[News] Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat May 7 12:14:52 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/media-promote-israeli-distortions-civilians-dodge-airstrikes-gaza 



  Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza

Rania Khalek <https://electronicintifada.net/people/rania-khalek> Rights 
and Accountability 
<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 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771402>.

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/balance-un-gaza-report-cant-hide-massive-israeli-war-crimes> 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/gaza-laboratory-us-mexico-border-tunnel-warfare> 
– often aided by pliant outlets 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/world/middleeast/tunnels-lead-right-to-heart-of-israeli-fear.html?_r=0> 
such as /The New York Times/ – about Palestinian “terror tunnels” 
leading into kindergartens, as a way to justify Israel’s cruelty towards 
Gaza.

The Israeli army claims to have located such a tunnel in recent days 
based on information it says it extracted from a captured 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2016/05/mainstream-civilians-retaliatory/> member 
of Hamas.

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/gaza-laboratory-us-mexico-border-tunnel-warfare> 
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 
<http://www.qassam.ps/statement-1514-Israeli_escalation_on_Gaza_borders_clear_violation_of_2014_agreement.html>, 
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 
acknowledged 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/world/middleeast/israelis-find-second-tunnel-from-gaza-and-may-know-of-others.html> 
– 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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ryan-rodrick-beiler/how-israel-makes-money-blockading-gaza> 
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 
<http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gazans-israeli-shelling-harkens-back-2014-offensive-1553063739> 
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 
<http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gazans-israeli-shelling-harkens-back-2014-offensive-1553063739>, 
“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 
days later.”


    Tunnels!

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 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/05/israel-discovers-hamas-tunnel-under-border-with-gaza> 
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 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/world/middleeast/israelis-find-second-tunnel-from-gaza-and-may-know-of-others.html> 
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
    <https://twitter.com/LTCPeterLerner/status/728560171061026817>


    What ceasefire?

The Associated Press pinned the blame entirely on Palestinians, 
reporting 
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_ISRAEL_PALESTINIANS?SITE=AP>, 
“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 
ceasefire.”

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/moshe-yaalon-0> admitted 
<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 
daily 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/israel-violates-gaza-ceasefire-nearly-every-day>.

As journalist Dan Cohen recalls 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2016/05/mainstream-civilians-retaliatory/>, 
“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 
group OCHA.

Many of them, including two children 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/israeli-forces-shoot-dead-palestinian-boys-gaza-151010141202215.html>, 
were shot dead 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/israeli-forces-kill-gaza-border-protesters-151016134046980.html> 
while protesting Israel’s devastating siege near the Gaza border.

A Palestinian toddler and her pregnant mother 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-kills-toddler-and-pregnant-mother-gaza> 
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 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/brother_and_sister_in_gaza_killed_by_israeli_missile_fragments> 
and his 6-year-old sister Isra.

The youngsters were killed by an Israeli airstrike as they slept in 
their beds.


    Collective yawn

The international community has almost always responded to these 
killings with a collective yawn, raising their voices only when the 
occupied retaliate.

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 
Friday.

“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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/international-aid-agencies-call-sanctions-israel-over-gaza-stalemate> 
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 
impunity.

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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