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Israel Did NOT Hit An UNRWA School In Gaza

JINSA Report #: 

February 3, 2009

That needs to be the headline somewhere, and we were sure it wouldn't be in the New York Times or The Washington Post. The story itself bears scrutiny; not least because the International Criminal Court is trying to figure out how to make "Palestine" a "country" to give it status to sue Israel for war crimes (more on that later).

The first thing we know is that Israel's operation in Gaza was a response to continuing Hamas fire directed at Israeli civilians - a Palestinian war crime. During the operation, an Israeli bomb hit a street near an UNRWA school and a large number of people were killed. We also know that Hamas put its explosives, mortars and rocket launchers amid the civilian population, inside mosques and under civilian buildings. To understand the ubiquity of this second Palestinian war crime (there are others), go to The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center ( and find the report, "Using the Civilian Population of the Gaza Strip as Human Shields: Aerial photographs show the location of terrorist bases and weapons in the heart of the Gaza Strip."

Enlarge the pictures until you can really see the tentacles they wrapped around the people, making them human shields (yet another war crime).

Palestinians are no longer reticent to explain. One man told The Washington Post his family lived next door to a soccer field from which Hamas fired at Israel, but he thought the Israelis wouldn't hit his building. "They can tell the difference between a rocket launcher and an apartment." His confidence is touching, if naive. John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, is not naïve; he is complicit. He knows Israel didn't hit the school, but he makes it Israel's fault.

"I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation. (This is patently untrue; an official UN report three days after the attack said, "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools.") I know no one was killed in the school," Ging told The Jerusalem Post. "But 41 innocent people were killed in the street outside the school. Many of those people had taken refuge in the school and wandered out onto the street. The State of Israel still has to answer for that. What did they know and what care did they take?"

What did Israel know? Is Ging suggesting that Israel deliberately dropped a bomb on a street full of civilians? Israel warned Palestinians in Arabic before they attacked, urged them to take shelter or leave the area. Oh, right, they DID take shelter - in the school - according to Ging. The school Israel DIDN'T hit. Question for Ging: why were they "wandering" on the street and how does he know they were "innocent"? Maybe they weren't and maybe they weren't civilians, either. See the outstanding report by Steven Stotsky for CAMERA, analyzing casualty figures from Palestinian sources to conclude that males, aged 15-40 (prime combatant age for Hamas, but violating the Geneva Convention on Child Soldiers), were heavily overrepresented on casualty lists.

What care did Israel take? Israel didn't hit the school.

But that won't help when politically motivated prosecutors at the political International Criminal Court get ready to strike.

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