As reporters begin returning home from Gaza, we are seeing the truth finally beginning to filter out. Yesterday we saw reports from France 24 and NDTV showing rockets being launched near UN facilities. (Does anyone actually believe that UN staffers couldn’t see from their windows the rocket launchpad pictured in France 24’s account?) The New York Times, also yesterday, tried to defend itself from JTA’s criticism of its failure to show images of Hamas fighters. The statements now published in one of the most anti-Israel mainstream publications in the US, however, are only further evidence of what the IDF and Israel’s supporters have been saying all along.
Let’s take a close look. Tyler Hicks, the New York Times photographer, begins by telling us that Hamas fighters are hiding in civilian areas, embedded within the civilian population and firing rockets from residential neighborhoods:
I was stationed in Gaza, and covered the Palestinian side of the war where you saw most of the casualties. One of the reasons for that is because the Hamas fighters are living among the civilian population. . . . This is a situation where the fighters fire rockets from all over the Gaza Strip, from neighborhoods to cemeteries, from parking lots, from any number of places.
And no, the reason they do this is not because “Gaza is pretty small.” Hicks next tells us that the fighters seek safety at the expense of the civilian population:
Hamas fighters are not able to expose themselves. If they were to even step a foot on the street they would be spotted by an Israeli drone and immediately blown up. We don’t see those fighters. They are operating out of buildings and homes and at night.
Leaving aside the entirely speculative nature of the statement that Israeli drones would blow up Hamas fighters, and assuming it to be true, Hicks confirms exactly what the IDF has asserted — that Hamas exposes its civilians to danger so that its fighters may remain safe.
Finally, Hicks confirms that, as Israellycool has been saying since the first casualty numbers were released, the ratio of civilian to military casualties put forward by the Gaza Health Ministry and by the UN appears to be completely invented. Hicks tells us that:
There are funerals, there are people being rushed to the hospital, but you can’t differentiate the fighters from the civilians. They are not wearing uniforms. If there is someone coming into the hospital injured, you can’t tell if that’s just a shopkeeper or if this is someone who just fired a rocket towards Israel. It’s impossible to know who’s who.
If it’s impossible to know who’s who, then there is no basis for the civilian casualty figures that the media, including the New York Times, have been repeating as gospel.
Just as the IDF has told us, then, the New York Times now confirms both that the number of civilian casualties in Gaza is most likely unsubstantiated, and that those civilian casualties that have occurred, tragic to be sure, have been caused by Hamas.
Now, will someone please, using small words and speaking slowly, explain this to Jodi Rudoren?
Update by Brian 7th Aug 01:12: The New York Times has finally done the same kind of casualty analysis Israellycool did weeks ago. See here for details.