[News] Are Israeli lives worth more than Palestinian?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 7 12:41:13 EDT 2006

Are Israeli lives worth more than Palestinian?
Press Release, Arab Media Watch, 7 July 2006


A Palestinian carrying the body of a murdered boy 
after Israeli mobile artillery fired shells at 
Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip July 6, 
2006. (<http://www.maanimages.com>MaanImages/Mohamed al-Zanon)

Arab Media Watch expresses its concern at the 
amount of coverage given to Israel's killing 
yesterday of almost two dozen Palestinians, 
including civilians, compared with the kidnapping 
of an Israeli soldier on 25 June, as well as the 
continued portrayal of the current crisis as being triggered by the kidnapping.

Comparing the initial report of each incident in 
the British national dailies, the Daily Mail, the 
Guardian and the Sun devoted more words to the 
kidnapped soldier than the Palestinian deaths, 
with the Times devoting around the same amount of 
coverage. The Daily Express and Daily Star report 
nothing today on yesterday's deaths.

The Mail devoted 4 times as many words to the 
kidnapping (661, compared with 167), the Sun 
devoted just 79 words to the killings (105 for 
the kidnapping), and the Guardian devoted more 
than twice as many words to the kidnapping (826, compared with 393).

The Times devoted 514 words to the kidnapping and 
553 words to the killings, though the headline 
today says nothing of the deaths ("Israeli tanks 
roll back into abandoned settlements").

Furthermore, the media is continuing to portray 
the current crisis as being triggered by the kidnapping, which is not the case.

Besides the issue of thousands of Palestinian 
prisoners in Israeli jails (including women and 
children) that the Palestinian kidnappers have 
been trying to highlight, and the well-documented 
humanitarian crisis caused by Israel's near-total 
control of the Gaza Strip (despite its withdrawal 
last September), Israel has been shelling the 
territory ever since, intensively so for weeks before the kidnapping.

This caused 
monitor John Dugard to state that "there has been 
a substantial deterioration in respect of human 
rights," and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to 
remind Israel "to respect international law."

On 12 April, the UN Office for the Coordination 
of Humanitarian Affairs 
that Israel had "fired more than 2,300 artillery 
and tank shells into the Gaza Strip since 29 
March, more than 150 shells a day." It added that 
"the continuous firing of artillery shells and 
launching of
missiles are causing immense 
psycho-social strain on the Gaza population, 
especially on children. There are also additional risks from unexploded shells.

In April, 
human rights organisations (three Israeli and two 
Palestinian) said that "the massive artillery 
fire causes disproportionate harm to the civilian 
population...subjects Israeli army officers and 
soldiers to war crimes charges," and constitutes 
"a blatant violation of the Basic Rule of the 
laws of armed conflict whereby civilians and 
civilian objects must be distinguished from 
military objectives. The fact that Israel is 
confronting illegal firing of Qassam missiles at 
its own civilian population does not legitimize 
disproportionate responsive measures, which will 
knowingly lead to civilian casualties."

 From the start of June to the kidnapping of the 
soldier on 25 June, 49 Palestinians were killed 
and 170 injured, including women and children, 
according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, 
causing great concern among human rights groups 
and threats of revenge from militant groups:

"We have decided to tell the occupier 'no more 
truce from today' in response to the bloodletting 
of our women, our children and our elderly. We 
will not suffer your repeated crimes in silence."

Furthermore, the tank base from where the soldier 
was kidnapped is one of the locations from which 
Israel has been relentlessly shelling the Gaza 
Strip, and just one day earlier, Israeli 
commandos had raided Rafah and captured two brothers, Mustafa and Osama Muamar.

"All of this is well known but did not make it to 
the front page," wrote 
Lavie, who served in an Israeli tank unit near 
Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, in Canada's Globe and Mail 
newspaper. "Can it be that Palestinian lives are 
nothing, Israeli lives everything? That 
Palestinian captives are nothing, Israeli captives everything?"

<http://www.arabmediawatch.com>Arab Media Watch 
is an independent, non-profit organization set up 
in 2000 to monitor and analyse the British media's coverage of Arab issues.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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