Saturday, December 20, 2014

20-Dec-14: Rebuilding Gaza and its terror-war capabilities

A rocket, fired from the rocket-rich environs of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, was fired into southern Israel on Friday morning. It landed in the Eshkol region which covers part of Israel's Western Negev desert and is home to 15 kibbutzim, 13 moshavim, and a handful of non-collective communities, with a total population of roughly 6,000 people. The attack received little coverage by news media outside Israel. It was the third such rocket attack on Israel since a ceasefire temporarily ended the last intensive round of fighting, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, in August.

During the early hours of this morning (Saturday), the IDF launched an airborne mission into Gaza:
The Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas training facility in the area of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday night in retaliation for a rocket fired at southern Israel earlier in the day. The attack marks the first time Israel carried out an air strike in the Gaza Strip since Operation Protective Edge ended in August. No injuries were reported. [Ynet, today]
A later report clarified that it was not a Hamas training facility but rather "a cement factory intended to rehabilitate the [Hamaa] group's terror tunnels".

The Israeli measure, consistent with how these things go in the news media, was reported. So was a serious-sounding call by the arch-terrorist Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas (the one who has hypocritically sent multiple members of his family into Israeli hospitals when they needed serious and professional medical care, as recently as a few weeks ago). He is quoted saying Israel's actions, coming hours after the explosive landing of the Gazan rocket, amount to
"a grave violation of the ceasefire agreement... We will protect and guard the resistance’s victory in the last conflict... We call on Egypt as the guarantor of the agreement to act and stop the violations by the enemy." [Hamas threatens retaliation following Israeli airstrikes | Times of Israel, today]
This was noted over at the excellent BBCwatch website ["Missile from Gaza not news for the BBC but Israeli response gets headlines"]
Jerusalem bureau correspondent Quentin Sommerville did inform his 24 thousand followers that the Israeli action came in response to missile fire, whilst taking the opportunity to revive the well-trodden BBC theme of “home-made rockets”. There is no evidence to suggest that Sommerville was at the scene of the impact and hence his ‘diagnosis’ of the missile’s nature is apparently based on guess-work. Equally questionable is Sommerville’s geography: there is no city called Eshkol: that name refers to a regional council. Nevertheless, that inaccurate information was retweeted by the BBC World Twitter account... More context-free ‘last-first’ reporting was seen on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on the morning of December 20th where visitors were informed that “Israel launches an air strike on an alleged Hamas site in Gaza, in the first such action since the declaration of a truce in August”, but with no mention in the headline or sub-heading of the missile attack several hours beforehand.
BBC's Somerville: How accurate can you be when you're far from the scene, and rely
on Arab locals for factual reporting?
Factual inaccuracy is not so odd considering that Somerville was retweeting a Tweet from Rushdi Abualouf. He's employed by the BBC's Gazan office, working there since 2009 as a producer. He too appears to have known nothing about Friday's Gazan rocket attack on Israel. In fact, as far as we can tell from reviewing his Tweet stream, the thousands of Gazan rocket attacks fired on Israel appear to be outside his reporting responsibilities.

Israel's strike on a Gazan facility this morning was
the first air strike by Israel on the Palestinian enclave since the northern summer truce that ended the deadly 50-day war between the sides." [SBS, today]
As for the Gazan target being a cement factory, it's worth recalling just how much deliberate disinformation the terrorist regime in Gaza has managed to plant in the media in the past couple of years as a cover for its massive cement-lined attack-tunnel industry.

A report from months before the summer 2014 fighting ["Cement shortage in Gaza leaves thousands jobless", Al-Monitor, March 3, 2014] is a classic of its kind, detailing the heart-tugging misery that Hamas media spinners managed to communicate to the outside world while cheating their own people of a building industry.

Less detailed, but somewhat more accurate, is this disclosure ["Gaza's Next Disaster: No Cement for Rebuilding", July 31, 2014 | Bloomberg/BusinessWeek]
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimate that each of the three dozen underground passages that troops have found so far required 350 truckloads of building supplies.
That article appeared before the full extent was known of Hamas tunnel construction and the lethal plans that lay behind it.

The illicit diversion of cement to equip its terrorist forces has been a known component of the Hamas strategic doctrine since it seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2006. Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas supremo, was not shy to disclose this at a conference in Damascus in November 2009:
"Outwardly the visible picture is talks about reconciliation...and construction; however, the hidden picture is that most of the money and effort is invested in the resistance and military preparations..." [Source]
For Arab audiences, revelations of this kind are considered heroic. So too are claims by Hamas that the massive destruction suffered by their people during the summer are a 'victory' worth protecting and guarding. There is zero prospect of getting to a state of peace with people who hold to views like these, no matter how much our side wants to.

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