Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland big on rhetoric but not facts

Earlier this week, Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, penned a particularly audacious letter in the Irish Times. His narrative is almost entirely designed to misleading the public through the selective manipulation of information and half truths to obscure Israel’s crimes.

Modai claims that “Hamas began its present rocket offensive against Israel on June 12th”, but this is patently untrue. A Reuters report from 30th June reveals that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu only accused Hamas of this as of Monday [30th June]:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Monday of involvement, for the first time since a Gaza war in [November] 2012, in rocket attacks on Israel and threatened to step up military action to stop the strikes.
So, even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense” ended in a ceasefire.
Let’s look at the backstory here, often this type of information gets ignored. Many will remember that 29th April 2014 was the deadline for extending US-led peace talks – it was Netanyahu and his government that killed these peace talks with Abbas.
On the matter of the kidnapping and vile murder of Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19 in an Israeli administered area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the kidnapping. He said he had proof. However, to this day, neither he nor any other Israeli official has come forward with any evidence for public scrutiny.
Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf has even written about the possibility that Netanyahu and Israeli authorities even misled the public about the murders, allowing people, including their families, to think they were still alive and organising a campaign for their release. This was done in order to justify operation ‘Brothers Keeper’ which saw at least 8 Palestinians killed, hundreds arrested and accusations of collective punishment as Netanyahu went after Hamas.
The agenda was clear; Netanyahu’s office in its response demonstrated that only one thing is on its mind – “Cancel the agreement with Hamas.” – Idan Landau, The unfolding lie of Operation Protective Edge 15.07.2014.
Back to Operation Protective Edge, Larry Derfner writes: “The main reason for the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, obviously, is that an incredibly powerful air force is pummelling civilian and residential areas with tons of explosives and high tech weaponry. The Gaza Strip is one of the most crowded, vulnerable places in the world – and the fault for civilian deaths lies squarely with Israel, whose punitive, often lethal blockade of Gaza, together with its belligerent military occupation of the West Bank, has ensured a cycle of constant violence, oppression and human rights violations.”
It is highly misleading for anyone to present the Palestinian and Israeli experiences as equivalent, when in fact there is a dramatic and fundamental disparity between the two; Almost 75% of the 230 Palestinians killed by Israel are civilians, including 48 children. More than 1,764 Palestinians injured, of whom 521 are children and 372 women. In Israel, there has been 1 civilian death and 1 soldier at time of writing. And, because nobody should be a number, here is a complete up-to-date list names for those who have died in Gaza as of 09:00 18.07.2014.
Ambassador Modai claims that “Israel did not ask for this war”, but this is clearly in contradiction with the facts. Israel had already also already escalated matters on June 11, the day before the kidnappings, by killing not only a wanted man riding on a bicycle, but a 10-year-old child riding with him.
Boaz Modai’s pseudo-legal points deliver a narrative that ensures our focus is on Hamas, as opposed to the actions of the Israeli forces.
Let’s be clear; Hamas is undoubtedly committing war crimes, the “human shields” point is a legitimate one to raise, but it is how this is being used that’s also important. Israel can’t just base the fact that Gazan militants are embedded among the civilian population, or that they keep much of their weaponry in residential neighborhoods, to absolve themselves of responsibility under international humanitarian law.
Hamas is absolutely violating international law in this regard, however, as Larry Derfner wrote in +972 Magazine on July 11th, Israel is demonstrating sheer hypocrisy; “every guerrilla army that fights on its own turf against an incomparably stronger enemy fights from among the civilian population.” He goes on to highlight the pre-1948 Irgun and Lehi guerrillas, how they would kill the British, then “melt back” into the Jewish neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan.
Yes, Hamas combatants engage in this odious style of guerilla combat, but this in no way absolves Israel of it’s responsibilities and obligations under international law. Israel has committed distinct war crimes, Israeli Air Force, Tank and Navy assaults guarantee that a high proportion of civilians in Gaza are going to get killed and maimed. Be under no illusions; Israel is not showing restraint.
International law is clear, consistent and rather simple – any military must fully assess each situation and ask key questions;

– is there a person actually firing a rocket on a roof? Usually the answer is No. (In most cases the shelling and bombing of Gaza occurs on targets that are labelled as ‘storage’ rather than active rocket sites)
– Are there civilians inside the house inside which a very hypothetical person is firing a non verified rocket? Yes.

– Did the armed forces know about the presence of civilians in the most densely populated area in the world? Yes.

Conclusion according to international law: War Crime.

Israel can only strike active sites of hostility, otherwise it’s pre-emptive, and pre-emptive action is not self-defense.
Boaz Modai is attempting a moral justification in his writings, this is a tactic used in order to create political pressure, ensuring no government attempts to hold Israel accountable to the laws of war & international humanitarian and human rights law respectively.
Legally, any putative force MUST give credible intelligence to strike – this must be made available for scrutiny at the earliest possible moment otherwise the army, in my opinion, clearly has something to hide. This is, understandably not pragmatic – but otherwise it’s a breach of international law.
The IDF have some of the most sophisticated technology in the world – they monitor every inch of Gaza 24/7 – it’s impossible they don’t know where civilians are located.

Further more, Israeli officials have publicly admitted in statements to the New York Times (14th July) that part of the IDF’s strategy is to “inflict pain” on the population of Gaza I.e. using a deterrent ideology/strategy.
This is essentially an admission to war crimes.

There is nothing remotely legitimate, responsible and level-headed about Israel’s military operations in Gaza.
I urge readers to fully consider the facts and approach this conflict, it’s injustices and nuances, very carefully and look at as many clear facts as possible. Let’s avoid propaganda designed deliberately to breed, cultivate and survive of ignorance.

  • Tugger

    ‘Innocent civilians’ – now where have I heard that phrase misappropriated before…..

  • npbinni

    What a silly second paragraph. Your trivial thesis is only an attempt to distract attention from the true culprits of the situation developing in Gaza.

    Anyone who has been awake during the past few weeks knows that Hamas initiated this current conflict, initially with its murder of three Israeli children, and then with its massive intensification of rocket fire from Gaza at civilian population centres in Israel.

    I hope Israel can effectively disable Hamas’ efforts to kill and maim its life-loving, peace-seeking neighbours.

  • barnshee

    “I hope Israel can effectively disable Hamas’ efforts to kill and maim its life-loving, peace-seeking neighbours.”

    Gaza is under Israeli occupation and siege

    Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest armies in the world. The root cause of the violence — Israel is bombing a refugee population – Palestinians who were made refugees when they were forced from their land in 1948 in order to create Israel Pro Israel contributors are allowed to advance massive death and destruction as “defence “and ignore illegal occupation and land theft, A classic example of blaming the victim for the crime. Only the wilfully blind cannot see that Israel has no intention of “allowing” a Palestinain State. Israel isresponsible for nearly 70 years of Land theft and child murder how dare those Palestinians resist

    GAZA is presented as an intractable conflict between warring parties, but it is not. Palestinian extremists’ attacks on innocent civilians must be wholly condemned and ended but the root of the conflict lies elsewhere — in the dispossession of the Palestinian people, Israel has created the largest open-air prison in the world, and then blockaded it the Nazies would be proud of them

  • gendjinn

    Israel is becoming a pariah state in the same way South Africa did.

    I’ve been seeing a slow change in attitudes in the US on Israel, this cycle’s reception has been far from positive – which is almost unique in my experience of American attitudes to Israel.

    For the first time in my 20+ years in the states, someone raised the current Gaza crisis at work and there wasn’t a single person defending Israel, whereas 10 years ago everyone would have been supportive of Israel or completely ignorant of what’s going on.

    The beginning of the end for Israel has started, the current large pro-Israeli political donors are coming to the end of their lives & the next generation are far more divided on support for Israel. Once the US support goes, Israel is finished.

  • Tugger

    And yet the US Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has just unanimously voted to double financial aid to support Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system which protects civilians from Hamas rockets. Seems your anecdotal jackanory means very little in the real world…..

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    And yet the government voted down a suggestion to even discuss the issue today, lest they might shorten their holidays by one day. Plenty of time to discuss some country music concerts in the chamber however

  • npbinni

    Here’s the difference between Israelis and Palestinians:

    ‘Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza ceasefire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.’

    Netanyahu explains: “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

    Read the whole article:

  • Séamus

    The US government also supported Apartheid South Africa, as did the British government. It took a while for that message from the people to get though, but it did in the end. The same will happen here.

  • npbinni

    Dream on, gendjinn. Israel stood against much more serious threats to its existence long before America began to support it.

    With Obama’s hostility towards Israel, Israelis are already focusing on and successfully widening its circle of allies around the world. After all Israel is the only functioning democracy, with possibly the exception of Tunisia, in the Middle East/Arab World and the world has a lot to gain from Israeli courage, perseverance, ingenuity and creativity.

  • npbinni

    You are deluded by your own twisted propaganda. An irrefutable example is: ‘Gaza is under Israeli occupation and seige’.

    Up until yesterday, there were no Israelis ‘occupying’ Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza years ago, almost ten years ago!

    In fact: ‘ten years ago worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling diehard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted it settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military, and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians.

    There was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

    The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank too and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

    And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.’

    The Palestinians, along with all the Arab countries surrounding the nascent state of Israel tried to annihilate it at its birth. They are still trying.

    You allusion to the Nazis reminded me of something; the mufti of Jerusalem stated that he would complete the work Hitler started. He failed, and Arabs have in every attempt since. Israel has successfully defended itself against all attackers. Long may that continue.

    I think you need to broaden your mind a little, barnshee!

  • Tugger

    Hoping for something is not the same as it happening.

  • RepStones

    Hi npbinni, you may not know me, but I know your well worn long debunked propaganda. On just one of your many numerous factually incorrect points – the green houses in Gaza – why no mention of the fact that the settlers demolished quite a number of them themselves?
    And as for the Palestinians demolishing the others, understandable given the fact parts were gravely needed for their own homes as Israel had kept them in a virtual open air prison prior to the pull out. As anybody who cares to read the report from 2005 linked to in this tweet will see… WideAsleepNima/status/ 489469411666198529

  • RepStones

    Why on earth would Hamas agree to a ceasefire they weren’t consulted on? That’s like laying the blame at Israel’s feet for not accepting Hamas’ list of demands for a ceasefire. Anyone still naive enough to doubt that Israel used the pretext of the 3 teenagers murders (carried out not by Hamas, but by rogue members) as a means to scuttle the Palestinian unity govt should have a read of this
    Israel has a long history of initiating violence to scuttle political moves it didn’t like.

  • gendjinn


  • npbinni

    I was reading an article in a Norwegian outlet today. This paragraph kind of sums it all up:

    My Israeli friend, who belongs to the left, says: “I will live side by side with the Palestinians, but we must have our own country where we can live in security and peace – and we must defend ourselves against attack.” Her grandparents lived in Poland and Germany, and died in the Holocaust. It is not a distant memory.

  • RepStones

    Perhaps you’d care to explain what that has to do with you evidently crudely selective reading of events?

  • gendjinn

    Well, to be fair it was Regan & in the end a minority of Republicans.

    Funny to see Cheney pop up as an apprentice Sith.

  • Moldovar

    “Israelis are already focusing on and successfully widening its circle of allies around the world”

    90% of the world’s populous despised the parasitic illegal statelet masquerading as Israel, and 90% of the interlopers are Edomite / AshkeNAZIS, or counterfeit jews.

    Good luck on gathering ‘support’

    If history teaches us anything is that it will certainly repeat itself.

    You will wander again.


  • streetlegal

    The strategy of the extremist zionist leader of Likud is simply to kill Palestinian muslims and christians. The long term aim is to force an exodus of the Palestinian people from Gaza and the West Bank so that Israel can lay claim to the entire area of the promised land.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Thanks Gary – this is a very informative and well-written article. I must confess I still can’t pretend to properly understand the detail of what is going on out in Gaza and Israel. In other places I read comparisons with Northern Ireland, but the middle east conflict is deeper and much more bitter.

    It looks like what we’ve got is :

    – Hamas provoking an Israeli reaction to expose them as an unrestrained army who butcher children
    – Israel provoking a Hamas reaction provoking an angry response from the Arab world to justify their need for military hardware, aid and support

    Without excusing Hamas’ behaviour, the Israelis are by far the clear aggressors on the simple basis of the body count. I have to wonder why Israel don’t adopt a more targeted approach to taking out Hamas’ operatives.

    It’s hard to see how a solution can be arrived at in these circumstances, but fundamentally it must involve both sides stepping back from their entrenched positions.

  • npbinni

    ‘the Israelis are by far the clear aggressors on the simple basis of the body count. I have to wonder why Israel don’t adopt a more targeted approach to taking out Hamas’ operatives.’

    Come on, Conmrade, you are sounding naive. Or maybe you are just being disingenuous. Hamas rockets are targeted specifically at civilians. Israeli rockets are targeted specifically at Hamas operatives.

    Israelis get their civilians into the bunkers they have build to protect themselves from years of Hamas attacks. Hamas gather their civilians around their weaponry as canon folder.

    As the Hamas spokeman said: we love death as much as Jews love life.

  • npbinni

    you do realise that bds can also refer to Bush Derangement Syndrome, don’t you? 😉

  • npbinni

    Melanie Phillips has hit the nail on the head, the problem is, ‘there’s not enough dead Jews’

  • DangerousDave

    There are 200,000 Jews from North America living in Israel. Do you really think they are safer in Israel than they were in the USA?

    Many of the people moving to Israel aren’t moving there to feel safe, they’re moving there because their religion tells them the land belongs to them, and they’ll throw the inhabitants off it to get it.

    If a Jewish person really is safer in Israel than they are in the USA, then the “threat” they claim they are under from Hamas has been massively exaggerated and the “response” is even more disproportionate than we all originally thought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Israeli rockets are targeted specifically at Hamas operatives.

    Having heard the IRA use similar excuses I’m not inclined to accept this.

    Hamas gather their civilians around their weaponry as canon folder.

    I’d like to see the evidence for this one.

  • npbinni

    You probably need to widen your reading and viewing habits, Comrade. There are numerous videos of the IDF strikes being aborted because of the appearance of civilians at weapons and ammo targets.

    Google ‘idf aborts attacks’ for a raft of videos.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m curious about why all these bombing raids by Israel supposedly focus on military targets but have apparently not yet disrupted Hamas’ capability to fire the rockets.

  • streetlegal

    13 Israeli zionist terrorists have been reported killed in the conflict. This won’t trouble the fanatic Benjamin Netanyahu as he makes sure that he and his family stay far from the front line.

  • Mirrorballman

    utter nonsense! How can a racist Jewish only state be considered a democracy??

  • barnshee

    Indeed —in a way she is correct—a more equitable “death count” would have Isreal thinking twice aboy stealing land and murdering children

  • barnshee

    Israele “initiated the current conflict” some time ago (oh say 1947 ) when it drive the Arabs into refrugee camps

  • John McCauley

    i was making an article up off the top of my head today. This paragraph kind of sums it all up:

    My Palestinian friend says “i will live side by side with israelis, but we must have our own country where we can live in security and peace – and we must defend ourselves against attack.” Her grandparents lived in old palestine pre 1948 arab-israeli war. it is not a distant memory.

  • Guest

    Thats some high grade bullshit that BB is feeding the Israelis, the rest of the world has the commons sense, awareness and sufficient scepticisms to see right through this LIE. Im from north of Ireland, ceasefires here were brokered by the Brits but both sides were consulted, prisoners exchanged, political points scoring was then the name of the game, not needless death and horror. both of these so called “ceasefires” were shams, they were an attempt to justify a ground invasion, it worked because you in particular, are gullible!. Please lets not quote the Egyptian leadership with moral authority. or the Jewish state for that fact the most Immoral land on the planet.

  • John McCauley

    The only proof you have that Israel has shown the world over whether Hamas killed those three teens, is a pile of 600 Palestinian bodies.

  • Moldovar

    Wow, do you do stand up? You’re funnier than a burning synagogue.

  • npbinni

    The Jews have been around for 3,000 years. They will be around long after Hamas, and all the little sickos who wish their destruction, are on the ash heap of history. From Haman to Hitler to Hamas their enemies have failed to blot them out. Long live Israel.

  • Moldovar

    According to jew mythology their were 345 billion Edomites / Askenazis on an ash heap not so long ago.

  • terence patrick hewett

    It is an interesting phenomenon of societies in extremis that they search for parallels in order to make sense of their own situation.

    In that sink of paranoia and psychosis which was Tudor England; Shakespeare did it in spades. The Merchant of Venice could be described as a rattlingly bloodthirsty story guaranteed to put the Tudor bum on the Tudor seat; however search deeper and you get a theological comparison between Judaism’s regard for the Law in contrast with Christian Charity. But I submit that it is actually an expression of Bill’s deepest disgust at a society who would disembowel people on the interpretation of a translation of a biblical phrase.

    The above article is not about Israel: it is about Ireland.