The subject of the casualties in the Taba bombing and the Israeli incursion into northern Gaza have become the subject of separate stories in the media.  In Sinai the total toll of killed was ca. 32 (possibly up to 35 if some body parts remain unassigned). Of these “only” 12 were Israelis, and two of these were killed in Ras-a-Satan. They died en route to the hospital in Eilat, although they might have died anyway because they both had serious head wounds. But, it took 7 hours for them to reach the hospital, partly because they were transported in private cars which were stopped twice by Egyptian authorities for hours because they had no passports with them!

Some think this was deliberate while others attribute it to the incompetence of the Egyptians in dealing with a crisis.  This comparatively “low” Israeli casualty rate in the huge destruction of the Hilton Hotel in Taba has lead to rumors in the Arab world and media that the bombing was carried out by Israeli agents of the Mossad directed by Sharon. The argument goes that Sharon needed a distraction from the IDF incursion in Gaza, and also needed something to blame on the Arabs. In addition, the Israelis were angry that all the tourists were going to Sinai and not to Eilat! So he chose a place nearby in Egypt to blow up. Of course, the Mossad must have known that the floor above the entrance lobby was occupied mainly by workers at the Hotel, so that the toll of Egyptians and foreigners (Russians) would be high.

Apart from this nonsense being self-serving for the Arabs, it is a constant feature of Arab culture that they cannot accept any blame for wrong-doing, it must be the Jew’s fault! This was also the case with the 9/11 WTC bombings in NYC, and most Arabs still believe that it was carried out by Jews not Saudis and that’s why there were so few Jewish casualties, which is factually not correct, but try to tell that to an Arab.

In Gaza the toll of Palestinians has been manipulated in an anti-Israel way by most of the media. For example, perhaps the most extreme case is that of Agence France Presse that issued a story stating that “Israel’s massive military operation into the northern Gaza Strip shows no sign of a let-up after two deadly weeks that have seen 111 Palestinians killed, mainly children, and Qassam rockets still being fired into Israeli territory.”  “Mainly children”??? When challenged on this, AFP admitted that it was a mistake, and changed subsequent reports, but did not issue a correction. The whole tone of their report is biased against Israel, with no indication that such actions are justified self-defense. Perhaps because the initiation of the operation resulted from the death of two Israeli children, the media have somehow delighted in emphasizing the Palestinian children killed as opposed to the terrorist casualties.

The IDF reported that 90% of the casualties in Gaza were gunmen/terrorists. But, many stations, including CNN and BBC, have accepted at face value unconfirmed reports from Palestinian hospitals and spokesmen that between 20-40% of the casualties were children, notwithstanding the fact that the IDF is generally more accurate than the Palestinians.  Media focus has been on the unfortunate collateral deaths of two young girls, one who was sitting in school and was killed by a stray bullet, when Palestinian gunmen were shooting from nearby. No one has proven that she was shot by the IDF, but it is assumed. Also, a young girl (13) approached an Israeli position carrying a bag. She was warned to stop and then shot.  However, the IDF officer then supposedly went to the body and shot her many times. This is mysterious since she was apparently already dead. Several soldiers under his command complained about this, since it is against IDF regulations, and so the officer has been relieved of his command and an investigation is under way.

It is noteworthy that much more media attention is paid to these incidents than to the deaths of many Hamas terrorists and the actual outcome of the operation. Finally, the media like to point out that rockets are still being fired from Gaza into Israel, as if this indicates that the whole operation and loss of Palestinian life was unnecessary. No doubt more Israelis and many more Palestinians will die because the terrorists refuse to stop their attacks on Israel.


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