First Casualty of War etc.

The truce with Hamas that Israel broke in November with operation ‘Double Challenge‘ (and continually broke by besieging Gaza contrary to the truce agreement) in terms of rocket and mortar attacks was pretty successful. You see we know this because a graph from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website demonstrates it. Or it did…Let Paul Woodward editor of War in Context continue the story-
[via GazaSiege]

But now is a time of war and not only is talk of a truce being ruled out by the authors of this war but history is being re-written in order to degrade the value of a ceasefire. The memory of a period of recent calm that was the most durable peace that the residents of southern Israel have experienced in recent years must now be erased.

The Israeli government’s own graphical representation of the calm told the story in terms that even a child could understand. This is the graph that the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs displayed on its web site demonstrating that from July to October, rocket fire, if not reduced to a perfect zero, came stunningly close. From an average of 179 rockets per month in the preceding period of 2008, the number fell to just three per month:

rocketattacks

Now that the Israeli propaganda machine is revved up to full throttle, the image of an effective truce no longer suits the Israeli government’s purposes. Instead it has become more convenient to try and hide the numbers — with numbers! The foreign ministry has thus removed the simple graph shown above and replaced it with this:

rockets2008

In the earlier image, graph blocks dramatically portrayed the rise and fall in rocket fire rates. In the revised image, blocks of equal size (containing numbers) are used to obscure the graph. The effect, clearly intended, is to try and portray the lull as really nothing more than a minor undulation in a period of unremitting attacks.

So even with a blockade the truce showed signs of being useful in drastically reducing attacks on Israel, if they had stopped the blockade and lived by the conditions of the truce might the attacks have been halted altogether? Yet Israel didn’t and now seeks to revise history with rather rubbish graphical chicanery a schoolkid would get caught for on their IT assessment. Apologists for this aggression are mired in such dissembling, it if is such a noble cause why the need to lie so much? And kill so many?

PS. And btw, the safest place for Gazans (now hospitals are getting hit) is on many big American ‘progressive/Dem’ blogs where the attack often warrants no mention at all (solidarity with Obama? Bless) or just a couple of observations of the uninformed fence sitting variety. So maybe if a phosphorous cluster bomb lands on a neighbourhood it doesn’t melt anyone’s skin off if there is no mention of it. Is it only wrong when Bush does it?

The ‘only democracy in the Middle East’

Just feel the press freedom-

Israel says it does not want the foreign press in Gaza due to concerns that something might happen to them that will hamper Israel’s operations. “What if one of these media stars gets hurt? Even if it isn’t Israel’s fault, it will be perceived as fundamental for the Palestinians,” an Israeli source said.

That is apparently only part of the reason. Keeping the foreign journalists in Israel, sources say, is good for Israel’s image because the media is experiencing the war from the Israeli side. As soon as the IDF gets a hold in the Strip, it is expected that the IDF Spokesman will let Israeli and foreign journalists in with the army. For the time being, the only presence documenting events is the spokesman’s office.

Israel is also being very strict about military censorship. On Saturday night, Channel 2 reported that a journalist from Iranian television in Israel broke censorship rules and an arrest order was issued against him. According to Danny Seaman, the director of the Israel Government Press Office, the reporter had been refused a press card for security reasons.

The approach is stricter in general, Seaman explained, because “too many times we have spoken in too many voices. This time it’s clear that the system is unified and serious. That was also one of the Winograd Committee’s conclusions, but this time there won’t be censorship violations that won’t be dealt with.”

Because they might (only might though, let’s face it) report things like this, from In Gaza

In Zaytoun, reports have one extended family being separated men from women, locked inside two houses, and the houses shelled a day later (this morning, around 11 am).  Bodies are still being pulled and carted to Shifa hospital.  Many estimate that as many as 20 were killed, 10s more injured.  I will go to Shifa after this to try to confirm numbers, though again the disclaimer that confirmation in these conditions takes time (and working phone lines).  Zaytoun area is occupied in parts, making ambulance access again nearly-impossible, if not fully, I don’t know at this point.

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Israel Refusing Talks, Using Cluster Munitions

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Sunday rejected an offer by a Russian envoy to contact Hamas via Russia in order to reach a cease-fire with the Palestinian militant group in Gaza. “We are serious in our intention to harm Hamas and we have no intention to give them legitimize them and pass messages on to them. We have nothing to discuss with Hamas,”

The ground invasion was preceded by large-scale artillery shelling from around 4 P.M., intended to “soften” the targets as artillery batteries deployed along the Strip in recent days began bombarding Hamas targets and open areas near the border. Hundreds of shells were fired, including cluster bombs aimed at open areas.

More on cluster munitions and possible white phosphorous use. And will they enact the Dahiya DoctrineWe will apply disproportionate force on it [the village] and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases…” and /or is this scenario for ethnic cleansing going to be used-

(March 2008) The televised report cited high-level security sources as saying Barak intends to plan for the removal of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, namely from the region that the resistance uses for the launch of these rockets, and to move them toward Gaza City and to confine them there. The Israeli reporter added that Barak is turning to legal advisers in the Defence Ministry, in order to obtain legal authorization for the removal of the Palestinian civilians…

They have invaded the north and ‘split Gaza in two‘. New media exists in Gaza but no corporate media is allowed in, see Eva Bartlett’s In Gaza and Palestine blog aggregator. Also from Free Gaza

There are several international human rights observers from the Free Gaza Movement and other groups currently in Gaza. See, for example, Vittorio Arrigoni’s quote of the week below and his Italian blog guerrillaradio.iobloggo.com, Sharon’s blog talestotell.wordpress.com . Video interviews with the prolific journalist Ewa Jasiewicz, Jenny Linnel, Fida Qishta and more can be seen youtube.com/user/lowvoicesloud. Also visit the new blogs gaza08.blogspot.com and savegazanow.blogspot.com.

Protest (UK)-

• Daily protests 5 – 9 January, 5.30pm-7.00pm

Israeli Embassy, High St, Kensington, London

12:30 Saturday 10 January – March from Hyde Park to Israeli Embassy

Donate:Medical Aid to Palestine

Click here to send money online via Canada Helps.

  • Click on ‘Donate Now‘.
  • Select, Fund/Designation: emergency campaign for GAZA.
  • Takes Visa, Mastercard, American Express.
Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: . Comments Off on Israel Refusing Talks, Using Cluster Munitions