Hidden in the final sentence of a Guardian/Reuters report on Sept. 20th, Egypt to host Gaza talks between Palestinian factions, on upcoming reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas and subsequent indirect talks between Hamas and Israel, is a remarkable accusation – albeit one not surprising to those familiar with Hamas‘s widespread human rights violations against their own civilians.
Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, in his essay at Tablet on media coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, explained that reporters “working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel”, whose “every action and flaw is analyzed, criticized and aggressively reported”, while, alternately, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”.
The Guardian coverage of Israel and the greater region perfectly reflects this principle.
A Sept. 5th story on post-war Gaza reconstruction in The Independent by Natasha Culzak, titled “Israel-Gaza Crisis: Reconstruction of flattened Gaza will cost £5billion, Palestinian officials say“, included the following claim:
Yiftah Curiel, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, published an op-ed at the Guardian titled ‘Hamas is the single biggest barrier to peace in Gaza‘.
We encourage you to read it, and comment below the line.
- Guardian logic used to blame Israel for ceasefire violation in one tweet (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian blames ceasefire failure on Israel (thejc.com)
- Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian op-ed mocks “claims” of Hamas use of human shields (cifwatch.com)
The Independent experienced some problems of late in facing the decision all UK newspaper editors who understand the Judeocentric road to increased web traffic: whether any given story should be framed as pertaining to Jews, or merely Israel.
On Aug. 29th, the Indy published a story about Angelina Jolie’s recent wedding to Brad Pitt which originally included a headline suggesting that Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, wasn’t invited because of his pro-Israel views. However, the subsequent text in the article didn’t at all support this claim, and the headline was later amended.
Remarkably, however, the author of the article about Jolie’s wedding, Jen Selby, still managed to devote 325 words (in a 800 word piece) about Voight’s views on Israel.
Earlier this month, Voight stirred controversy when he accused Penelopé Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem of ‘inciting anti-Semitism’ after they signed an open letter condemning the Israeli government’s Palestinian ‘genocide’.
In response, Voight, who is famously pro-Israel, penned a strongly-worded letter published on Variety.com.
“My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry,” it begins. “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused
“They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half.
“The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea.”
He goes on to claim that Israel, after years of being at war with the Palestinian people, gave them the Gaza strip as a gesture of peace. He ends the piece by pleading for famous names in the entertainment industry to re-address their anti-IDF stances.
“I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?
“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera?
“You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.
“You should hang your heads in shame,” he concludes. “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.
The misleading nature of the original headline was actually revealed in the last sentence in the article:
Sure, now you tell us!
Then, on Sept. 1st, Indy editors decided to reward their loyal readers by publishing more timeless wisdom from Mira Bar-Hillel, in an op-ed originally titled ‘The truth about the UK’s powerful Jewish lobbies‘. (You can see this writer’s rebuttal at the Indy here.)
The headline was later quietly changed, and the words “powerful Jewish lobbies” became “pro-Israel lobbies”, as the former perhaps was deemed by editors to evoke calumnies about Jews which are inconsistent with their “enlightenment” values.
Finally, the disproportionate focus on Jews and Israel within the media was the focus of an amusing blog entry by Jeffrey Goldberg, in a post (published at The Atlantic in 2011) with the following headline:
Here’s the post:
The headline above was produced by the Instamash-Bloginator3000, a device, invented by Israeli scientists working in the Jewish settlement of Neve Manyak, that can reduce thousands of blog posts to a single thought. And it also corrupts Iranian centrifuges! I plugged 3,000 of my blog posts into this wonder machine, and this is the headline that came out!
No, no, I kid! (I kid because I love.) There is no Jewish settlement named Neve Manyak. The headline above actually refers to the disproportionate interest drunks and lunatics take in Jews and their meddling and mysterious ways.
In the last several days, we’ve had Charlie Sheen angrily outing his producer, Chuck Lorre, as “Chaim Levine“; Glenn Beck accusing Reform rabbis of conspiring to build a Muslim caliphate (or something); John Galliano drunkenly praising Hitler (advice to Galliano’s lawyer: Tell the press your client was referring to another Hitler, maybe a hitherto-obscure designer of hats); the Iranian regime complaining that the 2012 Olympic logo secretly spells out the word “Zion” (they’re wrong, of course; the logo secretly spells out “Mark Spitz is Jewish, and Jason Lezak is Too, So Go Drown Yourselves in the Caspian Sea); and now, Julian Assange is allegedly arguing that The Guardian — the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on Earth — is engaged in a Jewish-dominated conspiracy to smear him.
One of the great advantages of being Jewish — and there are many (we invented both ethical monotheism and whitefish salad, after all) — is that though there are only about 14 million of us on the whole planet (18 million before World War II, Mr. Galliano), people can’t stop talking about us! It is very exciting to be a part of so many different fantasies.
We don’t know for sure if the Indy uses a device as sophisticated as the Instamash-Bloginator3000 to assist their editors in crafting headlines, or whether they just realize on their own the great click-bait advantages generated by generous use of the terms “Jew” and “Israel”. However, in the rarely dull field of pro-Israel media criticism nothing much surprises us anymore.
After all, if you had told us just last week that we would be publishing a post with a headline that included the names Angelina Jolie and Mira Bar-Hillel we would have certainly, at the very least, raised an eyebrow and scratched our collective
Jewish Israeli Zionist heads.
However, there were widely reported public executions in Gaza much more recently than the 90s.
- During the 2012 war (Pillar of Defense), Hamas “publicly put an end“ to at least 7 suspected ‘collaborators’.
- During the 2008-2009 war (Cast Lead), Hamas executed dozens of Palestinians in the streets, again for suspected ‘collaboration’.
- And, during their violent coup in Gaza in 2007, Hamas carried out at least eight known summary executions, mostly for ‘treason’.
So, it clearly is not accurate to claim that the recent public executions in Gaza were the first since the 1990s.
After our communication with Indy editors, they deleted the sentence which claimed that these recent executions were the first in the enclave since the 90s.
“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie”
This is a quote by George Orwell about news reports during the Spanish Civil War, but, as former AP correspondent Matt Friedman explained in his masterful Tablet essay (An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth), Orwell’s words are just as apt in characterizing the media’s egregiously misleading coverage of Israel and the war in Gaza.
The Orwell quote (cited by Friedman in his article) came to mind when we read the following passages in a report in the London-based Financial Times by John Reed titled ‘War in Gaza: Winners and Losers‘, which happened to overlap with Hamas’s own surreal assessment of the war.
Here’s the relevant passage in Reed’s report:
Let’s take it apart:
Before Protective Edge, Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement was in a corner. It was politically isolated, bankrupt, unable to pay its civil servants and forced by circumstances to reconcile with arch-rival Fatah.
And, after the war, Hamas is politically isolated, bankrupt, and still unable to pay its civil servants. Further, the current ceasefire deal which Hamas agreed to is almost exactly like the one Egypt proposed (which Israel accepted) but Hamas rejected on July 15, one week into the conflict, before the IDF destroyed their terror tunnels, and killed some of their top leaders.
Hamas’s decision to reject the July 15th proposal represented a colossal miscalculation, and resulted in more Hamas fighters killed, a much greater depletion of their rocket capacity, and no perceivable military, strategic or political benefit.
Other Hamas ‘demands’ which haven’t been agreed to by Israel in the current ceasefire include opening a sea port and an airport in Gaza, and releasing additional Palestinian prisoners.
In this context, the war was a welcome development. Hamas, for the third time in five years, confronted one of the world’s best armies and managed to hold on to power, calculating correctly that Israel would never embark on a longer and bloodier ground war in order to topple it.
How low can you set the bar? The mere fact that they ‘held on to power’ is a victory? Again, he doesn’t explain what concrete achievements they can reasonably boast. Also, it’s interesting that Reed fails to explain how the war was a “welcome development” for Palestinian civilians.
Hamas rockets, built painstakingly over years by blockade-busting tactics, sent people across Israel running into shelters, killing six civilians and bringing most flights at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to a halt for two days in July.
It’s almost as if Reed admires Hamas’s ‘grit’ in diverting humanitarian aid (which could have helped Gaza’s economy) for terror purposes. Plus, it’s interesting how such Jerusalem based correspondents covering the war, such as Reed, who almost universally downplayed the threat posed to Israeli civilians by the thousands of Hamas rockets, can now suggest that these same rockets ‘successfully’ terrorized Israel by killing six civilians, and sending them fleeing for bomb shelters.
Although much of Hamas’s arsenal is now depleted and many of its tunnels destroyed, fighting Israel to another ceasefire plays as a victory for many of its supporters.
Talk about burying the lead! So, despite the fact that “Hamas’s [rocket] arsenal is now depleted and many [sic] of its tunnels destroyed”, Reed still maintains that a victory was achieved.
As after Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, Hamas can begin firing again if it chooses. Granted, when the dust settles from this conflict and its spoils and destruction become clearer to Gazans, they could potentially turn on Hamas. There is no sign of this happening yet, however.
Of course, one of the biggest obstacles preventing Gazans from “turning on Hamas” is not any objective assessment of the war’s “achievements’ per se, but, rather, scenes such as these:
Finally, here are some facts ignored by Reed in his assessment:
- IDF attacked 5,263 targets across Gaza during the war, hitting rocket launching sites, arms and munitions factories and warehouses, as well as the offices of Hamas commanders. Several top Hamas commanders and hundreds of Hamas fighters were killed. Over 34 known tunnels were destroyed.
- Out of the 4,564 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, over 475 landed in Gaza, killing an unknown number of Palestinians. 3,641 exploded in Israeli territory, but only 224 actually hit residential areas, while the remaining rockets fell in open areas; The Iron Dome intercepted at least 735. Six Israeli civilians were killed.
To simply state that Reeds’s assessment of Hamas’s achievements ‘does not bear any relation to the facts’ is an understatement of enormous proportions.
In carrying out this blog’s mission, we often attempt to contextualize Guardian/UK media coverage of Israel and the Jewish world by explaining not only what they get wrong, but also why they get it wrong.
Tablet Magazine just published a long and extremely important article (by former AP correspondent Matti Friedman) which masterfully dissects such institutional bias against Israel – in the broader Western media – and we strongly encourage those who’ve thought seriously about the subject to read the 4,000 word essay in full.
Here are some excerpts:
The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry;
How Important Is the Israel Story?
Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined.
To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel.
What Is Important About the Israel Story, and What Is Not
A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate…
Israeli actions are analyzed and criticized, and every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported. In one seven-week period, from Nov. 8 to Dec. 16, 2011, I…counted 27 separate articles, an average of a story every two days….this seven-week tally was higher than the total number of significantly critical stories about Palestinian government and society, including the totalitarian Islamists of Hamas, that our bureau had published in the preceding three years.
The Hamas charter, for example, calls not just for Israel’s destruction but for the murder of Jews and blames Jews for engineering the French and Russian revolutions and both world wars; the charter was never mentioned in print when I was at the AP…
What Else “Isn’t” Important?
In early 2009..two colleagues of mine obtained information that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had made a significant peace offer to the Palestinian Authority several months earlier, and that the Palestinians had deemed it insufficient. This had not been reported yet and it was—or should have been—one of the biggest stories of the year. The reporters obtained confirmation from both sides and one even saw a map, but the top editors at the bureau decided that they would not publish the story….
This decision taught me a lesson that should be clear to consumers of the Israel story: Many of the people deciding what you will read and see from here view their role not as explanatory but as political. Coverage is a weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.
How Is the Israel Story Framed?
The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries…
The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party…
The Old Blank Screen
For centuries, stateless Jews played the role of a lightning rod for ill will among the majority population. They were a symbol of things that were wrong. Did you want to make the point that greed was bad? Jews were greedy. Cowardice? Jews were cowardly. Were you a Communist? Jews were capitalists. Were you a capitalist? In that case, Jews were Communists. Moral failure was the essential trait of the Jew…
Like many Jews who grew up late in the 20th century in friendly Western cities, I dismissed such ideas as the feverish memories of my grandparents. One thing I have learned…is that I was foolish to have done so. Today, people in the West tend to believe the ills of the age are racism, colonialism, and militarism. The world’s only Jewish country has done less harm than most countries on earth, and more good—and yet when people went looking for a country that would symbolize the sins of our new post-colonial, post-militaristic, post-ethnic dream-world, the country they chose was this one.
Who Cares If the World Gets the Israel Story Wrong?
Understanding what happened in Gaza this summer…requires us to understand what is clear to nearly everyone in the Middle East: The ascendant force in our part of the world is not democracy or modernity. It is rather an empowered strain of Islam that assumes different and sometimes conflicting forms, and that is willing to employ extreme violence in a quest to unite the region under its control and confront the West. Those who grasp this fact will be able to look around and connect the dots…
Israel is not an idea, a symbol of good or evil, or a litmus test for liberal opinion at dinner parties. It is a small country in a scary part of the world that is getting scarier. It should be reported as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion.
If a radical right-wing U.S. group possessed an ideology which was homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-democratic, and continually attempted to murder a historically oppressed minority to clean the region of their ‘pernicious influence’ – due to their fundamentalist interpretation of a religious text – anti-racist commentators at the Guardian would stand proudly on the side of the besieged minority and rightfully demonize the racist extremist group.
Transplant this scenario to the Mid-East (and replace the white sheets with black face masks and green headbands) however, and such moral clarity – which distinguishes between a racist extremist group and the minorities they’re targeting – often gets blurred.
In a review of BBC2’s The Honourable Woman, the Guardian’s diplomatic correspondent Julian Borger (Can The Honourable Woman teach us anything about the Gaza conflict?, Aug. 20) presents another example of media group’s profound moral confusion when interpreting conflicts between Israel and Islamist extremists.
Borger characterizes the show as “a tale of intrigue, betrayal and silk blouses set against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, and then adds: “Whether we will have learned anything about Gaza or the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is another matter”.
Border then writes:
So the ruthless and omnipotent assassin, a regular plot device of political thrillers, is in this case a Palestinian militant. Just like the show’s American inspiration, Homeland…it revives the spectre of the Arab bogeyman as the evil genius among us, ghosting across borders on false passports.
This is understandably vexing for Palestinians. After all, it is Mossad that has won itself the reputation in recent years for sending assassins to kill abroad on forged identity papers. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have largely fought their battles on home turf with much blunter methods.
Likewise, the agony of liberal British Jews looking on in horror at the bloodletting in Israel and the Palestinian territories is true to life. What feels like a sentimental anachronism is the central premise in the plot: that they can do anything to change it. It is hard to imagine in these dark times that it would be so easy for a well-meaning Jewish philanthropist to breeze through the West Bank and for her saccharine, slightly condescending speeches to be received so admiringly by Palestinian students. Hard to imagine, too, that Nessa Stein would have such an easy time of it in Netanyahu’s Israel. These days, there would be rightwing mobs outside her doveish events, chanting: “Death to the Arabs.”
Leaving aside Borger’s risible suggestion that Palestinian jihadist groups have shown more restraint than Israel when carrying out attacks on their enemies, the Guardian editor’s review is notable in which political actor in the Middle East is identified as the racist (Jewish mobs chanting “death to Arabs”) and which one is the unfairly stereotyped minority (the “Arab bogeyman”).
It’s important to read such passages in the context of the Guardian overall coverage of both the current war between Hamas and Israel, and the broader Israeli-Islamist Conflict.
Though Guardian correspondents sometimes note that Hamas is ‘considered’ a terrorist group by much of the West, their reporters, editors and commentators almost never explain to their readers that Hamas is an antisemitic extremist group - a reactionary racist, violent, fundamentalist movement at odds with the liberal, enlightenment values they claim to champion.
Whilst the Guardian never tires in highlighting racism (real or imagined) expressed by the most unrepresentative fringe elements in Israeli society, they almost uniformly avoid mentioning that the group currently ruling Gaza literally calls for the extermination of Jews. It simply isn’t possible for UK news consumers to clearly understand the battles being waged in Israel and Gaza while ignorant of this fundamental fact about Hamas’s eliminationist antisemitism.
Reports about ceasefire negotiations between the two parties in Cairo which merely emphasize that Hamas demands a loosening of the Israeli blockade, while ignoring that their end goal continues to be the annihilation of the only Jewish state, are akin to media reports during WWII noting Germany’s territorial aspirations without any context regarding Hitler’s belief in Aryan racial supremacy and his wish to exterminate Jews and other ‘undesirables’.
On the other hand, it is heartening to see the support – among many Guardian contributors – for the West’s efforts to rein in an apocalyptic and genocidal Middle-East based, Sunni extremist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood with a global expansionist worldview, which targets civilians, ruthlessly murders its enemies, possesses a pathological hatred for Jews and advocates Sharia Law over universal human rights.
So, what accounts for such a profound moral inconsistency? Why are Palestinian jihadists not like the other jihadists?
Though antisemitism is one factor which partly explains this phenomenon (among some Guardian contributors and journalists), the more widespread political dynamics at play are moral relativism, an egregiously skewed understanding of anti-imperialism, a glorification of ‘Palestinian resistance’ and an obsession with Jews and Israel - in short, the signature ideological ticks of the Guardian Left.
There is, however, one more factor.
We are often asked if we believe the Guardian to be institutionally antisemitic. While their obsessive and almost entirely negative coverage of the Jewish State fans the flame of antisemitism, this writer, for one, does not believe the media group is compromised institutionally by anti-Jewish racism.
It may be more accurate to observe in the Guardian worldview a capacity to forcefully condemn antisemitism in the abstract, but an inability to summon such righteous indignation when doing so would require parting company with other ‘historically oppressed’ groups, and indeed challenge their very ideological identity.
In their failure to condemn Hamas, and morally distinguish antisemitic extremists from the Jews they’re trying to kill, lies not a visceral antipathy towards Jews as such, but a tragic lack of courage to follow their convictions into uncomfortable political places – cowardliness which continues to bring dishonour to their once proud journalistic community.
On Monday, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to extend a temporary ceasefire in Gaza by 24 hours so they could continue to conduct more talks on a long-term truce. The five-day ceasefire was set to expire at midnight Israeli time.
On Tuesday, at roughly 15:45 Israeli time (less than 16 hours into the 24 hour extension), terrorists in Gaza violated the ceasefire when they fired three rockets at Israel, causing large explosions near Beersheva. (This represents the eleventh cease-fire that Hamas either violated or rejected since the war began.)
Forty-five minutes later, at 16:30, there were reports of further Gaza rocket attacks on Ashdod and Ashkelon.
At 16:34, the IDF began retaliating in response to the Palestinian rocket barrage.
However, here’s the Guardian misinformation that we were all anticipating:
Print edition headline and strap line:
Here’s the online edition:
Israeli negotiators withdrew from peace talks in Cairo aimed at forging a durable ceasefire in the six-week war in Gaza on Tuesday night as rocket fire and air strikes resumed hours before the latest truce was due to expire.
Israeli officials said 10 rockets were fired from Gaza, the first of which were launched about eight hours before the truce was due to end at midnight
Then, we learn what the head of the Palestinian negotiating team claimed:
Palestinian negotiators blamed the collapse of the Gaza ceasefire on Israel’s failure to take Cairo-based negotiations seriously. Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Palestinian delegation, claimed that Israel had always intended to break the truce, and had used the firing of three rockets from Gaza on Tuesday afternoon as an excuse for an already-made decision to sabotage the talks.
So, according to Al-Ahmad, Hamas may have technically violated the ceasefire, but the rocket attacks from Gaza were cynically exploited by Israel, who had already made the decision to “sabotage the talks”.
Then, we learn what Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed about the ceasefire.
The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied knowledge of the rocket fire which Israel said had breached the truce. “We don’t have any information about firing rockets from Gaza. The Israeli raids are intended to sabotage the negotiations in Cairo,” he told reporters.
Whilst the Palestinian lead negotiator tacitly admitted that his side violated the ceasefire, all the official Hamas spokesman could muster was a denial of ‘knowledge’ concerning Palestinian rocket fire.
So, despite the timeline of events clearly indicating that Hamas violated the ceasefire, and one implicit acknowledgement by a Hamas negotiator that they indeed broke the ceasefire, the Guardian still isn’t willing to blame the Islamist terror group.
Guardian obfuscation at its finest.
These videos include just a small fraction of the widely available evidence attesting to Hamas’s use of human shields, a topic we’ve posted about continually in the context of the Guardian’s near silence in the face of such egregious violations of international law by the Islamist terror group.
Longer clip of France24 broadcast seen in the first compilation video:
Longer NDTV clip seen in the first compilation video:
Gaza Bishop claims Hamas used church to fire rockets.
IDF evidence of Hamas firing from a Gazan school:
- Hamas Releases First Video Glorifying Fighters in Gaza War (VIDEO) (algemeiner.com)
- After Leaving Gaza, Foreign Reporters Reveal Hamas War Crimes (algemeiner.com)
- Finnish Journalist Who Confirmed Hamas Using Al Shifa Hospital to Launch Rockets Dismayed Viral Coverage Ignores Her Intended Narrative (algemeiner.com)
- How the International Community Facilitates Hamas’ Use of Human Shields (algemeiner.com)
Here are the indisputable facts about what occurred today – a timeline of events that even the Guardian isn’t disputing.
Israel supported an extension of the 72 hour ceasefire that was in effect while both sides negotiated a long-term agreement in Cairo, and which was going to expire at 8AM this morning.
After warning that they wouldn’t agree to extend the ceasefire, Hamas carried though on the threat and, shortly after 8AM, began firing dozens of rockets at Israel.
Israel then responded to the Hamas rocket fire – which injured several Israelis – by targeting terror targets in Gaza.
Here’s how the Telegraph framed it:
The headline isn’t just misleading. It’s a baldfaced lie.
For Israelis who work professionally to promote accurate reporting about Israel and the Middle East, one of the most vexing dynamics (beyond the false claims, distortions, and fabrications) is a media narrative about our their country which often has little if any resemblance to reality.
Indeed, we are all too accustomed to Guardian journalists imputing to Israel the absolute worst motives – a place Jonathan Spyer refers to as the “mythical Israel”, “a place of uninterrupted darkness and horror, in which every human interaction is ugly, crude, racist, brutal” – while evoking endless sympathy for the most malevolent actors in the region.
Such fantastical ideas about the Jewish State and its enemies has certainly colored coverage of the current war in Gaza, and this post represents a break from the fisking, criticism and analyses of their reporting that you’re accustomed to. Instead, we will merely provide a very brief account of the war and its outcome – intuitive takeaways from the month-long conflict that the Guardian won’t report.
Hamas’s war was defined by the widespread use of human shields, and countless other war crimes
Nearly all of the 3,360 rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza during the war were aimed at Israeli civilian communities – each launch representing an individual war crime.
- Firsthand accounts have been published attesting to the existence of underground terror headquarters, storage areas for rockets, bombs and other weapons built under densely populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza.
- On three occasions, rockets were found in UNRWA schools.
- Aerial photos have shown Hamas rocket launchers under mosques and at hospitals and right next to UN buildings.
- Videos have been released showing weapons (and rockets) fired from civilian homes, hotels and near foreign journalists.
- Hamas fighters have illegally used ambulances to escape.
- More recently, the IDF captured a Hamas manual which actually explains the benefits of using human shields.
The IDF conducted itself in an ethical manner
Despite media claims (based on information from the Hamas run Gaza Health Ministry) that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed in the war were civilians, new reports and analyses now suggest that roughly half of the casualties were combatants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror groups. Col. Richard Kemp has contextualized such a low (one-to-one) ratio of civilians to combatant deaths in past Israeli wars by noting there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths (that’s three civilians for every one combatant killed) in NATO led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
IDF measures to limit the number of Palestinian casualties included text messages, phone calls and radio messages in Arabic warning occupants to leave, and air-dropped leaflets with maps showing safe areas. When warnings went unheeded, Israeli aircraft dropped non-lethal explosives (‘knock on the door‘ procedures) to warn that an attack is imminent.
In addition to the field hospital Israel set up on the northern Gaza border to treat injured Palestinians, during Operation Protective Edge 1800 trucks entered the crossings between Israel and Gaza, carrying food, medical equipment, clothing, water, and fuel.
In a post last month, we asked the following question to the media – or to anyone else who questions Israel’s conduct during the war:
Name one army in the world that goes to greater lengths than the IDF to protect civilians during war.
We’re still waiting for a response.
Israel fought a just and morally necessary war against an antisemitic extremist group.
To those in the media whose political ideology is inspired by vapid clichés about the futility of armed conflict, almost no war – especially those in which Israel is engaged – is morally justified, and neither facts nor logic can persuade them.
However, those who don’t identify with the Guardian Left, and understand the harsh lessons of the 20th century (and indeed of Jewish history), would see a very stark moral contrast: a battle between the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (a homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic extremist group dedicated to the mass murder of Jews) and Israel, the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.
Hamas’s mission, as Jeffrey Goldberg succinctly put it, is not ‘narrowly’ to destroy Israel, but to “end Jewish history”. Every rocket that is fired, every attempted tunnel infiltration into Israeli communities, and every effort to inculcate their citizens with the values of jihad is designed for this sole purpose.
Israel Defeats Hamas
Though we can expect Guardian analyses which obfuscate this painfully obvious fact, it’s difficult to understand how anyone who has followed events unfold in Gaza and Israel over the last month can avoid concluding that Israel emerged victorious over Hamas.
While much of the UK media has strangely framed the relatively low number of Israeli deaths (64 soldiers and 3 civilians) as an indictment on the disproportionate military response – itself inspired in part by a bizarre moral logic which “turns suffering into the only measure of justice” -
the job of any army is to minimize casualties on its own side, and the IDF quite capably carried out this task.
Though Hamas fired 3300 rockets at Israel, only 116 – due in large measure to interceptions by the Iron Dome – hit populated areas (3.45%). In contrast, 475 rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters reportedly landed within the Gaza Strip.
The IDF destroyed nearly every known terror tunnel in the Strip – tunnels, by the way, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, and thousands of tons of ‘humanitarian’ concrete and other construction materials.
The IDF also reportedly destroyed 1,678 rockets launching capabilities, 977 command and control centers, 237 ‘militant’ wing government faculties, 191 weapon storage and manufacturing facilities, 144 training and militant compounds, and 1,535 additional terror sites.
Finally, Channel 2′s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal stressed that we should remember that Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal before the Israeli ground invasion, when it still had its tunnel infrastructure, its rocket capacity was still largely intact, and it still had a large degree of political legitimacy with the international community as part of the Palestinian unity government. Today, Segal observed, as it meekly negotiates in Cairo for a long-term truce, it has none of that.