Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And in Israel...Who broke the truce?

Stories you won't hear much about in the US media, as an example, UN official says Israel responsible for breaking truce with Gaza :

"What we understood here (was) that there was a 48-hour lull to be called, and this was called by the Israelis," Abu Zayd said. "They said they would wait 48 hours. That was on Friday morning, I believe, until Sunday morning, and that they were going to evaluate."

"There was only one rocket that went out on Friday, so it was obvious that Hamas was trying, again, to observe that truce to get this back under control," she said.

"Then, everything got loose on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. We were all at work and very much surprised by this," Abu Zayd said.

When the Israeli offensive began, neither Defense Minister Ehud Barak nor Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made any mention of a lull.

Abu Zayd mentioned the lull when she was asked whether the population of Gaza was aware that this was all commenced by the Hamas government unilaterally ending the cease-fire and firing rockets.

"I don't think they think the truce was violated first by Hamas," she said.

"I think they saw that Hamas had observed the truce quite strictly for almost six months, certainly for four of the six months, and that they got nothing in turn - because there was to be kind of a deal," Abu Zayd said.

"If there were no rockets, the crossings would be opened," she said. "The crossings were not opened at all."

That of course is not the way it's been reported here, with our government stating that Hamas is the one who created the reasons for Israel to attack. Then there is this piece by Gideon Levy, who takes quite a bit of heat, including being called a variety of names, even a traitor for writing:
Our finest young men are attacking Gaza now. Good boys from good homes are doing bad things. Most of them are eloquent, impressive, self-confident, often even highly principled in their own eyes, and on Black Saturday dozens of them set out to bomb some of the targets in our "target bank" for the Gaza Strip.

They set out to bomb the graduation ceremony for young police officers who had found that rare Gaza commodity, a job, massacring them by the dozen. They bombed a mosque, killing five sisters of the Balousha family, the youngest of whom was 4. They bombed a police station, hitting a doctor nearby; she lies in a vegetative state in Shifa Hospital, which is bursting with wounded and dead. They bombed a university that we in Israel call the Palestinian Rafael, the equivalent of Israel's weapons developer, and destroyed student dormitories. They dropped hundreds of bombs out of blue skies free of all resistance.

Those who have been following the continuing volley of accusations knows that earlier in December the warning signs were there with both sides laying their justifications for why a truce would end:
The Israeli government blames Hamas for not stopping attacks often carried out by smaller Palestinian factions, while the Islamists claim Israel also broke the truce by failing to lift its blockade of the impoverished territory.

Israel responded to a flare-up of violence that erupted in early November by tightening sanctions and closing its crossing points with Gaza, halting deliveries of humanitarian aid and other basic supplies.

Wondering how far the battle in the media will go? Well, Israel has taken to putting video of the destruction they are waging on Gaza on YouTube. Of course you only see what Israel wants you to see, but they do acknowledge the power of the blogosphere:

"The blogosphere and the new media are basically a war zone in a battle for world opinion," said IDF spokeswoman Major Avital Leibovich said. She added that the YouTube channel is an important part of Israel's attempt to explain its actions abroad.


Jill said...

Al Jazeera English has a YouTube channel with many videos related to the last week.

Lisa Renee said...

I know, I read Al Jazeera on a regular basis but too many feel they are a biased source, nor are they the same as the Israeli government, except when it comes to trying to only promote one point of view.

It's been too depressing to visit there recently, seeing the bodies of dead and injured children just makes this all seem even more senseless.

Jill said...

I read this post as being about the battle in the media, including a look at how the media is (or is not) addressing the issue of who broke the truce. Al Jazeera for sure would have items on that topic. So, to the extent there's concern that we won't hear certain information from the US media (therefore it's biased), your readers might be interested in knowing that they can look to media outlets like Al Jazeera for the other perspectives on who is responsible for breaking the truce.

The Media Line is another news outlet that provides information about many Middle Eastern countries. Unfortunately a lot of their stories are behind subscription, but they have daily emails and you can read some articles on their front page I think:

Lisa Renee said...

I learned several years ago to be either honest in pointing out knowing a media source had bias or at least try to provide an example of each. Just as I know that Haartez and the Jerusalem Post differ as far as their editorial positions at times.

I also recommend people read the - Independent, Robert Fisk has been fairly outspoken on the topic of this latest Hamas versus Israel scenario. I read Haaretz as well as a large number of foreign papers daily, which I think everyone should given our media's lack of original coverage.