Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In the Beginning Was the School Bus

"This time, Israel intends to exact a very heavy price from Hamas... The only immediate solution is deterrence - and deterrence can only be achieved via plenty of fire. This time, officials will not accept a Hamas request for a lull via secret channels of UN officials in the area, as happened in the past. In the coming days, the cannons, missiles, tanks, jets and rockets will do the talking, until the blood quota is filled." (Op-ed: Hamas must pay dearly, Alex Fishman,, 8/4/11)

The howling madness of the above spittle-flecked war cry notwithstanding, the Australian corporate press have been singularly focused in their 'reporting' of Israel's latest wilding in Gaza:

"The Israeli air force has promised further retaliatory air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip this weekend, after Palestinian militants fired 45 rockets into Israel on Thursday, one of which targeted a school bus and critically injured a 16-year old boy." (Israel & Hamas on verge of new war, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald, 9/4/11)

"The Israeli attacks were touched off by the demolition of an Israeli school bus by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza." (Bus attack sees Israel pound Gaza, Hamas strike back, Abraham Rabinovich, The Australian, 11/4/11)

"Israel's latest airstrikes on Gaza follow a missile attack by Hamas on a school bus. The laser-guided missile injured the driver and a 16-year-old student." (Arab bid for no-fly zone on Gaza, John Lyons, The Australian, 12/4/11)

In the same period, the corporate press have rolled out the red carpet for assorted Zionist lobbyists, propagandists and rambammed journos:

The ugly double standard behind the Goldstone report, Jonathan Freedland, The Age, 9/4/11

Israel will pay price for Gaza report fiction, Colin Rubenstein, The Australian, 12/4/11

Israeli inertia on peace may saddle state with old regrets, Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/4/11

Israel should bite the bullet on Palestine, Zvi Barel, The Australian, 13/4/11

But the following corrective by Gazan-born Samah Sabawi, public advocate of Australians for Palestine, has been rejected out of hand by both the Fairfax and Murdoch-owned press:

"The media coverage of Israel's ongoing bombardment of Gaza that left many dead and many more injured echoes Israel's claim that it was part of an escalation that began on Thursday [7/4] when Hamas militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus, critically wounding a teenager and lightly injuring the driver. Such claims ignore the reality that sysyematic violence against the Palestinians has never stopped.

"In fact, in the weeks before the school bus incident between 16-29 March, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Israel has killed a total of 14 Palestinians, including 6 civilians, and injured 52 Palestinians, including at least 40 civilians (19 children). In that same period, 3 Israeli civilians were injured. OCHA's report makes it clear that all the civilian casualties and 19 of the Palestinian injuries occurred as a result of Israeli tank shelling and mortar fire. So while both Hamas and Israel have targeted civilians, Israel has used force far more lethally against the civilian population. And as tragic as the wounding of an Israeli boy on a bus is, his injury was not a trigger to Israel's bombardment of Palestinians in Gaza which has continued on and off for the better part of this last decade and certainly was not what started this current escalation.

"Unfortunately, Palestinian deaths and injuries and Israeli incursions don't make the daily news in Australia. But the death of every child, woman and man is indeed felt deeply in the close-knit community of Gaza and the rest of Palestine. Failing to understand this is failing to understand the impact of the human tragedy on this conflict. On the political level, this failure to comprehend the human tragedy and how it inflames Arab and Muslim public opinion has (and continues to have) disastrous consequences for world peace and security. Western audiences are spared the images of grieving Palestinian mothers and fathers, but in the Arab and Muslim world, such images are a constant reminder of the brutality of the Israeli occupation and of the hypocrisy of the world powers supporting it.

"The gap in reporting leaves many with the false impression that since Israel's Operation Cast Lead, there has been 'calm' between Israel and the Palestinians. But reality tells a different story. In fact, since Cast Lead and up to February this year, Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem reported a total of 151 Palestinians killed in the OPTs, including 19 minors. During that same period 9 Israeli civilians were also killed by Palestinians, including 1 minor. These statistics, as horrible as they are, don't even begin to describe the daily violence of occupation, including the travel restrictions, the lack of access to medical care, clean water and electricity.

"Indeed, the violence of Israel's occupation comes in many forms, perhaps the most poignant of which is Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. Keeping the Gazan economy 'on the brink of collapse', confirmed as an Israeli policy by US diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks, is the goal of the inhumane siege that has rendered 55% of the population food-insecure and 10% of the children victims of malnutrition and stunted growth. Israel's periodic attacks, incursions and invasions, that involve the killing of large numbers of civilians and the systematic destruction of agricultural lands, homes and civilian infrastructure, have barely let up for a single day since the siege intensified in 2007. Restricting the movement of people, prohibiting students and those in need of medical care from leaving Gaza, and prohibiting loved ones and relatives visitation rights to the world's largest open air prison is a form of violent and extreme collective punishment that targets the entire population.

"Let us not forget that 75% of Gaza's population is made up of refugees denied for 63 years the right to return to their homes inside what is now Israel. Israel's denial of this fundamental human right and its 43-year occupation and colonization of Gaza and the West Bank lies at the root of all the violence. Those who focus only on the latest set of incidents as the cause of the violence are missing the big picture." (The horrible truth about Gaza, 11/4/11)


Anonymous said...

Go f*k yourself you antisemitic piece of sht.

MERC said...

So Anon. can let fly with an obscene, outrageous and completely unjustified allegation, but it seems writing 'fuck' and 'shit' are too much for him. What a hoot!

Anonymous said...

MERC mentions murdered Palestinians, ergo, he is an anti-Semite. That's what happens to your mind when you live in the Zio-bubble.

Rob said...

Is it any surprise that the "mainsteam media" would not publish a legitimate attempt to achieve some small measure of "balance" in the discussion-they would need to publish literally hundreds of articles to do that.Last night I attended a seminar in Adelaide, a sarcastic remark I made about "self hating Jews" prompted objection from a Jew,my attempts to point out that I too rejected the term and that it was Israeli Jews who coined the phrase fell on deaf ears,but it shows how confused the Israel boosters are-they create a slander,then object to it,s use.Similarly, the old "anti-semitic" slander-how is it anti-semitic to support the civil and human rights of Palestinians[Semitic to the last man,woman and child]and oppose Israeli Jews[mostly descended from 7th century Turkic converts to Judaism and so not semitic]in their Zionist project to steal another people's land?