Thursday, November 15, 2012

IDF Spokesman: 3 Million Israelis In Line of Fire

IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) spokesman Captain Eytan Buchman is one of the people live tweeting the Gaza incursion. Yesterday, the official twitter account of the IDF, @IDFspokesperson, tweeted - 

Buchman, a Chicago native, explained in a phone call the reasoning behind the IDF’s increased social media activity. “We learned from Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009 that there were potential new audiences that we could target rather than the traditional media,” he said. “There is so much misinformation coming out of Gaza. Videos show a man be carried into an ambulance, but don’t show the same man walking out of the ambulance a few minutes later. Hamas falsely claimed to have hit an Israeli naval vessel. Social media allows everyone to see for themselves what is happening and make their own decisions.”

As for the controversial decision to show the video of the assassination of senior Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, Buchman defends it.“The video shows that we hit him when he was in the middle of the intersection to minimize collateral damage," he said. 

He asserts Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties but that the Palestinian leaders make that hard to do. "They put the rockets in the middle of urban areas. When the leaders know they are a target, they use Palestinians as a human shield."

He stresses that Israel tries to minimize the collateral damage. "If you ever read Sun Tzu's Art of War, you would know that surprise is important.Yet, Israel drops leaflets before an attack warning the Palestinians to leave the area. No other army in the world does that."  

Buchman is shedding no tears over the death of Jabari, He said, "Jabari has been in Hamas since 1995." He has blood on his hands and not just the sheen of blood. Gilad Shalit is just the highest profile case that he has been involved with. He is behind the stockpile of weapons in Gaza.”

The captain emphasizes 3 million Israelis now are in the line of fire from Hamas rockets. Many of them ran to bomb shelters this morning when the sirens sounded.  My cousin, Hila Tal-Lazarus, wrote this on her Facebook page: “Terrible, I can’t explain the feeling of running for shelter with a 6 months old and a three year old. This is the time that I wish I wasn’t a mommy… But otherwise we are well. Thanks!”

Captain Buchman credits the Iron Dome, which was supplied by the United States Government under President Obama, for preventing the situation from not being much worse.  “Since it was first utilized in April 2011, it has prevented 100 rockets. In the last four days, it has prevented 105 rockets.”

The IDF has 30 seconds, the length of time of a Super Bowl commercial, to make the decision to fire a missile in response to a Hamas rocket. They do not fire at every Hamas rocket, only the ones that will land in urban areas, due to the $40,000 cost of each missile.  

Three Israelis died today after being hit by Hamas rocket fire. Israel does not have enough Iron Dome batteries to cover the entire Southern region.

Buchman argues, “Those that accuse Israel of being the aggressor have not been paying attention. They should be asking why it took us so long to respond. Since 2001, 12,800 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 a day, have landed in Israel. 274 rockets have landed in Israel since Operation Pillars of Defense.”

By the way, Buchman is the one that coined the Operation Pillar of Defense name. In Hebrew, the name of the operation is Pillar of Cloud, which references the cloud that traveled with the Jews as they left Egypt and made their way to Israel. While Israelis know the Bible well, he was not sure that Americans would understand the biblical reference. 

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