Rafah Attack: Netanyahu’s Lies Expose The Truth About Israel

Rafah Attack: Netanyahu’s Lies Expose The Truth About Israel

What else but lies will do, when you have just killed a gathering of hungry, displaced civilians in highly flammable tents?

by Kathryn Shihadah, reposted from Patheos – Grace-Colored Glasses

Israel’s massive attack on a tent encampment in Rafah targeted two Hamas leaders, but incinerated 45 mostly women and children in a location Israel had deemed safe.

The damage control began almost immediately.

Let’s unpack.

THE LIE: Reuters reports: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strike had not been intended to cause civilian casualties. “In Rafah, we already evacuated about 1 million non-combatant residents,” he said in a speech to Israeli legislators.

Netanyahu continued, “[D]espite our utmost effort not to harm non-combatants, something unfortunately went tragically wrong.”

THE TRUTH:Contrary to its claims made to Western media, Israel has reportedly not made any provisions for the evacuation of Rafah: “People who flee have to pay for private cars or animal-drawn carts to move them. Those who have no money try to walk. Some are too impoverished or have sick or elderly family members and cannot make the trip. No food, water or other basic necessities are provided for them. Most of all, there is no guarantee of safety” (this is not hearsay – this has been my family’s experience).

Mainstream and Israeli made a big deal about Israel’s “plan” to purchase 40,000 tents. To the untrained eye, Israel appeared to have its ducks in a row, as it vowed, “clear places will be defined in the Strip where the tents will be placed and the refugees will stay,”

That was two months ago. No one has spoken of the tents since.

Bottom line: Israel has not evacuated 1 million non-combatant residents.

The Netanyahu government totally disregards Gazan civilians. “Had not intended to cause civilian casualties” really means “civilians were not part of our conversation.”

THE LIE: The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported: Following criticism of Sunday night’s strike on Rafah, the Israel Defense Forces said that “before the attack, many steps were taken to reduce the chances of harm to uninvolved people, including a visual aerial inspection, the use of precision weaponry, and the use of additional intelligence information – on the basis of which it was estimated that harm to uninvolved civilians was not expected.”

THE TRUTH: The mere fact that Israel did nothing to facilitate the evacuation of Palestinians from Rafah refutes the Israeli military’s statement that it had taken steps to “reduce the chances of harm.” Dropping leaflets and texting the coordinates of “safe zones” does not qualify as assistance. Withholding food, water, and medicine make people too weak and sick to “evacuate.” Refusing to allow displaced people to return to their homes for refuge does not reduce the chances of harm to uninvolved people.

Israel has the most advanced surveillance systems in the world; drones are constantly flying over the heads of Gazans, collecting information. The suggestion that a “visual aerial inspection” failed to reveal that the target location was packed with people is absurd.

Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari showed diagrams and maps that “prove” there were no tents where they dropped the bombs – but to put it mildly, Israel has a track record of deceit.

Among Israel’s lies are numerous atrocity stories about the October 7th attack that have since been proven untrue (more examples here). In addition, a number of the Israeli soldiers and civilians killed on October 7 were shown to have been killed by Israeli fire – a fact that is absent from the official Israeli narrative. The Israeli military has also disseminated false stories about civilians captured. (Previously, Israel has been caught in many lies – for example, this and this and this.)

As for “precision weaponry,” Hagari explained that the bombs Israel dropped that day were “the smallest munition that our jets can use” – in fact, they are called SDBs: “Small Diameter Bombs.” They used only two of them, just 37 pounds each.

THE LIE: The IDF spokesman proclaimed, “Our munition alone could not have ignited a fire of this size,” adding that the ongoing investigation was looking into the possibility that “secondary explosions” linked to “weapons stored in a compound next to our target,” may have ignited the deadly blaze.

So it was Hamas’ fault.

(Well, Israel basically blamed every Palestinian death on Hamas because, “human shields,” as we’ve discussed recently, so this seems par for the course.)

THE TRUTH: Several news outlets, including the New York Times, identified bomb fragments from the site to be from an GBU-39 SDB.

Hagari was telling the truth (at least about the bombs themselves): this particular SDB does in fact carry about 37 pounds of high explosives.

What he didn’t mention is that those explosives are housed in a 250-pound bomb that is 6 feet long, with a 7.5-inch diameter. Its wingspan, when the wings are extended, is over 5 feet.

Here is what it looks like when this type of bomb explodes:

This is, perhaps, a “drop mic” moment. But there’s more.

For starters, as Associated Press reports, “It’s unusual to describe a bomb by its explosive load — in this case, 37 pounds — instead of its total weight, according to Ball and Mark Cancian, a retired Marine Corps Reserves colonel and senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.” Really, the only conclusion one can reach here is that Hagari was purposely downplaying the size of the bomb.

Another thing that Hagari neglected to mention is that bombs don’t always land where they’re supposed to – even bombs dropped by “the most moral army in the world.”

The fact is that GBU-39s are known in the industry for being “not always accurate,” missing their target 10 to 20 percent of the time – not the type of bomb appropriate in an area crowded with civilians (as if there is a bomb appropriate for such a situation).

So while President Biden, presumably out of an abundance of caution, withheld a shipment of one-ton bombs a few weeks, Israel has enough in its arsenal to produce plenty of carnage.

A GBU-39 could definitely (trigger warning) blow a baby’s head off, shred an adult’s body, or spark a massive fire that could burn bodies alive – all of which happened Sunday night in Rafah.

Bottom line: Regardless of the size of the bomb, regardless of Israel’s (and Biden’s) intentions, 45 Gazans, mostly women, children, and elders, died a horrific death. All the justifications, gosh-darn-its, and hand-wringing in the world won’t change that.

Our president has continued to tolerate Palestinian deaths, as well as war crime allegations against Netanyahu, genocide allegations against Israel (see this), and global demands to halt the Rafah offensive.

He pretends to have limits. Earlier this month, he said, “if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons.”

They went into Rafah.

Under questioning, NSC spokesman John Kirby equivocated. The president meant he won’t supply a major operation in Rafah. “A major ground operation is, you know, thousands and thousands of troops moving in a maneuvered, concentrated, coordinated way against a variety of targets on the ground,” he said.

This invasion, apparently, didn’t check all the boxes. Hallelujah, Israel is still in our good graces.

Gaza is not.

The danger here is not only to Palestinians. When we see our American president taking sides with, and providing weapons to, a genocidal foreign government, when we see him rejecting international law, silencing the speech of his own constituents, and turning a deaf ear to entire voting blocs, we should worry. Biden has sold America out for Israel. He has made us a laughingstock for Israel. He has made us hated for Israel.

Kathryn Shihadah Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. This is reposted from Patheos – Grace Colored Glasses – Kathy’s blog on Patheos, an online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality. She also occasionally blogs at Palestine Home.


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