#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality

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Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine moving all the population of the six counties into an area from the tip of the Strangford peninsula up to about Bangor. Now think of the impact of air strikes on that many people in such a small area. And forget the idea of precision bombing, if you check out the Haaretz link above (or B’Tselem for longer term details) you generally find that the killing of a ‘militant’ in an Israeli airstrike is often accompanied by the death of family members in their home or a vehicle. This is not precision bombing, it is indiscrimninate bombing of civilians. The only facet of precision in such airstrikes is that those that they kill are Gazans (and the odd journalist or human rights activist).

The Israelis are keen to point to rockets being fired from the Gaza strip as ‘justification’ but while international media outlets have been quick to show lots of footage of air-raid sirens going off in Israeli towns close to Gaza they appear unable to source much evidence of actual damage, never mind fatalities. The BBC was being heavily criticised online for what was being perceived as a strong pro-Israeli bias to its recent reporting  (or, at least, a refusal to question the Israeli position that the western media is largely letting pass unchallenged). The BBC, like many other media outlets, appear keen to muddy the waters as to the proportionality of the threat to Israel from Gaza (or the West Bank or East Jerusalem, or indeed Hamas itself) and the violence of Israeli attacks on Gaza. This is how the BBC currently show it on the front of its website (below).

Hamas

What a lot of media outlets are doing is showing images of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza alongside a headline either referring to Hamas rockets or not explaining that what you see in the image is an Israeli airstrike (you can see examples from RT here or from the Irish Independent here).  Given the way people consume news these days, many will see the images, think ‘one side is as bad as the other’ and scroll on. That false attempt to present some form of equivalence here exemplifies what perpetuates the problems in Palestine and Israel. It seems impossible to go into any genuine depth on the issue and not come away disturbed both by the practices and policies of successive Israeli governments towards the Palestinians and the way the ‘west’ continually refuse to sanction the same Israeli governments.

You can track events in Gaza online at #GazaUnderAttack but be advised, you will see unsettling images of the dead and badly wounded, including children. If you do, follow it up with a search online for evidence of the damage of Hamas (or anyone else’s) rockets in Israel. Now you will have some grasp of the complete lack of proportionality of Israel’s response and the utter cowardice of the west when it comes to facing down the treatment of Palestinians and Gazans by the Israelis.

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  • John Ó Néill

    Apologies – I think a few comments were lost in the changeover of the website.

    J

  • Jag

    It’s been five years, time to mow the lawn again, blow up a few tunnels, munitions factories and a few vindictive acts of destruction, to boot. Cost $2bn in 2009, probably $4bn in 2014. Select a few hundred for execution (already selected actually given the extensive IDF spying networks in Gaza) and make it look war-zone, collateral like.

    And all the while, the population of Israel steadily expands, as does the settler population in the West Bank. Give it a month or two of proportionate responding, and they won’t need mow the lawn again until 2020.

    Ironic that in Europe, we used mow our own lawns every century or so.

  • Iluvni

    Simple….don’t fire rockets at Israel.

  • dodrade99

    Can someone please explain to me why Hamas continue to fire rockets into Israel when they have no military value and provide political cover for the much more deadly and effective Israeli response?

  • npbinni

    Indeed, spare a thought for the Israeli population who live in the Israel who are currently being subjected to 100’s of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and factions of Fatah.

    The IDF, on the other hand, is targeting specific military Hamas elements. Hamas, of course, continue to use civilians as shields, hence the many civilian casualties..

  • npbinni

    Netanyahu promised ‘calm for calm’. But Hamas wanted war. They are certainly getting it. Entirely self-inflicted!

  • chrisjones2

    John Can you explain why your stance isn’t just racist? All you do is regurgitate Palestinian Terrorist Propaganda. This started with Hamas kidnapping and murdering 3 children. There was a revenge attack and then HAMAS started to rocket Israel.

  • USA

    Israel is a rogue nation.

  • John Ó Néill

    Someone identify the Palestinian propaganda for me here.
    Three teens murdered in West Bank (not Gaza) and not yet clear who murdered them (no proof produced of Hamas involvement). Five Palestinians killed in follow up IDF operation plus one Palestinian teenager burnt alive by Israelis.
    There are no reported fatalities from rockets fired from Gaza, nor do there appear to be any casualties. Current death-toll from IDF air strikes in Gaza is 79, with 20 of those children.
    This is what you’re cheer leading lads. You should be very proud of yourselves.

  • npbinni

    John, it just goes to show the twisted mentality of the Palestinians. It’s as they said: ‘we [the Palestinians/Hamas] love death more than you [the Israelis] love life’. Israelis take no pleasure in killing Palestinians, but Palestinians celebrate when they kill Israelis.

    Hamas initiated and continues to fire missiles at Israelis in the hope of killing civilians. They even tried to damage a nuclear reactor! The Israelis are targeting those who are launching the rockets.

    No one is cheering! Palestinian suffering is, for the most part, self-inflicted. It’s masochism on a national scale.

  • AMS2013

    Do you know what you are even talking about..I read on an Israeli paper that it is not Hamas who wants war..This particular paper was blaming a group called Islamic Jihad..So you are Off message in your pro Israeli propaganda..I think you need to check in with Tel Aviv and get back “on message”

  • npbinni

    ams2013, Hamas controls Gaza. I’m sure you know that. They could end this whole crisis today. But their attack on the nuclear reactor yesterday would appear to up the ante, and Israel now has every justification to absolutely crush them. We’ll see what happens.

  • streetlegal

    We know that there is little or no sympathy in the west for Palestinian muslims, but it does surprise me that there is so little interest in the plight of Palestinian christians who also have to endure under Israeli repression and persecution.

  • fordprefect

    ChrisJones2,
    Can you explain how your stance isn’t just racist? Like so many media outlets you stated: “Hamas kidnapped and MURDERED three children”. So, in your warped logic, three Israeli children were kidnapped and murdered and a Palestinian child who was kidnapped and murdered (burned alive) was just a “revenge attack”.

  • streetlegal

    It is surprising to me that there is so little sympathy for Palestinian christians who continue to suffer under Israeli repression and persecution.

  • npbinni

    streetlegal, Palestinian Christians are not involved in launching rockets at civilian population centres in Israel, and so have nothing to fear from Israeli responses to such indiscriminate terrorism (unless, of course, they are used by Hamas as human shields).

    Hamas terrorists, on the other hand, have a lot to fear. Looks like their days are numbered.

    For the record, the State of Israel has freedom of religion, whereas Christians have dhimmi status in Arab/Muslim countries, making them, in effect, second-class citizens.

    I challenge you, streetlegal, to name an Arab/Muslim state where Arabs, Christians and Jews enjoy more social and religious freedoms than they do in Israel.

  • Roy Walsh

    https://vodhls.rasset.ie/manifest/audio/2014/0709/20140709_rteradio1-drivetime-daniellevy_c20614716_20614720_261_.m3u8
    Many of you should listen to this, the view of one time advisor to PM Barak who has a significantly better grasp of what is going on on the ground in Gaza/Israel than any here.
    Equally, this has all recommenced following the murders of four children, 3 of these murders pinned on the Gaza government but wholly denied by the legitimate power.
    This too has a huge economic impact on Israel and the region, every time a rocket comes from Hamas the cost to Israel is £80000 and combine this with the cost of heavy armour, tanks and jet fighters.
    I’d agree with John, the way the news is conveyed by, supposedly impartial, media outlets leaves a lot to be desired.

  • streetlegal

    I was referring to the repression and persecution of Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader Likud – an extreme Jewish Zionist terrorist organisation and as such he is equally ready to kill Muslim or Christian Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza and the West Bank.

  • npbinni

    I notice you completely ignore my request, streetlegal. C’mon, name an Arab/Muslim state where Arabs, Christians and Jews enjoy more social and religious freedoms than they do in Israel!