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Gaza, blogs, pictures « Previous | |Next »
January 14, 2009

The Israeli government has banned the media from the Gaza Strip war zone so that it can manage the news in order to win the propaganda war. Their brief is to counter the inevitable images of bloodied children and tiny, dismembered bodies by saying that Operation Cast Lead is Israel acting in self-defence against Hamas rockets.

Thus the conflict in Gaza is being presented as as a "war"in the sense of a "Gaza conflict" between two sides engaged in "fighting", rather than a one-sided violence in which the Israeli military machine and blockade of Gaza directly targets the civilian Palestinian population. It is then added that this is simply another episode of a regional conflict between Israel and its mortal foe, Iran. Hamas is a “proxy of Iran”.

This ban means that traditional journalism has no role to play other than patriotic journalists embedded with the Israeli army. What we have is commentary in the Israeli media or The Electronic Intifada on the Palestinian side.

I've turned to the blogs in order to gain access to information, pictures and voices out of the war zone. Another one and one with a blogroll to explore. I'm interested in finding more Flickr streams by Palestinian produsers. An example. A video blog.

The other concern is find the voices of dissident Israelis and anti-Zionists, especially those in Israeli. My starting point is here and here.

This "Bomb a Ghetto, Raise a Cheer" video is from the recent demonstration of pro-Israel Jews in New York that shows the craziness of behind the Jewish response to Gaza:

Towards the end a girl says it's the second Holocaust, and that the Jews are being persecuted all over again!

This violence against the Palestinian people is the end note to the failed Bush Administration-Israeli strategy to overthrow Hamas. The alternative to war, ignored by Israel but patently obvious, is simple: It will have to negotiate with Hamas, an a option made difficult by Israel is moving steadily to the right politically and the settlements on occupied land expanding at a steady rate.Avi Shlaim, an Oxford professor of international relations, concludes his historical account of the conflict thus:

This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones.

It increasingly looks as if the cap fits.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:36 AM | | Comments (8)


The veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery argues in Molten Lead in Gaza that the Gaza blockade is:

a scientific experiment designed to find out how much one can starve a population and turn its life into hell before they break... “The present war is a continuation of the experiment by other means.

Increasingly Israel, despite being the dominant regional power, has a sense of being embattled and surrounded by fundamentalist totalitarian Arab regimes that are engaged in a war with the West. So it must fight back.

I can't see how the embattled Israel thing can hold water any more. If Israel is embattled, what word do we use to describe Gaza? The West Bank? Lebanon? Even Egypt is not allowed to decide who patrols its border with Gaza.

The UN has conceded there is nothing it can do to prevent Israel from violating international laws. In speaking out against Israel, the Saudis have taken their position re their relationship with the US. Syria has spoken and Jordan is reportedly having problems restraining their own population from firing into Israel.

Far from embattled, Israel is increasingly being seen as a nuclear-armed rogue state whose privileges will expire with the end of the Bush presidency. Obama's approach is yet to be seen, but given the timing, Israel appears to take the view that its days of privilege are numbered.

good analysis. Despite their military weakness and internal division between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinians hold the key to to peace in the Middle East. Israel will gain the security it needs when the majority of the Palestinian people support peace. A bit like Ireland.

I cannot see the Palestainian people being persuaded to support peace by Israel's tactics of bombing them back to the stone age and starving them to death through a siege. How does that give the Palestinians enough of what they want to support a settlement that would give Israel its security?

yes I agree with Gary...Israel must fight now or become obselete.

The equation of what happens afterwards is.....

Elizabeth Wurtzel in Standing against a tide of hatred in The Guardian shows one way of fighting:

And while I'd like to artificially separate anti-Zionism from antisemitism, like most American Jews, I'm not willing to make that false distinction.... As it is my good fortune to be American, I live in the only country that as a matter of policy is pro-Israel regardless of party allegiance; Democrats and Republicans equally unite behind the blue-and-white. But to communicate with anyone I think of as rightminded (and left-leaning) in any other part of the world is to experience the purest antisemitism since the Nazi era. In fact, in Europe right now, it is de rigueur to liken the current regime in Israel with the Nazi party, and to view the experience of the Palestinians as a form of ethnic cleansing...Excepting a business trip I took to England, Scotland and Ireland in early 2002, I have not been to Europe since 9/11. It's become an unbearable place to be, as the anti-American feelings in light of the Iraq war have mingled with antisemitism to a point where they are indistinguishable, the new phobias of the First World.

Wow! That kind of unconscious eruption is presented as enlightened rationality in a sea of racism, bigotry and prejudice. It generated over a 1000 comments that mostly took her to task.

The comments were interesting. There was far more logic and less emotion than you'd expect.

Overall it looks as though Israel has used up the sympathy card and failed to win the PR war, as well as the 'war' in Gaza.

Something I find curious about language of the whole thing, and I haven't see anyone either ask or explain:

Why, when Israel makes a statement, do people say 'Israel said (whatever)' but when Gaza makes a statement, people say 'Hamas said (whatever)'? Supporters of both sides do this, as though Gaza doesn't exist as an entity. Are we so drenched in the rhetoric of terrorism that we can't find a word to describe the people of Gaza?

its not hard to for the responses to be rational as Wurtzel painted herself into a cprner. It appears that though a large majority of Israelis supporting the operation, there were protests against the war within Israel, in which hundreds of Jewish Israelis took part. By Wurtzel's reckoning, that would render those Jews as self-hating antisemites for exercising their democratic right and criticising their government's actions.

You can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, as many pointed out. You can also distinquish between being anti-Israel goverenment and antisemitic.