Unofficial Summary of Press Conference Plus Comments
By Dr. Mike Cohen, Senior Analyst, The Galilee Institute (http://www.gogalil.com)
JERUSALEM: June 13, 2006: Israel has determined conclusively and without reservation that IDF fire was not the cause of the explosion which killed members of a local Gaza family and injured others on Friday.The Israel Defense Forces committee formed to investigate theallegations that Israel artillery fire was responsible for civilian deaths on the Gaza beach last Friday reported on its conclusions today.
Defense MinisterAmir Peretz, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Major General Meir Kalifi stood before the press Tuesday evening (June 13, 2006) and presented the findings. Showing aerial photographs and filmed documentation Gen. Klifi, head of the Israeli inquiry, declared: "There is no chance that a shell hit this area atthis time. Absolutely no chance."The committee found that the blast was probably caused by an explosive deviceburied in the sand, but has not yet determined whether it was planted by local Palestinians as a counter measure to possible Israeli incursions or whether itwas an old IDF dud.
The findings ruling out the possibility of IDF artillery as the cause of theblast are complex and take into account the elements of time, material andlocation. The findings are based on intelligence sources, filmed documentationfrom a number of angles, cross-referencing and triangulation of computerized and visual data and more.
A. The Context:
Over 100 Kassam rockets have been launched from the northernGaza Strip city of Beit Lahiya into Israel by Hamas and Fatah this past week, several of them hitting a school, a kindergarten and private houses. In addition to the Kassam attacks, Russian 122 mm caliber Grad missiles, officially known as BM-21 or Katyusha rockets have recently been introduced to the sector and nowpose a threat to Israel of some 12.7 miles or 20.4 km (see map at http://www.iris.org.il/katyusha.htm).
The Hamas and Fatah missiles are being launched from within densely populated areas, thus not only abusing the human rights of the local Gazaresidents but also creating a cynical attempt to draw Israeli fire at innocent civilians in order to gain media "brownie points."
The Hamas and Fatah missiles are being launched from a region Israel evacuated and turned over to full Palestinian Authority control less thatone year ago, while tearing Jewish families away from their homes of 35 years against their own will. Israel made clear that it will not tolerate terroristactivity targeting its civilian population and gave the PA police plenty oftime, information and arms with which to stop the perpetrators.
In response to the continued aerial assaults on the City of Sderot andother towns in southern Israel, the IDF has begun to employ airpower, sea-based artillary and ground to ground fire.
It is important to note that the employment of these three strategic assets and the introduction of the Katyusha rocket by the Hamas and Fatah terrorists in Gaza constitutes a new phase in this war, a war which Israel must engage in and win if it is to stop the continuous launch of rockets against Israel's civilian population.
B. The Shrapnel:
Three people wounded in the blast are now hospitalized in Israel. Shrapnel removed from their bodies show conclusively that the explosion was caused by a bomb rather than an Israeli shell.
C. The Crater:
Based on photographs and testimonial descriptions, the crater left on the beach by the blast was made by an explosion from below (a mine), and not a hit from above (a shell).
Israel has amassed considerable information, including conclusive video, indicating that over the past few weeks Hamas has been systematically mining the northern Gaza Beach in anattempt to keep Israeli commandos from landing there.
E. Time of Blast:
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights claims that the "attack" took place at 16:40 on Friday- From 16:54 to 16:57 Israeli surveillance made public today shows that the family on the Gaza beach was engaged in normal every-day activity.
The surveillance documentation revealed today continues to show major activity in the area at 17:10 meaning that the blast took place sometimebetween 16:57 and 17:09.- At 17:15 ambulances begin to arrive from the local hospital – a five to eight minute drive from the location of the blast.
F. Time of Israeli Activity:
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacked an area being used as a launch site against Israeli civilians some 2.5 KM north of the blast at 17:15, AFTER ambulances had already arrived on the scene. Earlier attacks took place, also to the north, many hours earlier in the morning.
Israeli Navy boats fired 17 shots from its 166 meter guns at alocation near the destroyed former Israeli town of Dugit from 11:00till around noon that morning. All 17 shells are accounted for, with multiple visual and computerized verification systems, all falling some 700 meters north of the investigated blast.
Between 16:31 and 16:35 Israel fired six times from its ground to ground 155mm cannons. Five of the shells, the 2nd through the 6th are fully accounted for ,falling 580-600 meters north of the area the family was in. The first shell is as yet unaccounted for but carries with it a statistical impossibility of being that far off range – over half a kilometer from its intended target.
It is imperative that the world understands that Israel is fighting a war on terror not thousands of miles from its shores but scant meters from its homes, schools and children. The terrorist activity must be brought to a stop and the world must bring its weight down on the Hamas government and the PA president tostop launching rockets at Israeli civilians and to begin to respect and honor the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis.
By launching these consistent terrorist attacks from within some of the most densely populated civilian neighborhoods, teeming with families and children, Hamas and Fatah are calling a for holy war on their own people. Israel cannot and will not allow these attacks to continue and manycivilians stand in harms way on both sides. It is up to the international community to stop these attacks and move the PA government to remove the terrorists from among their civilian umbrella.
Rather than jumping on Israel for defending her citizens, the world human rights organizations who are all well represented in the Gaza Strip should begin tocall abominable the activities of Hamas and Fatah – and their cynical use ofinnocent citizens as a cover for their terrorist activities.
PLEASE REFER TO THE FOLLOWING SOURCES FOR MORE ON THIS IMPORTANT STORY:
Dr. Mike Cohen is the Senior Analyst at the Galilee Institute in Jerusalem (http://www.gogalil.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org