Back on the propaganda front:-
In my 3/1/09 post Junk Journalism, I quoted the December 2007 document Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip 2000-2007 issued by the Intelligence & Information Center at the Israel Intelligence, Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) and posted on Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (mfa.gov.il) to the effect that between 2001 and (end of November) 2007 "there has been a total of 2,383 identified rocket hits in and around the western Negev settlements, with the southern city of Sderot as a priority..." And I drew your attention to this sentence by the Sydney Morning Herald's Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis: "Israel's other key concern was to put an end to the use of Qassam rockets, more than 10,000 of which have landed in the farmlands and cities that surround Gaza over the past 6 years, killing about 20 people." (All bets are off, 3/1/09)
Then The Australian's foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan* weighed in with a new figure: "In the past few years, the terrorist group Hamas has fired more than 6,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets" (Israel has right to defend citizens, The Sunday Telegraph, 4/1/09). And, in the same issue, his illustrious Daily Telegraph colleague Piers Akerman wrote "Since 2001, Hamas and its allies launched more than 6,400 rockets, mortar bombs and other missiles [stones?] at Israel." (Prodding at lions will bring Hamas undone) Now, if we combine the 2001-2007 figures for rocket and mortar attacks in the IICC document with the estimate for 2008 given in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs document The Hamas terror war against Israel (mfa.gov.il, 1/1/09), we get a grand total of 7,985 rocket and mortar strikes. If -if - this figure is correct, Sheridan and Akerman are actually understating their case - a bizarre phenomenon indeed!
[*Sheridan, of course, has a way with numbers - see my 4/2/08 post When Even the Retraction is Dodgy.]
Today, it was Chief [Sydney Morning] Herald Correspondent Paul McGeough's turn to get creative: "Tel Aviv's early insistence that this massive military exercise was about putting a halt to Palestinian rockets being fired into or near communities in the south of Israel never rang true." So far, so good. "Measure it by the number of rockets - 8,000 plus over 8 [sic: 7]years - and indeed it sounds like a genuine existential threat." (Mission revealed: destroy Hamas) Oh dear, if only he'd roped in the mortars.
But there's more. Good old Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), the pointy end of the Israel Lobby, also thought he'd have a stab - and where else but in his home away from home, The Australian: "About 6300 rockets and mortars have been indiscriminately launched at Israeli population centres since August 2005, including more than 600 in the past few weeks." (Sorry history behind today's violent images, 5/1/09) Using the data in the mfa.gov.il sources for the period 8/2005-12/2008, we get a total of 6,024 rocket and mortar strikes.
Postscript: "The head of the NSW Jewish Board of deputies, Vic Alhadeff... blamed the crisis in Gaza on Hamas, saying it had fired more than 8,000 rockets and mortars into Israel since 2001." (Australian Jews protest against Israel's action, West & Pearlman, SMH, 6/1/09)