Israel Proves Gaza Deaths Caused by Palestinian Terrorism

Over 100 rockets have been launched from Gaza
at Israel in the past three days.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem----June 13.....The Israel Defense Minister, the IDF Chief of Staff and IDF head of ground operations declared at a Tel Aviv press conference this evening that Israel was not responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians on a Gaza beach last Friday.

Standing before a packed room of international journalists at Israel's Ministry of Defense, Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel was not responsible for an explosion on a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinian civilians. "We have enough findings to back up the suspicion that the intention to describe this as an Israel event is simply not correct."

The IDF told the INA that they were using maps, photographs, video of the aftermath and shrapnel taken from the injured in Gaza and treated in Israel to prove that it would have been impossible for the explosion to have come from an Israel navy craft, the Israel Air Force or Israel ground artillery. Israel General Meir Califi, deputy head of ground forces said that it was most likely a landmine which had been planted on the beach by Hamas.

The investigation focused on six artillery shells fired by the IDF. The army says it is certain five landed about 250 metres (820ft) from the beach where the Ghalia family were sitting. One shell apparently misfired, but the explosion which ripped through the Ghalia family's picnic was at least eight minutes afterwards, the army says. Concluding his investigation, General Klifi said on Wednesday: "The chances that artillery fire hit that area at that time are nil."

"We can account for every 76-mm shell fired from the navy boats. All were successful hits." In fact, Kalifi said, "the ones that fell closest to the location of the incident were fired four hours earlier."

Hamas terrorists had fired rockets and mortar bombs from a crowded Gaza beach at southern Israel last Thursday. Some of the rockets fell near the Israel city of Ashkelon. Seventeen rockets were fired between Saturday and Sunday morning. A man at a school in the Israel town of Sderot was wounded, Israel officials said.

Israel Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant had stated earlier that the Israel Defense Forces had evidence that it wasn't Israel artillery that hit the beach in Gaza. Galant, who commands Israel's southern command, said Israel stopped firing 15 minutes before the explosion. Another senior Israel officer had concluded that it was a Hamas work accident where an explosion of a stockpile of Kassam rockets had caused the civilian fatalities.

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he regretted the deaths, which included three children.

"We have enough findings to back up the suspicion that the intention to describe this as an Israel event is simply not correct."

- Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz

Overshadowing the events of last Friday, was an IDF defensive attack on Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza. In the attack, 11 Palestinians were killed when the Israeli Air Force aimed at a car carrying rocket launchers.

At least four Islamic Jihad members were among those killed when Israel fired two missiles at a yellow van carrying several Katyusha-Grad rockets, said army spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal. "This is another escalation in terms of type of weaponry. We're used to Kassam rockets but Katyushas are part of the strategic edge that the Palestinian terror groups are trying to get," said Dallal.

The IDF airstrike came hours after hundreds of Palestinian police loyal to Abbas rampaged against the Hamas government, riddling the parliament building and Cabinet offices with bullets before setting them ablaze in retaliation for an attack by Hamas gunmen. The rampage raised new fears the Palestinians were headed toward civil war. Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he had approved supplying weapons to Abbas to "strengthen his presidential guard, so he can strengthen his forces against Hamas." "I did this because we are running out of time and we need to help Abu Mazen," Olmert said at a meeting with members of Britain's Parliament, referring to Abbas.

Kassam rockets are home made in Gaza and are not very accurate. They have a range of up to 10 kilometers (six miles). The Katyushas are smuggled into Gaza from Egypt and have twice the range, putting all of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon in danger, said Dallal. Thirty-eight Kassam rockets have been launched at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, the army said. More than 100 rockets have been launched at Israel since Friday, when Palestinians accused Israel of killing a family of Palestinians picnicking on a Gaza Beach.

Hamas's military branch had been responsible for dozens of suicide terror bomb attacks on Israelis since the second Palestinian uprising began in 2000. Hamas had said that it had honored an informal ceasefire forged in February 2005 by Ariel Sharon, then Israel prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. The so-called truce has been broken several times by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, such as Islamic Jihad, as shootings, rockets fired from Gaza and Lebanon and weapons and explosives have been discovered almost daily at Israel security checkpoints.

Galant, warned that Palestinian terrorists "should expect a serious blow" since Hamas had ended its ceasefire. As the violence flared, Abbas was trying to convince Hamas to back his plan to hold a referendum on establishing a Palestinian state. The plan implicitly recognizes Israel's right to exist, which Hamas has so far refused to do despite tremendous international pressure, including the halting of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority from the European Union, the United States and others.

Holding the civilian population of Gaza hostage, as human shields, as they fire rockets into Israel.
An Israel which unilaterally left Gaza last Summer in its quest for peace.

Hamas wrestled control of the Palestinian Authority from Abbas's Fatah party in a January election, but Abbas - who was elected separately as president - still retains much power. Abbas argued that the referendum should be held on July 26, while Hamas leaders said the vote should be delayed because of the beach attack.

Palestinian terrorists have been using their own civilian population as human shields for many years. An even more disturbing trend is that there is increasing evidence that "Palestinians" are killing "Palestinians" not only for collaboration with Israel (which could mean as little as buying and selling an Israeli product), but also for bumping up the numbers of "martyrs" for the "Palestinian" cause.

In related news, the Israel Defense Forces urged journalists with Israel or dual citizenship to leave the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, "due to severe security alerts regarding the intent of hostile parties to harm journalists with Israeli citizenship," the army said in a statement.

"It is imperative that the world understands that Israel is fighting a war on terror not thousands of miles from its shores but scant meters from its homes, schools and children," said an IDF spokesperson.
"The terrorist activity must be brought to a stop and the world must bring its weight down on the Hamas government and the PA president to stop launching rockets at Israeli civilians and to begin to respect and honor the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis. By launching these consistent terrorist attacks from within some of the most densely populated civilian neighborhoods, teeming with families and children, Hamas and Fatah are calling a holy war on their own people."

Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel would launch an "information offensive" across the globe to prove its innocence if indeed the investigation exonerated the IDF of any blame for the explosion. "I am aware of international officials to whom the truth is unimportant, nevertheless, Israel will try its best to explain its policies."



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