Tag Archives: Gaza

Hélas in Gaza and other stories

You may have though not much has been going on in Gaza recently. That is, if you stick to the mainstream media.

When it comes to the BBC, my headline could have been ‘Clueless in Gaza’. Apologies to both John Milton and Aldous Huxley.

BBCWatch is running with a story which perfectly illustrates how propaganda against Israel works. First the lie, then the apology, or the short footnote hidden away on a page of a daily newspaper, or Goldstone saying if he knew then what he knows now, or a cartoonist saying ‘but I didn’t realise it was offensive’, or Ha’aretz issuing a ‘correction’.

The story I am referring to is about Omar Mashrawi. I’m sure you recall the heart-rending scenes as Jihad Mashrawi, a BBC employee at the time,  paraded the dead body of his son Omar through Gaza City during Operation Pillar of Cloud, Israel’s operation to stop rocket fire from Gaza.

John Donnison, the BBC correspondent on the ground wrote how the boy had been killed by a shell fired by the Israelis. Despite the evidence at the scene appearing to contradict this claim, or at least causing severe doubt, nevertheless, yet another Palestinian dead baby story was attributed to the Israelis.

Three months later we find the probable truth via no less than the UN HRC as the BBCWatch article tells us, and I quote extensively because I cannot improve on it:

On March 6th 2013 the UN HRC issued an advance version of its report on the November 2012 hostilities and blogger Elder of Ziyon bothered to read the whole thing. The report states on page 14 that a UN investigation found that:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A footnote adds that the UN investigated the incident itself.

Omar Masharawi was the only 11 month-old infant killed on November 14th in the Zaitoun neighbourhood (although the woman killed at the same time was not in fact his mother as the UN report states, but his father’s brother’s wife; Hiba). 

The BBC used the story of Omar Masharawi to advance the narrative of Israel as a ruthless killer of innocent children. It did so in unusually gory detail which etched the story in audiences’ minds, but without checking the facts, and with no regard whatsoever for its obligations to accuracy and impartiality. BBC reporters and editors  – including Jon Donnison, Paul Danahar and the many others who distributed the story via Twitter – rushed to spread as far and wide as possible a story they could not validate, but which fit in with their own narrative.

It is impossible to undo the extensive damage done by the BBC with this story. No apology or correction can now erase it from the internet or from the memories of the countless people who read it or heard it. Nevertheless, the people responsible for the fact that the unverified story was allowed to run – and that it was deliberately given such exceptionally extensive coverage – must be held accountable for their failure to even try to uphold the standards to which the BBC professes to adhere. 

Thus, Israel is demonised. And it is not only western journalists who do it, but Israeli ones too.

Ha’aretz published a story about how Ethiopian women entering Israel were given contraceptive injections. The point being that Israel, which insists it is not a racist, apartheid state, is trying to limit the birth rate of Africans because it is racist. Even at the time the story was rebutted by many sources.The explanation was that these were not long-lasting contraceptive jabs but reversible short-term ones and made at the request of the women for whom more conventional forms of contraception are taboo.

As a result the practice was stopped as being inappropriate.

Nevertheless, what do we find? yes, a plethora of reports telling the world how nasty those Israelis are to let black people into the country and then limit their fertility. The whole idea is nonsense anyway. If Israel were that racist, why spend so much time and effort bringing Ethiopian Jews into Israel in the first place?

And now Ha’aretz has not only given context to its story but has highlighted how its own journalism was hijacked by those with anti-Israel agendas.

 But the story has taken on a life of its own internationally. The words “forced” and “coercion” are being thrown around in the international coverage. Images of Mengele-level persecution of clueless, helpless victims being marched by force from camps to clinics to receive their injections have been conjured up, as the story has travelled from the Israeli media to the national mainstream media, to international and niche publications. The headlines run from the oversimplified to deliberately twisted:

Israel admits forcing birth control shots on Ethiopian women

Israel: Discrimination against Ethiopian Jews

Israel coerced Ethiopian women into taking contraceptive jabs

Israel Admits “Shameful” Birth Control Drug Injected in “Unaware” Ethiopian Jews

The most hostile coverage refers inaccurately to “sterilization” – conveniently ignoring the fact that Depo-Provera is a three-month birth control injection, for which women must voluntarily go to a clinic to receive the shots. It is insulting to the intelligence of Ethiopian women to believe that they did this for years at a time against their will. Certainly, if there was a nefarious plot to stop them from having babies, there would have been a more efficient way to do it.

Back in Gaza, if you recall, our blessed Prime Minister, David Cameron, once characterised Gaza as a prison camp whilst he was endearing himself to Turkish Islamist leader Recep Erdogan.

William Hague, our Foreign Secretary called on Israel to end the blockade.

So, no doubt they will both be much affected by the following facts:

COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) regularly reports on the number of truckloads of goods entering Gaza which continued even under rocket fire. http://www.cogat.idf.il/894-en/Matpash.aspx?Sad Our noble leaders will see that the Gaza prison camp received 400 truckloads of goods and 170 tons of gas this Thursday alone.

On Tuesday 144,310 flowers were exported from Gaza through Israel.

The people of Gaza should be reaping the reward of the quiet which has descended since their government stopped bombarding Israel. Yet, Messrs Hague and Cameron should also note the following:

On the 4th March the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, a major route for goods, was closed, not by Israel but by Hamas. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/HumanitarianAid/Palestinians/Hamas_closes_Kerem_Shalom_crossing_4-Mar-2013.htm

Over 70 trucks laden with food and other goods are currently waiting on the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom crossing for their Palestinian counterparts.

The crossing is currently not operating, as the Palestinian contractor responsible for the Palestinian side decided not to open the crossing today.

His decision stems from attempts by Hamas to replace the current contractor with one of their choosing. Hamas has been actively trying to push the Palestinian Authority out and take charge of the management of Kerem Shalom so that they may collect revenue from goods that enter Gaza.

These actions by Hamas endanger the current security arrangements and threaten the operability of the crossing.

If Gaza were so desperate for goods, why would Hamas close one of its lifelines in attempt to take control of the crossing replacing the Palestinian Authority contractor? Answer? it wants a kick-back for Hamas by operating it.

And there’s more bad news for those who find Israel solely responsible for the welfare of Palestinians whose government is determined to destroy the country that is most responsible for sustaining it. Egypt is destroying smuggling tunnels.

Yes, Islamist, revolutionary, Hamas-loving, Jew-hating Egypt is destroying the tunnels used for years by Gazans to smuggle everything from couscous to Mercedes and missiles.

The smuggling tunnels linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt are a security threat and must be destroyed, a Cairo court ruled on Tuesday, responding to a petition brought by a group of lawyers and activists in the wake of a cross-border attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards in August.

The Egyptians even flooded the tunnels recently.

So Messrs Cameron and Hague, where are your complaints to the Egyptians and to Hamas about the way they are turning Gaza into a prison camp, cutting off its routes for import and export?

No, we must only hear about what measures Israel takes to feed and sustain its enemies. All countries do that, don’t they? Supply their sworn enemies with food and power? Assad does it in Syria, yes? What? He doesn’t? Oh. So other countries across the world sustain the non-combatant populations of enemy countries and entities like the Sri Lankans looked after the Tamils in areas controlled by the Tigers?

Oh, I see, only Israelis have to be so generous or else it is a war crime and collective punishment. I understand.

I understand completely.

Dead wrong: counting the cost of war in the Gaza conflict

… or the obscenity of arithmetica in bello.

I’ve lost count of the number of times in the last few days that the anti-Israel lobby on Twitter and on blogs have condemned Israel as the clear aggressor because 150 people in Gaza have died and only 5 in Israel.

Clearly, the argument goes, if more people die on one side than the other, then one side must be the evil aggressor using disproportionate force.

The fact that you are predisposed to hate Israel or at least have a negative view, and have been fed images of poor benighted Gazans starved, besieged, blockaded, denied medical treatment and so on, will, of course, reinforce the view that 150:5 is an obscene ratio and, QED, Israel is guilty of heinous crimes.

An overwhelmingly powerful country is pounding and bombarding the towns and residential areas of a small outclave of 1.5 million people.

It seems blindingly obvious, doesn’t it? Who’s guilty and who’s not.

Except, why did every western nation either support or, at least, not condemn Israel’s actions? How could they take such a stance? 150:5 and they still won’t condemn Israel.

Thanks to the complete abrogation of journalistic duty in the lead up to targetted killing of a senior Hamas figure in Gaza, most of the western world, which does not follow events in Israel, were blissfully unaware of an acute escalation in rocket fire over southern Israel in the days before, a tank round fired at a jeep and a huge underground explosion attacking IDF personnel within Israel but planted across the border.

I say ‘escalation’ because rocket fire had for years been a constant fact of life for communities in Israel which lie in approximately a 35 mile radius of Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of people in this area lived in constant threat of rocket fire. The sound of sirens was an almost daily event, often occurring as children set out for or returned from school as the terrorists tried to kill children, their preferred prey. Websites and Twitter feeds were created dedicated to counting these rockets and mortar attacks.

12,000 rockets since 2000. In fact, it was rocket fire that precipitated Cast Lead in 2008-9.

If you are a Hamas apologist, this fact has to be dealt with. Any rocket fired that indiscriminately targets civilians is a war crime and potentially a crime against humanity. A rocket fired from within an urban area is also a war crime. Rockets are fired from or near schools, hospitals, UN facilities, media centres and mosques.

The apologists know that these are crimes. They have, somehow, to make a mental accommodation for these crimes so that their confirmed view of the world and Israeli evil can remain unchallenged and their hero-worship of antisemitic, misogynist, homophobic, terrorists can remain intact.

This mental gymnastic exercise thus has to decide that the rockets are ‘home made’ or ‘fireworks’ and even ‘harmless’. These crimes are ‘forced’ upon these people as their only recourse against injustice and oppression. And so the justification for war crimes and terrorism is constructed lie by lie.

But even the premise of the grievance is false. In 2005 Israel unilaterally disengaged and pulled out of Gaza. Gaza became free of Jews. Here was an opportunity to create a mini Palestine, to show the world what the Palestinian people could achieve without occupation.

But they threw that opportunity away because they allowed Islamist Hamas to take power, and as soon as they did the attacks on Israel were ramped up: rockets, suicide bombings, mortar and rocket attacks.

Why? There was no blockade, no siege. But Hamas’ objective, indeed their whole raison d’être was and still is, to destroy Israel and establish an Islamist state in Palestine.

Hamas are not interested in land or border disputes or one or two-state solutions. Their aim, as expressed in their charter, is to kill every Jew on the planet.

Now it is perfectly valid to criticise Israel’s methods to restrain Hamas in order to cut off weapons supply and to protect its citizens from suicide bombers. That is not what is being argued here. None of Israel’s actions would have been necessary if Hamas were not determined to immiserate the lives of Israelis, whilst, as it happens, immiserating the lives of its own citizen by imposing draconian Islamist laws.

No rockets = no targetted killings, no air strikes , no blockade. No suicide bombers = no embargoes and other restrictions.

Whatever opinion you may have of Israel’s policies, allowing free access to terrorists to bomb and murder your citizens is not a reasonable expectation of any country. You can’t ask a country to strip itself bare of defences because you happen to have a grievance against it, and demand it allow open season on the people it is legally obliged to protect.

No other country that I know, whether western democracy or tyrannical state, and certainly no other country in the region would allow hundreds of rockets to rain down on its citizenry just because world opinion says its policies are wrong. When a missile from Syria struck a town in Turkey a few weeks ago, just one missile, Turkey did not sit on its hands, it retaliated.

Imagine thousands of rockets being fired from Syria into Turkey. How would Mr Erdoğan react? If that fire came from within Syrian cities would he spare his neighbours? Would he make an arithmetic calculation or move to save his citizens? And would the world agree?

And what about Turkey’s ongoing battle with its own terrorists, the PKK. Turkey is a member of NATO with overwhelming military and air superiority attacking and killing Kurds almost daily. Who says this is disproportionate or that more Kurds than Turks are being killed, so Turkey must, QED, be the bad guy? No-one. The Kurds, who have a far better and prior claim to their own state than the Palestinians, just do not figure in any deliberations in a UN monopolised by Israel-haters obsessed with the fact that Jews have a country and are prepared to defend it.

But, oh, the moral mathematicians opine, Israel attacks civilians in urban and built up areas.

So,they are saying that because Hamas commits a war crime by embedding itself amongst the people it is supposed to protect and fires rockets and stockpiles weapons, illegally, in schools and mosques, that Israel cannot defend itself? Well it can according to international law, as long as it does so proportionately.

1500 targets were hit by Israel. 150 people died in Gaza. No-one in the media has yet, to my knowledge, distinguished how many of that 150 were combatants. It is at least half. See this article in Daled Amos for why that estimate is probably accurate.

Let’s say 75 civilians killed in densely populated areas in 1500 attacks and we are back to the obscenity of one civilian for every 20 attacks. Is that indiscriminate?

But wait. We learn that many rockets land short. They actually fall in Gaza and as there is no warning, they kill.
The IDF spokesperson reported, much to the disbelief of the haters, that 99 rockets had fallen short in 4 days. The final figure I have seen is 152 out of 1506 (which, incidentally means Israel dropped as many bombs as Hamas fired rockets = proportionality?) Even this morning the Iron Dome twitter feed reported that they had taken no action against a rocket fired toward Ashkelon (reported as a false alarm several hours after the ceasefire) because it had fallen short.

The disbelievers might like to consider that there are several factions in Gaza who do have a homemade rocket industry rather than the more sophisticated weapons of Hamas, and these are prone to failure, often with deadly consequence for the civilians in Gaza and which are then covered up as Israeli crimes. It might be sobering to note that ‘celebratory gunfire’ after the ceasefire caused the death of one person and injury to three others. This shows how much the authorities care for their own people.

If we make a ‘guesstimate’ of 1 in 10 casualties as being victims of friendly fire (and it may be greater), the ratio of deaths per attack is even less. And if we then account for Hamas’ well-documented use of human shields, deliberately putting people in harm’s way to increase casualty figures so they can make these very claims of disproportionate force, then the figures become truly remarkable. They show that Israel really does try to avoid civilian casualties at the same time Hamas seeks to maximise them.

Yes, I know the horrendous story of the family that was wiped out; 10 members in one attack which Israel needs to account for and explain. But the obscenity of arithmetic means that the putative 75 or even 50 civilian dead becomes 65 or 40 in 1499 attacks. That is almost impossible and unprecedented. Remember Iraq and the air attack on Baghdad? Think of the thousands killed in Homs and other Syrian towns and cities. I suggest you cast your mind back to 2003 and look at an article in the Guardian and compare notes between what the forces of the US and the UK do when they bomb cities. How about this BBC report – 50 dead in one air raid.

How many Israelis would have died without the Iron Dome missile defence system, without safe rooms and without early warning sirens, (if you can call 15 seconds and early warning for the people in Sderot and other towns near to the Gaza border)? Would it have been 1 for every 20 rockets? Possibly. But there we go down the road of justification by arithmetic again.

Bottom line is: if you are constantly firing rockets at me, and I respond only by targetting those who fire them rather than the stockpiles and the infrastructure that supports them, sooner or later I am going to go for a more radical solution.

So the math, as they say in America, is a clear demonstration that contrary to what the innumerate pro-Hamasniks want you to think, and with a couple of provisos, Israel acted impeccably, whilst Hamas behaved the way a bunch of evil terrorists in control of a mini state would behave: illegally, mercilessly, mendaciously and pervertedly.

In other words, no words can describe the depths of inhumanity that these people can stoop to. And yet, so many westerners love and adore them and hold rallies for them and say they are All Hamas and send delegations to them. Yes, they are All wannabee genocides, terrorists, torturers, war criminals and antisemites. What a wonderful world we live in.

So please, Israel haters everywhere, contrary to what someone tweeted to me, the numbers DO lie because although they are important they do not even begin to tell the whole story.

To quote numbers only is an admission that you have lost the moral argument. Go figure.

Update: IDF official figure 177 casualties, 57 uninvolved – so my math was pretty good – if you trust the IDF, that is, which you won’t if you chose to believe terrorists who have been shown to lie and falsify evidence. Your choice.

Update: Whoa! Mishal Hussein BBC news anchor joins in the numbers game and shows her own prejudices

And Peter Tatchell, clueless on Gaza in the Huff Post “Israel launched more than 1,500 airstrikes on Gaza, while Islamists fired over 1,000 rockets into Israel. At least 160 Palestinians were killed, including dozens of civilians, and five Israelis died too. A rather one-sided death toll. Nevertheless, I mourn all these deaths.” Otherwise, despite ignorance, not bad from  Tatchell – at least he calls out Hamas for what they are. (my emphasis)

Another low for the BBC News website

Since the beginning of the week dozens of rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel in a significant ramping up of the usual barely (if at all) reported regular barrage that penetrates southern Israeli cities towns and rural communities. On Tuesday an IDF officer was critically wounded in attack near the Gaza border.

On Twitter and in Israeli newspapers and other online media and websites this barrage was big news. Israel employed its Iron Dome defence system which is only partially effective in protecting large conurbations far enough away from launch sites. Typically Israelis have 15 seconds to get to shelters once the sirens sound.

Then two farm workers near Kissufim were badly injured by rocket fire.

On the BBC and its website what was the reaction for at least two days? We are talking about the world’s most respected news service, allegedly.

Nothing. Zip, Nada. Goor nisht.

I and friends online came to the conclusion that the BBC would not report this until Israel responded and that the headline would imply that Israel was the aggressor.

Sure enough, yesterday, Israel did respond and the BBC’s own response was immediate; there it was on the website’s World and Middle East pages with “Militants killed in Gaza strike’.

BBCWatch have been assiduously reporting this timeline and you can see their reports at BBCwatch.org

That report seems to have disappeared (actually buried and changed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20054554) and been replaced with a more balanced one ‘Israel and Hamas ‘negotiate unofficial truce’ in Gaza’

I’m sure the original is somewhere in the BBC archive but I would hazard a guess they had several complaints about it and updated it. This is typical. A piece appears with a headline reversing cause and effect; the body of the piece often contradicts the headline and draws some moral equivalence between unprovoked attacks on civilian targets by Hamas or Gaza-based ‘militants’ and Israel’s response to prevent further attacks by targeting those about to fire or those who it knows have already done so.

Today we now have two very different pieces from the BBC. The one about the truce at last puts the horse before the cart:

Five have been injured in Israel since rocket attacks began on Monday.

Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza City, killing at least six militants.

…..

On Wednesday, more than 70 rockets were launched into southern Israel, injuring five people, two critically, according to the Israeli military.

In response, Israeli aircraft and tanks targeted rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza.

Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, confirmed it had been involved in firing dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel.

In a statement, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades and a smaller Gaza-based militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), said: “These holy missions come in response to the repeated, continuous crimes of the enemy against our people.”

But should we not have a headline at some point during this timeline which says ‘Five Israelis critically injured by rockets from Gaza‘ or ‘Israel responds to escalation of attacks in the South‘?

I’m sure we could all write a better, more balanced headline than the ones being spewed out from the BBC Mid-East  desk.

Now, if you have any doubts about the level of moral degradation that the BBC’s reporting of this conflict has now reached you only have to look at the report by Jon Donnison who appears to be following in the illustrious footsteps of Jeremy Bowen and Barbara Plett reaching new heights of ignorance and moral bankruptcy.

Please be careful. This reports contains graphic examples of the BBC’s egregious attempts at what it calls ‘balance’ but is simply either bias, stupidity or moral decrepitude. (There was, apparently, an even worse report by Donnison last night which I have not been able to source yet)

Here’s the link in all its emetic glory. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20073219

The text below the video:

Mourners in the Gaza Strip have buried four Palestinian militants killed in Israeli air strikes over the past two days.

Israel said the militants were hit as they prepared to fire rockets into southern Israel.

It says at least 60 rockets and mortar shells have landed on its territory, seriously injuring three people. Schools have been closed on both sides of the border for fear of more attacks. 

Ah – ‘Israel said’ – in other words we should not believe the Israelis but swallow whole anything emanating from terrorist-occupied Gaza.

And ‘schools have been closed both sides of the border‘ just to emphasise that same old moral equivalence. If schools have been closed in Gaza then it’s a precaution not normally offered to its children when rockets are launched from them.  Or maybe it’s a good idea to close these schools to demonstrate to the BBC in particular how they protect their children. Or maybe Eid has something to do with it?

In the report Donnison does not show us hundreds of thousands of Israelis cowering in bomb shelters but the funeral of ‘militants’ killed by Israeli air strikes, and quoties Hamas. He leaves out the fact that this was after dozens of rockets hit Israel. We see mourning relatives and Gazans taking cover but absolutely nothing about Israelis.

These reports do tell us what actually happened if you care to decipher the text and remove the veneer of ‘balance’ but it certainly takes a strong solvent and an even stronger stomach.

 

Hamas reduces trade with Israel; Israel gives Gazan children free medical treatment

News this week that Hamas has halved the import of Israeli fruit, because to buy from Israel is to buy from the enemy. This move is part of the ‘resistance’. Only apples and bananas are now allowed in by Hamas. They want to cultivate their own fruit industry.

This is fine. It’s a great idea to be self-sufficient. But they are not so yet. In the meantime their own people will suffer price hikes and, presumably, as a result, many will go without this essential and important part of their diet.

Hang on a minute. Are we not being constantly told that it is Israel that is causing malnutrition because of the ‘blockade’? Is Israel not to blame for the black market in goods including foodstuffs?

But here we have Hamas punishing its own people for ideological reasons.
Of course, it will still be Israel’s fault. After all, were there no Zionist entity there would be no need for resistance and the benighted Gazans would have all the oranges and limes they could eat.

It is a shame that the Gazan authorities failed to stop the looting of millions of dollars worth of greenhouses which were actually purchased by American Jews from former Jewish settlers in Gaza. These American Jews then donated the greenhouses to the Palestinians of Gaza. They were all but destroyed in a matter of days in 2005.

And what do we now hear? Another flotilla is on its way from Europe in a further attempt to break the blockade and to keep Gaza in the news whilst Syria burns. Will they be bring fruit (not apples and bananas as they are clearly not yet ideologically tainted enough for Hamas to ban their import from Israel).

Is it not utterly extraordinary that Hamas imports anything at all from the evil Zionist entity? Is it not utterly extraordinary that the genocidal Zionist entity would want to feed the people it is trying to commit genocide against? Those Jews, eh. Anything to make a quick shekel.

But those genocidal Jews are really being outrageously cynical and hypocritical. They are actually saving the lives of Gazan children – for free! Is there no end to the lengths the Jews will go to whitewash their many crimes.

Mohamed and Hadeel (both 12), Hadeel’s brother Ahmad (15) and six-month-old Lian all suffer from kidney insufficiency and have been hospitalized for several months at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. They have been receiving lifesaving therapy while awaiting kidney transplants.

Image by Pioter Fliter courtesy of Rambam Medical Center

Mahdi Tarabia, head nurse of the Pediatric Nephrology Unit, explained that the treatment they need, peritoneal dialysis, is not available in the West Bank and Gaza, so medical authorities from these areas cooperate with Rambam to save children’s lives.

“The hemodialysis treatment that these children were given before their arrival at Rambam was associated with medical complications, resulting in a worsening of their condition and many hospitalizations,” he explained.

As opposed to hemodiaysis, where the blood is cleansed via an artificial kidney over the course of several hours a few times per week, in peritoneal dialysis the treatment is given through the abdomen overnight, not interfering with the child’s daytime activities. Each of the young patients’ families has been trained by Rambam’s staff to administer peritoneal dialysis.

The families received the equipment required for this treatment, and the solution used with it, from Teva Pharmaceuticals. The company will arrange to have supplies conveyed through the Erez checkpoint at the border of Israel and Gaza.

The three schoolchildren are soon due to be sent home, while the recently arrived baby still needs time to be stabilized.

Sometimes things are not quite as black and white the Palestinians and the media would like them to be.

So, as I was saying about valuing life, valuing death…

I recently posted a blog about the Palestinian death cult masquerading as ‘resistance’.

The very next day Challah Hu Akbar broke a story about a Palestinian Kindergarten in Gaza which promotes this particular form of resistance.

This story soon spread like wildfire across the Net invoking predictable reactions on both sides.

What was instructive was contrast between the outrage of people I would call ‘right-thinking’ and the apologists for this particular form of child abuse who, of course, blamed it on Israel and even accused Israelis and their supporters of being hypocrites because Israel teaches its children to behave the same way to Palestinians – apparently.

First, here’s the very brief article from Challah Hu Akbar:

The following photos were taken at a recent graduation ceremony at a Gaza City kindergarten.

According to the director of the kindergarten, they have this every year during the graduation ceremony.

 One of the children is quoted as saying “When I grow up I will be working in Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, and I will resist the Zionist enemy and fire rockets at it until I die a martyr.” The same child says that he loves “the resistance” and hopes to “kill” Zionists.

Here’s just one image:

Let me remind you – this is a kindergarten.

This story was taken up by YNet News

Here’s a flavour of that article:

One child, Hamza, said “When I grow up I’ll join Islamic Jihad and the al-Quds Brigades. I’ll fight the Zionist enemy and fire missiles at it until I die as a shahid and join my father in heaven.

“I love the resistance and the martyrs and Palestine, and I want to blow myself up on Zionists and kill them on a bus in a suicide bombing,” he said.

During the ceremony the children “demonst


rated” how Israel treats Palestinian prisoners. In the display, handcuffed children depicting inmates were placed in cages, with an “Israeli guard” standing nearby.

Another child depicting an Israeli prison guard placed the head of a “Palestinian prisoner” in a bucket of water to demonstrate how Palestinian prisoners are “tortured” in Israel.

“At every kindergarten graduation ceremony we focus on the children to represent the role of struggling and resistance in the way of Allah so they will grow up to love the resistance and serve the cause of Palestine and Holy Jihad, as well as to make them leaders and fighters to defend the holy soil of Palestine,” one of the teachers said.   

מדמים חייל שמטביע עצור פלסטיני

Most instructive were some of the comments.  Here goes – get the sick bag ready.

Jarda from the Czech republic said:

They are right

You stole their land, you expelled them from their homes. They are right to hate you. I wish them good luck in their fight against intruders.

MO from ‘Palestine’:

What are the kids in Israel doing in their KG? how to make a pizza????
Don’t beleive that :-)
Hee guys … you are pressing the people in Gaza like a lemon from all sites … what do expect??? 

Marwan, Tel Aviv ‘Palestine’

so how is this different from what settlers teach their kids

oh come now! who do you think you’re kidding with such reports?! we all know that hate & racism are taught in israeli schools 24/7 and everyday of the year! it’s even in every page of the curriculum! so stop trying to fool the world with such lame propaganda stunts… we won’t teach our children to love those who wanna enslave and murder them!

So you see, how hatred justifies the most appalling moral depravity. But this is not ordinary hatred; it is a perverted religious death cult so obscene that it its adherents and apologists have to invent an even greater depravity to justify it resulting in a downward spiral of unimaginable dehumanisation not just of the ‘enemy’ but the self and a society.

You cannot argue or rationalise this kind of nihilism which feeds on itself.

As I continued to read Rabbi Israel Meir Lau’s great memoir, Out of the Depths, today I came across the final words of Hitler’s will written before he committed suicide in the bunker:

Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.

Did not Hitler put uniforms on children and indoctrinate them in Jew-hatred?

 

BBC, Gaza and continued illegitimate reporting

The blatant misreporting and misrepresentation of Israel’s self-defensive action against rocket fire from Gaza continues to be a national disgrace.

There’s something very rotten in the State of the BBC’s Middle East desk on its news website.

Only today did the continuing murderous barrage of southern Israel which puts a million lives at risk, not to mention property and treasure, actually make it to the website’s home page. Although even that small mention now seems to have disappeared.

And what was the headline to direct us to this sudden escalation in rocket fire from Gaza which has seen over 200 missiles launched since Friday? Was it “Miltitants in Gaza launch rocket barrage against southern Israel’?

Not bloody likely. This is the BBC, remember and they seem only interested, for the sake of balance, of course, to highlight Israel’s response in defence of its citizens.

‘Israel launches fresh airstrikes on Gaza’

This was the disgusting headline.

“Israeli (sic) says almost 100 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel since the exchange of fire began.”

Subtle, no? Israel ‘says’ – after all, you take what Israel ‘says’ with a strong dose of scepticism, no? And ‘since the exchange of fire’. Thus, in a sentence, neutralising and sanitising the assault on Israel and characterising it as morally equivalent that Israel’s fire, in response to the rockets, is somehow a justification for the rocket fire from the Gaza side. So, once again,  cause and response are turned on their head.

In fact, the report lies and implies that Israel is responsible for the escalation:

“The latest flare-up began on Friday when an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City killed militant commander Zohair al-Qaisi, secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and two of his associates.”

What it does not mention is that al-Qaisi was plotting a terrorist attack. When the British or Americans take out terrorist leaders in Afghanistan that is justified but because the BBC is ‘neutral’ about the Israel-Palestine conflict and terrorists are ‘activists’ or ‘militants’, taking them out is an ‘escalation’ not a defensive act.

The Arab League, which has proved useless in preventing the horrors in Homs in Syria, characterised the 15 deaths of terrorists and rocket firers as a ‘massacre’. I wonder what the minimum number of Palestinians is to be called a ‘massacre’ ? 5? 10? In Syria it appears to be several hundred. Are innocent Syrian lives worth so much less than Palestinian militants in the debased arithmetic of the Arab world?

And just to show how even-handed the BBC is, what picture do they show us? The school in Beersheva hit by a rocket? No, they show us the results of an airstrike on Rafah where one person was killed.

UN spokesman Richard Miron called the situation in Gaza “very fragile and unsustainable”.

“We deplore the fact that civilians are once again paying the price,” he said.

I wonder whose civilians he means? Could it be the 1 million Israelis who are indiscriminately targeted by rockets and mortars? Or those in Gaza who are unfortunate enough to pay the price for the actions of groups who care nothing for the safety of their own fellow citizens? Maybe he means both? But I doubt it.

And whilst Israel closes its schools (and it’s lucky it did, as one rocket hit a school in Beersheva as I mentioned above) to protect its children, in Gaza, no doubt as has always been the case, schoolyards and hospitals, mosques and residential areas are used as bases for rocket launchers with the callous, deliberate and cynical hope that Israel will strike and injure or kill ‘martyrs’ and bring opprobrium on itself.

It is instructive to muse what would be the situation if Israel were Syria and Netanyahu Assad. What response would there be to hundreds of rockets aimed at civilians? Israel’s restraint is in gross contrast to Assad’s brutal massacre of his own people. Indeed, as the rockets rained down, Israel was discussing how to continue to deliver humanitarian aid through its crossings.

Assad, lays a real siege to his own people cutting off electricity and starving the populace whilst Israel feeds its enemies and provides them with the wherewithal to live.

Yet, no doubt, sooner or later, the UN will be stirring itself to condemn Israel for defending itself

 

 

Aya’s story

How often do we hear or read about how terrible Israel is preventing Palestinians in dire need of medical treatment getting through checkpoints and borders quickly enough?

How many reports have you read which characterise the massive humanitarian efforts of the Israeli medical community as somehow being part of the ‘occupation’?

I have written before about the extraordinary Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa.

I have no problem reproducing in full this story I received today which is just one example of hundreds, thousands, which are simply overlooked by the likes of the Guardian because it is a positive story which undermines all the negativity and false spin some of the media puts on anything positive which comes out of Israel.

So here is the report from the Rambam by David Ratner, Director:

Haifa, 5 February 2012

Just a Heartbeat Away…

Aya and Prof. Avraham Lorber : Photo by Pioter Filter-RHCC

When Aya Almasal, 12, left her Gaza home approximately one month ago and headed for Rambam, she didn’t know that this trip would save her life. For several years Aya had suffered from sudden bouts of unconsciousness, and her doctors couldn’t find the cause. About a month ago, Aya set out for Rambam to treat this problem, which had accompanied her since birth. Upon leaving Gaza, she felt ill and the situation steadily deteriorated. As the girl neared Rambam, in Haifa, her heart stopped working and she was, in effect, dead. After repeated attempts at resuscitation, the girl’s heart began to pump and she arrived at Rambam, artificially respirated and in serious danger. At the hospital, Aya was diagnosed as suffering from Long QT Syndrome, a disorder of the heart’s electrical system that causes irregular and rapid heart rate, and had prevented blood from reaching her brain. This had caused Aya to lose consciousness suddenly, and could have killed her.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Aya was hospitalized in Rambam’s Department of Pediatric Intensive Care, where she remained for a week. Doctors there stabilized her condition, and Dr Munder Bolus, director of the Unit of Electrophysiology implanted her with a defibrillator pacemaker. Accompanying drug treatment, the pacemaker supplies an electrical shock which ‘jump starts’ the heart during irregularities. After almost a month of hospitalization, Aya felt better, was discharged last Thursday, 2.2.12, and returned to her home in Gaza, standing on her own two feet.

According to Aya’s treating physician, Prof Avraham Lorber, who is head of Rambam’s Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart Defects, Long QT Sydrome is a widespread heart defect that can be controlled with appropriate treatment. “Aya will need a pacemaker all her life,” said Prof Lorber. “She will be monitored to be sure the pacemaker and battery are working correctly.”

Fortunately, Aya had arrived at Rambam in time to receive life-saving treatment. But the girl did not have to die in order to live. Aya’s congenital defect should have been detected earlier. “Every year we treat a number of children with these types of problems,” says Prof Lorber. “Some patients are diagnosed when they seek treatment for their irregular heart rates, and others in regular check-ups. This early detection of life-threatening problems illustrates the far-ranging implications of preventive medicine.”

Rambam’s Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Defects treats a wide range of disorders, like Aya’s. A large number of patients, some 650 children and youth, arrive from neighboring countries and are treated on a humanitarian basis. A number of Palestinian patients are currently at the department, among them a three-week old infant scheduled for heart surgery, and a 40-day old baby who needs a stent procedure. “Other Palestinian patients are now receiving treatment here or will soon be transferred to Rambam,” states Prof Lorber. Our experience in general medicine, and in cardiology, specifically, allows us to help most of these patients.”

I doubt we will see Guardian reporter Harriet Sherwood and all the others mentioning this any time soon. Unless they can find a way of making it an anti-Israel story.

BBC, the provocatilla and the manipulation of the news

Yesterday the Israeli navy intercepted two yachts trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza.

This blockade has been declared legal by the Palmer Report into the Mavi Marmara incident last year when IDF soldiers killed 9 Turkish ‘activists’ leading a convoy to bring aid to the Gaza Strip.

The two yachts were the rump of a second flotilla which tried unsuccessfully to sail from Greece earlier this year.

This time they decided to sail from Turkey.

As often happens with the BBC website, it is constantly updating its stories as events unfold.

The IDF spokesperson on Twitter Avital Leibovich created the hashtag #provocatilla and those who supported this flagrant attempt to break international law used the hashtag #freedomwaves.

Of course, those aboard the flotilla, mainly Americans and journalists, apparently, have a right to protest and even challenge international law. As long as they realise that they will have to take the consequences if they break it.

These same people are the first to condemn Israel if they are judged to have broken international law. So this was an exercise in hypocrisy. It was also a stunt which was dangerous as their boats struggled in rough seas.

There was a huge irony when the Israelis offered them medical assistance if required. I tweeted that the Israelis were “… offering humanitarian aid to those carrying ‘humanitarian aid’ ” in the full knowledge, unlike the BBC, that the boats carried no such thing.

In fact, when asked what they were carrying by the IDF, the activists told them that they were not carrying anything. So no aid. Yet this seems to have been lost on the BBC journos who characterised this as an aid flotilla thwarted by those dastardly Israelis who will stop at nothing to prevent the beleaguered Gazans from receiving that aid.

This is the first headline the BBC carried:

4 November 2011 Last updated at 14:23

Israel blocks protest boats trying to get to Gaza

Ok, so far not so bad. They were, indeed, protest boats.

The Israeli navy has intercepted and boarded two boats which were trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Exactly right.

The Irish Saoirse (Gaelic for freedom) and the Canadian Tahrir (Arabic for liberation) were travelling about 50 nautical miles from the shore when they were contacted by the Israeli navy and told to turn back, the flotilla organisers told the AFP news agency.

The navy said it “advised the vessels that they may turn back at any point, thereby not breaking the maritime security blockade” or could sail to Ashdod port in Israel or to Egypt.

“The activists refused to co-operate,” AFP quoted the navy as saying.

Nothing about the fact that the blockade is deemed legal by the UN Palmer report but illegal by other UN bodies who do not know or wish to understand international law.

There is also an interesting mention of Turkey not sending warships to accompany these boats. Could it be that the Turks were quietly taken to one side by the Americans? Or is it they already knew that no aid whatsoever was being carried on these boats?

No mention in this  article that hundreds of trucks pass everyday from Israel into Gaza (1500 this week, in fact) to feed their enemy and its captive population and to deliver medical supplies.

Then, a few hours later the headline changed to this:

Israel boards protest boats taking medical aid to Gaza

Wha!!? What ‘medical aid’? Did they not hear what I heard that there was nothing on these boats except some tins of tuna?

Immediately the headline conjures up an image of bad guys, the Israelis, stopping good guys, Gazans, from receiving medical aid – and it’s a complete lie which is still not corrected.

But it’s worse than that: the Israelis offered to escort the boats to Ashdod and, after inspection, take the aid through its regular crossing points.

Yet it still says in plain text:

They were carrying medical supplies for the coastal enclave.

Read it here.

And still no mention of the daily convoys crossing into Gaza.

You would never guess that Israel was supplying vast quantities of aid daily and that the activists had no intention of bringing anything to Gaza but themselves in an act of self-righteous self-promotion that brings peace not one iota closer.

So what image would you display to illustrate this article? A line of trucks entering Gaza from Israel? The flotilla boats? Their empty hulls? No, it was this:

People in the West Bank have staged protests in support of the Gaza flotilla

Again, the support for the flotilla is highlighted when there were apparently a mere handful of people there.

You would think that staging protests would mean a significant number. It’s another misrepresentation of facts.

So much for egregious reporting of the provocatilla.

A day earlier we were subjected to this headline:

Israeli troops ‘kill two in Gaza’

This is elaborated thus:

Israeli security forces have killed two people in a clash on the border of the Gaza Strip, local medics say.

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops had crossed over into northern Gaza.

The Israeli military said it had carried out a strike after a routine patrol came under attack. It said “hits” were confirmed, but said it had no information on casualties.

Why is the headline not:

Gaza militants attack Israeli border patrol

This would place cause and effect, attack and response in the correct chronological order. But no, the BBC always has to tell us what the Israelis did in their headlines regardless of who initiated the incident.

How about if two British soldiers were blown up by a landmine in Helmand and the perpetrators hunted down and killed; would the headline be:

Four Taliban militants killed by British troops in Helmand

I think not.

So what, then, would you expect the BBC to use by way of illustration of this incident? Maybe a picture of militants firing RPG’s? Or IDF troops firing tank rounds? Uh,uh. This is the image they used:

Thursday's clash interrupted a lull in recent cross-border violence

Huh? What the…?

What the heck has an apparently injured young Palestinian against a whitewashed wall with a motorbike nearby got to do with this story? Why is there a young boy looking on?

To me, this is a clear attempt to shift the balance of sympathy for this incident toward the Palestinians. Look, young innocents hurt by the the evil Israelis – again!

It’s a ludicrous photo to use.

The Guardian would be proud of this type of manipulation of news items under the cover of objective reporting. And that just about sums up the depths to which the BBC News website’s Middle East desk has sunk.

 

BBC News website MidEast Desk is surely beyond the Pale

This is a short blog just to demonstrate the complete one-sided and biased reporting that is being spewed from the BBC website.

This is what passes for journalism on the UK’s premier news site. A brilliant website which I use a lot, but something has to be done about this crude anti-Israel propaganda that passes for balanced comment.

Here is the headline from Sunday:

New Israeli air strike into Gaza after ‘ceasefire’

Now what to you think that implies?

It implies that Israel broke the ceasefire. LIES. There was never any ceasefire despite the vaunted Egyptian brokerage. Islamic Jihad kept firing and ignored it.

One Palestinian was killed in a new Israeli air strike in Gaza, hours after Egypt apparently brokered a ceasefire.

Those perfidious Jews are at it again – they cannot be trusted to sit by and watch rockets fired at cities of more than 200,000 people and they completely ignore the BBC’s attempts to mendaciously and cynically make its readers believe Israel is at fault.

Then there’s a picture of Israeli fire crew dousing a car. What do you think their caption should be? Maybe ‘Israeli cities under constant barrage, hundreds of thousands in bomb shelters, schools closed’?

No. This is what the caption says:

Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel, after five militants were killed in an Israeli air strike

So what does that imply, pray tell? It implies, dear reader, that the ‘militants’ are responding to an Israeli air strike. It does not tell you that this very air strike was in response to ‘rockets’ – read missiles – being fired at Israeli cities.

The BBC turns this deadly attack on Israel into a schoolyard game of ‘he started it, miss’.

So for those of you who still are not sure, here’s the actual truth:

There would be no Israeli air strikes if there were no missiles from Gaza.

Now if you read the article I am referring to, it actually gives a reasonable account – so why do they spoil it by letting someone from Respect write the headlines and the captions? Am I contradicting myself? No. Anyone who does not know the realities of this conflict would read the headline first, have their opinion formed for them, then read the rest in the light of that headline.

And the BBC know it. The same person who wrote the article surely did not write the headline. Someone is saying ‘hmm, a balanced article, let’s see what I can do to spin it against Israel and still get away with it’.

SACK THEM!

Rockets rain on Israel, BBC again inverts cause and response

Can you imagine this BBC headline in September WWII:

“100 German infantry killed by Polish bombers – SS vow revenge”

And then decide to report that the Wehrmacht have begun operations in Poland in retaliation for earlier Polish air attacks.

You will note that Basil Fawlty was more accurate when accused of ‘starting it’ and responded, “You invaded Poland”.

Oh for a latter-day Basil at Al Beeb! Or at least one sage!

Melanie Phillips has been closely following the BBC Middle East desk’s clear intention to blame Israel for escalation whilst posing as even-handed and objective. You can read her articles here and here.

As I followed the news via Twitter last night, I too was monitoring the BBC’s response and was appalled by what amounted to agitprop for the Islamic Jihad dressed up as journalism.

Whilst the country is obsessed with News Corp’s egregious behaviour at Parliamentary level surely it is time to look at the BBC – Guardian Axis when it comes to reporting the Middle East and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Within minutes of the death of Sir Jimmy Savile OBE the BBC had a potted obituary across its website but as Southern Israel cowered in bomb shelters, closed schools and listened to the wail of air-raid sirens, all the BBC could muster was to report on the death of five ‘militants’ who were were killed preparing to launch a rocket at Israel.

Even today’s Sunday Times has a tiny little paragraph headed “Gaza Strike” and continues:

Israel carried out an air strike against an Islamic Jihad training camp in the Gaza Strip yesterday, killing five men. It claimed the group was responsible for rocket attacks. (my emphasis)

Notice ‘claimed’ – apparently Israel is an unreliable source and maybe Israel had an ulterior motive. Add to this the vague ‘rocket attacks’ which context as to time and place you have a compete misrepresentation of events.

But the BBC plumbed even greater depths hinting at the often used trope that missiles from Gaza are hand-made and harm no-one so any response from Israel is disproportionate and ‘aggression’. They reported (now corrected) that rockets landed harmlessly. Why mention that? If not to provide a subtext of  ‘So, therefore, any Israeli response is disproportionate’.

This idea was soon scotched when these harmless rockets actually killed someone. Then, of course, the twitosphere which one minute is condemning Israel for disproportionate aggression now claims that the man’s death was a result of justified retaliation.

Am I reading in too much? I don’t think so. This is exactly the same mindset whenever Israel acts to defend its population, whether it be in Operation Cast Lead or the Mavi Marmara. When it reacts to the aggression of others, it is condemned even by those here in Britain who should know better and claim to be a friend of Israel (i.e Cameron and Hague as well as the Millipedes).

As I tweeted last night:

#Israel should not pre-emptively strike at rocket launchers like the British should not have attacked V1 and V2 sites until Germans launched

and

#BBC cheerleaders 4 #Hamas & pro-Pals believe/imply that if a rocket kills noone #Israel should just ignore it bbc.in/vthEoX

Then if a rocket DOES kill someone, it’s ‘retaliation’ = ‘justified’ 

which was the sandwich for Melanie’s

BBC ignores rocket attacks on Israel, presents defence strikes as aggression. MPs should question abuse of licence fee.

As Melanie points out, it was Islamic Jihad who fired into Gaza on Wednesday beginning the Cycle of Violence as a Twitter friend put it. In fact Twitter was alive with pro-Palestinians and Left wingers berating Israeli aggression and even postulating that it was a deliberate attempt to have an excuse for not releasing the remaining 550 criminals in the second tranche of the Shalit ‘deal’.

One reporter suggested this may an attempt by Assad of Syria to deflect from the horrors of the brutal repression of his people.

I have another idea: Islamic Jihad want to lure Israel into a ground operation and kidnap another soldier. On the other hand maybe they want to attract Israeli aircraft which they can attack with their newly-acquired Libyan ground-to-air missile.

Of course, if you go to the BBC site now,  as has often happened in the past, there is a more balanced report. The BBC prides itself for the speed of reporting. Maybe the night shift have one spin they wish to place on any Israeli defensive action and the day shift have another. Or maybe it’s more cynical than that: defame Israel first then cover your tracks with what passes for balanced, for which read ‘morally-relative-human-rights-speak’.

Whatever the case is, it’s very poor journalism and as one of the world’s leading news organisations it beggars belief.