Monday, 26 January 2009

BBC & Sky Gaza Appeal

I'm all for appeals to raise funds to support those in need and it is hard to think of any more needy than the people in Gaza at the moment. The BBC and Sky TV are declining to show an appeal for aid on behalf of victims of the recent war in Gaza. The reason being given is that it could compromise there impartiality and although i may not agree with them, i can understand their reasoning because a quick scan of the number of victims during the three week conflict shows a horribly disproportionate amount of deaths and injuries on the Palestinian side.
Fourteen dead Israelis, six of them by friendly fire and a minimal amount of damage to buildings just doesn't stack up against 1,300 deaths, over 4000 injured and 21,000 buildings damaged.
While the DEC and its gathering of charities set about raising millions to help the pitiful plight of the Palestinians, the bigger question is who is going to pay to rebuild Gaza which has an estimated $1.8 bn worth of damage done to it. Palestine can't do it, there economy has been decimated by three years of blockades.
The obvious answer is Israel whose indiscriminate use of force targeted not only Hamas buildings but schools, warehouses, power stations, private residences and farms. They did more damage and killed more civilians in the first day of attacks than Hamas managed in eight years of lobbing home made missiles into Israel and while Israel is rearmed and funded by its wealthy backers, Palestinians are left to rebuild their shattered existence.
Maybe those arming Israel should be made to dig deep into their pockets, the US, the UK who sell arms to Israel despite Israel being on our list of countries that we shouldn't be selling arms to in the first place.
Possibly the Arab countries who kept quiet out of a hatred of Hamas while Israel went about its killing and maiming should be chipping in to rebuild Gaza.
Someone has to rebuild Gaza to ease the suffering, redirect some of the aid destined for Israel towards it but more importantly, Israel has to be punished for its actions otherwise whatever gets rebuilt will only be wrecked the next time Israel wants to teach its substantially much smaller, weaker and practically unarmed neighbour a lesson in murderous revenge.

24 comments:

Noah "Nog" M. said...

Hamas has never been in the closet about the fact that they wanted to fight in the most populated areas without uniforms on to maximize their own civilian casualties for among other things, PR purposes. And they certainly made no attempt to sally out against the IDF. If Hamas wants to use Palestinian civilians as human shields and increase the costs of telling between civilian and unlawful belligerent (which ununiformed soldier are), the resulting civilian casualties are their problem.

If they had sallied out or even simply worn uniforms one could blame the IDF for a sizable portion of the civilian casualties. But I don't know many reasons why a good military commander would cave to an opponent who uses human shields by refusing to kill the shield to get to the opponent. Likewise, if an opponent considers every building a potential military base, every building is a legitimate military target. Schools and hospitals became fair game because Hamas put them in play.

The numbers are awful and they must be attributed to the actions of Hamas. It seems now as though the IDF behaved quite reasonably.

-Nog

Don said...

Concur. Disproportionate damage doesn't by itself mean the IDF are the bad guys. If the Palestinians ever had a responsible government, they'd be among the Arab world's most prosperous nations. Israel would love to do good business there. I know many Israelis, this is a fact. But they have to protect themselves first and as we all know, the Jews were long since taught the lesson that compromise is a bad idea.

David G said...

Why do you tolerate these fawning, ill-informed, compassionless Israeli-apologists on your blog, Lucy?

I despair!

Lucy said...

Human shields is not just a Hamas tactic, Israel have been criticed for years for using Palestinians for the same reason.

Palestine has an alternative more pro-Israel government in the West Bank and yet they still die (54 last year) and their houses still got bulldozed and built on. Is it better to be placid and get walked over or fight back and get walked on?

Hamas must take some of the blame for the large numbers of deaths and injuries but the huge majority of the blame lands on Israels shoulders for the indiscriminate manner it went about its business with no regard for innocent civilians. You can't drop chemical weapons in a built up area, target schools, hospitals and UN safe havens and then bleat that the loss of innocent life is a mistake. They could of taken Hamas up on any number of the ceasefires they offered during the 3 weeks, they could have not broken the initial one and nobody would have died at all.

Chris said...

The Un school Israel said that they were returnign fire, then changed it to Hamas stored missiles there and then finally admitted that a tank round fell short of its target and hit the school.

The Un warehouse Israel said they were returning fire from Hamas gunmen who were in the UN compound, then they said the gunmen were just outside the compound and then said they were streets away but again it was an aiming error.

Anymore Israeli lies about how they delibretly killed Palestinians right under the noses of the Un and yet they get away with it?

Don said...

I admit to less than total knowledge of the details and was and remain appalled at the use of phosphorous where there might be children. I don't mean to apologize for Israel but to uphold a common standard. Per Lucy's opening point it is true the Gazans need much aid and though the wealthy Arab nations should set aside their cultural conservatism and pitch in, certainly the Israelis should too, if Hamas will allow it (which I doubt).

I have yet to hear a credible explanation of any motive for Israel to kill and impoverish the Palestinians except to make practical their own defense in the face of a proven need for it. Or am I simply naive? If Mexico's house was in order I'd want that border opened as well, but until then ...

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

Life on the Mexican and U.S. border may be as bad for the Mexicans as living in Gaza is for the Gazans.

Hard to believe, but true. Murders (drug wars), drug wars, and gang shootings (drug wars) have killed hundreds (that's just the deaths reported). Plus the poverty level in Mexico makes U.S. poverty look middle class.

Q

effay said...

I don't like commenting on the whole Israel vs. stuff because I have no idea what is really going on over there. However, I really don't like this idea that disproportionate force is somehow bad on principle. In almost every war there comes a point where there is disproportionate force being used. If the winning side had to scale back every time they started winning too much it would just mean perpetual war. I mean this is like saying that when the Soviets were marching on Berlin they should have stopped and waited a few years for Hitler to build back up again so it could be a more even match.

The argument should be about mis-proportionate force.

David G said...

I congratulate you, Lucy, on your attempt to highlight yet again another terrible injustice carried out by Israel with America's help and support.

It seems a shame that your efforts are constantly undermined by a clique of indoctrinated cretins from America.

Good try, anyway!

Cheezy said...

The BBC is confounding a few of its odder critics right now... This would be the same far-left America-hating BBC that has declined to run the Gaza appeal, wouldn't it?

Ho-de-ho.

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

I congratulate you for tolerating wackos from Australia - even if they are psychotic, hateful, Ameriphobes.

With David it is his way or no way... The behavior that David exhibits would make him a natural fit for either the far left wing of the Democratic party or the far right wing of the Republican party. The very thing that we don't need any more of in this world.

Q

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

One other thing you might share with David. The approach of taking ever caustic positions and opinions about Americans isn't actually making a difference in any world except his...

Q

Don said...

Hey, I'm an indoctrinated cretin! Yay me! Sounds fancy.

Noah "Nog" M. said...

On the whole issue of the TV ad refusal though, I would have to agree that the BBC choice was a bit cheezy.


I'm not really sure what exactly happens in the "Economy of Gaza". I'm pretty sure Gaza doesn't have a comparative advantage growing in any major export crop. If this mess ever ends they'll probably end up as a manufacturing hub for a while.

But keeping the region on charity isn't a sustainable strategy (although it is necessary in the short term).

Lucy said...

Thank you Don for dragging the topic back to the issue of who is going to pay for the reconstruction of Gaza.
I do find it interesting that yourself and effay both admit to not knowing the details of what happened and what is happening there. Is it you just haven't found out the details for wahtyever reason or they were not that widely reported there in the USA?

Don said...

I don't pay much attention to networked or otherwise packaged news, and haven't much time to dig into any one thing on my own. My perspective is mostly reflective i.e. informed by columns and opinions and not manipulated by the emotion-grabbing images everyone else seems to see but me. My first access to "news" is usually either NPR (relatively "liberal" non-commercial radio) or whatever Google News happens to have up. I have no idea how Gaza was reported in the US and also have zero idea what the above mentions of BBC ad refusal were about. What I do know is Hamas has put its people in a tight spot, Egypt has put itself in a tight spot, and Israel will always be in a tight spot no matter what. I have no problem positing that the creation of that country was an historical error but I'm not a fan of the sort of bloodshed undoing it would entail. People around there need to accept the possibilities in what is and let go their johnson for destruction. This goes for the sideline leftists too, but leftism being a fundamentally destructive philosophy I'm not holding my breath.

Cheezy said...

"What I do know is Hamas has put its people in a tight spot, Egypt has put itself in a tight spot, and Israel will always be in a tight spot no matter what."

All undoubtedly right, Don, and I'd never attempt to exonerate anyone - be they military, paramilitary or nonmilitary - who fires rockets at civilians. However I think we need to put these facts into the correct context and acknowledge that it was Israel who violated the truce that was established last June.

"Hamas agreed to halt rocket fire into Gaza in exchange for an Israeli promise to ease the draconian siege that made the shipment of vital material and food into Gaza nearly impossible. And once the agreement was reached, the Hamas rocket fire ended. Israel, however, never upheld its end of the agreement. It increased the severity of the siege. U.N. agencies complained. International relief organizations condemned the Israeli blockade. And there were even rumblings inside Israel."

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090126_with_gaza_journalists_fail_again/

I hate Hamas with a passion. However I can see that the average Palistinian might be thinking that - in a world where this sort of thing goes on, and goes virtually unreported in the MSM - if they didn't exist, someone would have to invent them.

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

As much as I dislike our U.S. media I have to admit that we hear both sides of every issue (with a slightly idealistic left leaning). And, we aren't restricted to them. For the record, we have Arabic news channels on cable/satellite, the BBC, Mexican news channels, Canadian news, etc. And of course, thanks to Al Gore, we have Internet access... yes, even in the deepest, darkest, most ignorant areas like Texas.

Q

PS - we also "Falling On A Bruise"

Cheezy said...

Q- If you've seen any, I'd be interested in seeing any links to stories by CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox (and the like) that allege that it was Israel who first violated the truce.

I'm not saying they don't exist. Maybe they do. I don't follow any of the above too closely. But I'd definitely be interested in having a look at those stories, if they're out there.

Anonymous said...

Cheezy,

I don't care who "first" violated the truce. AND THE WORLD WILL NEVER KNOW. That is same argument that we hear everyday. "The who fired the first shot" question leads to the following:

well in 1989 you did this...
thats because in 1967 you...
well in 1947 you started it...
thats because in 1870 you...
well in 1215 you took...
thats because in 605 you...
well before Jesus you killed...
thats because it was ours...
well King David slaughtered...
thats because you hurt Noah...
well Cain was mean to Abel...
thats because...

blah blah blah blah blah

we will not ever resolve the differences until both sides and the rest of the world say enough of the history (modified for successful arguement).

what are we going to do to go forward?

Cheezy, without doubt VAST numbers of Americans side with Israel, and our media favors Israel (just like they favor the Democratic Party). That doesn't mean we are able to get both sides of the story.

Plus we have you to keep us informed.

Q

Lucy said...

I didn't mean that you didn't get both sides of the story from the US media Q, it was the slant placed upon the coverage i was asking about.

Cheezy said...

Q - I'm sorry you misunderstood what I was trying to say.

Lucy - quite so. You understood my point perfectly. I never for a moment suggested that I was 100% convinced that it was Israel who violated the truce, and I would certainly be the last to propose that just because one side commits an atrocity then this justifies the other side doing the same. On the contrary, I think that this cycle of violence is an appalling and near-sighted thing. The religious aspect of the whole issue I find nauseatingly ignorant.

My one-and-only-point was that the question of who the aggressor is in this conflict is a highly contested matter, but I suspect that you wouldn't know that it's a contentious matter if you limited your research to a perusal of the mainstream media in the US, which seems to just be parrotting the line coming out of the Israeli government... However, as my previous comment made clear, I'd be happy (delighted, actually) if I was proven wrong about this.

Anonymous said...

Cheezy and Lucy,

I think I already noted that our media is slanted. We are agreeing if that is your main point.

To me your commented "implied" that we don't have both sides here, or it implies that a large percentage of Americans get all or almost all of their information from the so called "mainstream press" - the mainstream press is quickly going out of business - the New York Times is even failing because people here get their news on the web, blogs, and cable/satellite. Only people over 70 watch the 6:00 news with CBS NBC ABC anymore. Everybody knows that FOX is where you go if you want to hear something from the political-right. You go to CNN, BBC, and others for political-left or "neutral" (ha ha ha).

Q

Anonymous said...

Cheezy,

I just got this from one of my American news sources (not the mainstream like NBC, CBS, ABC but American)...

"The incessant US media and government message focuses on Israel's "right to defend itself" while minimizing or ignoring the long sequence of Israeli provocations leading up to its invasion while also failing to cite the real tally from the preceding mutual hostilities. In the months prior to Israel's December 27th attack, homemade Hamas projectiles fired into Israel killed no one. (Over the past several years prior to the invasion, 13 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. Between 2005 and 2007 alone, the Israeli Defense Force killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.)

Also largely absent from United States war coverage are the contributing factors Palestinians claim precipitated their primitive Qassam rocket launches into Israel. Chief among them, Israel's 18-month starvation blockade of 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians squeezed into densely populated Gaza (described by the Vatican as "a big concentration camp") and Israel's pre-invasion assassination of six Palestinian officials."

Q