing it on the widely-read Listy z naszego sadu website.

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