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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 

Continuing the theme: Shameless.

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas comforts Huda Ghalia, who lost all her siblings to the Israeli shell.
Shameless is the only word that can describe the cover-up initiated by the Israeli army once one of its shells hit the Gaza beach, killing 7 people. If there hadn't been a news crew quickly on the scene, and the disturbing sight of a girl screaming as she saw the dead bodies of her relatives, then they might have got away with blaming Hamas from the start.

Instead they've decided to shift the reality of what happened gradually over a few days. Their cover-up has been helped by the continuing barrage of Qassam rockets which have hit the nearby Israeli town of Sderot, one of which badly injured a 61-year-old school caretaker. The stupidity of the launching of the rockets has only succeeded in diverting the attention of the Israeli public from the massacre which occurred due to the badly fired shell, yet that won't stop the militants from continuing to do so. Except, err, according to the Israeli Army, it wasn't a rocket after all. It was actually a mine, planted by Hamas to stop the Israelis from coming ashore on the beach. Why Hamas would suddenly decide to do some even stupider than the firing of Qassam rockets, and something they've never done before, isn't explained. It's just the truth, OK?

Not that the Israeli side of the story stands up the slightest amount of scrutiny. Shrapnel find out at the scene of the deaths included a piece stamped with "155MM". Obviously planted by the Palestinians. The crater at the scene itself matches those which feature elsewhere on the beach where shells have hit. The army admits that one of the six shells fired at the same time went missing, but claims that the deaths occurred 8 minutes after it fired the shells. One can only assume that the shell was briefly abducted by a passing alien spacecraft, only for it to be torpedoed at the beach from the craft a few minutes later.

The sad thing is that the initial Israeli response was so encouraging. They called an end to the shelling, and said they "regretted" the deaths. It made you wonder whether something good might come out of the horror caused. Instead things have just returned to business as usual. The Palestinians fire their pitiful rockets; the Israelis respond with hellfire missiles which kill militants they allege are travelling to fire them, with innocents usually getting caught up in the resulting explosion. Add in to the mix the fact that the new Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is visiting various European capitals, hoping to drum up support for his unilateral disengagement plan, and the need for the demonised Hamas to be responsible for the deaths of innocents becomes apparent. The only thing that will come out of it will be more hatred, more deaths and more buck passing. An initial tragedy becomes even more tragic, and the deadly farce continues.

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