Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More (real) news

More (real) news

By Melanie Phillips

Here’s some more information about the war between Hamas and Israel that unaccountably you may not have come across in today’s UK mainstream media.

The civilian: combatant ratio
Despite the increasing number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza, the apocalyptic statements made in the UK media that the numbers are now ‘spiralling’ upwards are deeply misleading. At time of writing, Israel has carried out 1350 or so bombing raids, and there have been 100 Palestinian deaths. This is a very small number of deaths after so many raids.

In Afghanistan, the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths is 3:1 – three civilians killed for every one combatant. In Iraq and Kosovo, it was 4:1 – four civilians killed for every one combatant. In Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2006, despite the screams of ‘Israeli war crimes’ it was an astounding 1:1 – only one civilian killed for every one combatant. Current figures for Operation Pillar of Defence are obviously highly provisional; but according to Ha’aretz, of the earlier total of 95 Palestinians killed about half were civilians, and according to the Israel Defence Forces, about one third were civilians. So the civilian: combatant death ratio is currently either one civilian killed for every one combatant, or – even more astoundingly -- two combatants killed for every one civilian.

Either way, in other words, the proportion of civilians being killed is astonishingly small.  Of course every civilian death, especially that of a child, is deeply regrettable and tragic. But Israel is clearly going to lengths unknown to any other army in the world to avoid killing civilians; and when the Israel Defence Forces do cause such deaths, it is almost certainly because the unfortunate people of Gaza are being placed in harm’s way and used as human shields in order to maximise the numbers who are killed.

Furthermore, according to the Israelis some 100 rockets fired at Israel have fallen short into Gaza itself. We don’t know how many of the 100 dead Palestinians were therefore actually killed by their own rockets, but it’s a fair bet that the weapons deployed in Gaza to murder Israeli innocents have killed more Palestinians than merely this child (reported on this blog yesterday).

Dead child porn
Hamas have also been trying to pass off as victims of the Israelis children who were tragically killed instead in the violence in Syria. Hamas persist in such malevolent lies because they know that pictures of dead children turn the west against Israel dramatically and instantaneously. Nothing has greater capacity than such pictures to cause western leaders to pressurise Israel to halt its attacks on the Hamas terror infrastructure. The purpose of the Hamas in pushing to the fore such pictures – both of true child casualties as well as the ‘fauxtography’ lies -- is therefore very clear.

But what is far more disturbing is the role the UK media is playing in doing exactly the same thing. Broadcasters are dwelling on horrific footage of child casualties in Gaza as if the only casualties were children. They are thus giving the impression that the Israelis are either setting out to kill children or at the very least are indifferent to their fate – the very opposite of the truth.

 They are also muffling the real purpose of Pillar of Defence, which is to destroy the weapons that are intended to kill children and other civilians – in Israel. Why don’t the broadcasters dwell on the Israelis taking out the men whose intention was to murder more innocents in Israel, and who have also used their own civilians as human shields -- a double war crime? Did these broadcasters ever highlight the children killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo as the defining characteristic of those wars? Of course not – any child casualties there were scarcely mentioned.

Yet in Gaza, UK broadcasters are using pictures of dead children in order to present the Israelis not as defenders of the innocent against terrorist mass murderers but instead as aggressive child-killers. I’d say that what they are doing therefore is nothing less than transmitting child snuff movies in the service of genocidal fanatics.

Uh oh – look who was in the media centre!
There was major indignation amongst the media that the Israelis had bombed the building which housed the media centre in Gaza. Dark suspicions were expressed that the Israelis had deliberately targeted the journalists in this building. The Israelis countered that they were actually targeting a Hamas communications centre in the same building – the Hamas TV station is on the top floor -- and if the journalists didn’t want to get hit too it was pretty careless of them to be sharing the same address.

Today the same building was hit by the Israelis again, and one ‘journalist’ was in fact killed. But just look at who this was: as the Commentator reports, Islamic Jihad has confirmed that it was Ramez Harb, one of the top leaders in its armed wing, the al Quds brigades. And according to the IDF, four other members of IJ were also hiding in the building. So it was certainly a legitimate target, just as the IDF had said.

What fascinating company our objective and on-the-ball western journalists are keeping in Gaza!

Israeli hospitals continue to treat Gaza patients
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli hospitals are still treating patients from Gaza.

 ‘Israeli hospitals are treating dozens of patients of all ages who came to Israel from Gaza to get healthcare unavailable there, and are making provisions for accompanying persons.

‘“We at Rambam Medical Center are taking care of sick children and adults, and we are not looking at their religion or where they come from. At the moment, we have four – a baby girl in the nephrology department, two children in oncology and an adult in urology,” Rambam director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar said.

‘“Family members accompanied them,” he said. “It’s absurd that we are doing this at the same time Israelis are being attacked, but there is no other way. We are used to it. We are very far from politics.”’

What other country, in addition to allowing food electricity and other provisions through to those who are trying to annihilate it and murder large numbers of its people, would similarly continue to treat them in its own hospitals?

BBC radio encounter
Earlier today, I went head to head on BBC Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine show with Ben Soffer of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. You can listen to the exchanges here.

And now, today’s exhibits in our Hall of Shame

BBC News
BBC Radio News at 8am today reported on the war between Hamas and Israel thus:

‘There’s been no let-up of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, as diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire gather pace. Air strikes and shelling from Israeli warships have continued throughout the night. Hamas says 18 Palestinians were killed, bring the total to 86 over the past six days. Three Israelis were killed last week. An Israeli newspaper says an air strike that killed 10 members of the same family in Gaza yesterday may have hit the wrong house. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called for an immediate end to the violence.’

But of course, there has been no let-up in Gaza’s bombardment of Israel, as rockets continue to be fired at Israel in order to kill its civilians. Yet in this item there was no reference whatever to the continuing rocket attacks on Israel. Once again, Israel is falsely – and quite wickedly -- portrayed as the aggressor in this conflict.

Jon Donnison of the BBC (again)
The BBC’s Jon Donnison retweeted a malicious ‘fauxtography’ picture of a child who Hamas claimed had been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombing.  Donnison, whose broadcasts from Gaza have been notable for their emotional partisanship on behalf of the Palestinians, added his own comment – ‘Heartbreaking’. But this child was actually killed in Syria on October 28 – one of many such pictures Hamas has been passing off as children killed by Israeli air strikes, but who were in fact killed in the Syrian carnage. Donnison subsequently apologised for his error -- but what does this tell us about his standard of reporting? Richard Landes notes here the remarkable propensity of western journalists to fall for these ‘Pallywood’ stunts. 

Huffington Post
The HuffWatch website documents how the Huffington Post, the world’s most read ‘online newspaper’, publishes demonstrably risible Palestinian lies and propaganda. HuffPostLive, the site’s entry into video news, says this report, has been airing such stinkers as the claim that Gaza is ‘occupied’ and ‘terrorised' by Israel, pushing ‘Pallywood’ propaganda and ignoring the evidence that the Hamas has situated its munitions in civilian areas.

The grand-daddy of them all
And of course, let us not forget the Guardian.