On February 29 last year the BBC’s website reported that Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai had threated a ‘holocaust’ on Gaza. The story would undergo nine revisions in the next twelve hours with the original headline — “Israel warns of Gaza ‘holocaust'”– replaced by “Gaza militants ‘risking disaster’“. (The story has been revised again since then with an exculpatory note added to soft-pedal Vilnai’s comments). One can see why an Israeli threatening a ‘holocaust’ might be unpalatable to those who routinely invoke its spectre to deflect criticism from the Jewish state’s criminal behaviour. In a deft move, not only had the BBC redacted the reference to a ‘holocaust’, it also shifted culpability into the hands of the ‘Gaza militants’.
One could argue that the BBC’s radical alteration of the story reflects its susceptibility to the kind of inordinate pressure routinely brought to bear by the Israel Lobby. But, as subsequent examples reveal, this story is exceptional only for its initial candor. The norm is reflexive self-censorship. Continue reading “Another Chorister for Israel”
‘Every war Israel has waged since 1948 has had the same objective: expulsion of the native people and theft of more land’ writes John Pilger. ‘But why are we in the west silent on this truth?’
“When the truth is replaced by silence,” the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, “the silence is a lie.” It may appear that the silence on Gaza is broken. The small cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents, and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea can be witnessed on al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC. But Russia’s incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemera we call news; he was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it, and so denied it. Among the Anglo-American intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge: the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why.
Israel widens its ongoing war on the UN in Gaza while the USA continues to hamstring the organisation.
The main UN aid agency in the Gaza Strip said today that it was suspending operations after an Israeli tank shell hit one of its convoys during the ceasefire period, killing two drivers.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) made the announcement as the death toll from Israel’s war on Hamas shot up to 763 after new raids and dozens of bodies were found during a suspension in Israel’s bombing.
“UNRWA decided to suspend all its operations in the Gaza Strip because of the increasing hostile actions against its premises and personnel,” Adnan Abu Hasna, the agency’s Gaza-based spokesman, said.
Richard Miron, a UN spokesman, said the Israeli army had been notified in advance about the UNRWA convoy, which was hit as it approached the Erez crossing with Israel. Two Palestinian forklift drivers were killed.
Avi Shlaim, one of Israel’s new historians, on the crisis: “Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination.”
The only way to make sense of Israel’s senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.
I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times. Continue…
From Juan Cole who later asks, why, if militants were firing from the school, would refugees be taking shelter there? It is such an obvious, propaganda based, lie, a lie that has become a knee-jerk reaction from Israel.
On Tuesday, the Israeli military shelled a United Nations school to which terrified Gazans had fled for refuge, killing at least 42 persons and wounding 55, virtually all of them civilians, and many of them children. The Palestinian death toll rose to 660. The Israelis say they took fire from one of the schools. Was it tank fire?
You wonder if someone somewhere is writing out a will today. Continue…
There is no war in Gaza. In Gaza today, all that we have experienced and lived through and dealt with the meaning of, tells us that a war is a conventional army fighting another conventional army. But here the tanks are going against flesh and human beings; bullets and bombs and fighter jets against bodies and eyes, children and women; death before blood and earth. This is no war. What is going on in Gaza, if we are to express it correctly, is state terror.