Amos Harel attacks IDF, forgets journalist professionalism

Posted: March 19, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Anti-Israel, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Own Articles, War
Tags: ,

Haaretz correspondent and 'analyst' Amos Harel

Haaretz correspondent and 'analyst' Amos Harel

You would not usually read me writing in this tone, friends. However, in this case I simply cannot put up with journalistic ‘assumptionism’, which Harel uses heavily in his recent Haaretz op-ed.

We have already spoken on Haaretz’s attack on IDF, where the newspaper provided readers with testimonials of unidentified soldiers from unidentified units, who apparently preferred to just sit around and converse on all the atrocities they have seen, instead of reporting all this to their superiors. Harel uses the yet unsubstantiated claims to attack ‘most’ troops who participated in the operation, saying that it seems what these soldiers say is “actually the way things happened in the field, most of the time”.

It is still unclear how Harel reach this conclusion, reading several testimonies of few soldiers.

At the top of the op-ed, Harel says:

The soldiers are not lying, for the simple reason that they have no reason to. If you read the transcript that will appear in Haaretz Friday, you will not find any judgment or boasting. This is what the soldiers, from their point of view, saw in Gaza.

Of course, the soldiers have no reason to lie! After all, they are Yizhak Rabin course graduates, this definitely makes them objective. In Israel, every educational institution or course bearing the name of former Israeli leader probably means that the educators are Left-leaning and brainwash their students with Left-only point of view. It should be noted, that in itself the fact the soldiers passed Left-wing preparatory course does not make them liars; moreover, I do not think those soldiers lied. I do believe, however, that passing through such institution moves the lens of their views to the left (or extreme left), without the ability to view the situation objectively. For example, for Israeli Left, the operation in Gaza in itself was illegal and immoral and if terrorists use women to shield themselves from hostile fire they should not be fired upon. Do testimonies of soldiers holding such views can be viewed as balanced and the acts can be attributed to all troops fighting in Gaza Strip?

Further down the article, Harel also brings us a little bit of the past: the head of Yizhak Rabin preparatory course, Danny Zamir, serving as a reserve company commander in 1990 has refused an order. What was the order? To guard settlers who wanted to bring Torah scrolls into Joseph’s tomb, one of holy places for Jews, eventually destroyed by Palestinians. This is the man who taught those youngsters before them joining the army? I think we can understand the level of objectivity right here.

Harel is correct that the IDF should investigate those claims. However, Harel and Danny Zamir prefer not to wait for the result of IDF’s inquiries. Zamir apparently published the discussion “only” after he received unsatisfactory reply from the military: the investigations are still not over. Can you see that? The investigations are not over yet, but for Zamir and Harel the situation is clear: the army is covering up. Also, it is unclear how such an immoral army, where soldiers shoot everyone in sight, killed – according to some testimonials – as few as 600 people, most of them Hamas terrorists.

Some of you may ask: “It’s been long time since the operation, why aren’t the inquiries finished by now?” I will answer: have you seen the amount of allegations against IDF in the international media? To this, you can add hundreds more by ‘human rights groups’. Each investigation requires a high-ranking officer, gathering of everyone involved in the event and interviewing him or her one by one. In most situations, we can assume that at least five people were involved (it is probably more, as in Gaza troops were moving in packs, and investigatory team has to get all testimonials). In this case, where you have to have quite a long conversation with each soldier, how many investigations could IDF do in one day? Even if they had twenty high-ranking officers doing the job, it would take months to go through each case presented by opponents of IDF action.

Harel goes on to say:

If the IDF really never heard about these incidents, the reasonable assumption is that it did not want to know.

‘Reasonable assumption’? Based on what? Harel does not say; Harel does not provide actual, fact-based examples of IDF covering something up in order to justify his baseless assumptions. Harel uses his own viewpoints to decide what is reasonable. What I could believe, is IDF’s unwillingness to cooperate with loons such as Harel or Zamir, who use snap judgments and reach conclusions without full information available.

Let us be clear here: this article is not a piece of balanced analysis or opinion. This is an outright attack on the IDF – which is fair when you have all the facts. Harel, however, never conversed with the soldiers, he only read testimonials to be published in Haaretz, which clearly not trying to view all the factors between each and every case.

Update (19/03/2009): Israeli Channel 2 News keep us posted on the matter. First of all, the first alleged ‘shooting’ crime: IDF takes control over a house and gathers several civilians on lower levels, while taking upper levels of the building. A day later, the soldiers tell the civilians they should move on, and tell them to go away from the building – to the right. Instead, a woman with her two children take to the left – and get shot by the machine gunner at the top of the building. It’s all great up until now. However, the brigade commander has called up several responsible officers and the soldier himself, and the soldier said… He has never seen the event, all he heard were rumors; he only told the story because it was part of a friendly meeting (apparently, he did not expect the ‘testimonial’ would be published).

The second alleged ‘shooting’ is the ‘murder’ of an elderly woman by IDF troops – story told by another story. However, when the soldier was called up for an investigational meeting, he said he never been there, those were just rumors.

Are we about to be asked to accept apologies from Harel?

Update (22/03/2009): Amos Harel publishes another piece, where he refers to Channel 10 ‘exposé’:

“We’re going to war,” he told his soldiers. “We’re not doing routine security work or anything like that. I want aggressiveness – if there’s someone suspicious on the upper floor of a house, we’ll shell it. If we have suspicions about a house, we’ll take it down.”

“There will be no hesitation,” the commander continued. “If it’s us or them, it’ll be them. If someone approaches us unarmed, shoot in the air. If he keeps going, that man is dead. Nobody will deliberate – let the mistakes be over their lives, not ours.”

Honestly, reading Harel describe the above quote as ‘misconfuct’ makes me doubt he ever served in the military (although I have no doubt he did). Commander telling his soldiers not to shoot warning shots if someone approaches? To be agressive at war? Holy, Jesus, that can’t be!

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Comments
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