by Stephen Lendman
Gaza rockets respond defensively to provocative Israeli bombing and shelling. Blame the victim articles and commentaries follow.
It's standard Western media practice. Haaretz knows better.
More below on woeful coverage.
Since Saturday, Israeli air strikes killed at least seven Palestinians, injured dozens more, and damaged or destroyed civilian property. Israel committed war crimes. Media reports ignored them. War winds blow ominously.
In early November, Israel dropped leaflets on Gaza. Palestinians were warned about popular resistance militancy. They were also told not to approach border areas on their own land.
In January 2009, post-Cast Lead, similar leaflets were dropped. Gazans were told not to come within 300 meters of the border. Security forces would target anyone trying.
Israel's buffer zone strategy is lawless and belligerent. It's enforced to provoke conflict. Farmers are shot in their fields. So are children there for any reason. Soldiers kill them for target practice. Fishermen are accosted at sea. Some are killed.
Palestinians are maliciously targeted for whatever reasons Israel chooses. Doing so provokes responses. Under international law, the right of self-defense is sacrosanct. Israel calls it terrorism. Bombing, shelling, and at times war follow.
A week before the latest Israeli attacks, Israelis near Gaza's border wrote Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak, saying:
"We, members of 'The Other Voice' from the communities near the Gaza Strip, urge the Government of Israel to stop playing with our lives, and immediately open diplomatic contacts with the Hamas government!"
"We are tired of being sitting ducks in a shooting range serving political interests. Missiles from there and bombing from here do not protect us."
"This country has tried long enough, over years, the games of war and of brute force. Both sides have paid, and are still paying, a high price of suffering and loss."
"It's time to talk and strive for long-term understandings which will enable citizens on both sides of the border to live a normal life."
"Other Voice" residents live in Sderot. It's close to Gaza's border. They maintain contact with Palestinians. They promote good relations and dialogue.
They call for "creative action" for long-term solutions. They want civilians on both sides of the border safe from ongoing conflict.
They hope one day regional calm and peace will replace confrontation and violence. They recognize and reject Palestinian suffering. They believe both sides can find solutions.
"The shared pain and shared hopes are the building blocks upon which we can stop the vicious circle of fear and suffering and build a new and better future."
They urge Israeli and world leaders to work for peace and "bring hope back into the lives of" ordinary Palestinians and Jews.
Human tragedy accompanies conflict. Media reports ignore it. Israeli missiles, shells and bullets killing Palestinian children get scant attention.
Thirteen year old Hamid Abu Daqqa died a few hours after being shot in the head. His offense was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the past week, Israel killed six other Palestinian teenagers.
Haaretz prioritized other reporting. On November 13, it headlined "Between violence on Gaza border and Syria tension, Israel mulls next move," saying:
"It seems Netanyahu would rather avoid a significant operation in the Strip, which is why the logical course of action for him would be to increase aerial strikes."
Israel plans new "offensive measures against Hamas and the other Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, amid continued fire from the coastal enclave…."
Targeted air strikes and assassinations are likely. Israeli military and government officials met to consider options.
"(S)ignificant military action can be expected in the near future….(The) moment of truth is drawing closer."
Netanyahu said the "world has to understand that Israel has the right and the duty to defend its citizens. We will not sit idly by. We will act to stop this situation."
Premeditated aggression is called self-defense. Haaretz failed to notice. Instead it said "Israeli action would be to restore quiet to the Gaza border…."
A Haaretz editorial was no better. Headlined "The limits of deterrence," it said:
"The State of Israel is not entitled to let thousands of its citizens live under fire."
Ignored was that rocket fire follows Israeli provocations. Self-defense is inviolable.
Haaretz stressed the limits of blockade, border fences, bombing and shelling, as well as targeted killing. These and other measures haven't "deterred the Gaza terrorist organizations from attacking Israel…."
Like Western media, Haaretz calls Palestinian resistance fighters "terrorists." It knows better but does it anyway.
It also doesn't call Israeli force lawless aggression. At the same time, it advocates alternative options to achieve "a more submissive enemy."
Hamas is Palestine's legitimate government. It wants the same rights as other sovereign states. So do all Palestinians. They're entitled to them.
Harsh occupation, siege, and provocative Israeli belligerence deny them. Like Western media, Haaretz blames the victims.
So does the Jerusalem Post (JP). It's more hardline. An op-ed headlined "Living under Hamas's rockets."
JP calls Hamas leaders "terrorists." They "crave power….It isn't their own sons they send on suicide missions….(A)narchy in the Strip would bode ill for Israel…."
"Not a day goes by without (southern Israel) being attacked from within the Strip."
"Hamas (has) the best of both worlds - terror attacks continue, and its power isn't threatened."
This is what passes for most Israeli journalism. Ugly distortion and lies substitute for vital truths. More bombing, shelling and perhaps Cast Lead 2.0 is suggested to stop "terror." Many, perhaps most, Israelis support it.
A JP editorial headlined "Explaining Gaza," saying"
Israel should enlist international community support before launching another major military operation. Gaza rocket fire was called "unprovoked." Israelis live under "constant fear."
Gaza "terrorists" bear full responsibility, said JP editors. It's "not the first time (they) purposely target(ed) Israeli civilians."
Netanyahu and likeminded officials plan escalated deterrence. Israel "has a moral obligation to protect its citizens from terrorist aggression."
JP editors invoked the "responsibility to protect (R2P)" canard. Imperial powers use it to wage wars. JP barely stopped short of urging it. If it's planned, it said, world support should be enlisted in advance.
On November 13, Israel National News headlined "Barak: It's not Over," saying:
"Defense Minister hint(ed) that IDF plans action against Gaza, (but) won't give details." Following a "situation assessment" meeting, Barak said:
"A proper, professional and systematic operation is being undertaken here, in which the Hamas and terror organizations in Gaza are being hit hard, but the matter is definitely not over and we will decide how and when to act once the need arises."
"I do not want to discuss the date nor the means, because it would be wrong to supply this information to the other side."
"Under no circumstances do we accept the harm to the way of life of civilians on our side of the border, and we intend to bring back deterrence and strengthen it in a way that will make it possible to act along the perimeter fence, in a way that will better ensure the safety of the soldiers who operate on all sides of the Gaza Strip."
"Hamas, in our eyes, is responsible for everything that happens in Gaza, even when it is carried out by other organizations, and it will not get away with this."
Western media ignored a near declaration of war or military action perhaps approaching it. Consider the timing. On November 29, Abbas will seek non-member UN observer status. He'll likely get it.
Israel is in full battle mode against it. So is Washington. Both countries threaten retaliatory measures. Bombing and shelling provocations called self-defense may be part of Netanyahu's strategy.
Israeli leaders often escalate violence to serve state interests. Each time self-defense is claimed. Sabotaging Palestine's UN bid is prioritized. Israel may wage war to prevent it.
Days earlier, US ambassador Michael Oren called upgraded Palestinian UN status Israel's top immediate concern. "We regard this with the utmost seriousness," he said.
He and other Israeli officials are pressuring world leaders for support. Palestinian UN observer status would be "calamitous," said Oren.
At issue is greater potential clout if Palestinian leaders wish to use it. Israel could be sued in the Hague for war crimes.
Someone other than Abbas would have to do it. He's a longtime Israeli collaborator. He's also aging and plans to retire. When is unknown. Perhaps sometime next year.
Israel takes no chances. Expect anything to maintain occupation control. Bombing and shelling Gaza ahead of greater belligerence may be planned.
Western media barely notice. Days of bombing and shelling got scant coverage. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli provocations.
Dismissively, The New York Times referred to "growing volatility along the border between Israel and Gaza." A confrontational atmosphere "simmer(ed) for months."
Hamas, other "radical groups," and "several militants inspired by Al Qaeda" are blamed. Inflammatory buzzwords demonize Israeli and UN enemies for propaganda purposes. Vital truths are suppressed.
Western media report this way in lockstep. State-controlled BBC is no better. On November 12, it headlined "Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza."
Distorted coverage followed. What readers, listeners and viewers most need to know is suppressed. BBC is notorious for its pro-Israeli bias. So is virtually the entire Western media establishment.
Truth is willfully suppressed. Victims are called terrorists. Willful aggression is reported as self-defense. Most people believe lies repeated often enough. Media scoundrels feature them ad nauseam.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.