Thursday, May 02, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 5/02/13: Confirmed: Omar Masharawi Was Another Palestinian Killed By Hamas Rocket

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection


1) Might? May?

In March, a report from the UN suggested very strongly that Omar Masharawi (or Mishrawi) was killed by a Hamas rocket.

Omar Masharawi,
Omar Masharawi, another Palestinian that was killed by
 a rocket launched by Hamas. 

In response, Robert Mackey of the New York Times wrote "might have been caused by 'a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.'"

Mackey's counterpart at the Washington Post, Max Fisher wrote, "... Omar Mishrawi may actually have been killed by a Hamas rocket."

(Emphases mine.) Now, Elder of Ziyon quoting Electronic Intifada should put the end to all such equivocation.
The UN fact-finding mission’s conclusions were largely based on Al-Mezan’s fieldwork, though this is not mentioned in its report, Suliman said. Suliman explained to me that Al-Mezan’s fieldworker visited the Masharawi home in the wake of the strike and conducted interviews with people in the area. Its findings at the time were that baby Omar was most likely killed as a result of a Palestinian-fired rocket. 
Al Mezan’s findings are based on the type of damage caused to the family home, which it says is not characteristic of an Israeli F-16, Apache helicopter or drone strike. Meanwhile, Palestinian armed groups were firing rockets towards Israel half a kilometer from the Masharawi home and Israeli strikes were targeting the sites of the rocket-launchers at the time of the incident, he said.
Elder of Ziyon comments:
Of course, Al Mezan (and EI) then try to spin this incident into saying that baby Omar's death is really Israel's fault anyway using their usual tortured logic and sickening spin to absolve terrorist rockets in civilian neighborhoods. They ignore that Omar was not the only child killed by Hamas rockets that was publicly and loudly blamed on Israel. 
When looking at actual facts, however, it is increasingly clear that I was right and the BBC was wrong - and that the BBC has been purposefully shading the truth about this case for the past five months. So has Human Rights Watch and other media and organizations that are reflexively anti-Israel whenever possible, even though the evidence on the ground from OCHA-OPT as early as late November indicated that Hamas rockets killed civilians in Gaza including Omar.
Which brings me back to Max Fisher. Fisher quoted Paul Danahar, the BBC's Middle East Bureau Chief.
“We’re all one team in Gaza,” Danahar told me, saying that Misharawi is a BBC video and photo editor. After spending a “few hours” with his grieving colleague, he wrote on Twitter, ”Questioned asked here is: if Israel can kill a man riding on a moving motorbike (as they did last month) how did Jihad’s son get killed.”
Now we know that the BBC "team" was involved in promoting a falsehood. Will Mackey (who is oh so fond of quoting Electronic Intifada) or Fisher acknowledge that they were played by BBC? Will Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of the New York Times or the Washington Post's newly minted reader representative, Doug Feaver examine how their own reporters and bloggers were duped by this willful deception?

2) How do you say "illegal settlement" in French?

Eugene Kontorovich reports on an extraordinary court case in France, Landmark French Ruling on West Bank Construction and International Law. Kontorovich concludes:
Israel’s critics have long claimed that “everyone agrees” that all “settlements” (a term referring to all Israeli activity in the West Bank, at least that benefits Jews) clearly violates international law, and that only Israeli apologists could believe the arguments to the contrary. I assume the Versailles Court of Appeals won’t be accused of being unduly sympathetic to the Jewish State. 
Indeed, many might share my surprise on such a decision coming from a European court, especially given the supposed uniformity of views on the underlying legal issues. Perhaps two factors may explain the surprising decision: this is not an international court, but an ordinary municipal one, and it was an important French industrial concern, rather than Israel, in the dock.  
International lawyers may have what could positively be described as professional or scientific knowledge of the matter, or more cynically as guild orthodoxy. Judges unversed in these verities might see things differently. And of course, here international law is being used against important and powerful domestic interests.
3) The API. Again

The AP reports Arab League sweetens Israel-Palestinian peace plan:
The original 2002 Arab peace initiative offered Israel peace with the entire Arab and Muslim world in exchange for a "complete withdrawal" from territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, all seized by Israel in 1967, for their future state. 
The initiative was revolutionary when it was introduced by Saudi Arabia's then crown prince, King Abdullah, and endorsed by the 22-member Arab League. The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation later endorsed the plan as well. However, it was overshadowed by fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting at the time and greeted with skepticism by Israel. 
In Washington Monday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani tried to allay some of the Israeli concerns. Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, he reiterated the need to base an agreement between Israel and a future Palestine on the 1967 lines, but for the first time, he cited the possibility of "comparable," mutually agreed and "minor" land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Barry Rubin cautions in Why the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ Is Both a Good Thing and a Scam:
Then there is the list of countries involved. I have no difficulty in believing that the governments of Bahrain, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are ready for a deal. Jordan has already made peace; Saudi Arabia proposed a reasonable offer a decade ago (before it was sharply revised by hardliners before becoming an official Arab League position), and Bahrain’s regime is desperately afraid of Iran and has become a semi-satellite of the Saudis. 
But what about the other three countries? Are we to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, the Hizballah-dominated regime in Lebanon, and the quirky but pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood regime in Qatar have suddenly reversed everything that they have been saying in order to seek a compromise peace with Israel? Highly doubtful to say the least. 
In other words, the reportage ignored the interesting detail about the three most radical regimes (Qatar’s regional policy is radical; not its domestic policies) suddenly making a concession to Israel that had been previously unthinkable? It’s sort of like taking for granted, say, Joseph Stalin’s supposed embrace of capitalism or France’s rulers proclaiming that American culture is far superior to their own.
In a lengthy analysis of the original initiative, Joshua Teitelbaum wrote (.pdf):
Several aspects of the Arab Peace Initiative represent significant and positive developments in the official, collective Arab view of the future of Israel in the Middle East. However, Israel should refrain from accepting the initiative as a basis for peace negotiations because it contains seriously objectionable elements. Israel should also reject the “all or nothing” approach of the Saudis and the Arab League. Peacemaking is the process of nego a on, not diktat.
Nothing in the current reporting suggests that this aspect of the initiative has changed.

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