An open letter about Israel to Prime Minister David Cameron
August 16, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
Dear Prime Minister Cameron:
I’m writing about your threat to cut off twelve British arms export licenses to Israel if hostilities resume.
One of my heroes is General William Tecumseh Sherman. He was a very blunt speaker, Prime Minister. What you actually meant is that you’ll cut off arms exports if Israel responds to the rocket fire that has never stopped. Hamas has already broken the ceasefire multiple times, but you’ve not made threats to sanction them.
I say this with respect, Sir, but also with impatience. Your threats against Israel are based on misconceptions. All it would take for you to see the reality of Operation Protective Edge is to ask one of your military advisers to review the evidence.
The vast majority of the damage to Gaza was done by Hamas improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rockets that either fell short or exploded after they were hit by Israeli aerial munitions. Examining photos and videos of the destruction shows that there is MINIMAL FRAGMENTATION DAMAGE. Buildings collapsed due to pressure waves more often than direct hits by Israeli aerial munitions or artillery.
During Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009), the Israeli Defense Forces captured Hamas sketches showing how IEDs would be placed in residential areas. These included “belly charges” in streets, meant to destroy Israeli tanks; booby-trapped barrels; and “side charges” in buildings for the purpose of horizontal attacks on armored vehicles.
During the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas set off more than 1000 IEDs from July 8 to July 30, destroying thousands of buildings. To give you an idea of how unprecedented that was, Iraqi insurgents exploded 1896 IEDs of all types between May of 2003 and December of 2008. Thus in twenty-two days, Hamas used more than half the IEDs that were detonated in Iraq over FIVE YEARS.
The Gaza Strip is 141 square miles (365 km sq.) Imagine, Prime Minister, over 1000 of these going off in Enfield, Barnet, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Ealing—five counties that together are the size of the Gaza Strip—in twenty-two days.
These are not Israeli bombs or shells; they’re Hamas IEDs exploding. The Israelis do not have munitions that can blow up entire city blocks.
To be more accurate, the fighting has taking place in Gaza City (17 square miles/45 km sq), Khan Younis (17 sq mi/54.56 km sq), and Rafah (21 square miles/55 km sq). Therefore over 1000 IEDs were exploded in an area of 57 square miles (155 km sq) over twenty-two days.
Hamas IEDs are invariably called “air strikes” or “shelling” by the uninformed press. This video is a perfect example. The Israelis hit the apartment with an inert BDU-56 precision-guided munition. You can tell it’s inert because there’s no primary explosion. If this had been a GBU-31 JDAM, we would’ve seen a fireball and the dirty-gray mushroom cloud created by the Tritonal high explosive. Instead we see a boiling black cloud.
That smoke is from the powerful IED placed inside the building. There are two concussions, the first being the impact of the inert munition, and the second being the IED exploding and bringing down the building.
This is Gaza.
This is Syria.
There is no fragmentation damage in most of the Gaza photos, indicating that the destruction was not caused by the IDF.
I would call your attention, Prime Minister, to the Battle of Shijaiyah (July 20-23, 2014). It was one of the most bloodless major combat operations in human history. Hamas had created a fortress entirely protected by over 100,000 civilians, held in their homes at gunpoint. Ask your military experts how they would assault a stronghold resembling Mount Suribachi on the Island of Iwo Jima, but shielded with 100,000 civilians.
The IDF used tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and air strikes to destroy the center of gravity of Hamas, at a cost of only sixty-five Palestinians dead and 300 wounded. How is that possible? The IDF came under such heavy fire that the troops had to take cover in their armored personnel carriers while over 600 artillery shells and 100 precision-guided 100-lb bombs were dropped within 100 meters of them. Yet the entire neighborhood was not destroyed.
In this photo of the demolished Hamas fortress, the buildings to the right are unscathed. They still have glass in their windows.
Since July 8, 2014, one hundred Hamas rockets have fallen within Gaza.
Here is a photo of a rocket launch that will result in the weapon landing on Gazans instead of Israelis.
The problem, Prime Minister, is that the press cannot and will not report honestly from Gaza. Palestinian versions of events are accepted as gospel.
On July 30, 2014, we were told that there was a “massacre” when a crowded marketplace in Shijaiyah was hit with an Israeli air strike. In reality the market was closed, and the explosion was caused by the fuel tank of a liquid-propellant rocket. There’s absolutely no doubt. A warehouse loaded with rockets was hit, and the weapons exploded one after another. One fuel tank flew out of the warehouse and struck the people in the empty marketplace. We know this to be the case because THERE IS NO FRAGMENTATION DAMAGE and no impact crater.
Almost every victim was hit in the foot, ankle, shin, or thigh. No aerial munition on earth causes such a wound pattern. The only explanation is that a burning fuel tank roared into the closed marketplace and ruptured against the wall. When the vaporized fuel mixed with atmospheric air, there was an explosion that sent out a pressure wave only a few inches above the ground.
Have your military experts look at the evidence, Prime Minister. A forensic examination of the battlefield shows that without question, the vast majority of the destruction was caused by Hamas, not the IDF.
We can’t take Palestinian or UN casualty figures at face value. After Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinians were infuriated that the apparent majority of the casualties were civilians. They thought Hamas had fled from the IDF. Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad was forced to admit that the IDF casulty figures were accurate, and about 700 Hamas fighters had been killed. In addition, portions of the UN Goldstone Report were repudiated by its author.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say that the Palestinian and UN casualty figures for Operation Protective Edge are correct, and that the majority of the deaths were civilians. What was Israel supposed to do? You threaten to cut off arms exports because of civilian casualties; have you forgotten that the Royal Air Force deliberately killed hundreds of thousands of German civilians during World War II? Were those bomber crews “war criminals”? Should your ability to prosecute the war have been curtailed because of the number of civilians you killed?
The Israeli Defense Forces operate under rules of engagement that the British armed forces would never accept.
Again, have your military experts examine the Battle of Shijaiyah. What the IDF accomplished almost defies belief. The only way they could’ve destroyed the Hamas fortress without killing hundreds or thousands of civilians is if they held their fire more than they shot.
And they were under such heavy fire from every civilian structure that they had to call down artillery and air strikes on their own positions.
It’s time for the irrationality to end, Prime Minister. Israel should be celebrated for her humaneness, not condemned or PUNISHED for fictional war crimes.
To do so would be highly immoral and a sign of societal decay. We need leaders to stop our slide into Opposite World, a hell where wrong is right and good is evil.
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