Daily Israel Report

B’Tselem Accuses Israel, Hamas Exonerates

The B'Tselem organization says Israel killed Arab who may not have fought Israel – while Hamas says he died when a bomb he was carrying blew up.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/3/2009, 11:47 AM

Israel news photo

 

A left-wing Israeli civil rights group accuses Israel of killing an Arab about whom it is “not known” if he took part in fighting Israel. Hamas, on the other hand, says the terrorist was killed when the bomb he was carrying blew up.

 

Arab affairs correspondent Yehonatan Dehoah-HaLevy, writing for the News-1 Hebrew-language website, has found further proof of his thesis that “not everyting B’Tselem reports must be believed.” He writes that the organization continues to blame Israel for the death of Iyad Lafi Yusuf Al-Ahres, and that the death came about for no apparent reason.

 

B’Tselem classified the death of Al-Ahres under the heading “Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and it is not known whether they took part in the fighting against Israel.” The entry states only that Al-Ahres, a resident of Rafah [on the Gaza-Egypt border] was killed on October 16, 2001 in Rafah when a bomb went off, and that he was an assassination target.

 

HaLevy says that information available on the Hamas website for at least six years totally negates this, yet B’Tselem continues to blame Israel. The Hamas site states that Al-Ahres had a long history of firing mortar shells at Israeli targets, and that he was killed when one of the shells he was preparing for this purpose detonated in his hands.

 

HaLevy notes that B’Tselem neglected to mention the fact that Al-Ahres was a member of the Al-Kassam terrorist wing of Hamas, and that he had been involved in no fewer than 19 shelling attacks in the months before his death – including one the day before he was killed.

 

Al-Ahres is documented as having fired 18 mortar shells in seven attacks at the now-destroyed Jewish town of Rafiah Yam in southern Gush Katif, and 20 shells in 11 attacks at nearby Morag. All the attacks occurred in the 4.5 months prior to his death.

 

In any event, HaLevy concludes, “this case and many others like it show that the information reported by B’Tselem cannot be accepted with closed eyes and must at least be checked precisely for accuracy.”