Wednesday, December 27, 2006
QUIT DIGGING, ALREADY
The Israeli army has admitted its soldiers may have fired on a Red Cross ambulance during the war in Lebanon - an incident Foreign Minister Alexander Downer claimed was a hoax that had duped a gullible Australian and international media.
The claims centred on a controversial July 23 attack in southern Lebanon in which two Red Cross ambulances were destroyed, either by artillery or missiles - injuring at least six Lebanese, including one man whose leg was later amputated.
Later amputated? At the time, The Australian claimed the Magical Jew Missile had performed the operation itself, before thoughtfully cauterising the wound and evaporating without trace.
Initial media reports claimed the Israeli Defence Force targeted the vehicles, firing a missile directly through the roof of one ambulance using the international Red Cross symbol as a target marker.
Others blamed Israeli artillery or armed unmanned drones.
“Media reports”? “Others”? These claims appeared in The Australian, which now appears to be backing away from its previous reporting.
An Israeli army spokesman has now gone closer than ever before to admitting responsibility.
Oh, really? Let’s see:
“We (IDF) certainly do not target ambulances but in a combat zone, we cannot always co-ordinate their safety,” Captain Benjamin Rutland said. “It (the ambulance) could have been struck by our mortar or artillery.
“There was (Israeli army) shelling in the vicinity of the ambulance, but we do not have UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) footage and we don’t have access to the ambulance so we cannot tell for sure.”
To use News Ltd argot: they got nothin’.
While admitting the possibility of a tragic mistake, Captain Rutland cited several incidents during the recent Lebanon conflict in which Hezbollah fighters had stage-managed or misrepresented evidence of civilian casualties.
In August, Mr Downer slammed Australian and international media for not checking facts and branded reports of the alleged attack on the ambulance a hoax.
His comments were based on unverified evidence carried on an unattributed right-wing website, Zombietime.com.