Saturday 26 March 2011

As the Crow lies

On Radio 4’s Any Questions last night, the question of whether David Cameron should press for no-fly zones in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen to protect their citizens came up. Bob Crow (pictured), the General Secretary of the Rail and Maritime Union, thought Gaza should be a no-fly zone for Israel. Crow was, of course, likening Israel to Libya and when his egregious comparison was challenged on Any Answers today, Jonathan Dimbleby defended Crow by claiming that over a thousand civilians were killed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead.

The caller was a little flustered by Dimbleby’s figures, obviously unaware (like Dimbleby, presumably) that on 1 November 2010, the interior minister of Hamas, Fathi Hamad, had confirmed Israel’s claim that most of the casualties in its assault on Gaza were combatants rather than civilians.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat, Hamad stated: “It has been said that the [Palestinian] people were harmed by the war, but is Hamas not part of the people? It is a fact that on the first day of the war Israel struck police headquarters and killed 250 members of Hamas and the various factions, in addition to the 200-300 operatives from the [Izz al-Din] al-Qassam Brigades. In addition, 150 security personnel [members of the internal security forces] were killed, and the rest were from the people [i.e., civilians].”

According to Israel, during Operation Cast Lead, 1,166 Palestinians were killed. Six hundred and nine were terrorist operatives who belonged to Hamas’ military wing and its security forces, while 100 more were operatives from other terrorist organizations involved in the fighting. The overall number of terrorist operatives killed in Gaza was 709 (about 60% of the total number of deaths). Of those 709 terrorists, 232 belonged to Hamas’ internal security forces. Of the 457 non-combatant casualties, most of them were harmed by mistake.

The data provided by Fathi Hamad was in accordance with Israel’s very precise figures.

Did you see those figures on BBC News or on the BBC website? Me neither.


  1. well, what do you expect from soneone who calls his dog "Castro" in honour of one of his political heroes?

  2. Thanks James,

    It seems that Cuba, like China, is moving to a more capitalist economy these days. What will Bob call his future pets? Marx? Engels? Che? Ken?

  3. Or perhaps "Hamas" to honour that organisations solidarity with the trade union movement?