Sunday, June 15, 2008

A visit to Sderot

The media has almost totally ignored the appalling plight of the Israeli town of Sderot, which has been under constant bombardment by rockets from Hamas in Gaza. If mentioned at all the reference is likely to be dismissive and sneering - usually referring to 'home-made' (implying 'harmless') rockets. The letter here, from a young English girl visiting Sderot, gives a moving first hand-account of the impact of these 'harmless' rockets on everyday life.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How the story but not the news changed in Gaza

On Thursday 12 June an explosion flattened a house in Gaza belonging to one of Hamas's major military commanders, killing several people including a 4-month old girl. All the news agencies dutifully reported that "Hamas said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike" and the usual scenes of destruction and wailing people were broadcast with viewers left in no doubt that this was Israel's doing. The BBC, Sky and Al Jazeera carried the story prominently with the Hamas claims of Israel's responsibility. To emphasize their 'outrage', Hamas 'responded' with its most ferocious bombardment yet of Israel, some 50 rockets in the space of two hours.

But within less than 12 hours it was clear that Israel could not have been responsible for the explosion and even Reuters reported the following:

  • GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas's military wing said on Friday an explosion that killed eight Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was an accident that occurred as militants prepared to carry out a bomb attack. Hamas initially blamed Thursday's explosion on an Israeli air strike, but the Israeli military denied involvement. The blast flattened the two-storey house of Hamas bomb-maker Ahmed Hamouda in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, killing six Hamas fighters, a four-month-old girl and a civilian.

You would have thought that the real story in this case - Hamas' own explosion killing so many people, its deliberate misleading of the media and its diabolical rocket attacks on Israel as false retaliation - would have led to that same media giving it prominence. Wrong. Whereas the original false story implicating Israel was given prominence, the real story has been ignored totally on TV and radio in the UK. What about newspapers? No chance. Today's Times newspaper has only one small item about Israel and that is of course a negative one, highlighting US criticism of its home building programme in Jerusalem.

If you want an example that captures everything about the media's bias against Israel it is this saga. And here is something that you should also remember. When the next figures listing Palestinian casualties of Israeli 'agression' are trotted out you can be guaranteed these the people kille in the explosion wil be added to it.