Israeli Lies to Justify Attacks on Hamas Exposed (sadly) Plus more on the War Israel is Waging Against Palestinians

Editor’s Note: The following article from The Forward by JJ Goldberg tells us how the Israeli government lied about what it knew and when it knew it, and about how it manipulated reports of the circumstances of the kidnapping and murders to create a full scale attack on Hamas, despite Hamas having done what it could to avoid confrontation with Israel. Please read it carefully and then understand how little you can believe in the media when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Personally, I’m shocked and angered at what this story reveals about Israeli behavior, how the Netanyahu government conspired to rile up public opinion to blame the kidnapping of the Israeli teens on Hamas though it knew that Hamas had nothing to do with it, and to justify a war with Hamas (presumably to force the Palestinian Authority to break its newly shaped reconciliation with Hamas). I commend JJ Goldberg for writing this account and the Forward for publishing it.  –Rabbi Michael Lerner

It is then followed by other articles about the war Israel is waging against Palesitnians

Bloody Gaza Onslaught Built on Foundation of Politics and Lies
Israeli Military Dragged Into New Quagmire by Politicians

By J.J. Goldberg   (a weekly columnist of long and distinguished pedigree)

The Forward, Published July 10, 2014, issue of July 18, 2014

Read more: <>

In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

Admittedly, demurrals on government policy by Israel’s top defense brass, once virtually unthinkable, have become almost routine in the Netanyahu era. Usually, though, there’s some measure of subtlety or discretion. This particular interview was different. Where most disagreements involve policies that might eventually lead to some future unnecessary war, this one was about an unnecessary war they were now stumbling into.

Spokesmen don’t speak for themselves. Almoz was expressing a frustration that was building in the army command for nearly a month, since the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva boys. The crime set off a chain of events in which Israel gradually lost control of the situation, finally ending up on the brink of a war that nobody wanted — not the army, not the government, not even the enemy, Hamas.

The frustration had numerous causes. Once the boys’ disappearance was known, troops began a massive, 18-day search-and-rescue operation, entering thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals, racing against the clock. Only on July 1, after the boys’ bodies were found, did the truth come out: The government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.

The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gil-ad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning — neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff — the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately placed a gag order on the deaths. Journalists who heard rumors were told the Shin Bet wanted the gag order to aid the search. For public consumption, the official word was that Israel was “acting on the assumption that they’re alive.” It was, simply put, a lie.

Moti Almoz, as army spokesman, was in charge of repeating the lie. True, others backed him up, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. But when the truth came out on July 1, Almoz bore the brunt of public derision. Critics said his credibility was shot. He’d only been spokesman since October, after a long career as a blunt-talking field commander with no media experience. Others felt professional frustration. His was personal.

Nor was that the only fib. It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus. Hamas’ Hebron branch — more a crime family than a clandestine organization — had a history of acting without the leaders’ knowledge, sometimes against their interests. Yet Netanyahu repeatedly insisted Hamas was responsible for the crime and would pay for it.

This put him in a ticklish position. His rhetoric raised expectations that after demolishing Hamas in the West Bank he would proceed to Gaza. Hamas in Gaza began preparing for it. The Israeli right — settler leaders, hardliners in his own party — began demanding it.

But Netanyahu had no such intention. The last attack on Gaza, the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, targeted Hamas leaders and taught a sobering lesson. Hamas hadn’t fired a single rocket since, and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. Rocket firings, averaging 240 per month in 2007, dropped to five per month in 2013. Neither side had any desire to end the détente. Besides, whatever might replace Hamas in Gaza could only be worse.

The kidnapping and crackdown upset the balance. In Israel, grief and anger over the boys’ disappearance grew steadily as the fabricated mystery stretched into a second and third week. Rallies and prayer meetings were held across the country and in Jewish communities around the world. The mothers were constantly on television. One addressed the United Nations in Geneva to plead for her son’s return. Jews everywhere were in anguish over the unceasing threat of barbaric Arab terror plaguing Israel.

This, too, was misleading. The last seven years have been the most tranquil in Israel’s history. Terror attacks are a fraction of the level during the nightmare intifada years — just six deaths in all of 2013. But few notice. The staged agony of the kidnap search created, probably unintentionally, what amounts to a mass, worldwide attack of post-traumatic stress flashback.

When the bodies were finally found, Israelis’ anger exploded into calls for revenge, street riots and, finally, murder.

Amid the rising tension, cabinet meetings in Jerusalem turned into shouting matches. Ministers on the right demanded the army reoccupy Gaza and destroy Hamas. Netanyahu replied, backed by the army and liberal ministers, that the response must be measured and careful. It was an unaccustomed and plainly uncomfortable role for him. He was caught between his pragmatic and ideological impulses.

In Gaza, leaders went underground. Rocket enforcement squads stopped functioning and jihadi rocket firing spiked. Terror squads began preparing to counterattack Israel through tunnels. One tunnel exploded on June 19 in an apparent work accident, killing five Hamas gunmen, convincing some in Gaza that the Israeli assault had begun while reinforcing Israeli fears that Hamas was plotting terror all along.

On June 29, an Israeli air attack on a rocket squad killed a Hamas operative. Hamas protested. The next day it unleashed a rocket barrage, its first since 2012. The cease-fire was over. Israel was forced to retaliate for the rockets with air raids. Hamas retaliated for the raids with more rockets. And so on. Finally Israel began calling up reserves on July 8 and preparing for what, as Moti Almoz told Army Radio, “the political echelon instructed.”

Later that morning, Israel’s internal security minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told reporters that the “political echelon has given the army a free hand.” Almoz returned to Army Radio that afternoon and confirmed that the army had “received an absolutely free hand” to act.

And how far, the interviewer asked, will the army go? “To the extent that it’s up to the army,” Almoz said, “the army is determined to restore quiet.” Will simply restoring quiet be enough? “That’s not up to us,” he said. The army will continue the operation as long as it’s told.

The operation’s army code-name, incidentally, is “Protective Edge” in English, but the original Hebrew is more revealing: Tzuk Eitan, or “solid cliff.” That, the army seems to feel, is where Israel is headed.

Read more:


|Published July 10, 2014

Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city (Tel Aviv)

 On prisoners, guards and misunderstandings.

>From +972, the best Israeli blog by Noam Sheizaf

Even today, when rockets are exploding above the city I love most in the world, even when we rush into our apartment building’s stairwell and march downstairs along with the neighbors to the bicycle room that has been turned into a makeshift bomb shelter. Even now, I oppose this military operation wholeheartedly. The sight of the IAF’s attack helicopters crossing the sky, going south along the Tel Aviv coastline does not fill me with pride or gratitude – it horrifies and depresses me.

Even after operations such as Defensive Shield, Summer Rains, Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and the Second Lebanon War, I still cannot get used to the unshakable consensus that takes hold of the Israeli public. I would still like to believe that this whole thing is a misunderstanding, and that if my own people would only give some more thought to the reality in the occupied territories, they would change their mind overnight. I want to believe that they don’t fully grasp the nature of the occupation, which is why they are so enraged by whatever the Palestinians do. This mindset leads to yet another violent Israeli response, which only paves the way for the next escalation. I do not know if this line of thinking is more naïve or more patronizing on my part, but what other explanations are there?

I keep running into Israelis who don’t know, for example, that we still control Allenby Bridge (which connects the West Bank to Jordan), and with it each entrance and exit of a every Palestinian into the West Bank; or they don’t know that the IDF still operates in Area A, supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority; or that there is no 3G network in the West Bank because Israel doesn’t permit the Palestinian cellular providers to use the necessary frequencies; or that we imprison of Palestinians hundreds without trial for months and years; or any other factual, undeniable aspect of the occupation. If all this is unknown, then perhaps this is all just a big misunderstanding.

Most of the time I try to correct misconceptions and argue over such details, but if I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: we’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum security facility, where prisoners get to run their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal.

Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them – that is unless they approach the prison fence; or the “forbidden” perimeter, where anyone who wanders too close is shot; or if they try to throw something over the fence.

Indeed, they occasionally throw some homemade bombs made of things they’ve managed to smuggle into prison, and when they fall on our heads it really is unpleasant. So we send our snipers to the watchtowers built around the prison and shoot them like fish in a barrel until they calm down. And when they finally do calm down, we cease firing because we are not the kind of bastards who shoot people for fun.

In the last five years, the minimum security prison has been pretty calm, but there have been some riots in the maximum security one, which we have managed to control with the usual routine. Still, even when both facilities were calm, we obviously didn’t open the prison doors. Rather, we made the walls higher and decreased the size of the prison yard; after all, we needed some of it for ourselves.

When we are asked why don’t we free the prisoners we explain that they refused to sign their parole papers because they don’t like our terms. For example, they don’t like that the release will be gradual, lasting 10 years or more, or that they will have to allow us to keep all kinds of items that we took from them when they were first locked up.

In addition, the head of prison intelligence compiled a report, which unequivocally states that every prisoner, each and every one of them, hates the prison guards. And as long as that is the case there is really nothing to discuss as far as we are concerned.

The prison facilities now hold a total of 3.5 million people – an entire nation – all sentenced to life. Under such conditions, prisoners can turn to desperate measures, such as suicide missions, digging long tunnels or swimming miles and storming our tanks with their old rifles. Often it ends up with a killing that looks like it was taken from some old video game. On the rare occasions that they do kill one of the guards, they hold celebrations in the prison and we become even more sickened by them. This, of course, also causes us to fear the day that they find a way to break down the walls.

I believe the prisoners will never love those who have locked them up, but there is a good chance that their children might – if for no other reason than a desire to move on with their lives. Naturally, there is only one way for this healing process to begin, and it has nothing to do with the fish and the barrel approach.

Hold your fire. Tear down the prison walls. Set the prisoners free.

Originally posted on my Hebrew blog at Local Call


Many Chances for a Different Future – 

Thrown Away, Thrown Away;

But We Can Start the Healing

Dear friends,

On Tuesday I wrote that war between Israel and Palestine was “looming.” {My Shalom Report letter is posted at  )

Now the war is under way. People are dying — more children already than in the infamous murders of four teen-agers. (At this writing, all the newly dead, including kids, are Palestinian.) And last week’s bands of pogrom-seeking street mobs are being dwarfed by “official” bombs and rockets and uniformed troops.

Many –  on the scene and in the USA – who felt the killings so shocking when done “unofficially,” feel more callous toward them when done with official flags and fiat. But the blood flows faster.

The claims of “self-defense” (on both sides) boil down to the sour children’s wail, “He hit me first!”  No sensible parents accept that rationale, but instead seek to separate the furious children and nurture the peaceable energies within them.

So the call for a fast on Tuesday – Jews sharing the observance of the Fast of Tammuz with Muslims observing one day of the month-long Fast of Ramadan – as a “Hunger Strike Against Violence” is even more on-point today than it was two days ago.

If you want to join, please click here:

and please also go to the FaceBook sign-up page at

Were there alternatives? Yes — on both sides:

After the kidnapping of the three Israeli youngsters, Hamas could have said clearly that it utterly rejected this kind of violence, and could have joined in seeking out the murderers — even, or especially, if the killers were part of a rogue break-out from Hamas — as seems to be the case.

Whether Hamas had done this or not, the Israeli Government could have focused entirely on pursuing the killers, not using the kidnap/murders as a pretext for destroying all of Hamas through mass arrests and attacks.

Whether the Israeli Government had done this or not, Hamas — instead of authorizing or permitting rocket attacks from Gaza — could have called for Ramadan to become a time of massive nonviolent civil disobedience by Palestinians at the Gaza and West Bank borders, in East Jerusalem, and inside Israel.

Whether Hamas had done this or not, the Israeli government — instead of  bombing  Gaza and mobilizing troops for an invasion — could have offered to meet with the new “unity government” of Palestine on condition that the rocket attacks from Gaza immediately ceased.

All these chances for a different future — thrown away.

Both sides, and either, could and should have acted to advance nonviolence and peacefulness. But I am not saying the burden of responsibility rests equally on both. The overweening Occupation weighs heavily on the scales, so Israel bears more responsibility to act responsibly – because it is more powerful.

We could almost shape a chant of Lamentation in the wailing melody of Eicha:

All these chances

for a different future –

thrown away, God,

thrown away.


the Season

 of Our Sorrow—

Grief  and Sorrow.

Yesterday I received the following note from Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim – -  the leading Muslim on-line magazine in the USA:

Salaam, Shalom, Peace,

I posted your article encouraging a fast next Tues. on TAM and tweeted and posted to Facebook. Others in the Muslim community have been sharing and saying they are “in”.

Amomg them is Maha El Genaidi, the President of Islamic Networks Group(ING), and others here are also very active in their local and national communities.

Let me know what we can do to add as many names as possible to those of Muslims and Jews who will share this fast. Of course, I would like to participate and to help promote this.

Sheila Musaji, Editor The American Muslim

So the notion of the shared Fast/ Hunger Strike Against Violence on Tuesday is more on-point than ever. If you want to join, please click here:

and please also go to the FaceBook sign-up page at

Shalom, salaam, peace –  Arthur

tags: Israel/Palestine   
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5 Responses to Israeli Lies to Justify Attacks on Hamas Exposed (sadly) Plus more on the War Israel is Waging Against Palestinians

  1. Rehmat July 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

    It’s not the first time Zionist regime lied to Israelis and the world. The entire Zionist experiment in Palestine is based on many lies.

  2. Truth herts August 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

    There is now clear evidence that the “kidnappings” were a hoax perpetrated for the purpose of attacking Gaza.

    In fact, there is now solid proof that the “Iron Dome” defense system is nothing more than fireworks being used tot terrorize the population into supporting the massacre of women and children.

    Israeli expert says Iron Dome defence is a hoax

  3. Dennis August 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Goldberg’s article is unabashedly slanted. In fact, more than 1,600 mostly-HAMAS rockets/mortars fell on Israel in the less than 30 days before July 8, and HAMAS proudly took credit for 80 on July 7. Further, even the NYT reports that HAMAS operatives were behind, and paid by HAMAS for, the three teens’ terrorist/murders. The “crime family” spin takes a kernel of truth and inflates it into exactly the terrorists’ playbook, i.e. plausible deniability. The re-arrest crackdown was justifiable under the circumstances — since when is collective punishment of terrorists immoral and/or off-limits?; and the holding off on publicly revealing the phone call/car/DNA findings more than justifiable in context of parents, search for culprits, etc. The military clearly told the parents early on, we’ll find your sons and bring them back, implicitly thruogh the wording telling them they didn’t expect to find them alive. Hence, is sum, the article is an apologia for HAMAS and an unfair blaming of Netanyahu. Blame him for not pursuing peace proactively and for siding with settlers, but not for this. It’s plain wrong.

  4. Marilyn Ginsburg August 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

    JJ Goldberg appears to have a lot of influence. Two columnists from the Jewish Journal quote him like his information is Gospel. What makes his information so absolute. Why Netanyahu invaded Gaza is not so important as the fact that if he had not and the tunnels remained fully available to Hamas, their intent was to enter Israel on Roshashona when most of the soldiers would be on leave. Then they would quickly infiltrate the surrounding areas and kill or capture as many Israeli civilians as possible and bring those captured back down into the tunnels as protection for themselves. Once again using the principle of human shields.

  5. Herbert J Smith August 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    And I’ve got fairies at the bottom of my garden.

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