. The Four Big Lies of Palestine-Israel Media Coverage | Ceasefire Magazine

The Four Big Lies of Palestine-Israel Media Coverage Analysis

In the aftermath of Israel's latest attack on Gaza, we republish a major essay from our 2009 print issue by James Turner, in which he identifies the "Four Big Lies" that shape Media coverage - and even scholarly analysis - of the situation in Israel and Palestine.

Ideas, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 10:41 - 25 Comments


BBC News website hompage – 15 Nov 2012

Jacques Ellul once argued that intellectuals are particularly vulnerable to propaganda, seeking big answers from few facts. Noam Chomsky has denounced the way that tame intellectuals become functionaries of the military-industrial complex. You might expect self-styled intellectuals to approach the discourse of politicians and the media with some scepticism – but they tend instead to provide a carbon copy of the same rhetoric: inadvertently being politically used. Israel, in a true Straussian disposition, has generated a number of Big Lies which it has promoted in the world media. Supported by the rhetoric of US leaders and pliant press, it has elevated its Big Lies to the status of ‘common sense’ in international affairs.

Big Lie #1 – Universities and civilians are ‘military infrastructure’

The first big lie of this account is the claim that Israel carried out the invasion of Gaza to destroy military infrastructure: often described as “an attack on Hamas.” If one reads Israeli generals, politicians, or sympathetic scholars discussing Israeli military doctrines, one will certainly see such phrases as “destroying terrorist infrastructure” often enough. If one observes what happens on the ground, one can see, over and over, innocent Palestinians being killed, basic civilian infrastructure destroyed, deliberate and premeditated attacks on schools, playgrounds, homes, ambulances, farms, the entire basis of civilian life in the Palestinian territories. Comparing what happens to what is asserted, one can only conclude that in Israeli military doctrine, civilians and civilian infrastructure are considered to be ‘terrorist infrastructure’. Back in 2002, Edward Saïd said, about the idea of ‘terrorist infrastructure’, that: “Phrases such as ‘plucking out the terrorist network,’ ‘destroying the terrorist infrastructure’ and ‘attacking terrorist nests’ (note the total dehumanization involved) are repeated so often and so unthinkingly that they have given Israel the right to destroy Palestinian civil life, with a shocking degree of sheer wanton destruction, killing, humiliation and vandalism… What antiterrorist purpose is served by destroying the building and then removing the records of the ministry of education; the Ramallah municipality; the Central Bureau of Statistics; various institutes specialising in civil rights, health, culture and economic development; hospitals, radio and TV stations? Isn’t it clear that Sharon is bent not only on breaking the Palestinians but on trying to eliminate them as a people with national institutions?”

This is consistent with the gratuitous violence against civilians during the Gaza [2008] assault. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, of 1434 Palestinians killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza [2008], 960 were civilians, including 288 children. Israeli soldiers returning from Gaza have provided chilling accounts of civilians being murdered in cold blood. Israel has admitted to targeting personal homes of Hamas leaders, civilian police stations and government buildings. On January 3, the IDF shelled the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque in Beit Lahiya while worshippers were still inside. The next day, the UN accused Israel of hitting a school run by the UNRWA. On January 15 they shelled al-Quds hospital and several high-rise flats. On January 17 they shelled the UNRWA headquarters, destroying food supplies.

Central to the occupation movement was the deliberate targeting by Israeli forces of the Islamic University of Gaza. This attack was officially admitted by the Israeli army, with the university variously being described as holding “arms caches” (which were never found), training “terrorists” (meaning that engineering and chemistry graduates might have skills useful to terrorists – like similar graduates everywhere), and as hosting meetings of Hamas’s political groups (similar to the affiliations of many British academics with the government’s policy apparatus). The global media was rather more to the point in describing the attack as targeting a “symbolic target” and source of Palestinian pride.

In Israeli military discourse, the Palestinians are a terrorist people. It is an old saying of Noam Chomsky’s that the only way to defeat a people’s war is to destroy the people – to reduce them to a condition of such abject poverty and desperation to survive that they can no longer think about fighting. This is, at heart, the core of Israeli military doctrine. Israel does not simply kill civilians by accident, or as excesses by individual soldiers; massive atrocities are an irreducible part of the Israeli strategy.


Big Lie #2 – Hamas started it

This argument runs as follows: Hamas is to blame for the attack on Gaza because they provoked Israel with rocket fire, leading to a ‘predictable’ response.

It is hard to know where to start with this fallacy. First of all, Hamas did not carry out most of the attacks, which have been claimed by a range of Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad and Fatah. Groups outside Hamas have claimed responsibility for many if not all of the rocket attacks since the 2007 ‘handover’ of Gaza. The attacks, on a provocatively sited border town with what amount to homemade fireworks, have claimed only a handful of lives over many years, whereas Israeli violence – even the periodic kind, aside from the various incursions – has killed far more.

Secondly, it would be militarily impossible for Hamas to stop attacks given its lack of military might, and politically impossible given its position. Let us look here at what a real Palestine specialist is saying – Camille Mansour in the Journal of Palestine Studies. According to Mansour, military action in Gaza has become decentred; “actions and reactions [are] most often the result of local, more or less spontaneous, initiatives”. In this context, whoever holds state power in Gaza – be it Hamas, Fatah or anyone else – faces three options. All-out war is seen as “suicidal”; but so is the option of “act[ing] as Israel’s gendarme”. This would guarantee massive unpopularity in a context where repeated Israeli attacks had prevented the Palestinian Authority from exercising military rule over its own people. This leaves the “overseer” approach in which ‘the PA would sometimes let things happen, sometimes be a spectator, and at other times arbitrate between rival groups, in most cases to avoid taking initiatives. It meant waiting for the Israelis to make mistakes, intervening when absolutely necessary and only with significant backing from the Palestinian population, giving in and letting the storm pass when the pressure of the other side became too strong, and so on.” (Mansour also hints at a fourth option, closer to the PLO strategy in the 1970s, which is rejected for political reasons, because it would dismantle the PA). The “overseer” approach is a result of self-preservation by the faction in power. If Hamas tried militarily to stop the rocket attacks, it would face the dual spectres of a precipitate loss of support and civil war with other factions.

The ‘status quo’ was that Israel was blockading Gaza, and Palestinian militants periodically fired rockets in return. Who escalated the situation beyond this status quo, turning it into an all-out war?

The argument often claims that Hamas is responsible because the Israeli response is ‘predictable’. As indeed it was, in the way that atrocities by those in power very often are – in the way, for example, that the Chinese crackdown in Tibet was “predictable”, and the beating of civil rights activists in the 1960s US South. It is also “predictable” that an Israeli blockade, constant verbal aggression and periodic military attacks will lead to Palestinians engaging in retaliation. One major reason for such attacks is the Israeli defence doctrine which maintains that constant violence, collective punishment and dehumanisation of Palestinians will break their will and end resistance. While this doctrine persists, it is inevitable that some Palestinians will set out to prove the doctrine wrong. (Sociologist Michael Mann argues that the motive for Palestinian suicide bombings is to disprove Israeli security theory.)

The situation is framed as a case of Palestinian free choice versus Israeli determinism: Hamas chose an ‘indulgent’ strategy when they could have done otherwise; Israel simply behaved predictably, like a machine, without will. The methodological inadequacy of such a position is obvious: Hamas, too, is acting “predictably”; Israel, too, has a choice in how to act.

If this argument is not rejected, if ‘predictable’ retaliation is to be excused from the status of ethically challengeable agency, why would it not similarly excuse every other act by a belligerent – from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the 911 attacks or the Sudanese offensives in Darfur? Either everyone is similarly permitted to act ‘predictably’, in which case no moral critique of war is possible; or Israel alone is accorded this privilege, which is systematic, unapologetic bias.


Big Lie #3 – Israel wants peace, the Palestinians want war

Because Hamas does not recognise Israel’s ‘right to exist’ and does not openly call for a two-state solution, it is therefore a constant provocation of Israel, which quite understandably (it is claimed) refuses to negotiate with it or to recognise it in return. Israel is ‘ready for peace’ – it is prepared to negotiate if ‘the violence stops’ (as if it is not itself a perpetrator of violence), and can be faulted only for failing to send this message loudly and clearly enough. Hamas on the other hand is an extremist organisation committed to wiping out Israel, fuelled by “ideology”.

Again, this view is perversely one-sided. It is common in intractable conflicts for neither side to recognize the other. Israel also does not, in principle, accept the existence or the right to exist of a Palestinian state. Many states have and continue to carry on negotiations without formal recognition – for instance, East and West Germany in the 1970s, North and South Korea, Taiwan and China, Serbia and Kosova, Britain and the IRA. If Israel refuses on principle to negotiate with an adversary until the adversary accepts a priori the crux of Israel’s claims, it is in effect refusing the possibility of dialogue, placing a block in the way of any possibility of peace, taking a stance of ‘no peace without victory’. Hamas does not have the capacity to eradicate Israel. It is no more a threat to Israel than is, for example, the Taiwanese claim to the whole of mainland China. This abstract goal of Hamas is held up by Israel as a shibboleth, a pretext. Whatever one thinks of Hamas’s politics, the movement has been successful because of the political situation, not because of “ideology” in the abstract. Its support is not fuelled by irrational hatred of Israel. It is fuelled by the anger and desperation born of occupation and war, as well as by Hamas offering a political alternative to what was viewed as a corrupt local administration unable to meet basic needs, and to a strategy of placating Israel which seemed to have failed (not to mention Hamas’s success in creating a limited social services and welfare infrastructure).

Of course, most Palestinians are not enthusiastic to give up so blatantly. Since Israel was founded through the forced expulsion of millions of Palestinians from what had previously been their own land, that these refugees have neither been rehomed nor compensated, and that they have a claim under international law to a right to live inside the boundaries of what is now Israel, and that Israel has never specified exactly where the boundaries of its “right to exist” end, it is not surprising that Palestinians are rather reluctant to concede it as having such a “right to exist”.

Other cases are never seen in the same way. The Bosnian war, for example, is not seen as the Bosnians’ fault because they refuse to recognise the Republica Srpska’s right to exist; the Darfur conflict is not labelled the Darfur rebels’ fault because they don’t recognise the Sudanese government’s right to the integrity of its borders. In these cases, the populations bearing the brunt of atrocities are not expected to be enthusiastic to recognise their oppressors.

Hamas’s intransigence, its opposition to Israel’s existence and its ostensibly extreme ideology, is thus concluded according this narrative to be a source (rather than a symptom) of the conflict. Certain questions have to be avoided. Why would so many Palestinians vote for, and join, and fight for a group so bitterly opposed to Israel? Would things have been much better under Fatah? Israel has staged similar incursions of similar length repeatedly over the last ten years – the siege of the Fatah leadership in Bethlehem in 2002, the invasion of Jenin in the same year, the invasion of Rafah in 2004, and the invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Some of these were targeted at the more pliant Fatah leadership. This puts the lie to the claim that it is Hamas’s intransigence which has extended the conflict. Rather, the failure of Fatah’s strategy of appeasing Israel in return to peace was a major reason for Hamas’s election victory in Gaza.

Let us stop for a moment to consider another narrative, again from Edward Saïd. According to Saïd, “[w]ere it not for the fact of the Palestinians’ stubborn refusal to accept that they are ‘a defeated people’… there would be no peace plan”. This is the crucial point about such initiatives. “If we miss that truth about the power of Palestinian resistance… we miss everything”.

If the Palestinians had not resisted, they would not exist as a people in the face of the Israeli onslaught. There would be no talk of peace. There are reasons why Israel has been forced to the peace table by ongoing proof that the Palestinians are resilient and persistent enough to prevent a military ‘solution’.

The comprehensive occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was ended (or rather, toned down) due to the persistence of Palestinian resistance. Israel found occupation costly for several reasons, including the growth of refusal of military service, the growth of the peace movement and the continual military cost. Israeli generals find it more practical to stage intense violent invasions which last briefly enough to avoid a concerted outcry, rather than to carry on a quagmire-like occupation. In the case of Gaza, withdrawal of troops and settlers (while continuing to occupy Gaza’s airspace, coastlines and borders) has a military purpose: leaving the Palestinian population vulnerable to long-range aerial and artillery bombardment which could not be carried out if Israel had its own people on the ground.

A two-state solution, were it to be feasible, would require recognition between the two sides – but as a part of the solution, not something asserted in advance. Israel has also refused arbitrarily to negotiate with Hamas; in contrast to Hamas, it has refused to recognise its adversary as a potential interlocutor. Blaming this lack of dialogue on non-recognition by one side, when both sides refuse to recognise one another, is patently unfair. It is a logical fallacy, treating the absence of a peace settlement as the reason for the absence of a peace settlement.

This narrative often reads the partial and conditional withdrawals of Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories as a move towards a two-state solution. This is naïve. Firstly, the withdrawal has been partial and conditional. Israel still occupies large parts of the West Bank, including settlements and areas adjacent to them, and most of the major road networks. Israel is also carving additional land out of the West Bank as part of its “separation fence” project. Israel also insists on controlling checkpoints to and from the Palestinian territories. It is clear that Israel never viewed Oslo as the first step to a viable Palestinian state.

Is it Hamas which is preventing the realisation of a two-state solution? The Oslo Accords were greeted by many as the beginning of such a solution. Fatah has effectively recognised Israel’s “right to exist” provided it be as part of a two-state arrangement. Yet the West Bank is no closer to being a second “state” than at the time Oslo was signed. Israeli violence has continued in the West Bank. Fatah was formerly in power in both territories, but lost power in Gaza in democratic elections. Were it not for Israel’s actions after Oslo, some kind of two-state arrangement might well have come into being – but Israel persisted in waging war against the infrastructure of everyday life in the Palestinian territories, and eventually, as happens in democracies, the governing party was replaced by the opposition. Fatah was unable to deliver on the hopes raised by the Oslo accords because of Israeli intransigence.

So, we are left with a situation where Israel refuses on principle to negotiate with Hamas except on terms which Hamas finds both repugnant and politically suicidal. Israel acts on its intransigence by sabotaging whatever ceasefires and peace settlements arise. Israel offers negotiations if Palestinians stop their side of the violence (a demand made previously against Fatah before it was extended to Hamas), but without making any move to curb the daily violence of its own policies – the blockade, the settlements, the harassment at checkpoints, the periodic raids and incursions. It is thus clear that Israel is stalling, preventing peacemaking efforts indefinitely by demanding that peace be established before the negotiations, or worse, that the other side gives up its violence while Israel continues its own.


Big Lie #4 – The international community can’t stop the war

This goes like this: firstly, the situation is too politically sensitive for others to get involved; secondly, the Gaza atrocities are not that big a deal, because there are worse things going on (e.g. in Congo and Darfur); thirdly, the international community lacks funds for conflict resolution; fourthly, the international community lacks leverage over Hamas (previously asserted to be the main cause of the conflict). The image is thus of an international community (more accurately, of big foreign states and agencies) which is not choosing to condone or turn a blind eye to Israel, but which is simply unable to act – too busy, too poor, too powerless. America, Britain, the EU, the UN, NATO and other large states, are too busy, too poor, and too powerless to act. Yet these are the same agents who act in costly, disproportionate, powerful ways in a great many other contexts.

The counter-argument, that maybe they could act but do not want to act, often does not enter into the typical narrative enough even to warrant an attempt at rebuttal. Ironically, it is usually concluded that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict cannot be solved without American engagement, and that Bush has engaged too little in the ‘Middle East’. So this powerless, poor, busy giant – which could not possibly stop the invasion of Gaza – is nevertheless capable of bringing about peace!

Let us take these issues one at a time. Firstly, there is the implication that the invasion of Gaza is somehow more ‘sensitive’ than, for instance, the Darfur or Kosova conflicts. But why? All humanitarian and human rights situations raise geopolitical situations where the criticised countries and their allies try to deny or minimise the atrocities. In the case of Darfur, the west’s pressure on Sudan is complicated by perceptions that the concern is linked to western Islamophobia, by manoeuvrings between Sudan and Chad, and by angry memories of the American bombing of a Sudanese medicine factory in 1998, which may have killed more people indirectly than the Darfur crisis. In Kosova, the issue was complicated by Russian support for the Serbs. In both cases, the situation is complicated by accusations and counter-accusations about who did what, governments claiming that alleged rights abuses were/are justified responses to armed opposition groups active in the area, and claiming a separation between government forces and local paramilitaries responsible for abuses. If the Gaza incursion is entirely justified from an Israeli point of view, then so equally is Darfur from a Sudanese point of view, or Kosova from a Serbian point of view. In none of the other cases does complexity prevent America, the UN, etc, from acting. So, it is not logical to conclude that complexity is the cause of inaction in the Gaza case. Rather, the only thing that prevents the international community taking the same stance on Palestine as on these other cases is American support for Israel. This is not a ‘complication’. It is outright support for war crimes.

Secondly, there is the argument that the international community is preoccupied with conflicts elsewhere, which are as described as worse than the Gaza crisis in humanitarian terms. This raises a clear danger : that of reducing human rights issues to matters of numbers. Numbers do not define when something becomes a genocide or a crime against humanity in international law. And if we are comparing by numbers, why not start by comparing the deaths on the Israeli and Palestinian sides?

It is hard to establish how many exactly have been killed in Gaza. Above, I cited a figure of 1,434 directly killed. But this number would be dwarfed by the numbers killed indirectly, through the ongoing siege and due to the destruction of humanitarian infrastructure and means of subsistence during the incursion. Numbers dying due to unsanitary conditions, lack of healthcare, malnutrition, sewage poisoning and the like are hard to establish but may number tens or hundreds of thousands. Even before the current crisis, life expectancy in the Gaza Strip was seven years less than in Israel. Without seeking to minimise suffering in Darfur, it should be added that there are currently 7 million Palestinian refugees around the world, compared to maybe 2 million refugees from Darfur. In the case of Kosova, the number killed comes to between 2,500 and 12,000. The crisis was probably on a smaller scale than Gaza became, at the time NATO intervened. What is more, these cases have not exactly been ignored. There have been a peacekeeping initiative, high-profile absentee trials of alleged human rights violators, and international sanctions against Sudan. As for the DR Congo, there are already United Nations peacekeepers in many of the most vulnerable sites, totalling 25,000 people, in addition to the global indictment and arrest of leaders deemed responsible for abuses. Serbia was internationally isolated, and several of its former leaders are in jail.

In contrast, there have been no such sanctions against Israel. There are no peacekeepers along the borders of Gaza, or even protecting the UNRWA sites. There have been no ICC indictments of Israeli leaders. Israeli officials and generals travel the world freely.

Thirdly, there is the question of ‘public finances’. Indeed, these are in dire straits everywhere right now. But they are hardly grounds for inaction in a case such as this. America is subsidising Israel to the tune of $3.5 billion annually (not counting the huge bribe to Egypt to maintain peace with Israel). America could take immediate action to force Israel into a settlement by suspending aid. America could force Israel into peace overnight if it had the political will. This would actually save money for America. This brings us to the fourth claim: lack of leverage over Hamas. In fact, western countries and global agencies have considerable positive leverage over Hamas: they could easily offer to decriminalise the group for example, or to recognise the Palestinian Authority in Gaza as a state. Their refusal to countenance such measures is a sign of pro-Israeli bias.

Let us conclude, briefly, with the issue of American engagement to solve the conflict. While this cannot be ruled out, we should bear in mind that America could end the conflict overnight if it wanted, by suspending aid to Israel. America has, rather, chosen to fuel the conflict by backing Israel unconditionally. It is also doubtful whether American intervention would be welcomed, given that its persistent warmongering has left it deeply unpopular in the Arab world.

The oft-repeated statement that Bush ‘did not engage heavily with the Middle East’ is so ridiculous that it hardly merits response. Even assuming this means ‘Bush has not engaged heavily with Palestine’ (ignoring the rest of the Middle East), all this really means is that he gave a free hand to the Israeli regime to attack the Palestinians under the veil of the American ‘war on terror’ (Yasser Arafat “is our bin Laden” declared Sharon on one occasion). Many Bush regime leaders were members of extreme pro-Israel think tanks such as PNAC and AIPAC. The Bush regime has criminalised Palestinian advocates in America, from charities such as the Holy Land Foundation to academics such as Sami al-Arian. America has not been busy with peacemaking in the Middle East because it has been too busy with warmaking! And these wars cannot be separated neatly from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both Iraq and Iran are linked to Israel as possible regional counter-powers; Iraq was a major supporter of the Palestinians before the invasion, while Iran is allegedly seeking to break Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region. Notice also the timing of the Gaza incursion: set up to end (without Palestinian concessions) the moment Bush handed over to Obama. This invasion was Bush’s last gift to the Israelis.

Perhaps an American change of heart could bring about peace, but I for one am not holding my breath. Meanwhile, there are several other ways peace could come about. Firstly, Israel could be deterred by another state or power with the capacity to hit it hard, creating a balance of power. Secondly, Israel could be forced into peace by growing discontent among its own population, especially if it ends up in a costly quagmire conflict. Thirdly, other states and social forces around the world could unite against both Israel and America and impose sanctions leading to peace. Fourthly, with American global power in decline after the Iraq fiasco, it is possible that others will become more important in peacemaking. The most viable approach is to continue initiatives such as the International Solidarity Movement protests and the Gaza humanitarian boats, while also seeking to cut off Israel’s military and corporate supporters elsewhere and undermine its interconnections with the economies of the rest of the world. Targeting companies such as Caterpillar, forcing them to break their links to Israel, would leave it increasingly isolated and force it to sue for peace.

James Turner is a writer and activist based in the UK.


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Dr S.
Nov 17, 2012 15:18

All opinions and no facts

Faruk Ahmed
Nov 17, 2012 15:21

I feel shame when I see war and killing in the 21st century. We are still controlled by evil. It’s shame, shame, shame!

Geoff in Oz
Nov 17, 2012 15:50

I feel for all civilians caught in a crossfire like this. However it should be pointed out that whoever is shooting at Israel (if it’s not Hamas, it’s a proxy – at best, they know who it is) is launching unguided weapons over a long range and hopig it hits something. If it happens to hit something military by sheer good(?) luck, fine, but if it hits a population centre, that also appears to be somethig to cheer about.

I note that despite any collateral damage (and there has been some) Israel is clearly targeting both the Military wing of Hamas (the killing of their Commander being a case in point) as well as known sites for training, munitions storage etc. The destruction of the fledgling Hamas drone program was another case in point.

When you sift the rhetoric only one thing is clear, the only way for Hamas to win (or more correctly – not lose) is not to play.

And no, I’m not Israeli/Jewish or anything remotely related to either.

Geoff in Oz

Nov 17, 2012 16:24

the only relevant fact is religion is the curse of humanity.

Nov 17, 2012 16:46

An enjoyable read from your view point James. If you could leave references at the bottom would be great. I will say this, if Hamas refuses to police its “state” properly and curb the rocket attacks, they are just as guilty as Israel is here. The sooner the rest of the world sorts out the Arab nations into some form of order, the better.

Tim Mullins
Nov 17, 2012 17:20

Wow! not hard to see what side this journalist is on. 60 years of history means nothing I guess. Whatever he smoked for lunch must be pretty good.

Nov 17, 2012 18:22

great flawless article . world needs fearless and truthful journalists like you. world runs by virtue of truthful and just people like u.

Nov 17, 2012 18:25

Excellent article. It would be helpful for those who are claiming there are a lack of facts here to suggest which statements in the article they actually disagree with. One suspects they have declined to do so thus far because they are aware of Turner’s accuracy.

Nov 17, 2012 20:19

Interesting logic of this article… “Israeli town provocatively placed near the border” makes it legitimate to fire rockets to kill it’s population… By the same logic, author could say:”A Jew provocatively walked by my house, and I legitimately killed him”.

Sam from Oz
Nov 17, 2012 21:58

Only the BBC would paste such non-factual journalism.

AS IT HAPPENS: Israel, Hamas trade blows in bloody Gaza conflict | Up to the hour news
Nov 18, 2012 2:21

[…] To read his full piece click here […]

Nov 18, 2012 3:39

Yes, Leo, that would be true if the author had used the “provocative” siting of the town to suggest that it is “legitimate to fire rockets to kill it’s [sic] population.” As you know, he doesn’t ever state that the rockets are “legitimate”.

Nov 18, 2012 8:47

wow I look at James’ bank records some sort of dodgy cheque from Hamas for biased reporting and lack of historical research …. like it says at the bottom of the article “reporter and ACTIVIST”

Nov 18, 2012 13:25

James thinks Israel left Gaza to make it easier to attack Gaza! What a joke!

Nov 19, 2012 2:59

What a load of biased rubbish.

Nov 19, 2012 3:42

Israel has an agenda. They have so much influence in the U.S. government no matter what they do is not questioned only supported.. One only has to look back to when they attacked the USS Liberty and killed 34 of our military. What did the U.S. government do? Nothing. This being said the U.S. does not have to worry about Iran since Israel has the most advanced weapons in the world and will deal with Iran when the time comes. Although I pray for peace in the middle east I do not think I will see it in my lifetime. It is time for the U.S. government to cut off all foreign aid to the middle east.

Kenneth Williams
Nov 19, 2012 16:45

Rick, I live in the U.S. I watch this president Obama continue to not meet with the Israeli Prime Minister; he has cut funding to Israel and instead decided to set up Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood (like that is going to turn out well for anyone), look also at the Libyan and Syrian affairs. You think this action is conducive to Israel? As for Israel having an ‘agenda’, of course they do. If you were surrounded on all sides by people who want to decimate you, wouldn’t you have an ‘agenda’? You do not see Israels ‘agenda’ going any farther then their rightful borders. These same borders are dictated in the worlds oldest book, the Bible. But all that aside, Israel is outnumbered millions…. yet still, they have advanced themselves within their own territory, have given their land away in efforts towards peace. All that has gotten them is missiles fired at them; by people who regularly use hospitals and schools for weapons caches;fired from civilian populated centers; the same people kill the Israeli civilians who go and fix their power problems. Didn’t you know that Israel maintains and provides Gaza its power? The same people whom the Israeli’s treat at their own hospitals are from among the same people firing rockets at the Israeli civilian centers but the world does not think this note worthy. I have always rooted for an ‘underdog’, but those in Saudi Arabia could have fed and clothed their brethren Palestinians. Instead, the Saudis chose to turn their backs on their own, and escalate a situation instead of coming to aid their own people. That is sad. What is even sadder is that Israel gets condemned for protecting herself and taking action to negate a viable serious threat. Those in Gaza should be thankful that Israel has the decency that helps them when their own Saudi brothers basically kicked them to the curb.

Nov 19, 2012 16:45

I think the overarching point here is Israel is an occupying force, and Palestinians resist that occupation with rockets among other things. That’s easy to understand, I don’t really see how anyone can be so against Palestinian resistance, as if they wouldn’t do the same thing if left in the same situation. Obviously, if your sense of freedom relies on Palestinian oppression then you’ll want to demonise that resistance, but in the long run people who resist their oppression tend to be labelled as heros. I think there’s something quite inherent in humans to see someone with pride not backing down against a greater force in a positive light. There’s even a word for it, underdog.

Nov 20, 2012 5:02

Kenneth, Obviously you are an Israel sympathizer. That is okay. I am an American also. Plain and simple I like alot of Americans am sick and tired of the middle east. All of it. We both know it is all about the oil. They have been killing each other since before camels had humps. It is time for America to start taking care of America and let them sort it out. But then again, its all about the oil.

Nov 20, 2012 17:00

Thanks for a very useful piece.

Unfortunately the following sentence doesn’t quite manage to dodge another Big Lie much loved by the western media.:

“Fatah was formerly in power in both territories, but lost power in Gaza in democratic elections. ”

Fatah lost power in the West Bank as well as Gaza in the 2006 elections (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4654306.stm for a breakdown of seats). Not only was there no Hamas ‘coup’ in Gaza, they were deposed by one in the West Bank.

The Difference Between Zionism and Judaism « Nyheter for aktivister
Nov 25, 2012 2:53

[…] The Four Big Lies of Palestine-Israel Media Coverage […]

Dec 14, 2012 18:10

i find some views & ‘facts’ on this article to be untrue. i’ll address them one by one:

regarding big lie #1 – Hamas has been known for a decade to use musques, hospitals, schools, universites, apartment rooms etc. as ammo caches (namely Qasam, Grad & Fajr rockets) there is actually mountains of documented proofs for this, just look it up. i myself witnessed caches found in private residences & mosques. Hamas can’t store it’s weapons in conventional places like warehouses because they have no way to defend them against airstrikes. that is why they hide their weapons among civilians & in civil infrastructure. it also serves a political purpose – when the IDF blows up an appartment cache, but kills a palestinian civilian in the same time these news immediately travel to the rest of the world depicting israel as a killer of innocents….. CNN, BBC, AL-Jazeera etc. forget to ‘mention’ the ammo cache in the building. this actually happenned by the way. in all fact, the major networks get most of their stories from the pallestinians which are quite adept at falsifying data, just search “Pallywood” on youtube or visit “the truth about the middle east” page on facebook.

regarding big lie #2 – it is true that many of the attacks are not carried out directly by Hamas. but the truth is that Hamas DO control the gaza strip & are responsible for the cations of other factions. the multi faction statement is just another tool Hamas uses to de-legitimize israeli attacks on gaza. in the last operation (pillar of defense) Hamas assembled all the other faction representatives & controlled them from a centralized Headquarters btw (ever see that on BBC? lol). point is, Hamas is in control & the other factions must have their approval to take any action against israel,
Regarding the rest of this ‘big lie #2’ – the author of this article seems to think that we should accomodate a terrorist organistion simply because it is politically situated as a terrorist organisation & has no choice on the matter.. let me ask you this – if you were a president, minister, general, simple citizen, would you accomodate an organisation that states in it’s manifest (& Hamas do) your complete destruction & acts acoordingly? would you accomodate them? i don’t think so. i live in the city of beersheva in southern israel. in my city, 3 kindergartens & 2 schools got hit DIRECTLY by grad rockets, luckily our mayor was wise enough to cancel studies in the city prior to those occasions, hear about that in BBC/CNN/AL-Jazeera? no? surprise surprise.
anyway i’m not gonna go on about the rest of this big lie #2 because the author bases the rest of it on that silly notion that we should take into consideration Hamas’s position & accomodate them. which is simply head up his ass stupid.

regarding big lie #3 – first i would like to address the notion that israel commited an expulsion of ‘millions of palestinians’. really? wanna look up the british census of palestine prior to the 1948 war? you will see there that the total arab population of palestine was about 800,000 people. and when i say arab i don’t mean only palestinians, it also means bedouins, druze etc. which existed & still exist in vast numbers in the south & north of israel.. did you ever wonder how nowadays the palestinian population got so big? it’s not because of an incredibly higher birth rate (check CIA factbook) but because they were politically & ideologically motivated to destroy israe, so the mass illegal immigration of arabs into israel began, to fight the jews. if you go to a palestinian & ask him through coverstaion about their origins you will find about that over 90% of them have their roots in either saudi arabia or egypt. Fact. for the sake of truth & openness – the rest 10% do have their roots in palestine, descendents of nomads & bedouins that adopted palestinianhood. if you look up their origin you will see that this is true, their are even videos of Hamas/Fatah represantatives revealing their origins, just look it up with youtube/google.

what the auuthor said about israel not declaring its borders & such is simply false. israel actually approached the palestinians almost 10 times since 1948 in an attempt to make peace. each time proposing borders that the palestinians demanded in the previous proposal. there answer was always no. however, i would concour that cureently israel is less interested in peacem simply because of these past experiences. also, with the current methods hamas is using to brainwash its population, especially the young, peace seems further away each year that passess.

regarding the request that israel performs a complete withdrawl from the west bank – israel did that before. it gave control over to jordan. what israel got in return was a barrage of suicide attacks in tel aviv resulting in hundreds of fatalites for the better part of a decade. ever since israel reaquired control of the west bank, there were maybe two suicide attacks if i can recall. that’s it.

regarding the notion that occupation costs more than brief military assaults on palestinian terrotries – bullshit. think for yourselves for a moment. while occuppying territories, you simply use the groud forces you already have & would’ve used somewhere else (in israel there is a mandatory draft so there is never a shortage of troops). so basically when you occupy you use infantry, light vehcles & some infastructure which are low cost mostly. But when you perform brief attacks such as pillar of defense you get this – dozens of airstrikes per day, mobilization of almost 80,000 troops in prepartaion for ground entry with heavy vehicles (this happened in pillar of defense). most of the troops are veterans that are given wages almost identical to the ones they get in their current workplace… these are about 100-500 times higher than the wages the 18-21 year old conscripts get. the use of the iron dome system that intercepts about 100 rockets per day. each iron dome missile costs 50,000$.
the total cost of pillar of defense operation were over 1 billion dollar and it lasted only a bit more than a week.

when looking at history you will see that when israel occupies the palestinian territories there fewer casualties. on both sides.

regarding the notion that israel should negotiate with Hamas – the problem with this idea is that when you negotiate with a terrorist organiztion you recognise them as a sovereign power & therefore legetimize them. once you do that you create a bad precedent. you acknowledge them as legtimate & need to accomodate their unrealistic & childish demands. also, by acknowledging hamas you help to further divide the palestinian people.

imagine for a minute the US sitting down with al qaeda to negotiate peace with them. same thing.

i can just go on & on about this big lie #3 but i think you get my drift so i’ll move on to the next one

big lie #4 – i don’t even know where to start on this one beacuse it’s both a very complex,long subject & also because of the author’s incredibly perverse views in his attempt to somewhat reverse the situation.

the author seems to suggest that the israeli-palestinian conflict is not portraid as a major issue when in fact every time an israeli breaks a palesinian’s fingernail it gets broadcasted & spinned globally. that’s my gist of it at least. at the same time he (the author) does this, he tries to portray darfour & sudan as more important issues to the UN / Nato / Human rights. these SHOULD be more urgent matters on the world’s agenda, but it is not & therein lies the problem. there is a media obsession with israel & the palestinians, even sometimes portraying the palestinians as the jews of the holocaust when in fact it couldn’t be further away from the truth. just in the past decade, when the number of palestinian, probably mostly militants, killed by israeli froces barely scratches 3,000 the number of deaths in sudan and darfour went over a million EACH. Syrians killed by assad number in the 35,000, & let’s not forget gadaffi, the number US / chinesse executions per year, the US war in iraq, afghanistan etc…
why do you think nobody ever states in the large networks exactly how many palestinians were killed by israeli forces since the creation of israel? i mean they do call it genocide but i have yet to see any figure (disregarding the very vague assumptions by the author)… that is because the true number is probably so low it would make you laugh & think this whole israeli-palestinian conflict is extrmely overexagurated. & it is.

regarding the statement that there are over 7 million palestinian refugees – sounds made up. never heard such a high figure before. he could only reach that one by including all of the arab population inside israel which are not all palestinians, the palestinians in gaza &west bank, Half the joordanian population (which are former palestinians thatbecame nationalised jordanians that live peacefully decades ago) & of course the refugees themselves that live in surrounding countries (their numbers total is no more than several hundred thousands… i’m referring to those living in refugee camps)

ever wonder why there have been palestinian refugees for decades now? because they are simply being used by arab nations to keep the conflict going. they don’t give a damn about the refugees, they simply use them to keep the wound open. why do you think the palestinians get their human rights organisation (UNRWA)? the rest of the world’s refugees seem to do just fine with the UNHR, that helps them reassimilate to another country in a matter of several years.. truth is the UNRWA is actually preventing the reassimilation of palestinian refugees in syria, lebanon, joradn, egypt etc… UNRWA makes it harder for refugees to find jobs, become citizens or get financial aid.

the whole mess of the arab-israeli conflict just gets worst as more & more nations & world leaders squeeze themselves in. it became a stage for a much larger global conflict beetween the west & the arab nation, or beetween the west & islam, just take your pick.

that’s it. i’m exhausted. anybody wants to pick up where i left on? 🙂
btw. sorry for misspelles. english is not my native tongue,

Kevin Bushnell
Dec 18, 2012 2:51

In the section Big Lie #2, you would be correct to write “2005 ‘handover’ of Gaza” rather than “2007 ‘handover’ of Gaza.”

Media’s game on the Israel- Palestine Conflict | yell0wblog
Feb 28, 2013 18:05

Mar 28, 2015 21:18

I am a half Palestinian ex Muslim who twice visited Israel and the West Bank. I say this article is a complete and utter biased non sense from a typical insecure naive western librel.

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