Pro-Israeli media shapes perception of Gaza
Since Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense last Wednesday, an effort, Israel claims, to deter Palestinians from launching rockets into Israeli territory the death toll has climbed. The Gaza Health Ministry has reported at least 132 deaths and over 920 casualties since mortar rockets and air strike missiles began hitting Gaza. 1,500 targets in Gaza have been blasted by the Israeli Air Force, naval force and IDF since last week. Over 700 rockets have been launched into Israel from Gaza. Although Israel’s missile defense system Iron Dome has intercepted 300 missiles, a fatal rocket landed in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi killing 3 Israeli civilians on Sunday.
The asymmetrical loss of life on both sides corresponds to disproportionate use of force. Rockets launched from Gaza are met with Israeli mortar shells and and F-16 aerial bombings. Daily Beast writer Yousef Munayyer puts the exchanged shelling in context:
In 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children, and the injury of 468 Palestinians, of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57 percent, or 310, were caused by Israeli aircraft missile fire; 28 percent, or 150, where from Israeli live ammunition; 11 percent, or 59, were from Israeli tank shells; while another 3 percent, or 18, were from Israeli mortar fire.
Through September 2012, Israeli weaponry caused 55 Palestinian deaths and 257 injuries. Among these 312 casualties, 61, or roughly 20 percent, were children and 28 were female. 209 of these casualties came as a result of Israeli Air Force missiles, 69 from live ammunition fire, and 18 from tank shells. It is important to note that these figures do not represent a totality of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza but rather only Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza which cause casualties. The total number of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza is bound to be significantly larger.
In short, Palestinian losses are incomparably higher than Israel’s although the way the latest conflagration has been portrayed in the media, both sides are shown to be suffering equally. Creating this perception is crucial for Israel to justify it’s “whatever actions neccesary” credo. Humans have always been great at making up reasons why the person whose neck their boot presses on should have their windpipes crushed. They shot rockets into our sovereign territory, threatening the security of our people, Israel reasons. Therefore we must retaliate with ferocious force to make them think twice about launching rockets at Israel in the future. Exactly what Israel is retaliating against in this flare-up is subject to debate.
Israel’s “targeted killing” of Ahmed Jabari, leader of Hamas military wing Eziden al-Qassam on November 14, was the incident that sparked the latest firestorm in Gaza. Sure we could as Michael Oren wrote in the New York Times this morning, cite the origin of today’s raging crisis in Gaza back to “the operation [that] began on May 14, 1948, the day Arab forces moved to destroy the newly declared state of Israel.” We could also try for a second to imagine how after 45 years of brutal occupation Israel’s recent “targeted killing” of Hamas’s top military leader follows a depressingly familiar pattern of Israeli aggression.
When your policy is one of anticipatory defense, as it is in Israel, the pretext of an imminent threat is readily available to justify the excercise of violence. For every rocket that is launched into the Israeli desert air strikes will be meted out in populated towns and villages in Gaza. For every 3 Israelis killed in war with Palestine 132 bodies will have to be piled up by Israeli defense forces. And for every image of death and carnage Hamas posts on twitter, a media building will be bombed to the ground by US subsidized weapons. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
Gaza comprises 1.6 million people, 80 percent of whom are refugees living in a militarized, blocaded and economically isolated open-air prison. Despite their resistance being met with overwhelming force for decades, Palestinians remain resilient in their fight for dignity and autonomous self-rule. The pro-israel orthodoxies that permeate the media obfuscate the nature of the struggle between the occupied and the occupiers. Remaining trapped in the perspectival corner of justified anticipatory defense is a failure to depart from the tired script of justified violence against Palestinians
Glenn Greenwald blogged a few days ago: this morning’s New York Times editorial self-consciously drapes itself with pro-Israel caveats and completely ignores the extensive civilian deaths in Gaza before identifying this as one of the only flaws it could find with the lethal Israeli assault: “The action also threatens to divert attention from what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly described as Israel’s biggest security threat: Iran’s nuclear program.” That editorial was written last Thursday. A look at the papers today contains the same reflexive pro-Israel biases. And for those following the crisis as it unfolds in Gaza on social media filtering out the Israeli propaganda its no wonder why an Al Aqsa TV building wound up on the target list.
Gaza about an hour ago
Reporting from Gaza, Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer said a historic bridge in Gaza has been hit by Israeli fighter jets.
Mohammed Omer @Mogaza
#Israeli fighter jets bombed the historical bridge between AlNusssirat and Almoghraga, center #Gaza Strip
21 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite