To Israel’s ‘Tragic Mistakes’, the world’s response is pathetic

Jun 1, 2024
Strategic missiles with Israel flag.

Israeli forces’ slaughters of Gazans, journalists, doctors, humanitarian aid workers are described by military spokespersons and by Prime minister Netanyahu as tragic mistakes. In retrospect, killings appear an intention conducted by an alleged accident, in which well rehearsed explanations are part of a familiar two faced process of speaking with double tongues.

There are evil precedents to this process of appearing to be honest yet doing so by lying. When describing how invading Europeans negotiated with deceit and lies, Indigenous peoples of the Americas are said to have referred to white men speaking like snakes with forked tongues, seldom to be trusted, always likely to deceive.

Israeli spokespersons use the same immediate denial techniques, albeit presented with holier than thou defence of supposed mistakes. The wonder is that western politicians and media play their part in denials by seldom calling out the pretence and instead waiting patiently for an investigation to be conducted, until the next supposed mistake occurs.

Western governments’ pathetic responses to Israel’s latest deceits suggests that collusion to lessen the importance of Palestinian deaths is coupled to reluctance to hold perpetrators accountable.

December 15, 2023, three Israeli hostages dressed in civilian clothes and waving a white flag are shot dead. Apologiser in chief, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, expresses the Israeli military’s ’deep remorse’ and claims, ‘a military investigation is underway.’ Prime Minister Netanyahu plays his permanent mourner role, ‘My heart goes out to grieving families in a difficult time.’

To remind the world that a white flag as an international symbol of surrender means nothing to the Israeli defence forces, in January 2024, five Palestinians walk down a street in Khan Younis, each with their hands in the air, one holding a white flag. After holder of the white flag, shopkeeper Ramzi abu Sahloul has been shot dead, grieving Palestinians are told, ‘The army is reviewing the shootings’, at which point the Hamas blame game operates. An Israeli army spokesperson says that accusations of IDF culpability ‘can only be deemed as an extension of Hamas propaganda to defame the IDF.’

A few days after the shopkeeper’s death, in northern Gaza, grandmother Hala Kreis, holds her 4 year old grandson’s hand in which he waves a white flag. Hala is killed despite the white flag, despite an Israeli agreement to provide Hala and others with safe passage out of a besieged neighbourhood.

On April 2, 2024, seven staff from World Central Kitchen (WCK) travel in a clearly marked humanitarian aid convoy but are wiped out in an Israeli air strike. The world is said to ‘recoil’. Netanyahu says the air strike is ‘unintended’ and ‘tragic’ but can’t resist adding, ‘These things happen in wartime.’ Even before charred bodies are cleared away, Israeli double tongue techniques reappear in their insistence that Israeli forces are ‘making extensive efforts to enable safe delivery of humanitarian aid.’

Reaction to that slaughter includes an Australian government sideshow. Australian Zomi Francom was one of the WCK casualties, so Prime Minister Albanese appoints former air force defence chief Mark Binskin to understand how and why the IDF fired on the World Central Kitchen Convoy. Australia demanded ‘appropriate action’ and asked Israel for access to evidence to fully understand the process and the consequences. Binskin’s appointment was eight weeks ago. Nothing appears to have happened apart from Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressing concern, which sounds like code to reassure Israel that Australia would not pressure a supposed ally. Binskin’s access to evidence is still being negotiated. Oh dear.

Then comes the horrific May 26 attack on a Rafah tent camp when 45 mostly women, children and elderly are bombed out of existence or burned to death. French President Macron says he is ‘outraged’, European chief Josep Borrell is ‘horrified’. Netanyahu says, ‘We are investigating this incident and will reach our conclusions because this is our policy.’ The US urges Israel to take more care to protect civilians but does not call for a halt to the Rafah invasion.

In response to the UN court, the ICJ ordering Israel to cease the carnage in Rafah, Israeli tanks take no notice and continue their bombardment of eastern and central areas of Rafah. The IDF says their air strike on the tent camp was based on ‘precise intelligence’ concerning the presence of senior Hamas officials, an assessment which included the furphy ‘ there would be no expected harm to uninvolved citizens.’

Angry and uninhibited, an outraged Palestinian did speak spontaneously. He pleaded with powerful western governments to dispense with diplomatic niceties and instead identify forked tongue deceits for what they are. The man shouted, ‘There is no safe zone in Rafah. The army is a liar. There is no security in Gaza.’

On a Jewish holiday, to add insult to injury, to compound the horrors of deaths in Gaza, to display another reaction to alleged tragic mistakes, Israelis were filmed dancing and celebrating the Rafah massacre.

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