#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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