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Sonic Booms Used For Palestinian Punishment?

Sonic Booms Used For Collective Punishment

The independent Middle East News Service

[I have been following this story for over a week now and while the Guardian article below is fairly comprehensive I am still not satisfied that we are getting the full story.

If we go back to the beginning, this form of collective punishment (for it does not distinguish between babies and fighters) was used for a long time against the people of Beirut. But from what I able to find (and I am open to be proven wrong on that) it was not used as a non-stop systematic form of punishment.

What brought this activity into prominence was the way in which it wrong last week. For some reason the loud booms were heard inside Israel and over a long distance. As McGeal makes the point it was heard all the way to Netanya 100 km further north. As the second article by Oren Reis says “The armed forces spokespeople first denied any Air Force involvement. Only some twenty-four hours later did they admit that the supersonic booms made over Gaza had apparently been caught up in the higher levels of the atmosphere and transmitted into the heartland of Israel.”

There are two strange things here. First of all with the exception of Ynet none of the Hebrew website would initially touch the story. There has been a satisfactory explanation for this. Where they being patriotic and hiding something? Who knows? What is beyond dispute is that they all would have been aware of it. If the “ The Tel Aviv and central district police switchboards crashed” then the media would have received many calls (as Ynet did), why stay silence? My guess is that the story slipped through in Ynet and would been too alarming and risky to pull it out.

The exact reason given by the IDF for the way the sound was heard was air inversion. At least one Israeli source (Einyan Merkazi –quote no longer available) reported that sources within the Israeli Meteorological Service dismissed the claim as fanciful. It is just so happen that my home city of Melbourne is prone to air inversion where cold air sits on top of warm air. So hopefully somebody down the line will have the scientific background to confirm or dismiss the IDF’s explanation.

What is more disturbing is that the IDF is bragging that what we have seen so far is a mild application. An unnamed senior military officer told Ynetnews’ Hanan Greenberg: “The magnitude of the booms has not yet reached the maximum. Believe me, you cannot live with the maximum magnitude. This is an effective non-lethal weapon,”

Some time soon this News Service would review the use Israel other new weapon of choice against the Qassem rockets – artillery barrages.

Have a good weekend – Sol Salbe]

Scientists/meteorologists: Please note that on my calculation the distance to Netanya is only 100 kilometres and not several hundred as in the report below.


Palestinians hit by sonic boom air raids

• UN condemns night noise attacks as indiscriminate
• Agencies say they cause trauma and miscarriages
Chris McGreal in Gaza
Thursday November 3, 2005
The Guardian

SEE COMPLETE STORY:,2763,1607450,00.html

Israel is deploying a terrifying new tactic against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by letting loose deafening "sound bombs" that cause widespread fear, induce miscarriages and traumatise children.

The removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip opened the way for the military to use air force jets to create dozens of sonic booms by breaking the sound barrier at low altitude, sending shockwaves across the territory, often at night. Palestinians liken the sound to an earthquake or huge bomb. They describe the effect as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and "leaving you shaking inside".

The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The United Nations has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children. The shockwaves have also damaged buildings by cracking walls and smashing thousands of windows.

SEE COMPLETE STORY:,2763,1607450,00.html


A manifestly immoral supersonic boom

With one aerial foray, Halutz managed to unite the babies of Gaza and Holon in one big trauma. That is the way to defeat terror.
By Oren Reis

Published at October 30 on the Hebrew website Y-Net affiliated to Yediot Aharonot, but not on their parallel English-language website. English translation provided by The Other Israel.

Last Thursday [27 October], masses of Israelis had a very early wake-up call by enormous supersonic booms, repeatedly invading their homes and making sleep impossible. The police reported hundreds of calls from citizens in the area from Rishon-Lezion until Netanyah [Israel's most populated central zone], and many reported that the noises seemed to come from the direction of the sea. The armed forces spokespeople first denied any Air Force involvement. Only some twenty-four hours later did they admit that the supersonic booms made over Gaza had apparently been caught up in the higher levels of the atmosphere and transmitted into the heartland of Israel. And so all of us - Hamas activists and Netanyah inhabitants, Jihad militiamen and Bat Yam housewives - found ourselves wide awake at 2.00 am. Such heart-warming closeness!

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The people of the communities near the Gaza Strip tell harrowing tales about weeks of sleepless nights, and of course for the people in the Strip itself it is just an endless nightmare. The planes, the IDF's long arm, are using an old-new tactic to "defeat" the terrorists. The Chief-of-Stuff decided to show the people of Gaza what happens when they make him really mad, the kind of lesson which used to be inflicted on the inhabitants of Beirut.

In the first lesson at our country's Officers' Academy, every trainee has to carefully peruse and commit to memory a certain document stating that "The purpose of the Israeli Defence Forces is to defend the existence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the State of Israel and the safety of its citizens, as well as to foil the enemy's efforts to disrupt the conduct of daily life in the country". Well, Mr. Lieutenant-General Halutz, this time you have succeeded in thoroughly disrupting the conduct of daily life not only among Palestinians (most of whom are not involved in terror in any way) but also among your country’s citizens which you are sworn to protect.

Undoubtedly, this unfocused weapon causes fears and traumas among many children, at Khan Yunis and Nahal Oz. Palestinian or Israeli, a child is a child and waking up from a terrible noise which makes the entire parental home shake does not conduct to a healthy development. Facing the Jihad threats to "shake Israel", the Air Force took pre-emptive action and itself shook up our population centres together with those of our adversaries. On the way to implementing this nefarious tactic, some moral values had been eroded even further.

The famed "IDF Ethical Code”,. the one drawn up at the General Staff's request by philosophy professor Asa Kasher and presented to the public with such fanfare a few years ago, begins with the statement "In the conduct of its operations the IDF is inspired by universal moral values, based on utmost respect for all human beings." Can you then explain, dear General Halutz, where is the respect for the tiny human in his cot, waking up in terrible fear when the F-16 passes above in the most noisy way? Is it respectful to have the inhabitants of Ashkelon desperately call every night to the police, the fire brigade, even the mayor's private home, asking and begging for somebody, anybody, to stop this terrible noise? And why must an old man who for years cultivated a pair of goldfish have to witness the aquarium being shattered and the fish expire in agony?

It is all right, Mr. Halutz. These were all rhetorical questions. You need explain nothing, you already told everything we needed to know after the Salah Shedah assassination which had costed the lives of 14 innocent Palestinians including nine children. Well-known words which it seems need to be quoted yet again: "When I release a bomb, I feel a slight blow to the plane's wing, nothing else. That's what I feel". And if that's what releasing a one-ton bomb on an inhabited area does to him, what can he be expected to feel about mere supersonic booms?

General Halutz had sent his officers to the media, to explain to the Israeli public that they had been the victims of a rare meteorological phenomenon called "inversion", one of whose effects is to transmit sonic booms over large distances. He would have much better to realize that civilians - Israelis and Palestinians alike - should be kept out of this cycle of madness. What terrorists allow themselves -to harm random civilians - is completely forbidden to a sovereign state. The terrorist's "privilege" of "shaking" Israeli cities should not be seconded by any armed force, and certainly not Israel's. Even after a severe terrorist attack makes the blood boil, army commanders should think with their brains and not their guts. Pilots should not be ordered to manifestly immoral acts.


[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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