Israel Investigates Blogger Allegations of Qana Staging
The Jerusalem Post reports today that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is investigating arguments, first raised by bloggers, that Hamas may have staged the alleged "atrocity" that occurred when building collapsed in the Lebanese city of Qana.
As reported by NewsBusters and elsewhere, significant doubts are being raised as to whether the building's collapse was caused by Israeli bombs or was deliberately destroyed by Hamas to gin up anti-Israeli sentiment.
Mentioned prominently in the article is NewsBuster Bob Owens's blog, Confederate Yankee, which in the fine MSM tradition of accuracy, is called "Conservative Yankee" by the Post. (See Bob's response post here.)
An excerpt from the JP article is after the jump...
The IDF is looking into allegations raised over the past few days by several pro-Israel, Jewish and conservative Weblogs that Hizbullah may have staged aspects of the Kana tragedy on Sunday, in which some 60 Lebanese bodies were removed from a building that collapsed seven hours after being hit in an Israel Air Force strike.
The dead were mainly children, women and elderly people.
The International Committee of the Red Cross Mission in Israel said Tuesday that it would inform its Swiss headquarters about the allegations and seek to clarify the questions raised.
Israel has acknowledged hitting the building, and said 150 Katyushas had been fired from the village in the previous 20 days, with Hizbullah hiding rocket launchers in civilian buildings there. Israel said it did not know civilians were inside the building and expressed sorrow over the tragedy.
In a speech on Monday night, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he deeply regretted the deaths of civilians there. "We did not seek to harm them, we did not want their death," he said. "They were not our enemies, they were not the target of our aircraft."
At a press conference on Sunday night, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said the building was struck by IAF missiles a little after midnight, but only collapsed seven hours later, at about 7 a.m.
Eshel said he could not explain what caused the structure to collapse so many hours after it was hit, and speculated, while stressing that he had no conclusive evidence, about whether Hizbullah had played a role in what had transpired, perhaps by firing on the building itself. [...]
According to the blogs, perhaps the most suspicious element in the Kana affair was the fact that the dead children whose photographs appeared in the media displayed virtually no signs of blood, bruises or broken bones and, with one exception, were not caked with debris or pulverized cement.
For example, according to the antiliberal Conservative Yankee blog, "The child in the photo shows no signs of injuries - no blood, no disfigurement or crushing wounds consistent with a building collapse. The two men [carrying the child] show no signs of having been digging in rubble. Their clothes are unbelievably clean, especially the black fatigues that would so easily shown concrete dust."
Israel Insider cited a CNN report that, it said, noted the victims had died in their sleep. It seemed highly improbable, the piece asserted, that people could have slept "through thunderous Israeli air attacks. Rescue workers equipped with cameras," it went on, "were removing the bodies from the same opening in the collapsed structure.
Journalists were not allowed near the collapsed building... Israelis steeled to scenes of carnage from Palestinian suicide bombings and Hizbullah rocket attacks could not help but notice that these victims did not look like our victims. Their faces were ashen gray. While medical examination is clearly called for to arrive at a definitive dating and cause of their deaths, they do not appear to have died hours before. The bodies looked like they had been dead for days."