The Israeli military killed four small boys on a beach last summer.
It was widely reported at the time, and people were rightly horrified.
But thankfully, Israel, that proudly proclaims itself to be the only democracy in the Middle East, subsequently launched a thorough and exhaustive investigation into its own behaviour to find out what happened – after all, journalists and eyewitnesses can hardly be relied upon.
The investigation is now complete and Israel has released the findings. The Guardian reported on it, but I can offer you a pithier, clearer summary. Here you go:
The children were to blame.
They shouldn’t have been on the beach when the soldiers fired the bullets – clearly children playing on a beach are a provocation for the poor, heavily armed soldiers – and everyone understands that, right? How can you possibly be expected to cope with the pressure of being confronted at a great distance by four small unarmed boys?
The parents were to blame.
And anyway, why weren’t their kids indoors? The Israelis could have bombed their house and nobody would have noticed four more dead children in the rubble – there were so many other children that died that way in last summer’s attacks by Israel on Gaza. Letting their children play outside is just so irresponsible of the Palestinians – don’t they care about how Israel’s image will suffer in the world’s press when incidents like this happen?
The kids’ school was to blame.
Gaza is so resource-rich, with no impediment to economic prosperity, that we have to ask why the school didn’t organise a nice summer camp for the kids to keep them out of mischief. The headteacher should be held accountable for failing to provide adequately for the children: barely having any schoolbooks or pencils for classes is no excuse for not putting on a summer school with exciting outdoor and indoor games.
Hamas was to blame.
The shabby beach hut with fishing tools in it was so easily confused for a Hamas navy(!) building. It is a typical tactic of these wicked people to put military premises in populated areas and disguise them as beach huts and the like. After all, there’s so much space in Gaza: I know that there are about 1.8 million people in 360 square kms in Gaza, but just because it’s one of the most densely populated parts of the world doesn’t mean there must not be somewhere nice and isolated for a tool shed – sorry, Hamas navy command centre – to be placed away from built-up areas. After all, a civilised country such as, say, Israel, has its “Defence” Ministry out in the middle of nowhere as the red marker on this Google satellite image of downtown Tel Aviv shows. Oh.
The sunshine was to blame.
It gets very sunny in the Middle East in the summer, and the soldiers were probably struggling with the glare. Maybe they had left their sunglasses at home that day – it’s easy to forget little things like that when you know you’re going to be faced with fighting against deadly enemies such as four small boys. After all, I regularly forget my sunglasses when I put myself under similar pressure if I have to go to the local shops to buy some bread and milk just as the local school is on lunch break and the place is full of school kids. It’s absolutely terrifying.
The main conclusion of the Israeli investigation of itself is that Israel Is Not To Blame.
And that’s ok then, isn’t it?
The four boys who were killed were:
- Mohammad Ramiz Bakr, 11
- Ahed Atef Bakr, 10
- Zakariya Ahed Bakr, 10
- Ismail Mahmoud Bakr, 9.
As the Guardian report notes, in that attack on these children, three others were also injured: Hamad Bakr, 13 and his cousin Motasem, 11; and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21.
May we not forget them, their families, and all the countless other victims of the Israeli attacks on Gaza last year.