As Israel continues to pound Gaza, the Palestinian death toll of the latest round of violence has crossed the 100 mark. Thus far, the American media has given Israeli officials and spokespersons a free pass to shape the narrative of this conflict with falsehoods. Here are the top 5 lies the media doesn’t challenge about the crisis in Gaza:
1. Israel Was Forced to Respond to Rockets to Defend Its Citizens
CNN, like many other American outlets, chose to begin the story of the latest round of violence in Gaza on November 10th, when 4 Israeli soldiers were wounded by Palestinian fire, and the IDF “retaliated” by killing several Palestinians. But just two days before, a 13 year old Palestinian boy was killed in an Israeli military incursion into Gaza (among other fatalities in preceding days). Is there any reason why those couldn’t be the starting point of the “cycle of violence”? The bias was even more blatant in 2008/09, when Israel’s massive assault on Gaza (which killed 1400+ Palestinians) was cast as self-defense, even though it was acknowledged in passing that Israel was the party that broke the ceasefire agreement in place at the time. Are the Palestinians not entitled to self-defense? And if indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire is not an acceptable response to Israeli violence (which it absolutely isn’t), how can indiscriminate Israeli bombings of Gaza ever be acceptable? And why is the broader context, the fact that Gaza remains under Israeli blockade and military control, overlooked?
2. Israel Tries to Avoid Civilian Casualties
It must be aggravating for Israel’s propagandists when high-ranking political officials slip and get off the sanitized/approved message for public consumption. Yesterday, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the “goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Not to be outdone, Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, said “we need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza.” If you’re thinking this is just rhetoric, consider the fact that, according to Amnesty International, Israel “flattened… busy neighborhoods” into “moonscapes” during its last major assault on Gaza in 2008/09. And it wasn’t just human rights organizations that were exposing Israeli war crimes in Gaza, but Israeli soldiers whose conscience could not bear to remain silent about the atrocities they had committed were also coming forward.
If, for some odd reason, you cannot decide whether it is official Israeli spokespersons or soldiers of conscience and human rights investigators who are telling the truth, consider this question: If Hamas has only managed to kill 3 people despite being bent on killing civilians with thousands of indiscriminate rockets, how has Israel managed to kill several dozen Palestinian civilians when it is using sophisticated precision weapons to avoid civilian casualties? In just one Israeli attack yesterday, Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in a matter of minutes than the total number of all Israelis killed by rocket fire from Gaza over the last 3 years. The truth is exposed by the utter disregard for civilian life we see in practice, reaffirmed by testimonies and investigative evidence.
3. This Is About Security
If Israel’s main objective were indeed to end the rocket fire from Gaza, all it had to do was accept the truce offered by the Palestinian factions before the Jabari assassination. And if the blockade of Gaza was just about keeping weapons from coming in, why are Palestinian exports from Gaza not allowed out? Why were food items ever restricted? The truth is, this isn’t about security; it’s about punishing the population of Gaza for domestic Israeli political consumption. When Gilad Sharon recommended the decimation of Gaza, he justified it by saying “the residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas.” Sharon may find this posturing to be rewarding in some circles, but it’s actually the very same logic used by terrorists to attack civilians in democracies. Are Israeli civilians considered legitimate targets of violence because they elected right wing Israeli leaders who commit atrocities against the Palestinians? Of course not, and only a broken moral compass can keep this principle from consistently applying to Palestinian civilians as well.
4. Hamas Is the Problem
Between their religious right-wing domestic agenda, and their refusal to renounce violence against civilians, I’m most certainly no fan of Hamas. But whenever you hear Israel try to scapegoat Hamas for the crisis in Gaza, there are two things to consider. First, Hamas hasn’t only showed preparedness to have a truce with Israel if Israel ended its attacks on Gaza, but has also suggested (though with mixed signals) that it is open to a two-state solution. Second, and more importantly, Hamas didn’t come to power until 2006/07. Between 1993 and 2006 (13 years), Israel had the more moderate, peaceful, and pliant Palestinian authority (which recognizes Israel and renounces violence) to deal with as a partner for peace. What did Israel do? Did it make peace? Or did it continue to occupy Palestinian land, violate Palestinian rights, and usurp Palestinian resources? What strengthened Hamas and other extremists in Palestine is precisely the moderates’ failure to secure any Palestinian rights through cooperation and negotiations. The truth is entirely inverted here: it is Israel’s escalating violations of Palestinian rights which strengthen the extremists.
5. There is a Military Solution to this Conflict
This is not the first time, and probably not the last, that Israel has engaged in a military campaign to pummel its opponents into submission. But are we any closer to ending this conflict today after decades of violence? The answer is a resounding no. After the 2006 war in Lebanon, Hezbollah emerged stronger. After the 2009 war on Gaza, Hamas remained in power and maintained possession of thousands of rockets. Israel’s military superiority, while indeed impressive (thanks to $30 billion in U.S. military aid this decade), is not stronger than the Palestinian will to live in dignity. The way to end the firing of rockets in the short term is to agree to a truce and end the blockade of Gaza. The way to resolve the entire conflict in the long term is to end Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and allow the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination. We’re probably close to a ceasefire agreement to end this round of violence. The real challenge is ending the Israeli occupation for long-term peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
Follow Omar Baddar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/omarbaddar
- Israel is to stop all aggression against the Gaza Strip from land, sea and air, including cross-border incursions and targeted killings.
- Palestinian factions are to stop all aggression from Gaza towards Israel, including rocket fire and attacks on the border.
- All border crossings are to be opened 24 hours after the ceasefire takes effect, easing restrictions on travel of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip.
- Other terms will be discussed as necessary at a later date.
- Egypt acts as guarantor and has received guarantees from all sides to adhere to the terms of the ceasefire.
via Al Jazeera
[Click on image to enlarge]
Imbalance of Power: Understanding Weapons and Casualties in Gaza and Israel
Putting things into perspective, view this new infographic detailing the disparities in weapons arsenals of Palestinian groups in Gaza and Israel. Besides the massive killing powers of the Israeli weapons shown here, what are not displayed are the numerous naval battleships and Merkava tanks owned and operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israel has submarines, missile boats, corvettes (the largest warships in Israel’s naval fleet), patrol boats, and numerous chasers and landing ships. Each Merkava tank is armed with two 7.62 machine guns and a 60 mm mortar that can be loaded and fired internally, in addition to the main gun, and has gone through developments to ensure accuracy and lethality.
From January through September 2012, Israeli weaponry caused 55 Palestinian deaths and 257 injuries. Among these 312 casualties, 61, or roughly 20 percent, were children and 28 were female. 209 of these casualties came as a result of Israeli Air Force missiles, 69 from live ammunition fire, and 18 from tank shells.
In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza were responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children, and the injury of 468 Palestinians, of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57 percent, or 310, were caused by Israeli aircraft missile fire; 28 percent, or 150, where from Israeli live ammunition; 11 percent, or 59, were from Israeli tank shells; while another 3 percent, or 18, were from Israeli mortar fire.
As this infographic shows, there is no room for a discussion on the “equal sides of the conflict,” when the reality is a first-world country, with all the trappings of a modern highly sophisticated weapons arsenal, launching devastating and brutal attacks against the most densely populated area in the world, where half its population is youth and 40 percent of its population lives below the poverty line.
And where does this military might come from? Israel’s military arsenal is not due to the tax pressure on its citizens, but is largely funded by the United States. American citizens actually pay more money individually and overall to the Israeli military structure than Israeli citizens do. For more information on U.S. Military Aid to Israel, please see this video and transcript from a presentation led by Mr. Josh Ruebner, and this written report on its policy implications and options. Even Israel’s classic “David v. Goliath” storyline pales when shown the actual size of their slingshot.
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai
Israel has killed 66 Palestinians so far in its latest assault on Gaza which started on Wednesday, 24 of whom were babies and children. The death toll for Israel’s last major assault on Gaza was 1,400, over 300 of whom were babies and children.
In Pictures: Gaza Strip under Israeli attack
Over the past 48 hours, the Israeli army has escalated their aerial and ground attacks against the Gaza Strip. At least five Palestinians, including children, have been killed, and more than 30 others, including 6 women and 12 children, have been wounded.
Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries, some of them serious, resulted from an Israeli attack in the residential neighborhood of al-Shoja’iya, east of Gaza City, which occurred on Sunday.
(Credit for photographs: Anne Paq / Al Jazeera)
Added trigger warnings, add some more if you can think of them but if you can look at these, please do.
Dude with a PhD (same dude responsible for Swift Boating) claims Obama’s wedding ring has the Muslim shahada inscribed on it.
We have reached wingnut critical mass, people.
- 6,320 loans reportedly had problems, but Wells Fargo never told the Federal Housing Administration, which insured the loans. The loans eventually failed, leaving the federal government on the hook.
- $190M the amount these loans ended up costing the United States after the financial crisis hit; now the government is suing, saying Wells Fargo didn’t report issues even after the quality-review department flagged them for issues. source
Things that matter to the country and to me personally.
Yes because Wells Fargo sucks major butt
How is this not national news? Oh right. Because no one gives a damn about brown people.
My husband asked me if I knew this from CNN or something - I checked google and this story isn’t being covered by anyone else.
Innalil lahi wa inna illaihi ragioon
How about $0 per day, with 0% financial responsibilities instead? Like, just let us keep using the means of production and use what we need. We don’t need your money. Sit lonely on that pile of useless pieces of paper when the revolution comes. PS, I’ll be living in “your” living room, growing food on “your” lawn, and, no, I’m not going to pay any rent. ~TQ
I like this plan ^ I say fuck money, let’s just start squatting in mansions and raiding rich people’s fridges.
Is it just me or does “Lady Lemonade” sound like a really “classy” round about way of saying piss?
August 13, 2012
Homemade bomb detonated at Lombard Muslim school
A homemade bomb was detonated outside a Muslim school in Lombard late Sunday as hundreds attended a Ramadan prayer service, police said.
No one was injured but the attack stoked fears among suburban Muslims already on edge after an air rifle shooting at a Morton Grove mosque two days earlier.
Lombard police said the explosion was reported about 11:30 p.m. at the College Preparatory School of America on the 300 block of West Madison Street. Worshippers heard a loud bang and went outside to find a plastic, 2-liter bottle, which had been apparently filled with acid and other chemicals, near a window.
Deputy Police Chief Pat Rollins said an investigation is under way, with police asking for the public’s help identifying a suspect.
“Anyone who knows anyone involved or has heard anyone talking about this should call us,” he said Monday. “We’re going to need the public’s assistance unless someone steps forward.”
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago said in a statement that it was “appalled at the increasing attacks on Muslim institutions.”Source
Man fires air rifle at Morton Grove mosque
A leader of the Morton Grove mosque that was damaged by air rifle shots on Friday said he thinks the man being held should be charged with a hate crime.
David Conrad, 51, lives just east of the mosque and faces three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a class X felony, and one count of criminal damage to property, a class 4 felony, Morton Grove police said in an early Sunday press release.
The mosque’s president, Mohammad Aleemuddin, said he thinks Conrad should also be charged with a hate crime.
“It should be. It is a hate crime,” he said.
Authorities began investigating after a Friday night shooting, while worshipers were celebrating the holy month of Ramadan at the Muslim Education Center, 8601 N. Menard Avenue, about 9 p.m., according to police and mosque officials.
Off-duty Chicago Police officers, who been hired to provide additional security at the mosque during Ramadan activities, called Morton Grove police after they saw an object whiz by and hit the building just above the head of one of the officers, according to Kamran Hussain, Vice President of the Muslim Community Center of Chicago, which owns the mosque.
Hussain said this was not the first time parts of the building have been damaged, but it was the first time mosque officials had reported it to police. Erickson said the additional incidents — described as broken windows — were part of the current investigation.
Aleemuddin was inside praying on Friday night when Conrad allegedly fired the pellet gun at the mosque.
“It was very shocking. It was very shocking,” he said.
Police in Morton Grove said prosecutors rejected hate crime charges in this case.
Pictures from today’s student protest in Montreal
None of the pictures are by me, I took the best out of a huge album on Facebook.
Canada I’m proud of you for learning that education is protest-worthy …even if it’s not riot-worthy like the Stanley Cup is ;P
“The demonstration came two days after the provincial budget and a blunt refusal by Premier Jean Charest’s government to back down on the hikes.
The province is nearly doubling tuition fees over five years, to about $3,800. It will reach its target with a series of $325-a-year increases. However, the tuition fees in the province will still be among the lowest in Canada even after the hikes.
A number of protesters were from other Canadian provinces. One said that, while it might be true that Quebec has low fees, it’s a principle worth fighting to keep.”