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She sells artillery shells by the sea shore

The recent explosion on a Gaza beach, where eight Palestinians were killed, is proving to be a far more convoluted incident than anyone could have imagined. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis have offered explanations for what happened.

According to the Palestinians, it was an Israeli gunboat that fired its gun at the beach. No, it was a bomb from an Israeli aircraft. No, it was a tank round. No, it was an artillery shell. Regardless, it was the Israelis that did it.

Israel first said that it was not an intentional attack, but would investigate. Later, they said it may have been a stray artillery shell fired at a Qassam rocket firing poing several hundred yards away. Later still, they said it could not have been, as the blast occurred 15 minutes after they stopped firing -- it must have been a Qassam rocket. Their final version was that it was a Palestinian mine buried on the beach.

The evolution of the stories is most enlightening. The Palestinians' stories seem, to me, to represent a changing of the rationale to rebut evolving facts. There was a blast, so it must have been the Israelis. It was that boat over there. No? OK, it was an airplane. No? OK, it was a tank. No? It was an artillery shell. Look, we don't care how they did it, the important thing is that they did it.

On the Israeli side, it's a bit more of a logical progression, an evolutionary process. We don't know what happened, but we certainly didn't order it. OK, we've eliminated a bunch of possibilities -- no boats, tanks, or aircraft fired in that area, but we did have some artillery shooting, so it might have been that. No, it wasn't the artillery, because they stopped shooting 15 minutes before that, and nobody's stupid enough to picnic around a dud artillery shell for 15 minutes until it goes off. But the artillery was firing at Qassam rockets a few hundred yards away, and those things are completely unguided -- it might have been one of them. But no, we looked at some of the fragments we took from the victims, and they don't match a Qassam, but seem to indicate a land mine of some kind.

So let's look at some of the circumstantial evidence.

  • There was a Palestinian film crew on the scene that captured the grief-stricken girl who lost most of her family in the blast at the very instant she discovered she was the sole survivor.
  • Hamas immediately cleaned up the blast area, removing all physical evidence from the scene.
  • Hamas has announced the ending of their cease fire (which is a more obscene joke than any variant ever told of "The Aristocrats," as there has been an unending stream of attacks since the "cease-fire" was first announced) and intends to resume attacking Israel.

Here's a possible scenario: Hamas plants the mine in the sand, then sets up a rocket firing point nearby. They start shooting rockets into Israel. As is usual, Israel starts shooting back (filthy Jews!). The bomb goes off, killing a bunch of innocents nearby. The film crew, safely placed out of blast range, rushes in to document the dead and injured. Presto! Instant PR coup against Israel for blowing up a bunch of beachgoers. The only things they did wrong was set off the bomb a little late (perhaps no innocents were close enough when Israel was actively shelling the rocket emplacement) and letting some of the victims get taken to Israeli hospitals, where doctors could collect some of the fragments Hamas couldn't get rid of.

But pesky things like actual proof aren't stopping some folks. The Saudi Royal Rubber Stamp Cabinet issued a strong condemnation of Israel for having one of its warships shoot up the Palestinian beach (apparently they missed some of the latter revisions to the script). And the international media is giving the Palestinian and Israeli stories equal play, hoping to strike a balance on who to blame and sparing themselves the agony of doing actual investigating.

And the Palestinians have themselves a new symbol of their oppression. 10-year-old Houda Ghalia was wounded in the blast, which killed her father and five of her siblings. Footage of her anguish moments after the blast have been broadcast, repeatedly, around the world.

How amazingly fortunate that camera crew was on hand so soon.

(Dafydd ab Hugh and Sachi of Big Lizards have done yeoman's work on this story -- see their analyses here and here.)

Comments (24)

I saw a short film last yea... (Below threshold)

I saw a short film last year titled something like "Paliwood". It was made by someone in Israel. It showed how some Palistinians would set up news crews to film them stonning a checkpoint. The soldiers would fire into the air at them. Some of the people would fall as if they had been shot. Instantly, there would be an ambulance crew there to take them away. The film showed how there was no way that a bullet fired from the soldiers position could have hit anyone in that area. Yet, they acted like they had been hit. The ambulance could not have drived that far away, because a few minutes later, some of the "wounded" could be seen standing somewhere else with no injuries.

On another note: who sits on a beach when there are people shooting at each other with rockets and artilery? I'd leave as soon as I heard the first shot! They were there through the whole thing. I don't care how frequently that sort of thing happens, people don't just sit there.

Yes, that was extremely for... (Below threshold)

Yes, that was extremely fortunate that a film crew happened to be standing on the beach nearby.

SurfingKC,Sounds l... (Below threshold)


Sounds like a Pallywood production to me.

see pallywood at seconddraft.org

Let's all put on our tinfoi... (Below threshold)
Godless Liberal:

Let's all put on our tinfoil hats and channel the government! Weeeeee!

I think "She shells Shia ce... (Below threshold)

I think "She shells Shia cells by the sea Shore" works better, don't you?

(by the way, to be serious,... (Below threshold)

(by the way, to be serious, the Palis tried to remove all the shrapnel from the casualties shipped off to Israeli hospitals... but they missed a speck of it.

The shrapnel mettalurgy was inconsistent with artillery shell fragments. It was consistent, however, with fragments that result from daisy-chained landmines.)

The shrapnel mettalur... (Below threshold)

The shrapnel mettalurgy was inconsistent with artillery shell fragments. It was consistent, however, with fragments that result from daisy-chained landmines.

Interesting but unsurprising development, where did this info come from, I can't find any mention of it in the news...

How dare you question the i... (Below threshold)

How dare you question the integrity of the Hamas investigation?!? You're just an angry, pajama clad, basement dwelling moron. The Palistinian reporters have layers of fact checking management to verify their report and you only have an "enter" key.
[Pali editor/Hamas party member] Did you get the footage of the girl with blood on her face screaming in agony?

[Pali reporter] Yes, but it seems that nothing actually fell from the sky before the explosion.

[Pali editor/Hamas party member] Nothing that a little judicious editing can't correct.

[Pali reporter] But I'm interested in reporting the facts.

[Pali editor/Hamas party member] Sure. We have a few facts you can report here soon. Go stand by that rocket launcher.

[Pali reporter] Now that I think about it, fake but accurate worked for Dan Rather.

You have to admitt that the... (Below threshold)

You have to admitt that the pali terrorists have learned well from Big Media; fake pickup trucks blowing up, fake but true documents, Dangerous At Any Speed, convient camera crews etc etc...

You have to admitt... (Below threshold)
You have to admitt that the pali terrorists have learned well from Big Media

Yes. One wonders if there is a large scholarship fund to pay Palistinians and the like to atten j-school here in the states.

Weeee! Weeee! Weeee!... (Below threshold)
Godless Liberal:

Weeee! Weeee! Weeee!

What both sides say doesn't... (Below threshold)

What both sides say doesn't matter. All that matters is innocent people are dying in this fight.
Let us forget everything and just have peace.
We all need to learn at some point or the other that killing each other doesn't work. I hope people agree with the turth.
May Peace Win.

Ahhh,Mr Muslim Unity, where... (Below threshold)

Ahhh,Mr Muslim Unity, where has that worked?...

Last night, there was a sto... (Below threshold)

Last night, there was a story that said a 'US-trained expert' from Human Rights Watch confirmed that it was an Israeli shell.

Amazing how Human Rights Watch just happened to have an expert in munitions available, especially one who new the difference between a land mine and a shell just by looking at the shrapnel. Of course, which was provided to him by the Palistinians rather than his actually visiting the scene and performing an actual analysis.

Human Rights Watch? A Geor... (Below threshold)

Human Rights Watch? A George Soros funded project that is horribly anti American ? That is the expert?
Spare me please.

The Israelis tend to admit when they make military mistakes. And the Palis are known to lie. So who to beleive here? Give me a minute... OK not thats done.

"godless liberal," please d... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

"godless liberal," please do that in private. Or at least clean up after yourself.

MU - Peace will triumph whe... (Below threshold)

MU - Peace will triumph when the Palestinians care more for their children than they hate Jews.

Weee! Weee! Weee! Israeli s... (Below threshold)
Godless Liberal:

Weee! Weee! Weee! Israeli shell! Wee! Weee! Tinfoil! Wee Wee! Wee! Hamas Landmine! Weeee! Weeee! Israeli investigation unimpeacable!!1 Weeee! Bad Mr. Muslim! Weee! Weee!

O...kay, godless liberal. T... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

O...kay, godless liberal. That's enough. Put it back in your pants and back away from the computer.

speaking of "The Aristocrat... (Below threshold)

speaking of "The Aristocrats"...... I still haven't received my DVD.. :)

nobody's stupid enough t... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

nobody's stupid enough to picnic around a dud artillery shell for 15 minutes until it goes off.

You would be amazed at the stupid things people will do around an artillery shell. Years ago at Fort Sill, an Army dentist was wandering around in the range buffer zone (a restricted area surrounding the impact area that is designed as a landing place for errant rounds.) He came upon an unexploded 8-inch round and did what every intelligent person would do. He pulled out his .22 pistol and shot the round. The round exploded and he, being within the 75-meter blast radius, was killed.

Nothing ever surprises me when it comes to unexploded ammunition.

Step 1. Give palestinians a... (Below threshold)

Step 1. Give palestinians an area to govern.
Step 2. Allow them to self govern.
Step 3. Wait for attack.
Step 4. Accept the declaration of war, and retaliate with the full military might of israel.

1, check
2, ckeck
3, check
4..... we're waiting...

I'm very impressed with the... (Below threshold)

I'm very impressed with the extraordinary neatness of Hamas members. Cleaning up the beach, even removing ugly, dangling bits of shrapnel from their dead colleagues. (Nothing more untidy than metal fragments protruding from body parts.) Is this new obsession with neatness a recently discovered Quranic dictate? I mean, we were all used to seeing uncontrolled mobs dropping a dearly departed on the ground from hand-held plywood luggage racks. Oh well, cleanliness is next to Godliness.

I'll say this for MU -- I m... (Below threshold)

I'll say this for MU -- I much prefer a Muslim pacifist to a Muslim terrorist.






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