947 Gazans, 13 Israelis Dead; War PR & The Israelis
by fairleft, Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 10:13:18 AM EST
"My father went to paradise."
Targeting a cup of tea in Gaza
12 January 2009
"It was 10pm on Monday, 4 January when my father and four brothers were sitting in the yard of this house," said Ali, 27, son of Jihad Abu Jbarah who was killed along with two other sons. "They were burning a wood fire to warm up and make tea. This is the cup my father was drinking tea from."
Last Monday, Israeli warplanes hit the Abu Jbarah family home, killing three family members and wounding two others including one severely. . . .
"My brother Khaled was carrying his daughter towards her bed as the weather was getting cold and as soon as he turned his back the rockets hit the house," Ali recalled. "His daughter was about to sleep as he fell down to the ground after he sustained two shrapnel into his back." . . .
Basel, 30, Usama, 21 and their 53-year-old paralyzed father, Jihad, were all killed as the missiles dismembered them, scattering body parts in different directions.
"My father went to paradise," says Jihad, Basel's young son, as he stands near the wood stove that his father, uncle and grandfather had been sitting around when they were killed.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur: The Palestinian death toll of Israel's Gaza offensive has reached at least 947, two thirds of whom are civilians, an official in the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the strip said Tuesday.
Mo'aweya Hassanein [Health Ministry chief of emergency services] said that of the 947 killed, 635 were civilian men, women and children. Another 165 were Hamas policemen while the remaining 147 were gunmen in Hamas' armed wing and other militant factions.
The numbers could not be independently verified. Israel puts the number of militants killed at at least 400. . . .
Reuters: The Palestinian death toll in the offensive since December 27 reached 937, Palestinian medics say. The Health Minister of the Hamas-run government says close to 400 of those are women and children.
Israel's death toll since the offensive began is 10 soldiers, while three civilians were killed in rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip.
War PR & The Israelis
Fares Hamoda, Jan. 11, 2009
Despite Gaza toll, Israeli media focus on Israel
January 13, 2009
By Amy Teibel & Ian Deitch
ASHKELON, Israel -- Israel's TV screens, radio broadcasts and newspapers have been filled with images of terrified Israelis fleeing to shelters, damage from Hamas rocket barrages and casualty reports.
While international media have focused on Israel's assault on Gaza, including the deaths of more than 900 Palestinians, Israeli media are reporting the war through a different prism. With almost no access to Gaza, and an overwhelming sense the offensive is just, they have emphasized the Israeli side, which has suffered 13 deaths.
Images of lifeless Palestinian babies, bombed-out apartment buildings, and donkey carts piled with blankets and mattresses as Gazans seek to flee are buried in Israeli newscasts and newspaper pages, almost detached from the narrative. . . .
Critical items on the war are rare, and those who express empathy with the Palestinian people court angry viewer responses.
One top news anchor, Yonit Levy of Channel 2 TV, has drawn the ire of more than 30,000 petitioners for saying at the end of one broadcast that "it's hard to convince the world that the war is just when we have one dead and the Palestinian people have 350." . . .
Accounts of an Israeli infant injured slightly by rocket shrapnel on Jan. 6 outnumbered reports on the deaths of more than 70 Palestinians killed in Israeli assaults that day, including an assault near a U.N. school that killed some 40 people. On Channel 10 TV, that attack was sandwiched between reports on three soldiers killed, updates on fighting and diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire. . . .
Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi accuses Israelis of becoming "one unanimous cheering team" for their military, detaching themselves "from the cruelty and the horror of what they're doing."
"At a certain point ... people have to face themselves," she said. "They have to look inwards and they have to understand the nature and the implications of what they're doing."
Israeli civilians observe war from a hill in Sderot
Gazing at Gaza's Destruction: Israelis Sip Pepsi . . .
Jan 6, 2009
Here we see Israelis in Sderot - the chief target of the homemade bombs which we are told are the cause of the current ravaging of Gaza. These Hamas "terror bombs" are so frighteningly powerful and destructive that no response against them can be "disproportionate," we are told by Israeli and American leaders; everything is justified in "retaliation," including the complete destruction of the social, civic and physical infrastructure of an entire human community, and the killing and terrorizing of innocent people. It's those homemade bombs falling on Sderot, you see; they are such an overwhelming, ever-present, inescapable threat.
So threatening, in fact, that some of the Israelis in this picture drove down to Sderot from Jerusalem to sit out in the open air - on a hilltop - in plain sight of the Gaza village from which many of the rockets have been launched, and calmly sip Pepsi as they watch the military action taking place not two miles away. . . .
Ilan Pappe, Jan. 2, 2009: The state, through its media and with the help of its academia, broadcasted one unanimous voice -- even louder than the one heard during the criminal attack against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. . . .
Every half an hour a news bulletin on the radio and television describes the victims of Gaza as terrorists and Israel's massive killings of them as an act of self-defense. Israel presents itself to its own people as the righteous victim that defends itself against a great evil. The academic world is recruited to explain how demonic and monstrous is the Palestinian struggle, if it is led by Hamas. These are the same scholars who demonized the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an earlier era and delegitimized his Fatah movement during the second Palestinian intifada.
But the lies and distorted representations are not the worst part of it. It is the direct attack on the last vestiges of humanity and dignity of the Palestinian people that is most enraging. The Palestinians in Israel have shown their solidarity with the people of Gaza and are now branded as a fifth column in the Jewish state; their right to remain in their homeland cast as doubtful given their lack of support for the Israeli aggression. Those among them who agree -- wrongly, in my opinion -- to appear in the local media are interrogated, and not interviewed, as if they were inmates in the Shin Bet's prison. Their appearance is prefaced and followed by humiliating racist remarks and they are met with accusations of being a fifth column, an irrational and fanatical people. And yet this is not the basest practice. There are a few Palestinian children from the occupied territories [being] treated for cancer in Israeli hospitals. God knows what price their families have paid for them to be admitted there. The Israel Radio daily goes to the hospital to demand the poor parents tell the Israeli audience how right Israel is in its attack and how evil is Hamas in its defense.
Hasbara spam alert
With Israel's foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here
Richard Silverstein guardian.co.uk,
January 9, 2009
The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it's going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.
A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel "media volunteer" also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:Dear friends,
We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it's a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote - the more likely we gain positive sentiment.
I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you're up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets.
If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.
My friend did so and received this official communique from the ministry with talking points about Operation Cast Lead which s/he was to use in her/his propaganda efforts. . . . The following were identified as "target sites": the Times, the Guardian, Sky News, BBC, Yahoo!News, Huffington Post, and the Dutch Telegraaf. Also targeted were other media sites in Dutch, Spanish, German and French considered critical of the invasion.
Locally, here in Seattle, peace activists held a rally at our federal building attended by 500 protesters. In the foreign ministry communique issued the next day, activists were directed to comment in the Seattle Post Intelligencer's article about the demonstration. The comment thread for the article is riddled with clear hasbara "plants" who distort the balance and tone of the discussion with their programmed arguments, making it much more favorable than it otherwise would be. . . .
His sobering analysis is strongly recommended:
Boutros Boutros-Ghali (86, UN Secretary-General 1992 to 1996): [I]t is already clear at this point that Israel's attack on Gaza has been a catastrophe. This military operation has given a boost to fundamentalists not only in Palestine, but also in every other Arab country. I have a hard time believing that Israel hasn't noticed this. In their attack on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Israelis must have learned the lesson that actions like these only strengthen the position of the integrists. During that period, Hezbollah increased its influence and grew to become the strongest political forces in Lebanon. . . .
Israel has a habit of closing its eyes to hard facts. In geographical terms, the Gaza Strip represents almost exactly 2 percent of the total area of Palestine. There is no getting around the fact that this area would have to be greatly expanded as part of the scope of a genuine peace agreement. An additional fact on the ground, which the Israelis prefer to forget about, is the 1.3 million Arab Palestinians who remained in their villages and cities when the state of Israel was founded in 1948 and who make up about one-fifth of Israel's current population. By around 2060, the Palestinians will account for roughly half -- if not more -- of the inhabitants of Israel and the areas occupied by Israel. . . .
The growing imbalance between Jews and Arabs in the area controlled by Israel is of decisive importance for the near future of the Jewish state. Already today, you can see that the Zionist idea of having a purely Jewish state is not going to work out and that this (demographic) development renders the idea no longer tenable. The fuse is already lit. Emigration from Israel is already on the rise -- and not just in the wake of crisis situations. More and more parents are losing faith in the future and want to spare their children from having to live a life marked by constant fear and a lack of peace. . . .
Not much has changed in the United States since my term as secretary-general of the United Nations. The American public is not particularly interested in the Arab world, and the pressure exerted by the Jewish lobby is as strong as ever. However, it is unfortunately the case that Israel only responds to pressure if it is coming out of Washington. Given the current disaster in Gaza and the absolute split between Palestinian camps into that of the Islamist Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, which continues to be open to negotiations, Washington will do nothing over the next three or four years to facilitate the resumption of peace negotiations. Events in Gaza have set us all back by years. . . .
Working together, the Arabs put a good peace plan on the table that envisioned recognizing Israeli sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders in return for an independent Palestinian state within these borders. Israel made the mistake of ignoring this offer. . . .