Gaza War

UN report on Gaza is flawed and dangerous

Richard Kemp, a retired British Army colonel and the?former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, writes in the New York Times?about how deeply flawed and dangerous the UN report on Gaza is.

AS a British officer who had more than his share of fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, it pains me greatly to see words and actions from the United Nations that can only provoke further violence and loss of life. The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer?s conflict in Gaza, prepared by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, and published on Monday, will do just that.

The report starts by attributing responsibility for the conflict to Israel?s ?protracted occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,? as well as the blockade of Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza 10 years ago. In 2007 it imposed a selective blockade only in response to attacks by Hamas and the import of munitions and military mat?riel from Iran. The conflict last summer, which began with a dramatic escalation in rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians, was a continuation of Hamas?s war of aggression.

In an unusual concession, the report suggests that Hamas may have been guilty of war crimes, but it still legitimizes Hamas?s rocket and tunnel attacks and even sympathizes with the geographical challenges in launching rockets at Israeli civilians: ?Gaza?s small size and its population density make it particularly difficult for armed groups always to comply? with the requirement not to launch attacks from civilian areas.

There is no such sympathy for Israel. Judge Davis accuses the Israel Defense Forces of ?serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.? Yet no evidence is put forward to substantiate these accusations. It is as though the drafters of the report believe that any civilian death in war must be illegal.

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An insiders guide to reporting on Israel/Gaza conflict

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot   Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Tablet has an essay about the media manipulations in reporting the Israel/Gaza conflict.

It is by ?Matti Friedman who is?a?former AP correspondent who explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters. What she writes echoes what I saw in Israel.

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; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility?in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession?my profession?here in Israel.

She looks at the disproportionate staffing and reporting on Israel compared with other countries.

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. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the ?Arab Spring? eventually erupted.

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. I don?t mean to pick on the AP?the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else.

The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives?that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America?s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.

News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women?murdered in Pakistan last year?(271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing?erasure of Tibet?by the Chinese Communist Party, the?carnage in Congo?(more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the?Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012:?60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of?India?or?Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

That is an indictment in itself right there. That is a massive news imbalance. ?? Read more »

Face of the day

Today’s face of the day is from Australia, Moriah College Rabbi Benji Levy.

His language and the peaceful nature of the Pro-Israel rally provides a strong contrast with the language and the violence of the Pro-Palestine or Anti-Israel rallies that we are seeing all over the world including New Zealand. There is no HATE in his language. There is empathy for the Palestinian people. I draw attention to Rabbi Benji Levy because his words and the actions of the thousands at the rally promotes a genuine desire for peace. Can we say the same of the flag burning rallies we are seeing else where?

 

Rabbi Benji Levy

Rabbi Benji Levy

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Compare and Contrast: Part three

Welcome to part three of my series of posts where I invite you to compare and contrast what happened in the past with what is happening now.

Lets look at how Germany kept its preparations for war hidden from the world prior to WWII and what Hamas has successfully hidden from the world until now.

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Propaganda 105

human-shield

The message we can take from the political cartoon is that Israel protects its children from Hamas rocket fire into Israel by using its defensive ‘ Iron Dome to shoot down the rockets’ while Hamas protect their rockets and themselves by using Palestinian children as human shields.
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When Genocide is Permissible

A man by the name of Yochanan Gordon created a huge international stink with this article:

Judging?by the numbers of casualties on both sides in this almost one-month old war one?would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in?fighting a far less- capable enemy. That is as far as what meets the eye. But, it?s now?obvious that the US and the UN are completely out of touch with the nature of this foe and are?therefore not qualified to dictate or enforce the rules of this war ? because when it comes to terror?there is much more than meets the eye.

I wasn?t aware of this, but it seems that the nature of warfare has undergone a major shift over the?years. Where wars were usually waged to defeat the opposing side, today it seems ? and judging?by the number of foul calls it would indicate ? that today?s wars are fought to a draw. I mean,?whoever heard of a timeout in war? An NBA Basketball game allows six timeouts for each team?during the course of a game, but last I checked this is a war! We are at war with an enemy whose?charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate?when we are fighting for our very right to live.

The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past?six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more?regarding its interests than even they do. But there?s going to have to come a time where Israel?feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings ? because?this is life or death.

Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have?been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it?s not their fault, falsehood and?deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change. Still however, despite?their propensity to lie, when your enemy tells you that they are bent on your destruction you?believe them. Similarly, when Khaled Meshal declares that no physical damage to Gaza will?dampen their morale or weaken their resolve ? they have to be believed. Our sage Gedalia the son?of Achikam was given intelligence that Yishmael Ben Nesanyah was plotting to kill him. However,?in his piety or rather naivet? Gedalia dismissed the report as a random act of gossip and paid no
attention to it. To this day, the day following Rosh Hashana is commemorated as a fast day in the?memory of Gedalia who was killed in cold blood on the second day of Rosh Hashana during the?meal. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over. History is?there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you ??you take him seriously. Read more »

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Does Phil Goff have the Hamas Interior Ministry on speed dial?

Flabbergasting is the best way to describe Phil Goff’s latest statement on facebook after he opened his cranium and spilled its rotten contents all over social media. The self styled diplomat of Foreign Affairs? Middle East Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman of New Zealand ?made a statement with an obvious anti Israeli slant that was riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. The obvious ignorance of human rights abuses by Palestinians?Gaza Arabs themselves is astounding, and is a continuation of the mindless repeating of people who read the *NEWS*.

?PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT YASSER ARAFAT WALKS WITH THE NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN MINISTER PHIL GOFF AT HIS OFFICE IN THE WEST BANK CITY OF RAMALLAH

Goff’s goofy statement is not something I can let by without it being addressed, and for a Labour politician to take on the stance of such commentary around the conflict is idiotic, there goes the Israeli/Jewish vote for this election. Congratulations.

The following is the statement of Yasser Arafat’s hand in hand partner on facebook taken to pieces to reveal the shrouded bias: Read more »

Hamas breaks another ceasefire

Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke this afternoon with US Secretary of State John Kerry and told him that despite his joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which assurances had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regarding a ceasefire from 08:00 this morning, the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 09:00.

As a result of this attack, two IDF soldiers were killed and another soldier is suspected to have been abducted; this was after the ceasefire had taken effect.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Kerry that Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions and that Israel would take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens.

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Propaganda 104

I have been reflecting on my propaganda posts thus far and have realised that I have not clarified my belief that Propaganda per se is not inherently bad. My motivation is to explain how it is used to persuade and influence us so that we are not passive victims of it.

Propaganda can be used by organisations to do good by using its techniques to get a positive message across. It can be used in an honest or a dishonest way and it can be used to get a negative message across. Cropping photos to hide the background is a dishonest use of Propaganda if we lie about what was actually happening in the scene that was cropped. Photoshopping a Politician to look better however is a relatively mild deception that the average person would pick up.Helen Clark’s image is a great example. People said she looked great in the image but everyone knew that she didn’t really look like that.

Helen_Clark EXX3

In school I was always one of those students who questioned everything. I took nothing at face value. I wanted to know the teachers’ bias so that I could adjust my judgement accordingly. When a female teacher who had never married and lived alone made strong feminist statements that were anti men, I weighed up the fact that her beliefs had possibly impacted on her ability to find a life partner as she was not gay. Perhaps then, I reasoned, her views were not healthy and went too far. I therefore rejected outright her more extreme views and gave careful consideration to the other points she made.

Another teacher was a wonderful and inspiring English teacher. I was very influenced by him and he encouraged me to become a teacher. However one day when I was in the seventh form we had a student teacher in the class for a week. He was quite good looking and I mentioned this to my teacher in a joking way when I was alone in the classroom with him. He responded that if I wanted him to he would introduce me to the young teacher who was finishing at our school that day. I knew that my teacher had got a 17 year old student pregnant when he was a young teacher and had married her so with that knowledge of his bias in mind I declined his offer.

We are bombarded with messages every day through advertising and through the media.If we understand that we are being sold to we are in a stronger position than if we are unaware of their purpose. If we question what we see and hear we can form our own conclusions. Being aware of bias means that we can make better decisions.

I am going to go all teacher on you and give you an exercise to do. I am going to give you a number of headlines from different Media sources about the Gaza conflict. My challenge to you is to try to ascertain the Media Bias from the headline. If there is a clear bias then the article is likely also to be biased.

NOTE: Some headlines may not contain bias they may simply be factual. Some contain emotive words while others do not.

Ask yourself how each headline makes you feel. Does it colour your view before you even start reading the article that would go with it?

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

Gaza fighting flares, UN, Israel debate truce

Shells hit UN school in Gaza, kill 15

Israeli shells hit second school killing 19, UN says

Gaza conflict: Israel ‘hits Jabaliya school refuge

Bombing damages Gaza’s Catholic parish school :

Gaza: ‘100 Palestinians Killed In One Day’

European Jews face rising tide of anti-Semitism in Gaza

US-Israeli relations become more poisonous by the day

Death falls from the sky for eight children at Gaza camp

Israel posts footage from ‘inside Gaza tunnel’

UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Diary: The man ranting about ?lies from Gaza? is economical with the truth

Israel is finding it harder to deny targeting Gaza infrastructure

PLO announcement of 24-hour Gaza ceasefire disavowed by Hamas

Let cricketer Moeen Ali wear his ?Save Gaza? wristband

Israel undermining its support in the west, Philip Hammond says

Interestingly when doing my online search for Gaza headlines I did not come across any mentioning the rockets being sent into Israel or the damage and deaths that they were causing.

Also rather fascinating was this blog article I found, that was written precisely because of a headline.

It is a very revealing read as the writer objects to what he sees as a bias in the headline but to me I saw it as a clarification once more information came to light. However the new headline does not fit the Blog writers bias or world view so it upset him.

See how powerful a headline can be.

 

 

 

 

 

Israel won’t stop until the tunnels are destroyed

Israel won’t stop until they destroy all the tunnels.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, says he won’t accept any ceasefire that stops Israel completing the destruction of militants’ infiltration tunnels.

The Israeli military estimated overnight (NZT) that accomplishing that task, already into its fourth week, would take several more days.

“We are determined to complete this mission, with or without a ceasefire,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of his full cabinet in Tel Aviv.

“I wont agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to finish this important task, for the sake of Israel’s security.”

Leaving open the option of widening a ground campaign in the Hamas Islamist-dominated Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said it had called up an additional 16,000 reservists. A military source said they would relieve a similar number of reserve soldiers being stood down. ? Read more »