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

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Majority Militants

"At least 23 Palestinians, most of them militants, were killed on Thursday" (The Irish Times)

It would appear from the Irish Times' reporting of the latest Israeli military 'incursion' into Palestine that Israel is always responding to Palestinian aggression. The reporting also suggests, and maybe quite accurately, that a majority of Palestinians support the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier. But on the other hand no indication as to the support from the Israeli population for the shelling of Palestinian towns, the kidnapping of Palestinian politicians or the killing of civilians is provided.

This type of reporting is, seemingly, purposefully misleading. To maintain that Israel is simply reacting to Palestinian terrorism when the facts paint a different picture does not seem to evidence the "honest, accurate and comprehensive analysis" promised to Irish Times readers.

UK media watch organisation Media Lens commented on the Israeli kidnapping of Hamas politicians; "there is no "well-defined legal process" protecting the Hamas politicians "arrested" by the Israelis. Of what crimes have they been accused? Are we to believe that they have any rights of review or release whatever? Quite the reverse; the press reports that the subsequent bombings of empty Hamas political offices were intended as a clear signal that Hamas's leaders can be assassinated if Israel so desires."

In what has been framed as a reprisal for a Palestinian kidnapping Israel has returned the favour, yet the media reaction has been quite different. While Palestinians 'kidnap', Israel 'arrest', although it is well known Israeli detention assures prisoners no more rights than Palestinian captivity. This is consistent with the majority of media reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict, it seems the liberal media will go to great lengths in order to impart some sort of legality onto Israel's crimes against humanity. The same 'gift' is not offered to Palestinians.

Therefore Jonathan Cook's observation last month; "Few readers will be aware that on June 24, the day before the "kidnapping", Israeli commandos had entered the Gaza Strip and captured two Palestinians claimed by Israel to be members of Hamas." (Guest Media Alert by Jonathan Cook, 'Kidnapped by Israel';") will, as he said, not be common knowledge to the liberal news reader. And it will certainly not be offered as an explanation for the Palestinian kidnapping.

Surprisingly, it is only a few weeks since the Irish Times reported the deaths of seven Palestinians including three children on a gaza beach. This was not described as an escalation of the conflict. In fact, the disproportionate killing of Palestinians is very rarely reported as evidence for anything, let alone the reason for Palestinian attacks.

"Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in September 2005 'til today, the estimates run between 7,000 and 9,000 heavy artillery shells have been shot and fired into Gaza. On the Palestinian side, the estimates are approximately 1,000 Kassam missiles, crude missiles, have been fired into Israel. So we have a ratio of between seven and nine to one.

"Let's look at casualties. In the last six months, approximately 80 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza due to Israel artillery firing... There have been exactly eight Israelis killed in the last five years from the Kassam missiles. Again, we have a huge disproportion, a huge discrepancy." ('AIPAC v. Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel's Assault on Gaza,' June 29, 2006; )

Most of them militants?