State Department Responds to Israel’s Bombing of Children Playing on Gaza Beach by Blaming Hamas

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Four Palestinian boys, who were from the same family, were targeted and bombed by Israeli military forces while they were playing football (or soccer) on the beach. The boys were killed nearby the Al Deira hotel, where international journalists have been staying. They appeared to be targeted yet to the United States State Department the children would not have died if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire proposed yesterday.

Ayman Mohyeldin, a journalist for NBC News who has been reporting from Gaza, said he had been kicking around a ball with the boys minutes before the air strike that killed them. He, along with other journalists, including The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont, helped provide medical aid to children who were hit by the strike.

An eyewitness account from Washington Post reporter William Booth indicates the boys were nearby a fisherman’s shack on the “quay at the port, a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.” The kids were running from the shack to Al Deira. Waiters, a cook and journalists were shouting at them to run here. A second missile was fired and killed them.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced that their names were: Mohammed Bakr, 9 years-old; Ahed Bakr, 10 years-old; Zakaria Bakr, 10 years-old; and Mohammed Bakr, 11 years-old. They were all “scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves,” according to Booth.

Beaumont wrote in his firsthand account that as the second missile hit the children his colleagues, who were standing on the terrace wall, shouted at “unseen Israeli gunners” who could not hear them: “They are only children.”

A report from Reuters contained an even more shocking detail. Ahmed Abu Hassera, a 22 year-old who witnessed the bombing of children, said. “It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

The State Department held its daily press briefing at 12:30 pm EST. By that time, the world could read messages from journalists, who witnessed the attack, that Israeli forces had bombed four children. But State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki essentially said she was not in a position to confirm what was happening on the ground and did not want to address the specific attack.

Al Jazeera English reporter Rosalind Jordan explained to Psaki that several of her colleagues had witnessed an attack on “what could only be described as a civilian target.” Journalists who witnessed the attack said “there wasn’t any rocket strike that they could see or detect or hear that might ostensibly” have come from Hamas.

State Department Responds to Israel’s Bombing of Children Playing on Gaza Beach by Blaming Hamas

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(update below)

Four Palestinian boys, who were from the same family, were targeted and bombed by Israeli military forces while they were playing football (or soccer) on the beach. The boys were killed nearby the Al Deira hotel, where international journalists have been staying. They appeared to be targeted yet to the United States State Department the children would not have died if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire proposed yesterday.

Ayman Mohyeldin, a journalist for NBC News who has been reporting from Gaza, said he had been kicking around a ball with the boys minutes before the air strike that killed them. He, along with other journalists, including The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont, helped provide medical aid to children who were hit by the strike.

An eyewitness account from Washington Post reporter William Booth indicates the boys were nearby a fisherman’s shack on the “quay at the port, a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.” The kids were running from the shack to Al Deira. Waiters, a cook and journalists were shouting at them to run here. A second missile was fired and killed them.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced that their names were: Mohammed Bakr, 9 years-old; Ahed Bakr, 10 years-old; Zakaria Bakr, 10 years-old; and Mohammed Bakr, 11 years-old. They were all “scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves,” according to Booth.

Beaumont wrote in his firsthand account that as the second missile hit the children his colleagues, who were standing on the terrace wall, shouted at “unseen Israeli gunners” who could not hear them: “They are only children.”

A report from Reuters contained an even more shocking detail. Ahmed Abu Hassera, a 22 year-old who witnessed the bombing of children, said. “It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

The State Department held its daily press briefing at 12:30 pm EST. By that time, the world could read messages from journalists, who witnessed the attack, that Israeli forces had bombed four children. But State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki essentially said she was not in a position to confirm what was happening on the ground and did not want to address the specific attack.

Al Jazeera English reporter Rosalind Jordan explained to Psaki that several of her colleagues had witnessed an attack on “what could only be described as a civilian target.” Journalists who witnessed the attack said “there wasn’t any rocket strike that they could see or detect or hear that might ostensibly” have come from Hamas.

“How is an Israeli air strike on what can only be described as a civilian target in full view of international journalists acceptable to the US government?” Jordan asked.

Psaki launched into talking points about the “circumstances” on the ground being of “great concern, including the deaths of civilians and “tensions” which have impacted the “civilian community.” Obviously, she added, a number of lives have been lost (over 200 Palestinians at this point). The loss of children is “absolutely tragic.”

Jordan followed up, “Why would it be reasonable to expect that civilians who, for whatever reason, happen to be living in Gaza would not become more hardened in their view of the Israeli government, of the Israeli people, when their own children can’t go play in the surf and instead the next time they see their children they’re on funeral biers?”

She answered with a typical talking point about deaths of any individuals, any civilians, and how this is why Secretary of State John Kerry is working on this issue daily. Then came the true position of President Barack Obama’s administration.

“I would remind you that yesterday there was a ceasefire proposed that was abided to by Israelis for a couple of hours that Hamas did not abide to. And they’re putting their own people at risk by continuing to escalate the situation on the ground,” Psaki declared.

In one statement, she absolved Israel of responsibility for civilians in Gaza. They aren’t Israel’s people, they are Hamas’ “own people.” And, if the world does not want children to be bombed on beaches, the world’s anger should be directed at Hamas and not the Israeli forces, which actually fired the shells at innocent civilians playing soccer. (more…)