Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ashraf Khalil and Shashank Bengali look at post war Gaza in the Age - Gaza destruction 'heartbreaking': UN chief. They describe a devastated city in the eyes of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who toured the Palestinian enclave and declared himself "deeply grieved by what I have seen today".

"Speaking in front of the smouldering remains of a UN food warehouse, set ablaze last week by an Israeli tank shell, a sombre Mr Ban said he had witnessed
'heartbreaking' scenes of destruction."

Tim Butcher's view on Gaza has been hit hard, but has it made any difference? in the London Daily Telegraph seems totally different:

"I knew Gaza well before the attacks, so when Israel ended its ban on foreign journalists reaching Gaza on the day the ceasefire was announced, I was able to see for myself.

"One thing was clear. Gaza City 2009 is not Stalingrad 1944. There had been no carpet bombing of large areas, no firebombing of complete suburbs. Targets had been selected and then hit, often several times, but almost always with precision munitions. Buildings nearby had been damaged and there had been some clear mistakes, like the firebombing of the UN aid headquarters. But, in most the cases, I saw the primary target had borne the brunt."

Butcher's summation makes more sense and even the numbers suggest that the IDF used precision targetting in prosecuting the war and not indiscriminate firing as is alleged by its detractors. I'm not trying to be insensitive to the horrors of war when I say that, given that the number of buildings either damaged or destroyed was 21,000 the fact that as few as 1,300 were killed in a place where the enemy fighters usually don't wear uniforms, most of them hide behind their families and civilian neighbors. it looks like extraordinarily accurate targeting by the Israelis with a kill rate of 1 person for every 16 buildings.

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