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January 05, 2010

European Media Runs With Latest Unsubstantiated Claims

In the aftermath of the debunked Aftonbladet blood libel and the Guardian blue baby affair, the European media is again publishing apparently unsubstantiated allegations concerning Israeli conduct. Ha'aretz reports:

The Italian New Weapons Committee accuses Israel of contaminating Gaza land through bombing, and the president of the European Jewish Congress termed the claims "unfounded blood libels reminiscent of tales of Jews poisoning wells."

The Italy-based group of researchers studied Israel's use of ammunition and said the population of the Gaza Strip is "in danger." It based the claim on soil analysis of four bomb craters. "It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivation," the researchers stated. Their findings grabbed headlines in Italian, European and Middle Eastern publications, including Terra, Ambito, the Turkish Weekly and Tehran Times. . . .

Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder of the Jerusalem-based, non-governmental Monitor organization, said the study did not present enough evidence to support its claim. A lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, he said the committee's "accusations are designed to stigmatize Israel and erase the context of mass terror." He said he considers the accusations "a modern form of blood libel," which quotes "many NGO reports that are a mix of false or unverifiable claims." In September, the New Weapons Committee accused Israel of experimenting with new non-conventional weapons on the civilian population in Gaza. Fabio De Ponte from the committee's press office said the group's work "is strictly scientific and its seriousness should be self-evident from the publication itself."

Posted by TS at January 5, 2010 05:46 AM


Are NGO Monitor or the European Jewish Congress qualified to assess the scientific merits of the study? Has anyone actually dismissed this study on scientific grounds? If so, that would be newsworthy.

Is it so improbable that the massive amounts of advanced munitions (including white phosphorus) dropped on Gaza could have negative effects on the environment and on health in the Gaza Strip?

Thank you for bringing attention to this important investigation. I hope that you will keep following this subject and that you will let your readers know if and when other research findings emerge that either confirm or discredit the current study.

Posted by: reader at January 5, 2010 08:11 AM

I wonder what an analysis of the tens of thousands of craters caused by Palestinian rockets would reveal? Did any NGO look at that?

Posted by: Undecided PhD at January 5, 2010 02:30 PM

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