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Thread: :icon_sadangel2: Palestine Peace a dream?

  1. #31
    Hamas keeps flag flying
    Arab News

    FIGHTING SPIRIT: A Palestinian man places a Hamas flag in the debris of a mosque in Gaza City on Wednesday. (AFP)

    GAZA CITY: Israel yesterday rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and stepped up preparations for a possible ground offensive.

    US-made Israeli aircraft carried out more than 10 airstrikes in sharply reduced operations in rainy weather that allowed many Gaza residents to venture out to shop for food for the first time since the start of Israel’s five-day-old war on a defenseless population.

    The poor weather — “a truce imposed by God” as one Palestinian put it — could delay any push by Israeli tanks into the impoverished territory.

    US President George W. Bush spoke by phone to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert but did not discuss a timetable for halting Israeli strikes, the White House said. Bush put the onus on Hamas to stop firing rockets as a first step to a truce.

    As expected, Israel brushed aside as “unrealistic” a French proposal for a 48-hour truce that would allow in more humanitarian aid for Gaza’s 1.5 million residents.

    “If we think there will be a diplomatic solution that will ensure a better security reality in the south, we will consider it. But at the moment, it’s not there,” an aide quoted Olmert as saying.

    “We didn’t start this operation just to end it with rocket fire continuing as it did before it began,” Olmert said, according to the aide. “Imagine if we declare a unilateral cease-fire and a few days later rockets fall on (the town of) Ashkelon. What will that do to Israel’s deterrence?”

    Hamas vowed to fight “until the last breath” if Israel makes good on threats to send ground troops into Gaza.

    “We in Hamas are ready for all scenarios and we will fight until the last breath,” said Mushir Al-Masri, the group’s senior leader. “Israel will embark on a veritable misadventure if it decides to invade Gaza. We have prepared surprises for them,” he vowed.

    President Mahmoud Abbas called for the war to be stopped “immediately and without any conditions” and said Israel was “fully responsible” for the carnage. Abbas will ask the UN Security Council to act, said his aides. Diplomats said the deadliest conflict in the Gaza Strip in four decades appeared close to a tipping point after five days of Israeli airstrikes that have killed 393 Palestinians, at least a quarter of whom, UN figures showed, were civilians.

    Inside Gaza, many residents ventured outside their homes to stock up on supplies, taking advantage of a brief lull in Israeli airstrikes that have turned Hamas government buildings into piles of rubble.

    Yesterday’s airstrikes targeted Hamas government offices in Gaza City. Palestinian medics said four people, including a doctor and a paramedic, were killed. Food supplies in Gaza were running low and power cuts were affecting much of the territory. Hospitals were struggling to cope with the high number of casualties from the Israeli war.

    Medical officials revised the number of wounded to 1,650 after figures arrived from medical centers that had not reported their casualty statistics earlier.

    Israel’s intensive bombardment has failed to stop rocket fire into Israel. Since the start of the onslaught, Palestinians have fired more than 250 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, killing three civilians and one soldier and wounding several dozen people.

    Five of the rockets fired since late on Tuesday slammed into the desert town of Beersheba, some 40 km from the Gaza border — the deepest yet that its projectiles have reached inside Israel.

  2. #32
    Israeli jets blow up children
    Arab News

    GAZA CITY: Israel bombed a mosque and destroyed homes of Palestinians yesterday, the seventh day of its murderous attack on the Gaza Strip. Over a dozen people died in 30 more airstrikes, including three brothers aged between 7 and 10, bringing the death toll to 430. At least 2,250 people have been wounded.

    The brothers, Iyad, Mohammed and Abdelsattar Al-Astal, died in a missile strike as they played near their home in Al-Qarara, close to the city of Khan Younis, medics and witnesses said. Two of the children were decapitated.

    “These injuries are not survivable,” said Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital who could not save another boy who had both feet blown off. “This is murder. This is a child,” he said.

    The UN food agency called the situation in the coastal strip appalling. “The current situation in Gaza is appalling, and many basic food items are no longer available on the market,” the World Food Programme’s representative in the occupied Palestinian territory, Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, said in a statement.

    The Rome-based agency appealed for $9 million in emergency funds “to meet foreseen additional food needs” as the conflict raged unabated.

    “As an emergency response to alleviate the suffering of families living close to areas affected by conflict,” the WFP began distributing bread to some 15,000 first-time recipients in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, Van Nieuwenhuyse said. “This area ... is one of the poorest and most heavily affected by the recent conflict,” she added.

    The air raids have hampered humanitarian efforts targeting 265,000 people, the statement said. “The scarcity of wheat has meant that the majority of mills and bakeries have stopped working in Gaza, and there is an acute shortage of bread, the staple food for Palestinian people,” it added.

    Israel allowed hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports to flee besieged Gaza ahead of an imminent invasion. Some 300 left through the Erez crossing.

    “There is no water, no electricity, no medicine. It’s hard to survive. Gaza is destroyed,” said Jawaher Haggi, a 14-year-old Palestinian-American. She said her uncle was killed in an airstrike when he tried to pick up some medicine for her cancer-stricken father, who died of his illness several days later.

    Many of the evacuees were foreign-born women married to Palestinians and their children. Spouses who did not hold foreign citizenship were not allowed out.

    Israeli warplanes dropped thousands of fliers over the territory, urging Palestinians to report to Israeli authorities the location of fighters firing rockets.

    “Rocket launchers constitute a risk for you and your families,” said the flier, written in Arabic. It provided a telephone number and an e-mail address for anyone wishing to inform on their neighbors.

    “For your security we ask you to be extremely discreet when contacting us,” the text said.

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States and key world allies were pushing hard for a “durable and sustainable” cease-fire in Gaza, but that she was not planning an emergency visit to the region.

    — With input from agencies

  3. #33
    CAIRO — As Israeli air strikes entered its eighth day on Saturday, January 3, a leading international rights group berated the "lopsided" US support for the ongoing Israeli atrocities in the strip. "Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the US government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Amnesty said in a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

    Washington failed to criticize Israel over its attacks in Gaza, which killed 838 people dead, including at least 75 children and 21 women.

    The offensive -- one of Israel's deadliest ever against Gaza -- has wounded more than 2,285 people.

    The White House said Friday that it was up to Israel to launch a ground operation into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

    "Those will be decisions made by the Israelis," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

    Rice also said that Washington was pressing for a ceasefire in which the key element would be stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

    Washington blocked on Wednesday, December 31, an Arab draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

    Israeli planes carried out 20 strikes against targets across Gaza on the eighth consecutive day on Saturday.

    Children continued to fall victim to Israel's assault in the world's most densely-populated place.

    On Friday, a missile fired by an Israeli jet killed three boys while they were playing on a street in southern Gaza.

    A 12-year-old girl also died of her wounds after the bombing of a house near Gaza City.

    At the same time, Hamas's armed wing said it had repelled a patrol of Israeli special forces attempting to cross the border into Gaza.

    US Weapons

    Amnesty urged Washington to halt weapons sales for Israel, which are being used in attacking civilian targets in Gaza.

    "The United States must suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel immediately and conduct an investigation into whether US weapons were used to commit human rights abuses."

    Israel used US-supplied cluster bombs during the 2006 war in Lebanon, which left up to 1,300 civilians dead.

    The United Nations estimates that Israel dropped a few million cluster bombs on Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of those bomblets failed to explode and have continued to maim and kill after that war's end.

    Amnesty also urged Washington to pressure Israel to open up Gaza crossings for humanitarian aid.

    Israel has closed all commercial crossings with Gaza, banning fuel and food shipments into the impoverished territory.

    Under the siege, people in Gaza live without electricity, water and sewage services for up to 16 hours a day.

    "There is a critical emergency in the Gaza Strip right now," said Max Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

    "By any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more."

    Source: IslamOnline

  4. #34
    Israel's fait accompli in Gaza
    By Eric S. Margolis

    Gaza is one of the world's most densely populated places [GALLO/GETTY]

    There are two completely different versions of what is currently happening in Gaza.

    In the Israeli and North American press version, Hamas - 'Islamic terrorists' backed by Iran - have in an unprovoked attack fired deadly rockets on innocent Israel with the intent of destroying the Jewish state.

    North American politicians and the media say Israel "has the right to defend itself".

    True enough. No Israeli government can tolerate rockets hitting its towns, even though the casualty totals have been less than the car crash fatalities registered during a single holiday weekend on Israel's roads.

    The firing of the feeble, home-made al-Qassam rockets by Palestinians is both useless and counter-productive.

    It damages their image as an oppressed people and gives right-wing Israeli extremists a perfect reason to launch more attacks on the Arabs and refuse to discuss peace.

    Israel's supporters insist it has the absolute right to drop hundreds of tonnes of bombs on 'Hamas targets' inside the 360sq km Gaza Strip to 'take out the terrorists'.

    Civilians suffer, says Israel, because the cowardly Hamas hide among them.

    Actually, it is more like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Omitting facts

    As usual, this cartoon-like version of events omits a great deal of nuance and background.

    Seventy per cent of Palestinian children suffer from psychological trauma [GALLO/GETTY]
    While firing rockets at civilians is a crime so, too, is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which is an egregious violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

    According to the UN, most of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian refugees subsist near the edge of hunger. Seventy per cent of Palestinian children in Gaza suffer from severe malnutrition and psychological trauma.

    Medical facilities are critically short of doctors, personnel, equipment, and drugs. Gaza has quite literally become a human garbage dump for all the Arabs that Israel does not want.

    Gaza is one of the world's most-densely populated places, a vast outdoor prison camp filled with desperate people. In the past, they threw stones at their Israeli occupiers; now they launch home-made rockets.

    Call it a prison riot, writ large.

    Eyeing the elections

    When the so-called truce between Tel Aviv and Hamas expired on December 19, Israeli politicians were in the throes of preparing for the February 10 national elections.

    Israeli politics are playing a key role in this crisis.

    Ehud Barak, the defence minister and leader of the Labour party, and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the Kadima party, are trying to prove themselves tougher than Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line Likud party - and one another.

    Israel's elections are only six weeks away, and Likud was leading until the air raids on Gaza began. Kadima and Labour are now up in the polls.

    The heavy attacks on Gaza are also designed to intimidate Israel's Arab neighbours, and make up for Israel's humiliating 2006 defeat in Lebanon, which still haunts the country's politicians and generals.

    A fait accompli

    When the air raids on Gaza began, Barak said: "We have totally changed the rules of the game."

    He was right. By blitzing Hamas-run Gaza, Barak presented the incoming US administration with a fait accompli, and neatly checkmated the newest player in the Middle East Great Game - Barack Obama, the US president-elect - before he could even take a seat at the table.


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    The Israeli offensive into Gaza now looks likely to short-circuit any plans Obama might have had to press Israel into withdrawing to its pre-1967 borders and sharing Jerusalem.

    This has pleased Israel's supporters in North America who have been cheering the war in Gaza and have been backing away from their earlier tentative support for a land-for-peace deal.

    Israel's successes in having Western media portray the Gaza offensive as an 'anti-terrorist operation' will also diminish hopes of peace talks any time soon.

    Obama inherits this mess in a few weeks. During the elections, Obama bowed to the Israel lobby, offering a new US carte blanche to Israel and even accepting Israel's permanent monopoly of all of Jerusalem.

    As he concludes forming his cabinet, his Middle East team looks like it may be top-heavy with friends of Israel's Labour party.

    Obama keeps saying he must remain silent on policy issues until George Bush, the outgoing US president, leaves office, but his staff appear happy to avoid having to make statements about Gaza that would antagonise Israel's American supporters.

    Obama will take office facing a Middle East up in arms over Gaza and the entire Muslim world blaming the US for the carnage in Gaza.

    Unless he moves swiftly to distance himself from the policies of the Bush administration, he will soon find himself facing the same problems and anger as the Bush White House.

    Arab deal killed

    Israel's Gaza offensive is also likely to torpedo the current Saudi-sponsored peace plan, which had been backed by all members of the Arab League.

    The plan, now likely defunct, had called for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders and share Jerusalem in exchange for full recognition and normalised relations with the Muslim world.

    Arab governments will now be unable to sell the deal as they face a storm of criticism from their own people over their powerlessness to help the Palestinians of Gaza.

    Egypt, in particular, is being widely accused of collaborating with Israel in further sealing off and isolating Gaza. It seems highly unlikely they will be able to advance a peace plan with Israel for now.

    This is a bonus for right-wing Israelis, who have always been dead set against any withdrawal and strongly supported the attack on Gaza.

    Other Israeli factions who were always lukewarm about the Saudi peace plan are now unlikely to reconsider it.

    Israel's security establishment is committed to preventing the creation of a viable Palestinian state, and refuses to negotiate with Hamas. Unable to kill all of Hamas' men, Israel is slowly destroying Gaza's infrastructure around them, as it did to Yasser Arafat's PLO.

    Israel's hardliners point to Gaza and claim that any Palestinian state on the West Bank would threaten their nation's security by firing rockets into Israel's heartland.

    Mighty information machine

    Israel is confident that its mighty information machine will allow it to weather the storm of worldwide outrage over its Biblical punishment of Gaza. Who remembers Israel's flattening of parts of the Palestinian city of Jenin, or the US destruction in Falluja, Iraq, or the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in Beirut?

    The US media has focused on the rockets being fired on Israel from Gaza [GALLO/GETTY]
    Though the torment of Gaza is seen across the horrified Muslim world as a modern version of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by Jews against the Nazis during World War Two, Western governments still appear bent on taking no action.

    Though Israel's use of American weapons against Gaza violates the US Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, the docile US Congress will remain mute.

    Israel's assault on Gaza was clearly timed for America's interregnum between administrations and the year-end holidays, a well-used Israeli tactic.

    Hamas refuses to recognise Israel as long as Israel refuses to recognise Hamas and the rights of millions of homeless Palestinian refugees.

    It calls for a non-religious state to be created in Palestine, meaning an end to Zionism. Ironically, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and late leader of Hamas, had spoken of a compromise with Tel Aviv shortly before he was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

    An inherited mess

    Israel's hopes that it can bomb Gazans into rejecting Hamas are as ill-conceived as its failed attempt in 2006 to blast Lebanon into rejecting Hezbollah.

    The Fatah regime on the West Bank installed by the US and Israel after Yasser Arafat's suspicious death will be further discredited, leaving the militants of Hamas as the sole authentic voice of Palestinian nationalism.

    Hamas, the militant but still democratically elected government of Gaza, is even less likely to compromise.

    The Muslim world is in a rage. But so what? Stalin liked to say "the dogs bark, and the caravan moves on," and as long as the US gives Israel carte blanche, it can do just about anything it wants.

    The tragedy of Palestine will thus continue to poison US relations with the Muslim world.

    Those Americans who still do not understand why their nation was attacked on 9/11 need only look to Gaza, for which the US is now being blamed as much as Israel.

    Unless Israel can make 5 to 7 million Palestinians disappear, it must find some way to co-exist with them. Israeli leaders on the centre and right continue to avoid facing this fact.

    The brutal collective punishment inflicted on Gaza will likely strengthen Hamas and reverse any hopes of a Middle East peace in the coming years.

    Eric S. Margolis is an author, syndicated foreign affairs columnist, broadcaster, and veteran war correspondent. His latest book is American Raj: America and the Muslim world.

    The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera.

  5. #35
    Gaza wounded die waiting for ambulances
    Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:43:06 GMT
    A growing number of wounded Palestinians in Gaza are succumbing to death as Israeli bombings have made it hard for ambulances to reach them.

    "The situation is extremely dangerous and the coordination of ambulance services is very complex because of nonstop attacks and military operations," International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokeswoman, Dorothea Krimitsas, said in Geneva.

    She added, "Wounded people have died while waiting for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances. In some other cases, ambulances cannot reach the wounded at all because of the ongoing fighting and shelling."

    Gaza's health services are in dire need of supplies and many health workers are unable to reach their hospitals. Emergency rooms and intensive care units are overwhelmed and at least two hospitals were out of fuel for their generators.

    The Red Cross has also voiced concern over water supplies in the densely populated enclave. Krimitsas said two out of the 45 wells in the Gaza Strip were out of action after having been hit during Israeli air raids, while the pumps on eight others were no longer working because of power cuts.

    "Half a million people, that's about one third of the population of the territory, are threatened with being completely deprived of water," she said. The ICRC spokeswoman noted that technicians needed to gain access to the electrical installations damaged during the fighting.

    Since Israel unleashed its air and sea campaign against Gaza on December 27, at least 555 Palestinians have lost their lives and more than 2,790 others have sustained injuries.


  6. #36
    The images of two women on the front page of an edition of The Washington Post last week illustrates how mainstream US media has been reporting Israel's war on Gaza.

    On the left was a Palestinian mother who had lost five children. On the right was a nearly equally sized picture of an Israeli woman who was distressed by the fighting, according to the caption.

    As the Palestinian woman cradled the dead body of one child, another infant son, his face blackened and disfigured with bruises, cried beside her.

    The Israeli woman did not appear to be wounded in any way but also wept.

    Arab frustration

    To understand the frustration often felt in the Arab world over US media coverage, one only needs to imagine the same front page had the situation been reversed.


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    If an Israeli woman had lost five daughters in a Palestinian attack, would The Washington Post run an equally sized photograph of a relatively unharmed Palestinian woman, who was merely distraught over Israeli missile fire?

    When the front page photographs of the two women were published on December 30, over 350 Palestinians had reportedly been killed compared to just four Israelis.

    What if 350 Israelis had been killed and only four Palestinians - would the newspaper have run the stories side by side as if equal in news value?

    Like many major news organisations in the US, The Washington Post has chosen to cover the conflict from a perspective that reflects the US government's relationship with Israel. This means prioritising Israel's version of events while underplaying the views of Palestinian groups.

    For example, the newspaper's lead article on Tuesday, which was published above the mothers' photographs, quotes Israeli military and civilian sources nine times before quoting a single Palestinian. The first seven paragraphs explain Israel's military strategy. The ninth paragraph describes the anxiety among Israelis, spending evenings in bomb shelters. Ordinary Palestinians, who generally have no access to bomb shelters, do not make an appearance until the 23rd paragraph.

    To balance this top story, The Washington Post published another article on the bottom half of the front page about the Palestinian mother and her children. But would the paper have ever considered balancing a story about a massive attack on Israelis with an in-depth lead piece on the strategy of Palestinian militants?

    Context stripped

    Major US television channels also adopted the equal time approach, despite the reality that Palestinian casualties exceeded Israeli ones by a hundred fold. However, such comparisons were rare because the scripts read by American correspondents often excluded the overall Palestinian death count.

    By stripping the context, American viewers may have easily assumed a level playing field, rather than a case of disproportionate force.

    Take the opening lines of a report filed by NBC's Martin Fletcher on December 30: "In Gaza two little girls were taking out the rubbish and killed by an Israeli rocket - while in Israel, a woman had been driving home and was killed by a Hamas rocket. No let up today on either side on the fourth day of this battle."

    Omitted from the report was the overall Palestinian death toll, dropped continuously in subsequent reports filed by NBC correspondents over the next several days.

    When number of deaths did appear - sometimes as a graphic at the bottom of the screen - it was identified as the number of "people killed" rather than being attributed specifically to Palestinians.

    No wonder the overwhelmingly asymmetrical bombardment of Gaza has been framed vaguely as "rising tensions in the Middle East" by news anchors.

    With the lack of context, the power dynamic on the ground becomes unclear.

    ABC news, for example, regularly introduced events in Gaza as "Mideast Violence". And Like NBC, reporters excluded the Palestinian death toll.

    On December 31, when Palestinian deaths stood at almost 400, ABC correspondent Simon McGergor-Wood began a video package by describing damage to an Israeli school by Hamas rockets.

    The reporter's script can be paraphrased as follows: Israel wanted a sustainable ceasefire; Israel needed to prevent Hamas from rearming; Hamas targets were hit; Israel was sending in aid and letting the injured out; Israel was doing "everything they can to alleviate the humanitarian crisis". And with that McGregor-Wood signed off.

    Palestinian perspective missing

    There was no parallel telling of the Palestinian perspective, and no mention of any damages to Palestinian lives, although news agencies that day had reported five Palestinians dead.

    For the ABC correspondent, it seemed the Palestinian deaths contained less news value than damage to Israeli buildings. His narration of events, meanwhile, amounted to no less than a parroting of the official Israeli line.

    In fact, the Israeli government view typically went unchallenged on major US networks.

    The US media has been accused of prioritising Israel's version of events [EPA]
    Interviews with Israeli spokesmen and ambassadors were not juxtaposed with the voices of Palestinian leaders. Prominent American news anchors frequently adopted the Israeli viewpoint. In talk show discussions, instead of debating events on the ground, the pundits often reinforced each other's views.

    Such an episode occurred on a December 30 broadcast of the MSNBC show, Morning Joe, during which host Joe Scarborough repeatedly insisted that Israel should not be judged.

    Israel was defending itself just as the US had done throughout history. "How many people did we kill in Germany?" Scarborough posed.

    The blame rested on the Palestinians, he concluded, connecting the Gaza attacks to the Camp David negotiations of 2000. "They gave the Palestinians everything they could ask for, and they walked away from the table," he said repeatedly.

    Although this view was challenged once by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US official, who appeared briefly on the show, subsequent guests agreed incessantly with Scarborough's characterisation of the Palestinians as negligent, if not criminal in nature.

    According to guest Dan Bartlett, a former White House counsel, the Palestinian leadership had made it "very clear" that they were uninterested in peace talks.

    Another guest, NBC anchor David Gregory, began by noting that Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian president, "could not be trusted", according to Bill Clinton, the former US president.

    Gregory then added that Hamas had "undercut the peace process" and actually welcomed the attacks.

    "The reality is that Hamas wanted this, they didn't want the ceasefire," he said.

    Columnist Margaret Carlson also joined the show, agreeing in principal that Hamas should be "crushed" but voicing concern over the cost of such action.

    Thus the debate was not whether Israel was justified, but rather what Israel should do next. The Palestinian human tragedy received little to no attention.

    Victim's perspective

    Arab audiences saw a different picture altogether. Rather than mulling Israel's dilemma, the Arab news networks captured the air assault in chilling detail from the perspective of its victims. The divide in coverage was staggering.

    For US networks, the bombing of Gaza has largely been limited to two-minute video packages or five minute talk show segments. This has usually meant a few snippets of jumbled video: explosions from a distance and a momentary glance at victims; barely enough time to remember a face, let alone a personality. Victims were rarely interviewed.

    The availability of time and space, American broadcast executives might argue, were mitigating factors.

    On MSNBC for example, Gaza competed for air time last week with stories about the economy, such as a hike in liquor sales, or celebrity news, such as speculation over the publishing of photographs of Sarah Palin's new grandchild.

    Most US networks have reported exclusively from Israel [GALLO/GETTY]
    On Arab TV, however, Gaza has been the only story.

    For hours on end, live images from the streets of Gaza are beamed into Arab households.

    Unlike the correspondents from ABC and NBC, who have filed their reports exclusively from Israeli cities, Arab crews are inside Gaza, with many correspondents native Gazans themselves.

    The images they capture are often broadcast unedited, and over the last week, a grizzly news gathering routine has been established.

    The cycle begins with rooftop-mounted cameras, capturing the air raids live. After moments of quiet, thunderous bombing commences and plumes of smoke rise over the skyline. Then, anguish on the streets. Panicked civilians run for cover as ambulances careen through narrow alleys. Rescue workers hurriedly pick through the rubble, often pulling out mangled bodies. Fathers with tears of rage hold dead children up to the cameras, vowing revenge. The wounded are carried out in stretchers, gushing with blood.

    Later, local journalists visit the hospitals and more gruesome images, more dead children are broadcast. Doctors wrap up the tiny bodies and carry them into overflowing morgues. The survivors speak to reporters. Their distraught voices are heard around the region; the outflow of misery and destruction is constant.

    Palestinian voices

    The coverage extends beyond Gaza. Unlike the US networks, which are often limited to one or two correspondents in Israel, major Arab television channels maintain correspondents and bureaus throughout the region. As angry protests take place on a near daily basis, the crews are there to capture the action live.

    Even in Israel, Arab reporters are employed, and Israeli politicians are regularly interviewed. But so are members of Hamas and the other Palestinian factions.

    The inclusion of Palestinian voices is not unique to Arab media. On a number of international broadcasters, including BBC World and CNN International, Palestinian leaders and Gazans in particular are regularly heard. And the Palestinian death toll has been provided every day, in most broadcasts and by most correspondents on the ground. Reports are also filed from Arab capitals.

    On some level, the relatively small American broadcasting output can be attributed to a general trend in downsizing foreign reporting. But had a bloodbath on this scale happened in Israel, would the networks not have sent in reinforcements?

    For now, the Israeli viewpoint seems slated to continue to dominate Gaza coverage. The latest narrative comes from the White House, which has called for a "durable" ceasefire, preventing Hamas terrorists from launching more rockets.

    Naturally the soundbites are parroted by US broadcasters throughout the day and then reinforced by pundits, fearing the dangerous Hamas.

    Arab channels, however, see a different outcome. Many have begun referring to Hamas, once controversial, as simply "the Palestinian resistance".

    While American analysts map out Israel's strategy, Arab broadcasters are drawing their own maps, plotting the expanding range of Hamas rockets, and predicting a strengthened hand for opposition to Israel, rather than a weakened one.

    Habib Battah is a freelance journalist and media analyst based in Beirut and New York.

    The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera.

  7. #37
    Three Palestinians Killed in Direct Attack on UNRWA School Date : 6/1/2009 Time : 13:57

    GAZA , January 6, 2009 (WAFA)- Three Gazans were killed, Monday night, in a direct attack on an UNRWA school. They were among over four hundred people, who, earlier in the evening, had fled their homes in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza and had been given refuge in the UNRWA school.

    In a press release issued by UNRWA, the Agency said that the school was clearly marked as a United Nations installation and that the three men, all from the same family, were killed when the school compound took a direct hit.

    UNRWA strongly protested these killings and called for an immediate impartial investigation.

    “Where it is found that international humanitarian law has been violated, those responsible must be held to account.” UNRWA said, under international law, installations such as schools, health centers and UNRWA facilities should be protected from attack.

    This tragic incident again illustrates the most urgent need for an end to the fighting. It also underlines the sad reality facing those fleeing the violence that unless there is a lasting ceasefire, there will remain pervasive risks to civilian lives in Gaza today.
    Source: AJP

  8. #38
    srael kills 215 kids, 98 women in Gaza
    Tue, 06 Jan 2009 20:39:46 GMT
    Medics say 660 Palestinians, including 215 children and 98 women, have been killed in the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

    Gaza emergency services chief, Moawiya Hassanein, also said on Tuesday that more than 2,950 Gazans have been wounded during Israeli attacks on the impoverished region.

    The toll includes 43 civilians who were killed and 100 wounded when Israelis struck a school in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, he added.

    Earlier in the day, Israeli forces hit two UN-run schools, one of which was crowded with refugees, in the Gaza Strip.

    Israel launched a massive military campaign on Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world on December 27.

    As the result of ten days of uninterrupted fighting, the situation of Gaza civilians is "extreme and traumatic", said head of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Pierre Kraehenbuehl.

  9. #39
    Cardinal: Gaza big concentration camp
    Thu, 08 Jan 2009 02:06:32 GMT
    Cardinal Renato Martino
    The representative of Pope Benedict XVI for matters of justice and peace, issues the toughest criticism by the Vatican against Israel.

    On Wednesday, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace voiced the Holy See's strongest criticism since the latest Mideast crisis began, calling Gaza a "big concentration camp", Reuters reported.

    Martino made the statement while speaking in an interview with the Italian online newspaper Il

    "Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp", Martino, (his informal title in the Vatican is "justice minister") said.

    This comes at a time when the Pope has not openly criticized Israel and has only made several general appeals for an end to the violence in Gaza.


  10. #40
    GAZA CITY: Almost a third of the 689 Palestinians killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive are children, with most killed since the start of a ground offensive after a week of aerial bombardment, medics said yesterday.

    The proportion of civilians killed has risen dramatically since Saturday when ground troops joined the assault on the Hamas rulers of Gaza after a week of aerial and naval bombardment.

    A total of 220 children have been killed since Operation Cast Lead was unleashed on Dec. 27, according to Gaza emergency services chief Moawiya Hassanein.

    Humanitarian agencies fear civilian casualties will rise further as the battle moves into the most densely populated areas of Gaza, one of the most crowded places on earth.

    “Of increasing concern is the number of children and their families fleeing the fighting and bombardment or seeking refuge because their homes have been destroyed or damaged,” the Save the Children agency said yesterday.

    Civilians have nowhere to flee from the conflict. The borders are sealed off under an 18-month-old Israeli blockade, and buildings designated by the United Nations as safe shelters have been hit by artillery shelling.

    On Tuesday, at least 43 people sheltering at a school in northern Gaza were killed, according to emergency services.

    The Israeli Army said troops had apparently responded to mortar fire from within the school compound, but the UNRWA agency for Palestinian refugees which runs the school said it was “99.9 percent sure” there were no militants inside the campus.

    Palestinians “are becoming more and more desperate as each day of attacks goes by,” said Martha Myers, CARE director for the Palestinian territories, after one of the agency’s food distribution workers was killed in an air strike on Tuesday night.

    “This is further evidence that any attack, even a targeted one, will result in civilian casualties,” she said.

    Israel says Hamas is to blame for all civilian deaths, claiming that militants use women and children as human shields by firing rockets at Israel and attacking troops from densely populated areas, where they also store their weapons.

    The United Nations has called Hamas attacks “indiscriminate” and the Israeli response “excessive,” and urged both sides to end the violence.

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