Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Israel's 'mercy' and blaming the victims

Another two children are among the 15 murdered in Gaza (so far) today.

As traumatised Gazans pick through the rubble of more flattened homes, ITN's John Irvine has 'reassuring' words for them. 

Israel's Iron Dome interceptor system is, apparently, "helping to save Palestinian  lives", as, without it, and particularly if a Hamas rocket had hit Tel Aviv, ground forces would already have entered Gaza.  Irvine's emphatic conclusion: Iron Dome is "more peacemaker than weapon" (ITN Early Evening News, 19 Nov).

Not a word, of course, from Irvine about the perpetual war on Gaza or the inhuman blockade that forces Palestinians to respond with their paltry ordnance, thus providing the 'need' for Iron Dome - much to the multi-million dollar approval of the US arms companies delivering it.

Such is the quality of what passes for 'journalistic analysis'. Never let a lack of basic context get in the way of hasbara-friendly news.    

The loaded images of Israel's 'defensive' arsenal are as important as the loaded words of media
correspondents. Thus, reporting from Ashkelon, the BBC's Ben Brown stands, foreground, clad in blue flak-jacket, the Dome missile batteries prominently behind. The picture's intended message needs little further intimation.

The range of journalistic enquiry into the main aggressor and massive imbalance of forces is as feeble as the rockets supposedly threatening Tel Aviv.

Amid all the fear-inducing talk of rockets raining down on Tel Aviv, most media have failed to mention that many of these projectiles are, in fact, barely more than metal tubes, stripped of their warheads in order to gain some extra mileage.

Rockets from Gaza do, of course, pose a certain threat, but why the stark media imbalance in reporting the gross military imbalance? 

As noted by former UN Rapporteur Richard Falk:
"There is such a gross disproportion in the capacity of the two sides to inflict damage and suffering due to Israeli total military dominance as to make perverse this reversal of concerns to what might befall Israeli society if the attack on Gaza further intensifies."
Alex Thomson at Channel 4 News at least seems willing to shed some true perspective on military capabilities, levels of attack and, of course, victims.

Thomson cites the critical statement from Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, who have teams across Gaza recording incoming blasts, and their findings:
“Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights is calling on the UN Commissioner and EU countries to take a clear stand against the ongoing Israeli breaches of the international law in Gaza, and to take urgent steps to end the continuing bloodbath among civilians.”
  • There have been an estimated 1,643 Israeli missile strikes in six days: 364 missiles were fired by the Israeli navy, there were 1,114 air strikes and 165 artillery shells.
  • One hundred and ten Palestinians have been killed including 25 children, 14 senior citizens and 12 women. Seventy-two per cent were civilians.
  • Eight hundred and ninety one Palestinians, including 277 children, 164 women and 62 seniors have been wounded.
  • There have been 664 rockets fired from Gaza which have hit southern Israel.
  • Three Israeli civilians have been killed and 10 civilians and four soldiers injured.
  • Israel has bombarded 822 government and civilian buildings in Gaza, completely destroying 71, and severely damaging 187 and partially damaging 559. 

  • In a further piece, Thomson relates in chilling detail how over forty members of the Khouli family were woken at 3am with a phone call from the Israelis giving them five minutes to flee their home before it was blown up:
    “This is the Israeli Defence Force – you have five minutes to leave your house.”
    “Why?” He answered, “why do you want to attack our house? What for?”
    The voice came back: “Do not start asking why. Get out of the house. You have five minutes, starting now.”And the line went dead.
    This account offers a small, rare insight not just into Israel's barbaric attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, but their shameful efforts to mitigate such war crimes through token 'warnings'.

    Yet, where is the wider media effort to expose such unspeakable cruelty? Gaza is already a prison, a concentration camp, a desperate affront to humanity. What further level of calculated suffering is needed before 'impartial' journalists are willing to say: 'Israel, alone, is the principal aggressor and responsible for this historic crime'?    

    With the death toll in Gaza now standing at 110, and a reported ceasefire in the offing, there's no apparent truce in the wider media message that Hamas has brought all this terror through Gaza's own school windows and family doorways. 

    As devastated Palestinians pray for nominal respite, the hasbara-media bombardment continues unabated, blaming the victims for their 'own deliverance'.


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