Israel has usually, although not always, been adept in the battlefield. She’s been a total failure in the media. However, for the first time, I’m seeing signs that she’s fighting back:
Israel’s military, which has been accused of abuses in its war against Hezbollah this summer, has declassified photographs, video images and prisoner interrogations to buttress its accusation that Hezbollah systematically fired from civilian neighborhoods in southern Lebanon and took cover in those areas to shield itself from attack.
Lebanon and international human rights groups have accused Israel of war crimes in the 34 days of fighting in July and August, saying that Israel fired into populated areas and that civilians accounted for a vast majority of the more than 1,000 Lebanese killed.
Israel says that it tried to avoid civilians, but that Hezbollah fired from civilian areas, itself a war crime, which made those areas legitimate targets.
In a new report, an Israeli research group says Hezbollah stored weapons in mosques, battled Israelis from inside empty schools, flew white flags while transporting missiles and launched rockets near United Nations monitoring posts.
The detailed report on the war was produced by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, a private research group headed by Reuven Erlich, a retired colonel in military intelligence, who worked closely with the Israeli military.
Read all about it here.
Of course, this being a NY Times story, with input from a Beirut-based stringer, it (a) refers to the Qana bombing without question, although bloggers pointed out that there were lots of problems with the claim that it was an Israeli attack against innocent Lebanese civilians; and (b) quotes liberally from the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Nevertheless, even these other sources — all opinion, all animus, all the time — can’t steer the Times away from hard facts such as real-time videos and photos of Hezbollah action, and from videotaped Hezbollah confessions, all pointing to a concerted plan to use civilian neighborhoods as staging areas for military action.
By the way, most bloggers were showing this footage throughout the war, since it was available on YouTube. How typical that, after maligning Israel and advancing Hezbollah propaganda all through the war and for months after, the old media finally gets around to some actual facts.