Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi and extreme left-wing MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz) said that Defense Minister Amir Peretz is responsible for the "shelling murder" of the seven Arab members of one family on a beach on Friday. Arab MK Muhammed Barakeh said that Peretz could wear the medallion of "war criminal." Meretz leader MK Yossi Beilin said that Peretz should resign if the only way he knows how to deal with Kassams involves killing innocent people.



Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quick to express regret for the incident. He repeated this at today's Cabinet meeting, though he indicated that the investigation had not yet been completed. Defense Minister Amir Peretz, very shortly after the incident, expressed "deep sorrow" over the deaths.



Foreign countries, such as England, France, Egypt and many others, condemned Israel for the attack.



Several dozen left-wing protestors - including Prime Minister Olmert's daughter Dana - stood outside the home of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz last night and called for him and others to be tried for "war crimes." They also held signs calling Halutz and Peretz "murderers." Veteran right-wing protestor Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded that Dana Olmert be tried in court for calling Peretz a "murderer," in light of his indictment for doing the same against other politicians in the past.



More than 24 hours after the deaths, the winds started to change. Peretz himself said last night that indications are that the fatal shells were fired by Arabs of the PA. Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kokhavi, Commander of the Gaza Formation, said that the Arabs were not cooperating in the investigation of the incident, and that the data gathered at that point showed that it could well be that the seven were killed by Arab-fired mortar shells.



Some of the evidence shows that the incident on the beach occurred 15 minutes after Israel stopped firing shells. In addition, none of the shells fired at the northern Gaza Strip were directed at the area in which the people were killed.



Under investigation is the possibility that a misfired Kassam rocket was responsible. A significant proportion of Kassams fired by Arab terrorists land in Gaza or otherwise miss their mark, and in fact one landed in a Gaza refugee camp Saturday afternoon, wounding several Arabs.



Government press spokesman Raanan Gissin [pictured next to Olmert above] had strong criticism of the government figures' reactions: "Unfortunately, we are repeating the same mistakes we made in the past, in the way in which we deal with incidents like this, such as that of Muhammed Al-Dura."



That incident involved a 12-year-old Arab boy who was reported by French-2 TV News to have been killed by Israeli gunfire while cowering with his father behind a thick concrete barrel in September 2000 at the beginning of the Oslo War. The incident – and there was considerable speculation about whether there had in fact actually been an “incident” – was filmed by an Arab cameraman. The raw footage was edited by the French-2 TV Jerusalem bureau chief who also wrote and voiced the script for the news report.



Subsequent investigation of the incident proved beyond doubt that it was physically impossible for Israeli bullets to have reached the boy and his father, and that if in fact he was killed at all, it had been by Arab gunfire. Moreover, there was considerable debate about whether in fact the entire incident had been staged altogether in order to feed anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic appetites. Numerous investigative reports in prominent, reputable media outlets underscored this strong possibility. Numerous investigative journalists weighed in on the matter, all of whom were convinced the coverage had been inaccurate and slanted at best, or at worst, a faked event for the cameraman who became a willing participant in the play.



Mohammed Al Dura’s death has never been proven. His father’s injuries have never been proven. The entire event has never been proven. What has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, however, is that the Israel Defense Forces played no role whatsoever in the alleged killing of the child if it happened at all.



A comprehensive, detailed inquiry into the entire matter and its media coverage was carried out by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). The findings that underscored the elaborate cover-up perpetrated by the French-2 TV news report were published on the CAMERA website in a report dated October 13, 2005. Included in the report are quotes from journalists and media reports about the incident and its subsequent investigation, with links to the numerous relevant articles.



Gissin continued, "Brig.-Gen. Kokhavi said this is a battle scene, but I don't think so. This is a crime scene, in which the Palestinians rule and from which they removed all the evidence - while on our side, no one even raised the slightest doubt that perhaps it wasn't us who had done it."



"I think that there should have been lessons learned from previous incidents," continued Gissin, who may be leaving his position after five years on the job. "The highest levels should immediately have made it publicly clear that it wasn't at all sure that we did it, and that other scenarios were likely. I ask a very simple question: 'Why did the Palestinians, who rule the area now, so quickly remove all the evidence from the scene?'"



The army has fired "thousands of shells" in the area of late, Gen. Kokhavi said: "We fired towards open areas [and] towards the ruins of [the former Jewish community] Dugit, an area which is routinely used for rocket launching. The Palestinian population was warned to steer clear of this area."



Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the investigation to be completed by Tuesday night.



More than 90 non-specific intelligence warnings of possible terrorist attacks have been recorded since Thursday, a record number.