Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Futile Israeli PR Exercise

Day 4 of the Israel action in Gaza and as the outcry rightly grows, Israel are forced into a PR exercise to counteract the images of dead Palestinian children being dragged from the rubble of their former homes. Apart from the expected softball questions from US TV News anchors conscious that America is probably the only country in the world that much cares for Israel during this period, the Israeli spokesmen have been struggling to justify their actions and repeat the mantra that Hamas is to blame and they broke the ceasefire and they are killing Israelis with their rockets and Israel is just doing what it must to defend itself and it regrets any loss of innocent life in Palestine.

I suppose that if it is repeated enough times the people will believe it but as i mentioned here back in June, Israel never actually stopped incursions into Palestine or the killing and kidnapping of Hamas members including lasts months murdering of six civilians as it launched missiles at Hamas leaders. Of course it never lifted its siege of the territory either and continued adding to the 240,000 settlers illegally living on Palestine's West Bank.

Any loss of life on either side, be it Palestinian or Israeli, is horrific and before this weekends activities, 14 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets since 2000. In return, 5000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli weapons in the same time with 310 people killed and more than a thousand reported injured this weekend alone. How would the Government, and Hamas is the legally elected Government of Palestine, of any other nation reply to being illegally occupied for over 40 years with the occupier blocking essential supplies of food, medicine and moving its own people to live on your land. I am pretty certain that no country on earth would sit quietly and let the occupier go merrily about its way. If Israel can justify the use of excessive force for 14 dead Israelis while continuing its occupation of another land, what would we call what the Government of Palestine is doing for over 5000 dead Palestinians while under an apartheid system of occupation.

Israel may regret any loss of innocent life but it doesn't seem to be going out of its way to prevent it, the list of places it has bombed over the past four days include a University, a school, mosques, police stations, refugee camps and private homes. Eight students were killed while standing at a bus stop and four young children killed in one home as they lay in their beds.

Of course the main mantra repeated is that if Hamas stopped firing rockets into Israel, peace would prevail but while no rockets have been fired from the West Bank, this year 45 Palestinians have died there by Israeli hands.
During the six month truce, the West Bank saw the continuation of settler programs, incursions and kidnappings despite Mahmoud Abbas acceding to all Israel's demands.

What Israel really want is for the Palestinians to meekly remain quiet while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonise their land so it doesn't matter what weak justifications Israeli spokesmen wheel out to try and calm the tide of angry criticisms aimed at them, there is no justification. Israel and its backers are complicit in one of the greatest atrocities since the 2nd World War.


David G said...

Great post, Lucy! Tells it as it is!

The numbers of people across the world who are waking up to Israel (and its bullying sidekick, America) are beginning to swell.

Shame it's taken sixty years but better late than never!


Cheezy said...

You raise an interesting point about the one-sided nature of the mainstream media's coverage of the conflict.

As Professor Ira Chernus says:

"If you get your news from the American mass media, you know that there's a nice simple explanation for the massive Israeli attack on Gaza. That explanation comes straight from the Israeli government, via the White House: Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, is responsible for all the violence. "These people are nothing but thugs," a White House spokesman said. "Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas." End of story. As usual, Israel is depicted as the innocent victim of an evil it did nothing to provoke."

You'd have thought that eight years of disastrous foreign policy under George W. Bush would have left the country hankering for more than just the usual "goodies versus baddies" explanations of world affairs, but if that's true (and I suspect, post-Iraq, that it probably IS true), then it's a hankering that the MSM in the US is being slow to catch up with.

Interesting, although not surprisingly when you think about it, Israelis themselves are getting a much more nuanced picture from their own media. While not offering excuses for anything Hamas has done, Jewish journalists in Israel are offering glimpses at possible provocations by the IDF - like cutting off transportation of food, medical supplies, and electricity to Gaza, and the bombing of a tunnel in violation of an agreed cease-fire. The events in Lebanon two years ago are mentioned, as is the upcoming election.

And crucially, the potential of the current siege strengthening Hamas, rather than weakening it - just as the cause of radical Islamism has been strengthened by the invasion of Iraq - is also discussed.

David G said...

The MSM is not just slow to catch up, they're in bed with the Politicians and the Capitalist Robber Barons and the Religious Fundamentalists and, way out in right field, the Zionists.

These five groups run most of the world for their own benefit. Infinite power and profit is what they seek.

Nothing else matters, least of all the planet and the peasants!

Cheezy said...

Glenn Greenwald has written a good piece on how gutless and 'soft-ball' the questioning of establishment figures - on highly controversial matters like the current conflict in Gaza - continues to be, on networks like NBC.

As Greenwald notes, the only (halfway) tough question that this guy Gregory asked of the Israeli Foreign Minister is why they're not hitting Gaza even harder!

While it's encouraging that the the non-corporate media in the US is clearly feeling much less restrained in their own reporting of this story, unfortunately it's the large multi-national organisations that still hold much great sway over the formation of public opinion.

Lucy said...

From what i have seen on the TV news, the Israeli spokesmen only seem to want to go back as far as 2005 when Hamas were voted into power as if to depict that everything was a bed of roses up until then.
Interviews on CNN and Fox were a bad joke and the BBC seem unsure about how hard to press, the demonstrations outisde the Israeli Embassy were quickly passed over. Channel 4 news is the only mainstream media station i have seen really lay into Israel justifications, the rest just seem happy to not ask too many awkward questions.

Annie said...

what the media SHOULD be showing is the pictures of the victims-many, many children.

instead, we get a carefully sanitized, censored view of the horror.

bravo, lucy.

Lucy said...

The carefully selected pictures being shown on the TV channels here are heartbreaking enough Annie but i'm not sure if you receive any of the Arab channels over their but they don't leave anything out, it is just horrific. How anyone can see them and support what Israel is doing is mindboggling.

Noah "Nog" M. said...

"the list of places it has bombed over the past four days include a University, a school, mosques, police stations, refugee camps and private homes."

Mosques that stash firearms and preach hate, a University which teaches hate, a school which teaches hate, police stations controlled by a terrorist organizations, refugee camps with terrorists in them, and private homes which are unfortunately neighbors of private homes occupied by men who kill and preach hate

What's the issue?

Obviously the settler program is ridiculous. But starting a rocket attack was just wrong. If the settlers are a problem deal with them directly instead of just shooting indiscriminately against 100% pure civilian targets. At least Israel tries to hit only military related targets.