[News] Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza
news at freedomarchives.org
Sat May 7 12:14:52 EDT 2016
Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza
Rania Khalek <https://electronicintifada.net/people/rania-khalek> Rights
<https://electronicintifada.net/blog/rights-and-accountability> 7 May 2016
In recent days, has Israel launched a series of aggressive military
actions in the besieged Gaza Strip, killing a Palestinian woman and
injuring several other people, including three children
And like clockwork, mainstream Western media swooped in to throw the
narrative in Israel’s favor, brushing aside Israel’s relentless
violations of the Gaza ceasefire and its killings of dozens of civilians
in the besieged territory.
But first, the facts.
Israel started it
As is almost always the case, the Israeli military initiated the latest
round of violence with ground incursions into Gaza as part of a supposed
mission to destroy cross-border tunnels.
This is the same pretext Israel used to justify its ferocious military
assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, which killed 2,251 Palestinians,
including 1,462 civilians, 551 of them children.
The independent inquiry commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council into
the 2014 assault found
that Hamas “tunnels were only used to conduct attacks directed at IDF
[Israeli army] positions in Israel in the vicinity of the Green Line
[the Israel-Gaza boundary], which are legitimate military targets.”
Despite this, Israel continued to whip up fears
– often aided by pliant outlets
such as /The New York Times/ – about Palestinian “terror tunnels”
leading into kindergartens, as a way to justify Israel’s cruelty towards
The Israeli army claims to have located such a tunnel in recent days
based on information it says it extracted from a captured
It is also possible that Israel is using this as an opportunity to test
out anti-tunnel technology it has been developing with a $120 million
grant from the US administration of President Barack Obama.
Hamas insists the tunnel Israel discovered is old and predates the 2014 war.
The Tel Aviv newspaper /Haaretz/ cited
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.717782> senior Hamas
leader Mousa Abu Marzouk, explaining that Israeli forces had been
attempting to “set new facts on the ground 150 meters inside Gaza which
he said ‘compelled resistance forces to intervene.’”
The Israeli army said that Hamas fired “more than five mortar rounds at
forces during operational activities adjacent to the security fence with
the Gaza Strip.”
According to the Qassam Brigades
the military wing of Hamas, since 3 May, Israeli forces had made
incursions into two separate areas near the Gaza boundary to a distance
of up to 300 meters into the territory.
It called the incursions – which Israel’s military spokesperson
– a “clear violation of the ceasefire agreement in 2014 and a new
aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
Palestinians have every reason to be concerned about Israel trying to
expand its self-declared “buffer zone” inside the boundary with Gaza.
This is an area extending hundreds of meters into Gaza where Israel has
killed and injured dozens of Palestinians
in recent years who were simply trying to grow essential food supplies
on their farmland.
Qassam said Israel should “stop invoking reasons to justify its
violations, and should leave the Gaza Strip immediately.”
But instead Israel escalated the situation by pounding Gaza with at
least 29 artillery shells and 11 air strikes since Wednesday, according
to a tally
by the group Euro-Mid Monitor for Human Rights.
One of these strikes killed 54-year-old Palestinian grandmother Zaina
Attia al-Amour at her family’s farm in the al-Foukhari neighborhood near
the Gaza boundary.
As Gaza-based journalist Mohammed Omer reported
“Al-Foukhari was one of the worst-hit areas during the 2014 Israeli
offensive on Gaza, with many people killed and some trapped underneath
the rubble of their homes until rescue teams were able to dig them out
As Israel’s airstrikes once again terrorize an already traumatized
population, Western media outlets have rushed to Israel’s aid, promoting
its government talking points about Hamas tunnels.
“Israel finds Hamas tunnel under border with Gaza” blared
a headline in /The Guardian/, which buried vague details about
Palestinian casualties in the eleventh paragraph.
In an article titled, “Israelis Find Second Tunnel From Gaza and May
Know of Others,” /The New York Times/ toed
the Israeli line about tunnels completely unchallenged.
Still, that wasn’t enough for Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner,
who took issue with the /Times’/ rare, albeit probably unintentional,
acknowledgement that “the Israeli effort to find tunnels from Gaza,
which Hamas considers a strategic asset, has led to a flare-up of
violence along the border in recent days.”
“#Hamas terror tunnels caused the flare-up,” Lerner protested
<https://twitter.com/LTCPeterLerner/status/728560171061026817> in a
tweet to the /Times/.
. at nytimesworld <https://twitter.com/nytimesworld> that tweet is
misleading. Actually #Hamas
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hamas?src=hash> cross border terror
tunnels have lead to a flare up.
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) May 6, 2016
The Associated Press pinned the blame entirely on Palestinians,
“Gaza militants have fired mortar rounds at Israel over the past three
days, prompting Israeli retaliation.”
In perhaps the most convoluted revisionism of all, the AP added that
“Hamas used tunnels to attack Israel during the 50-day Gaza war in 2014
and fired thousands of rockets. The recent exchanges of fire are among
the most serious since the war ended.”
/The Guardian/ ran with a similarly line, painting Palestinian fire at
invading Israeli soldiers as “the most serious escalation since the end
of the 2014 Gaza war,” adding, “Israel and Hamas have largely observed a
These claims are categorically false and erase from history Israel’s
killings of dozens of Palestinians in the last year.
Indeed the ceasefire, if there is one, is completely one-sided.
Just last month, Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon
<http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210369> that Hamas has
“not fired a single bullet” since the ceasefire went into effect.
A senior Israeli commander even told /Haaretz/
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.717782> this week that
“Hamas had created a force to police the border region, preventing
terrorist attacks and rocket fire at Israel.”
Israel, by contrast, has flouted the ceasefire so frequently, it is
difficult to keep track of the violations.
In the first few months alone, Israel violated the ceasefire almost
As journalist Dan Cohen recalls
“During the four months I have spent in Gaza since the August 2014
ceasefire, I have seen and heard Israeli gunfire on a daily basis.”
Indeed, the Israeli army never stopped firing on Gaza’s fishermen
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/gaza-fishermen> as well as at
Palestinians near the boundary.
Israel killed 25 Palestinians in Gaza in 2015, according
<http://www.ochaopt.org/poc26april-2may-2016.aspx> to the UN monitoring
Many of them, including two children
were shot dead
while protesting Israel’s devastating siege near the Gaza border.
A Palestinian toddler and her pregnant mother
were killed by an Israeli airstrike in October.
Six Palestinians in Gaza have been killed so far this year, including
9-year-old Yassin Abu Khussa
and his 6-year-old sister Isra.
The youngsters were killed by an Israeli airstrike as they slept in
The international community has almost always responded to these
killings with a collective yawn, raising their voices only when the
Palestinians, it seems, are expected to stand down, to tolerate their
ghettoization in silence and to let their occupier subjugate them in
peace and relative quiet.
But Palestinians in Gaza refuse to play by those rules.
“We do not call for a new war, but we will not allow these incursions or
for new realities to be imposed on our people in Gaza,” said
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771418> Hamas deputy leader
Ismail Haniyeh <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ismail-haniyeh> on
“We call for lifting the siege,” he added, referring to the illegal
Israeli blockade by air, land and sea that has cut Gaza off from the
outside world for almost a decade. “Enough of this historical injustice
suffered by two million of our people.”
Dozens of international human rights organizations and development
agencies called for sanctions
on Israel if it didn’t lift the siege — a form of relentless, silent
aggression against an entire population.
But since that call a year ago, Israel has continued to enjoy complete
The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP) was similarly indignant, calling Israel’s incursions an attempt
to “test the patience of resistance” and vowing that it “will not stand
idly by while Israel continues its crimes against Palestinian people.”
And Islamic Jihad accused Israel
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771412> of attacking civilians
to “push the resistance to reciprocate.”
Israel, meanwhile, reserves the right to continue military provocations
and assaults in Gaza indefinitely and has labeled any Palestinian
resistance to its violence as terrorism, which is exactly how Western
media outlets continue, compliantly, to frame it.
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