Two observations about Jon Snow’s interview last night with Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan, for which Snow has received a lot of criticism from those supportive of the Palestinian case.
First, we should notice how Snow chooses to frame the interview. This is his first question: “Israel has demonstrated that it is prepared to go on killing Gaza’s woman and children, civilians generally. Why are you encouraging them by continuing to fire your ineffective rockets?”
That is quite some opener. In using the phrase “prepared to go on”, Snow implies that Israel’s killing of civilians is to a degree deliberate. In fact, that becomes the essential frame of the whole interview – and is the source of his irritating, even puerile line of questioning. Why antagonise Israel, when it’s clear it’s going to vent its fury on women and children? Why not hand over your weapons and let Israel blow up your tunnels? Why not abandon resistance?
Snow’s framing does a great disservice to Hamas but it damages Israel even more. Hamas are stupid, according to this approach, but Israel is actually malevolent. We should not discount the significance of the assumption about Israel Snow is making on behalf of his viewers. This may be some sort of tiny victory for the Palestinians in the media war.
Second, Snow keeps telling Hamdan: “There’s no time to go into the history”. In other words, we must ignore the context. But this is precisely the criticism of media coverage of Israel-Palestine made by academics like Greg Philo. Their surveys show the media fail to provide the historical context of the conflict, and this failure puts the Palestinians at an immediate disadvantage, because their case is essentially historical – a demand for redress for the injustices of 1948 and 1967. After all, Hamas represents an enormous group of refugees from those wars, forced out of their homes in Israel and now imprisoned in Gaza. Without that context, we cannot understand what drives Hamas or Gaza’s will to resist.
The Israelis, on the other hand, would much rather we ignored the history, or only concentrated on marginal aspects of it, because the injustice – the dispossession of Palestinians – is precisely historical. So, in refusing to consider history, Snow is taking a side – Israel’s.
Since the beginning of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, Israel has killed seven Palestinian journalists and media workers.
According to Pls48.net news website, Palestinian medical sources announced on Wednesday afternoon the death of photojournalist Rami Rayan, who was killed while working in the Souq Al-Bastat, east of Gaza City, when Israeli forces committed a massacre against civilians. Earlier in the day, journalist Ahed Zaqqout, who worked in sports journalism for several agencies, was announced dead.
Israel’s assault on Gaza also led to the killing of photojournalist Khaled Hamad, as well as journalists Najla Mahmoud Haj, Abdul Rahman Ziad Abu Hin, Ezzat Duheir and Bahauddin Ghareeb.
The Palestinian Journalist Bloc issued a statement condemning Israel’s premeditated targeting of journalists and media workers, saying the Israeli army had crossed all red lines by targeting reporters and shattering international laws and norms.
The bloc demanded that the international community and the United Nations uphold their responsibilities regarding the Israeli targeting of journalists and media workers and depart from their shameful silence.
The bloc also criticised local, Arab and international press agencies, particularly the Arab Journalists Union and Reporters Without Borders, as well as all the institutions that deal with journalists and media workers’ rights, for their current silence towards the killing of Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip.
The statement stressed that Israel’s crimes against the media workers reflect its daily crimes against the Palestinian people, and demanded for the international community to curb the Israeli aggression and to stop supplying it with arms that are used to kill civilians.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashed out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law.
Pillay slammed the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities which are sheltering 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
“There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” the South African told reporters.
Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said.
She spoke a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp which was sheltering some 3,300 homeless Gazans, killing at least 16 people.
Pillay said that under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, noting that due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.
“It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” said Pillay.
She also criticized Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s power plant, as well as water and sewerage systems.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from the Zionist entity and its international sponsor, the United States.
“We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on,” Pillay said on Thursday, calling into question domestic investigations by Israel into abuses.
“I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong,” she added.
Once again, the United States proves that it is a partner in the crimes committed against humanity by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.
A US defense official said on Thursday that Washington has allowed the Zionist entity to tap a local US arms stockpile in the past week to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds.
The munitions were located inside the Zionist entity as part of a program managed by the US military and called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), which stores munitions locally for US use that Israel can also access in emergency situations.
However, Tel Aviv did not cite an emergency when it made its latest request about 10 days ago, the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The United States allowed Israel to access the strategic stockpile anyway to resupply itself with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds to deplete older stocks that would eventually need to be refreshed.
“They didn’t ask for it from there but we gave it to them so we could rotate our stocks,” the official said.
Additional Israeli requests for U.S.-manufactured ammunition were also being processed in the United States, the official said, without offering further details on quantities or costs of ammunition already supplied or requested.
The Israeli embassy in Washington declined comment about the resupply request, including whether it asked for the ammunition because of its offensive in Gaza.
The U.S. Department of Justice has drawn attention to itself for helping an organization opposed to Iran maintain secrecy of its records, which are caught up in a defamation lawsuit filed against the group.
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) was founded six years ago and is operated by and gets advice from a who’s who list of American and foreign politicos, including former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman; Frances Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush; Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents; plus former intelligence chiefs from Israel, Germany and Britain.
Victor Restis, a Greek shipping magnate accused by UANI of violating sanctions by doing business with Iran, filed a defamation suit against the group. Restis’ lawyers have sought to compel UANI to release information about its donors and other details.
But the Justice Department stepped in and asked a federal judge to block the request, claiming the records contain sensitive information that the government considers important. Federal attorneys insisted “that certain information” would jeopardize law enforcement investigations, expose investigative techniques or identify confidential sources if released, according to The New York Times.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York City granted the government’s request, while also describing the U.S. government’s involvement as “very curious.” The Justice Department has until July 31 to claim law enforcement privilege and keep the information from being disclosed permanently. In the meantime, each side has hurled charges and countercharges at the other.
“I am particularly concerned,” Ramos said in April, “that the defendants are able to utilize certain information in its public statements, and then not have to answer to their actions on the basis of a privilege.”
The claim of privilege puts the Justice Department in a conundrum. Federal intelligence agencies are not supposed to work with outside agencies to influence U.S. public opinion. But if UANI hasn’t been working with the government, what information could it have that would be so sensitive? We might find out on Thursday.
Gaza Ministry of Health: Israeli attack on crowded market during ceasefire is ‘barbarity personified’
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – Ministry of Health Gaza is outraged at the Israeli massacre perpetrated during the so-called humanitarian ceasefire, when F-16s fired missiles into the crowded Shujeiyah market as hundreds took advantage of the lull to buy food and supplies.
At least 17 people have been killed and 200 injured.
“This atrocity is barbarity personified,” said Director General, Ministry of Health Dr Medhat Abbas.
Not satisfied with exterminating entire families in their own homes, not satisfied with killing people praying in mosques, not satisfied with killing patients, staff and visitors in hospitals, not satisfied with killing ambulance drivers as they retrieve the dead and injured, not satisfied with killing women and children sheltering in UNRWA school, the Israeli death machine now blatantly attacks a crowded public market DURING a humanitarian ceasefire, in an unrivaled cruel and cynical exercise of savagery and barbarism.
The Ministry of Health Gaza condemns this latest atrocity in the strongest possible terms, and considers that any further prevarication by the international community can only be seen as complicity in the increasingly barbaric and clearly genocidal war crimes being visited on the citizenry of Gaza.
The Ministry demands immediate international intervention to bring the rogue ‘state’ of Israel under control, and an immediate end to its carnage in Gaza.
Another day, another UN school hit by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel’s attack this morning killed at least 16 civilians sheltering at the school and wounded dozens. The casualties figures are expected to rise.
Israel and even most of its critics tell us that the civilian casualties are accidental, caused by Israel’s need to wage its war against Hamas in heavily built-up areas of Gaza. Israel is accused of “disproportionality”, or of recklessness, or of inflicting unfortunate collateral damage.
But here’s another possibility: that the people of Gaza, not just Hamas, are the target. That Israel’s generals don’t see much difference between the two.
Israel’s army is “degrading” – or “mowing the lawn”, in even worse military parlance – Gaza’s ability to resist. Not Hamas’ abilities, but Gaza’s. Because the problem lies not with Hamas. Hamas is simply a symptom, of the people of Gaza’s determination to liberate themselves from Israel’s siege.
That is why the power plant was destroyed yesterday. That is why Israel has been starving Gaza for years through its siege, limiting the entry of basic foods and counting the minimum calories people need for bare survival – putting them on a diet, as one senior adviser jokingly termed it. That is why Gaza’s infrastructure is being trashed – the notorious Dahiya doctrine, devised by Israeli generals in 2006 as way to force hostile populations back into the Stone Age, keeping them preoccupied with the essentials of life rather than demanding, or fighting, for their rights.
Israel knows it cannot destroy Hamas’ will to resist without destroying Gaza’s will to resist too. And that is what it looks like we are seeing played out here day-in, day-out. Civilians, it seems, must die to teach Gaza a lesson: you will submit.
“Propaganda by its very nature is an enterprise for perverting the significance of events and of insinuating false intentions…The propagandist will not accuse the enemy of just any misdeed; he will accuse him of the very intention that he himself has and of trying to commit the very crime that he himself is about to commit. He who wants to provoke a war not only proclaims his own peaceful intentions but also accuses the other party of provocation.” – Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, 1965
As Israeli war crimes continue unabated – at the time of this writing, nearly 1100 human beings in the besieged Gaza Strip, the vast majority of whom are civilians, have already been slaughtered by their occupiers; over 6,200 have been wounded – Israeli lies too keep piling up.
Despite what Israeli spokespeople and their dutiful, compliant, and prostrate puppets in the media continue to claim, Hamas was not responsible for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month. Hamas did not break the 2012 ceasefire, Israel did. Hamas is not forcing Palestinians to act as “human shields.” Israel is not acting in self-defense when it bombs hospitals, schools, ambulances, mosques, homes, refugee camps, parks, or a zoo. The “terror tunnels” which Israel apparently needs to murder hundreds and hundreds of men, women, and children in order to destroy pose essentially no threat whatsoever to Israeli civilians. The list goes on and on.
Israel’s ongoing massacre cannot continue without a steady barrage of hasbara – what Zionists, in their Orwellian glory, refer to as “public diplomacy,” but which is merely propaganda to justify the indefensible, inexcusable, and unspeakable. That is, the promotion of a 19th century, colonial European ideology of ethnic, religious, and racial superiority, imposed upon an indigenous population through military conquest and a campaign of ethnic cleansing, displacement, dispossession, disenfranchisement, and discrimination.
And yet, though mainstream media outlets are suffused with pro-Israel bias and Israel has legions of willing propagandists trolling the internet to spread Netanyahu’s latest talking points, we have heard – especially as the Palestinian death toll keeps rising – that Israel and its advocates are “losing the media war.” Politico, Mashable, New York Magazine, analyst Juan Cole, and Britain’s Channel 4 have all noted this.
Even the Telegraph‘s detestable, neoconservative “Defence Editor” Con Coughlin is worried for Israel’s image, writing that, “with so much focus on the Palestinian victims of this dreadful conflict, it is hard to see how Israel can turn the propaganda war around in its favour.” Coughlin laments, “I fear the answer is that it cannot.”
Similarly, in a conversation via Twitter with a spokesman at the Israeli Embassy, Washington Post White House correspondent Scott Wilson was fretful that the Israeli slaughter in Gaza might not be “good for Israel – strategically.” For Wilson, as for so many others, Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity are simply image problems, a matter of PR.
Without its propaganda, Israel cannot sustain the support of its benefactors, whether in the war chests of Congress or the war cries of brainwashed and bloodthirsty communities. Without its lies, Israel can’t survive. This fact is known not only to professional hasbarists like Michael Oren, Dore Gold, and Mark Regev, but – more importantly – is a vital feature of Zionism, inseparable from the ideology itself.
In a little known and rarely-referenced letter written in early 1897, Theodor Herzl, the ostensible founder of political Zionism, made this perfectly clear. During the planning stages of the First Zionist Congress – initially to take place in Munich but eventually held in Basel, Switzerland in late August 1897 – Herzl contacted Willy Bambus, leader of the Berlin Hovevei Zion society (an early Zionist organization committed to Jewish immigration and agricultural settlement in Palestine), for support.
“I want to reach an understanding with the Berlin Zionists,” Herzl wrote from Vienna on January 26, 1897. “[I]n the general Zionist conference that I am planning for next summer, we will grow closer to each other.” The letter is written in German, Herzl’s first language.
Herzl’s dream was big and he knew what he needed to achieve it:
But a project of this sort… has one prior condition: propaganda. First we must have propaganda and afterward establish economic projects… [T]ry to win influence at a Berlin daily newspaper… There is no necessity to immediately give the newspaper a Zionist imprint. On the contrary, because of the cowardly suspicions (to my sorrow, of most of the Jews) of Zionism, it would be wiser to keep things innocent… Perhaps you can… purchase a Zionist paper in Berlin, that will not be outwardly noticed as such.
Friendly media coverage? Feigned innocence and impartiality? Sounds familiar.
“Until now Zionism has been silent,” Herzl wrote Bambus. “We must free its tongue. This is the first order of business.”
Those tongues of Zionism have since wrought over a century of pain and suffering, in name the entitlement and privilege, to the people of Palestine. It is time to drown out the propaganda with truth.
BETHLEHEM – Despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire that began at 3:00 p.m., Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon shelled a market in Shujaiyya as well as number of homes across the Gaza Strip, killing at least 33.
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said around 6 p.m. that an Israeli airstrike had hit Shujaiyya market, killing at least 17, including a journalist, and injuring 200, including many seriously.
A Ma’an reporter on the scene said that Israeli artillery had fired several shells at civilians in the market, adding that ambulances and civilian vehicles were still transporting the wounded and the killed to al-Shifa Hospital.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the dead include a journalist and two paramedics, as well as a member of the civil defense crews.
Sources named the journalist as Rami Ryan, a photographer for the Palestinian Network for Journalism and Media.
Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble, with medics estimating that dozens had been killed and injured.
That attack brought the toll since the ceasefire to at least 29, with 12 killed earlier including Muhammad Wissam Dardona, Hussam al-Najjas, Hussam Muhammad al-Najjar, Shaaban Abdulaziz al-Jamal and Alaa Judi Khader.
Four were killed in shelling on a home in al-Qarara in Khan Younis.
Strikes were reported in Juhr al-Dik, al-Bureij, Deir al-Balah, and many other districts across Gaza.
One airstrike hit the al-Basha building in Gaza, which houses a number of press offices.
The Israeli military said, meanwhile, that during the unilaterally-declared ceasefire Hamas had fired 26 rockets into Israel. No damage or injuries were reported.
The violations of the ceasefire brought the day’s total Palestinian deaths to 103, as the total Palestinian death toll in the 23-day offensive hit 1,325 with more than 7,000 injured.
Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian Territories, said earlier that Israeli forces would stop attacks for four hours starting at 3 p.m.
Mordechai said Israeli forces would only target areas where rockets were being fired at Israel.
An Israeli army statement added that the “humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which (army) soldiers are currently operating.”
“Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate,” the statement said, adding the the army would respond to all fire from Palestinian militants throughout the limited ceasefire.
It was not immediately clear whether Palestinian factions would respect the limited, brief truce.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel imposed the ceasefire only for “media consumption.”
Abu Zohri said the truce was “worthless” given that it excluded parts of the Gaza Strip where Israeli forces were operating.
Earlier in the day, Israeli forces killed over 70 Palestinians, bringing the total number of Gazans killed since the beginning of the offensive up past 1,300.
The deadliest Israeli attack on Wednesday was a shelling on a UN-designated shelter in Jabaliya refugee camp which left at least 16 dead.
Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, condemned the attack in a statement made on Twitter.
“UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” Gunness said.
“Precise location of Jabalia Elementary Girls School #Gaza & that it housed 3,000 displaced was communicated to Israeli army 17 times,” he said in another tweet.
Israeli occupation forces snuck into Lebanon and abducted a shepherd from the southeastern town of Shebaa at dawn Wednesday, one day after they stole a herd of goats from the same area, state media reported.
Ismail Khalil Nabaa was kidnapped in Shebaa and taken to the nearby occupied Shebaa Farms area.
UNIFIL is working to secure his release, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA ) said.
The owners of the kidnapped herd, Mohammed Khalil Nabaa and Khodour Hamdan, said they had escaped an Israeli ambush on Lebanese territory on Tuesday.
The report did not speculate over why Israeli forces kidnapped the goats and shepherd.
MP Qassem Hashem called Nabaa’s kidnapping a violation of national sovereignty and international charters, NNA reported.
“The Zionist enemy continues its aggression, abducts Lebanese shepherds and seizes their flocks. The UNIFIL must fully perform its duty,” the NNA quoted him as saying.
Since July 25th, international volunteers, including activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and other groups have begun a constant protective presence in various locations at the al-Shifa Hospital. Below is a journal extract from an ISM volunteer during his shift at the hospital on July 28th.
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – There had been shelling during my shift in al-Shifa. My shift began at 7PM, and in the distance I registered the sounds as everybody else does here in Gaza, I heard the drones without trying to see them. I left Joe [another ISM activist] alone in the hospital; I went in a car for an interview and came back again. The shelling from the sea grew closer. But I couldn’t stay awake for 24 hours just to listen to the noise, nobody can, and I tried to sleep for a few hours.
Then the thunder started, and the black sky turned bright orange, the hospital shook a little, and some windows shattered. I send a short text to the media coordinator for the Ship to Gaza-Sweden saying that this is following me, thinking about el-Wafa hospital, Beit Hanoun hospital, and now al-Shifa. But we weren’t hit. Not this time.
The morning came, we were released by the next shift, and I passed some of the nights targets on my way home. I took a few photos and carried on. There’s so much destruction now that I hesitate to take any more pictures of it. In some areas it is now rare to see an undestroyed building. But of course they claim all of this is to create silence and ‘security’ for Israel, seeing the destruction left behind, I don’t think so.