Friday, January 9, 2009

Fooling--Or Trying to Fool--the Journalists in Gaza

barry rubin

While in no way detracting from the real suffering in the Gaza Strip, I had to send you the following extract from an article in Yediot Aharnot, January 9, by Ron Ben-Ishai, one of Israel's best reporters. He was embedded in an Israeli unit in Gaza. In one house held by the troops, the Palestinian family insists on staying so the soldiers let them. And here's what happens when Ben-Ishai comes in:

"The family suddenly notices the cameras, and immediately, the expression on their faces changes. "We have no food," they say in Arabic, as one of the youngsters suggests we interview him in English about their plight. Givati troops are extremely concerned about being portrayed as abusing innocent civilians. [An Israeli officer] points to a stack of canned goods, water bottles and other provisions. "We provided some of that and they cook and eat quite well," said [the officer]. The Palestinians seem to understand him and one of them smiles. It's a war – they had to try.",7340,L-3653238,00.html

In other words, they did not mention the food given them and pretend they are being starved by the Israeli army, despite the fact that the food and water are in plain sight! How many times a day does this happen and how often does it work!

It should be stressed that making such points does not negate the death, wounding, and suffering of Palestinians. But the issue remains, of course:
--How many people are involved and whether these numbers are exaggerated. Even according to Hamas and the UN, 75 percent of the Palestinian casualties are military. (It might be noted that in Lebanon in 2006, contemporary--misleadingly inflated as we have learned since--reports claimed there were 10,000 civilians killed in the war and attributed to Israel. The equivalent number for the Gaza Strip is about 100 people.
--How Israel has tried to limit these problems. (as in the above case)
--How the responsibility of Hamas is ignored.
--How Israel's own sufferings are minimized or ignored.

Professor Barry Rubin
Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Watch on the Middle East
Editor Turkish Studies,
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