Palestinian Spokesmen Rely on Time-Tested Tactic

In April 2002, during Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank, Palestinian spokesmen Nabil Sha’ath, Hassan Rahman, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Ahmed Abdel Rahman and Saeb Erakat shamelessly falselyalleged a Jenin massacre involving hundreds. This week, over the course of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, others purporting to represent the Palestinians are again resorting to falsehoods to prop up their indefensible case.

Hamas’ Ahmed Yousef on NPR
In perhaps the most absurd example of denying reality, Ahmed Yousef, an advisor to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, alleged that Israel employs collaborators to shoot rockets at Israeli civilians. As first recounted on CAMERA’s Snapshots blog, Robert Siegel, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” interviewed Yousef on Dec. 29, asking him if the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip weren’t “guaranteed to bring on this retaliation by the Israelis.”

Yousef, whose Op-Eds have appeared in several major Western media outlets, replied:

No. No. This has nothing to do with firing rockets because there is no rockets fire. There are collaborators, sometimes they fire based on the Israeli asking them maybe to fire some of the home-made projectiles. They know that Hamas did their best to protect the border and not to let anybody firing rockets.

Yousef initially tried to assert that no rockets were fired before acknowledging that sometimes collaborators launch rockets into Israel — at Israel’s behest. Listeners can hear the disbelief in Siegel’s voice when he interrupts to ask:

But you’re saying that when rockets have been fired out out of Gaza, you’re saying that those are being fired by Israeli collaborators whom the Israelis are arranging for them to do that, so that. . . .

Yousef continues to dig himself a hole, stating that Hamas

check[s] with those political and militant group[s] who are really showing their commitment. And when we check, well, they — all them denied any of them been firing rockets. So, who been firing these rockets? We don’t have an explanation except from those Israeli collaborators.

Mustafa Barghouti on CNN

Speaking with CNN’s Rick Sanchez on Dec. 30, Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, made a number of false allegations. First, he alleged:

Since this Israeli aggression started, since this war started, there’s not a single Israelis was killed by these rockets.

In fact, four Israelis — three civilians and one soldier — had been killed between the start of Israel’s operation on Saturday and the time of Barghouti’s appearance on CNN. They are Beber Vaknin of Netivot, 58, killed Dec. 27; Hani al-Mahdi, 27, of the Bedouin settlement of Aroar, killed by a Grad rocket Dec. 29 while working at an Ashkelon construction site, Irit Sheetrit, 39, of Ashdod, also killed by a Grad rocket Dec. 29; and Warrant Officer Lutfi Nasraladin, 38, of the Druze town of Daliat el-Carmel, killed by a mortar attack on a military base near Nahal Oz, Dec. 29.

In the same broadcast, Barghouti accuses Israeli spokesman Mark Regev of lying, when clearly he is the one repeatedly not telling the truth:

Mr. Mark Regev keeps telling the same lies and the first lie is that this truce was broken by Palestinians. It was Israel which broke this truce two months ago and it started and initiated attacks on Gaza. All the Palestinians want the truce now. Who is it that broke the truce? Who is it that broke the cease-fire? It’s Israel.

Of course, it was the Palestinians who first broke the cease-fire, firing rockets into Israel just days after the June 19 cease-fire began, as reported by the Associated Press.
Perhaps most troubling are the falsehoods propagated by Karen Abu Zayd, commissioner of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, an organization which was just promised an additional $85 million from the U.S. State Department. Yet, instead of working to advance the U.S. interest of creating a lasting cease-fire maintained by both sides, Zayd echoes both Yousef and Barghouti, dismissing Palestinian responsibility for the violence by shooting rockets at Israeli civilians. A Dec. 30 Associated Press article (“UN official says Israel attacked during lull” by Edith Lederer), Zayd makes the absurd claim:

“There was only one rocket that went out on Friday [Dec. 26, a day before Israel’s attack on Hamas started], so it was obvious that Hamas was trying again, to observe that truce to get this back under control,” she said.

In actuality, Palestinians fired numerous rockets at Israel on Friday, Dec. 26, one day before the Israeli attack began. As Patrick Moser of the Associated Press reported Dec. 26:

The spectre of a military invasion hung over Gaza Strip on Friday as militants fired another volley of rockets despite Israeli warnings that failure to stop the attacks would lead to bloodshed. . . .

Five rockets and two mortar rounds were fired by militants before dawn, but caused no casualties.

One mortar shell hit a house which was not occ upied at the time, near the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the besieged Palestinian territory, causing some damage, residents said. (“Gaza bracing for Israeli military strike,” emphasis added)

Unfortunately, Palestinian rocket fire on Friday, Dec. 26 was deadly — killing two Palestinian girls. AP reported: “A crude rocket fired by Palestinian militants fell short of its target in Israel on Friday, striking a house in the northern Gaza Strip and killing two schoolgirls,” (“Palestinian rocket misfires, kills 2 girls in Gaza,” by Ibrahim Barzak, Dec. 26).
Like Barghouti, Zayd argues that Hamas strictly observed the cease-fire and that Israel was responsible for its demise:

“I don’t think the truce was violated first by Hamas,” she said.

“I think [the Gaza population] saw Hamas had observed the truce quite strictly for almost six months, certainly for four of the six months, and that they got nothing in turn because there was to be kind of a deal,” Abu Zayd said.

But, as mentioned above, Palestinians were the first to violate the truth — starting with rocket fire on June 24. During the four month period, from June 19 to November 4, 20 rockets (three of which fell inside the Gaza Strip) and 18 mortar shells (five of which fell inside Gaza) were fired at Israel.
Despite those rockets, and despite the ongoing use of smuggling tunnels which brought weapons as well as everyday essentials to Gaza, Gazans were rewarded with the opening of the Karni and Sufa crossings. Contrary to Zayd’s claim, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported:

26. Before November 4, despite Hamas’s repeated complaints that the quantities and quality of the goods entering the Gaza Strip were not up to their expectations, senior figures in the movement occasionally admitted that thanks to the lull, the situation regarding supplies had improved. Sources in the Gaza Strip confirmed that Israel had begun increasing the quantities and delivering goods such as clothing, material, children’s shoes, flower seedlings and other agricultural products which had not been allowed in before the lull (Al-Ayyam, July 24).

27. A trucking company was set up in the Gaza Strip with one hundred trucks to transport the goods delivered through the crossings. Company president, Abd al-Hakim Hasouna, said that the growth in the types and quantities of goods entering the Gaza Strip was a factor behind the speed with which it was founded (Al-Ayyam, July 22).

Muhammad Adwan, appointed by Hamas as responsible for the Gaza Strip Crossings Authority public relations, admitted that the lull had increased the number of trucks and the amounts of goods passing from Israel into the Gaza Strip. However, he added that “in view of the severity of the siege, the Strip needs more…” (Al-Ayyam, July 24). The Gazans expressed their satisfaction with the increase in the supplies, one of the benefits of the lull arrangement.

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