#Bacall - In “Kicking Off” I wrote about finally understanding the rootless young men and women in Noir movies. I always think of her in the scene from To Have and Have Not, where the cops slap her and she does not flinch. Bogart afterwards says “you just told me your life story”. So many young people around the world re-living that story now: trapped for economic reasons in relationships they don’t like, drifting from country to country, on the receiving end of casual violence, hating themselves, doing shitty and pointless jobs. In that one movie, aged 19, Bacall told all these stories through one character. She subverts everything: Hoagy Carmichael, the role of chanteuse, the role of lover with Bogart. When the cops ask why she flew into Martinique she replies “to buy a new hat”. She never lifts a finger to actually do anything. She is the trickster, not the seductress. RIP
Before it gets lost in claim and counterclaim I will just write down what I saw of the attacks on the Beach Camp and Shifa Hospital. 28 July 2014
I was on the phone starting at 1651 local looking out of a hotel balcony over the beach. I was facing the sea (west) and I had a phone to my right ear.
During the call I heard a loud boom, coming from the sea just to my left - at maybe 10 oclock, from over the harbor. Then, at a familiar interval consistent with an artillery strike, I heard an impact boom to my right inland - ie behind and to the right. Both the Camp and Shifa are in that direction. My producer said he heard three loud bangs.
I commented on the loudness of the first bang to my editor on the phone, as it seemed closer but consistent with the regular naval gunfire sound. Ie like naval gunfire but louder.
A few minutes later, alerted to the strike on Shifa, we got in the car and drove there. The garden wall was blasted outwards - I had been standing near there about 3 hours before. We ran in - turned left and went to where a crowd was being held back from where the impact was - there were no casualties there and only rags and debris consistent with an impact.
There were Palestinian security guards - not policemen - holding back cameracrews and nobody went over the fence. In hindsight I should have gone into that space and searched for fragments. These would clearly have shown whether it was a misfired Palestinian rocket or an Israeli drone, as claimed by people in charge at the scene.
I ran into the triage room and started filming with my cameraman. We then learned of the second deadly attack at Beach Camp. I saw 4x children’s dead bodies with blast and fragmentation injuries. And numerous other wounded people and one dead adult in a bag.
Two hypotheses: First the IDF claim that these were two rockets that misfired. Later in the afternoon a rocket did take off from the coast south of us - and was met seemingly with an iron dome rocket with a much clearer and wider contrail, over the sea.
So a review of evidence: I heard two loud bangs - which I assumed one was the firing the other the impact. If the two bangs were two impacts of rockets gone wrong, they happened so close to each other that it must have been a volley of two rockets. Yet I saw no trails in the sky. If they were rockets they will have been shot from somewhere in Gaza towards somewhere in Israel. Both impacts were close to the Western coast of Gaza and landed about 1km away from each other, and 2-3 seconds apart. So that is a double misfire, by a volley aimed in the same direction, that ends up with a 1km spread impact but in the wrong direction. Ie both go wrong in the same way.
A witness at Beach Camp told me the projectile hit a building which collapsed killing and maiming the children.
The projectile at Shifa landed in a yard and killed no-one, but again damaged a wall badly.
Theory two (my original assumption): The attack at Shifa was an Israeli drone targeting a person - hence the small explosion. The attack at Beach Camp was a naval strike on a target from a ship, or some other weapon in the sea or sky I could not see. It hit something that caused the building to collapse.
I have no opinion on these two possibilities until I get more evidence - I am putting my evidence out there for people to compute with that of others. I finished this at 0123 local amid loud bangs from flares fired by Israel over the West Gaza City area where I am.
From 1 June 2014 I am economics editor of Channel 4 News, replacing Faisal Islam who has gone to Sky News. I’ve been Culture & Digital editor at Channel 4 since September 2013.