"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Terrorists and Allies

The BBC reported last week that Palestinian officials said "Seven people, including three children, have been killed by Israeli shells which hit a beach in the northern Gaza Strip.

At least 30 people were wounded in the shelling, they say.

The Israeli military says it has halted all shelling of Gaza and has launched an inquiry into whether ground-based artillery could have been involved.

Four other people were also killed in separate Israeli air strike in northern Gaza on Friday, Palestinians said."

Initial reports then, revealed the obvious, but the Israeli propaganda machine had yet to kick into overdrive:

"Beach deaths 'not Israel's fault'

Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya visited the wounded in hospital Israel is not responsible for a blast that killed eight Palestinians enjoying a picnic on a Gaza beach last Friday, Defence Minister Amir Peretz says. He said an inquiry had shown an Israeli shell could not have caused the blast, as had initially been alleged."

And then "Nine Palestinians, including two children, have been killed and at least 30 hurt in an Israeli air raid in Gaza. The Israeli army said it had targeted "a terror cell" on its way to fire rockets at Israel on a vehicle loaded with Katyusha rocket launchers. The Islamic Jihad militant group said two of its members died in the blast. Seven civilians were also killed. "

While in the Guardian ""All the evidence points to the fact that it couldn't have been a mine," said Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon adviser on battlefields who led the US military's battle damage assessment team in Kosovo and worked for its intelligence wing, the Defense Intelligence Agency."

Though the headline reads: "Israel blames Hamas for beach deaths"

Derek Lane over at the Media Lens message board worte to the BBC:

Dear Ms Boaden, Mr Herrmann,

Today, on the 15th June 2006, there are 2 'highlighted' stories in the mid-east section regarding Israel/Palestine:

The first reads 'Militants fire rockets at Israel', the second reads 'Israeli town bears brunt of attacks'.

In the second story, it is not until the 5th last paragraph that we discover that "On Tuesday an Israeli air strike killed two Palestinian militants and seven Palestinian civilians after targeting a vehicle allegedly carrying Katyusha rocket launchers about to be fired into Israel."

Until that point - and after, we are lead to believe that Palestine has taken up an unjustified attack on Israel, rather than the reality; they are +responding to attacks from Israel+.
Why is this not made clear from the outset?

Why are both stories framed in the context of what 'Palestine is doing to Israel', rather than the more honest 'what Israel is doing to Palestine'?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to see from the BBC perspective how any of this constitutes 'balance' and 'impartiality'. We learnt of international criticism of Israel (not BBC criticism) last week concerning the continued bombing of civilians in Palestine, this week it is as though it (yet again) no longer matters.

7 civilians is only an issue worthy of mentioning in the 5th last paragraph of an article on the effect bombing has had on +Israelis+. We even hear of one Israeli who believes flattening Gaza (or 'wiping Gaza off the map', or perhaps, 'the destruction of Gaza' - to use your own parlance) is justified. Naturally, no criticism from the BBC there; this is the point we see that famed BBC objectivity.

If only the same objectivity existed for the actions of Palestinians against Israel.


Derek Lane

In Palestine, a War on Children
by John Pilger
June 17, 2006

Arthur Miller wrote, "Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."

Miller's truth was a glimpsed reality on television on June 9 when Israeli warships fired on families picnicking on a Gaza beach, killing seven people, including three children and three generations. What that represents is a final solution, agreed by the United States and Israel, to the problem of the Palestinians. While the Israelis fire missiles at Palestinian picnickers and homes in Gaza and the West Bank, the two governments are to starve them. The victims will be mostly children.