June 15, 2008 - "Seven people, including a baby, were killed in a blast that destroyed the home of a Palestinian militant."
This statement comes from a report by the BBC. While the report did not say so explicitly, the context made it appear that it was Israel who attacked and killed a Palestinian baby.
And Hamas made exactly that accusation and used it as an excuse to launch more than 50 mortar shells and rockets into Israel, inflicting several casualties.
But eventually the truth came out: the blast was caused by Hamas terrorists' faulty handling of explosives as they prepared for yet another attack on Israeli civilians. Even the BBC admitted as much in a later report: "The armed wing of Hamas has admitted that a massive explosion in the Gaza Strip on Thursday was caused by militants preparing an armed operation.... Hamas had initially blamed the explosion on an Israeli air strike and responded with rocket fire, but Israel denied any involvement."
This is not the first time such things have happened, even in the town of Beit Lahiya, where this explosion occurred. There was another infamous explosion in Beit Lahiya two years ago that became known as the "Gaza Beach Incident." Israel is blamed to this day for having killed seven Palestinian civilians, even though Israel denied responsibility and the preponderance of evidence indicates that once again the cause was Palestinian terrorists' mishandling explosives.
This appears to be a pattern. A year before Gaza Beach the same thing happened at Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. Terrorists mishandled explosives, innocent people died, Hamas blamed Israel and used the incident to justify firing 40 Qassam rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring more innocent people.
It is especially disheartening when an organization that claims to promote "conflict resolution" uses such incidents as excuses for hostile behavior towards Israel. The Palestine Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation put a statement on its web site entitled "Israeli Universities Boycott," advocating a boycott of all Israeli organizations that do not take explicit positions agreeing with them. Part of their statement reads: "We cannot talk to academics who do not condemn the killing of a whole family on the Gaza beach."
Well, for the record, I do condemn the killing of a whole family on the Gaza beach - even when the killing is done by Palestinian terrorists.
The Palestine Center statement opens with the following:
The Palestinian people have used and still are using armed resistance as one way of resisting the occupation. Despite the fact that the United Nations has acknowledged the right of all people to resist occupation, there is much international criticism of this method of resistance.
If only there were more international criticism of this violent "resistance." What is now called "resistance" is a war against Israel's existence. By "occupation" Hamas means the existence of Israel itself. They have said so many times. Why should we not believe them? The war Hamas is waging against Israel's southern cities certainly makes it seem that way.
I would love to see an end to the occupation of the territories where Palestinians now live. In fact, I supported the end of the Gaza part of that occupation. I was wrong. More land under the control of Palestinian extremists has made them more aggressive and Israel less secure. When the Palestinian leadership sends a different signal, I will support an end to the occupation. I will not support using incidents of Palestinians killed by their own terrorists to delegitimize the existence of Israel.
BBC. "Israeli Air Strike Targets Hamas." BBC News, June 13, 2008.
BBC. "Hamas Set Off Massive Gaza Blast." BBC News, June 13, 2008.
Katz, Yaakov and Jerusalem Post Staff. "'Blast Result of Jihad Op Preparation'." Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2008.
Peace with Realism