Who Intentionally Kills Civilians Without Apology?

Once, journalists did not dare to write a sentence that was not backed up by some kind of evidence.This week, in a column claiming that the deliberate killing of innocent civilians is Israeli army policy, Ha’aretz‘s Zvi Bar’el spews sentences completely detached from reality. Are there no editors at Ha’aretz?

Opinion writers are not entitled to include factuallly false claims. Lies are not opinions. Zvi Bar’el displays his indifference to the facts in his Op-Ed Sunday (July 10) entitled “Hit the flytilla” in the print edition. (Online the headline is “Israel uses ‘crazy democracy’ to justify security needs.”) He writes that the intentional killing of innocent civilians is a Israeli policy:

A state that shoots first and asks questions later. If innocent civilians are killed — Palestinians, Turks or “deluded peace activists” — it is not just human error, an accident of war, but a tool to reinforce the ‘crazy’ reputation, the purpose of which is deterrence.

We might ask Bar’el, if the navy soldiers intended to kill “peace activists” on the Mavi Marmara, why did they bring aboard paintball guns? Or why weren’t additional activists killed on some of the other ships? We might also ask: If Israeli soldiers meant to first shoot and ask questions later, why, during Cast Lead, did they phone, sends text messages, and distribute thousands of fliers calling on Gaza residents to vacate areas about to be shelled?

But it’s actually another paragraph which raises the question as to whether there are editors at Ha’aretz:

Israel did not invent the method. The greatest democracy of all, the United States, operates the same way in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nor does NATO, which includes British and Turkish troops, eschew this deterrent in Afghanistan or Libya. The difference is that when they hurt innocent civilians they at least feel discomfort, express regret and even pay compensation on occasion. (Emphasis added.)

Bar’el’s implied claim is that Israel does not express regret in the event of the killing of innocent civilians and certainly does not pay compensation to the injured. What journalist would allow himself to spew such claims completely detached from reality?

The following is a partial list in which Israel expressed regret following attacks on civilians:

In May 2004, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz apologized for an attack on Palestinian civilians:
We don’t attack civilans. This was not done intentionally, we apologize. [. . . ] We do not destroy houses without reason. The houses that we destroyed contained tunnels. We destroyed 90 tunnels in recent years and there are more. The world has to understand that we have no other option. We destroy houses which are been used for terrorist purposes. [Translation by CAMERA.]
In June 2006, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened a Cabinet meeting with an expression of regret regarding the killing of innocent civilians, stating:
Over the weekend, serious events occurred in the Gaza Strip area. As a result of an incident which has yet to be fully inquired into, seven members of one family were killed on the Gaza beach. We have expressed our deep regret over the death of seven innocent civilians, we truly regret this.  Defense Minister Amir Peretz has instructed that an inquiry be held into the exact circumstances of the event. Of course, the exact details and the conclusions of the inquiry will be made public.
And just last March Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed regret for the killing of two children in an attack on the Gaza Strip following rocket attacks on Israel.
Bar’el informs us that the United States and NATO “even pay compensation on occasion.” He ignores the fact that back in 2000, Israel paid compensation to the widow and children a Palestinian killed by a Jewish terrorist, and that in 2005 a bill was passed calling for the legal formalization of compensation for Arabs killed in Jewish terror attacks.

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