Meanwhile, on the propaganda front:-
"The Israelis have prevented foreign journalists from entering and reporting from Gaza, thereby limiting the scope of the coverage from the Palestinian side. The Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem, which represents about 400 journalists, has taken to the Supreme Court its petition for access to Gaza, whose borders are sealed both by Israel and, by treaty, by Egypt... While restricting foreign media access to the battle zone, Israel has launched a vigorous propaganda offensive to put its point of view across to the world, with its army unveiling its own YouTube footage of air strikes on Hamas militants loading rockets on a truck to fire at Israel." (Officials afraid of getting blogged down, Lucy Bannerman (Gaza border), The Times/The Australian, 1/1/08)
Of course, when 'the Middle East's only democracy' suppresses freedom of the press, you just have to trust Israeli PR that Ehud Biggles knows a 'militant' and a rocket when he sees one from thousands of feet up, don't you? Lucy does - otherwise she might have written about alleged 'militants' allegedly loading rockets on a truck.*
[*"On 29/12/08 the Israeli army bombed a truck in Gaza City, claiming it carried Grad rockets... Drone footage of the bombing was shown by the Israeli army. B'Tselem received the testimony of Ahmad Sanur, the owner of the truck bombed. Sanur claims the truck was carrying oxygen canisters used for welding. B'Tselem field workers took photos of oxygen canisters left on the site of the bombing. According to Sanur's testimony, he and members of his family were trying to salvage material from a metal workshop he owns, which was next door to a bombed house, in order to prevent looting... 8 people were killed... including his son." (Suspicion: bombed truck carried oxygen tanks and not grad rockets, btselem.org, 31/12/08)]
"'The blogosphere and new media are another new war zone', said Major Avital Leibovich, an army spokeswoman. 'The important thing is to get the truth out there'." (ibid)
So, keeping the foreign press out of Gaza and "launching a vigorous propaganda offensive" is getting the truth out there?
"... Uri Dromi, a former government press adviser and air force colonel... admitted that Israel will struggle to win hearts and minds if footage of those suffering in Gaza continues to be shown. 'When you have a Palestinian kid facing an Israeli tank, how do you explain that the tank is actually David and the kid is Goliath?' he said." (ibid)
Words fail me. These people are insane.
"Israel believes it has won broad international support in the media for its actions in Gaza thanks to its PR strategy which... is trying to ensure Government officials deliver a clear, unified message to the world's press... Of its core messages for the world's media, there has been the advice that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements with Israel; that Israel's objective is the defence of its population; and that Hamas is a terrorist organisation targeting Israeli civilians. An Israeli Foreign Ministry assessment of 8 hours of coverage across international broadcast media reported that Israeli representatives received 58' of airtime while the Palestinians received only 19. Speaking for the Israeli military, Major Avital Leibovich said: 'Quite a few outlets are very favourable to Israel, namely by showing [it] suffering... I am sure it is a result of the new co-ordination'." (New front forged in press war, Rachel Shabi, Guardian/Sydney Morning Herald, 3/1/08)
In vain. The corporate media may bow to Israeli pressure, but the people are not fooled. They know the difference between the hammer and the anvil.
"I catch a few glimpses of US TV coverage of the war and it does not look like the war that I am watching live on Arabic TV stations. The US media are covering a different war where a mighty and terrorist Middle East army, called Hamas, is attacking a defenseless little entity called Israel. And the Israeli population is suffering helplessly from Palestinian attacks on them. And the Israeli army is merely attacking terrorists in Gaza; and Gaza is presented as a large military base where only Hamas terrorists reside." (A different war, The Angry Arab News Service, 3/1/08)