IDF mum on Eilat attacks that justified Gaza bombing

A reporter exposes an IDF investigation acknowledging that the Eilat attackers came from Sinai, not Gaza; the IDF has nothing to say on the matter

Do you remember the Eilat attacks of two months back? How we were told, while the attack was still going on, that the attackers were the Popular Resistance Committees, and that therefore we have to attack Gaza? That such an attack took place, and also killed a child? Do you remember how, a month afterwards, we were quietly told that actually, all of the attackers were Sinai residents, not Gazans?

So last weekend, without much fanfare, Yediot’s Alex Fishman published the central findings of the IDF event investigation. They are very clear: Under the headline of “mistaken enemy,” Fishman brings in the facts. All of the attackers lived in Sinai and were members of a Jihadi terrorist cell, termed by the Israeli security apparatus “Sinawis.” The apparatus erred in thinking the attack was a PRC operation, says Fishman, since the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, had warned the PRC was liable to attack in the same sector. Oops. This is the new semi-official version, the one the IDF shows to the public by way of the military correspondents. You don’t actually think Fishman broke into the Kirya and stole some confidential documents, do you?

And they are confidential. I asked yesterday for the response of IDF Spokesman’s Lt. Col. Avial Leibovitz, who misspoke and then adamantly said the attackers were Gazans in Fishman’s article. This morning I received a reply: The whole investigation is embargoed, i.e. the IDF can’t say anything about it. I therefore asked the IDF Spokesman whether they intend to launch a leak investigation and find the person who leaked the secret document to Fishman; after all, for doing much the same, Anat Kam is now being charged with severe espionage. I was told to talk to the Defense Ministry.

So: Two months ago, the IDF was publicly adamant that the attack came from Gaza. Now it is using private channels to leak contrary information and won’t comment. Before the investigation, it was loquacious; After it, it is dumb. It’s a bit strange, isn’t it? Somewhat upside down?

This looks like a conspiracy to cover up the fact that the Defense Minister misspoke, and that as a result, an attack on Gaza took place, which led to a counter-attack, which in turn led to an escalation, in which an Israeli citizen (and 27 Gazans) died. Look, we did attack Gaza for no reason, but we had reason to think that….

The most disturbing aspect of this spin is that it came when the media was on full alert (at least, its alternative parts were). It’s unsettling to think how many of the IDF’s strident communiqués, about how we were attacked and were obliged to strike back hard, went down in precisely the same way.

Oh, and there was the usual IDF cheerleaders, who said that the attackers did come from Gaza, and that the fact no one mourned there was the proof – it meant Hamas clamped down on the mourners. Expect them to parrot the party line during the next round of hostilities, as well. They’ll say the same thing: Quiet, there’s shooting going on – and, hey, it’s just Ay-rabs.