Amos Harel joins Arab media, wants blood

Posted: March 31, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Cast Lead, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Own Articles
Tags: ,

"I want to know the truth too, but even I am tired of this guy..."

"I want to know the truth too, but even I am tired of this guy..."

You might remember previous ‘Hearsaygate’ reports on this blog. One of the toughest proponents of the allegations is Haaretz’s Amos Harel, who believed the alleging soldiers simply because “they had no reason to lie”. When interviewed by their commanders and the Military Police the soldiers disclosed reality, in which the both cases of ‘murder’ of innocent civilians in Gaza was hearsay (thus becoming ‘Hearsaygate’) – fact they never stated during the Oranim academy discussion. Additionally, soldiers admitted they reported the ‘illegal’ use of white phosphorous munitions based on media reports rather than actual eyewitness.

In same article, Harel also alleged IDF either “knew” about the ‘killings’ or “did not want to know” – Harel never substantiated both allegations.

In today’s op-ed, Harel expresses utter unhappiness with IDF dropping the investigation due to lack of evidence, believing IDF came to an end of its investigation too soon. Examine the following quote:

There is something soothing in the exhaustive investigation by the military advocate general. The IDF emerges from it (and from the Gaza Strip) as pure as snow. Yet at the same time there is a disconcerting message emanating from the closure of the investigation, one which, at least according to Brig. Gen. Mendelblit, a group of combat soldiers and officers serving in some of the finest units in the IDF has proven to be nothing but a bunch of liars and exaggerating storytellers, men who have not uttered one truthful word.

IDF investigation, dropped recently did not examine IDF’s overall ethical performance during the ‘Cast Lead’ operation, but focused on both cases of alleged ‘murder’ of Palestinian civilians instead. In both cases, soldiers relayed rumors to their friends, with no fact at hand to back their claims. As mentioned in my yesterday’s post, both soldiers apparently intentionally exaggerated accounts of both cases for further effect.

In the same quote, Amos Harel seethes over IDF presenting the soldiers attending the Oranim academy meeting as “a bunch of liars and exaggerating storytellers”. We all should thank him for this quote, as it clearly reflects lack of professionalism among some in Haaretz staff, including lack of critical thinking. In my first report on the ‘Hearsaygate’, I have linked to Harel’s article, where he says the following:

It seems that what soldiers have to say is actually the way things happened in the field, most of the time. And as usual, reality is completely different from the gentler version provided by the military commanders to the public and media during the operation and after.

According to Harel, unsubstantiated claims by two (2) IDF soldiers label thousands of other troops. Yet, Harel entirely ignores testimonies by other soldiers, who testified to cleaning up houses of Palestinians after staying there for the night (or several days), not allowing themselves to sleep on Palestinians’ beds, and even leaving money and candy behind for the war-stricken families. While Harel criticizes IDF for labeling the two soldiers ‘liars’, shouldn’t he criticize himself for ignoring testimonies of different behavior? Are those soldiers liars? According to Harel they might as well be – as in his belief most IDF troops acted recklessly and vandalized property.

In addition, Harel believes both ‘Hearsaygate’ troops chose an “exit strategy” out of the whole mess, by telling investigators those were just rumors, while in reality they just wanted to spare themselves some pain.

There is a significant upside to Harel’s rumor-based analysis. In a democratic society, media has to criticize government and go after in order to preserve or uncover the truth. Amos Harel, though, does a poor job, as his rants cannot be taken seriously by an objective person due to their clear bias. If Harel wants us – the regular people, not the hard Left – to take his side, he will need to do a better job by presenting both negative and positive testimonies from Gaza. Otherwise, he only works for Arab media – such as Al Jazeera and PressTV – who will soon enough use his opinion articles as ‘proof’ of IDF’s corruption.

  1. […] an educated person would take Silence’s gathered testimonies with a grain of salt. Previous testimonies of two IDF soldiers saying troops went as far as using deadly force against innocent civilians were […]

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