Rogue state fosters terrorism. That isn’t what the media are saying about Israel’s actions, despite the fact that a rational look at the situation in Gaza would support this conclusion. Every Israeli action of this kind drives the Palestinians further into the camp of extremists, as every other alternative is denied them.
A strange conflict arithmetic appears. Over 300 Palestinians dead, and 3 Israelis at yesterday’s count. The 3 Israeli casualties appeared as a rolling news banner, as if dead people are significant. Rightly so. But Palestinian casualties are treated as numbers, approximated and spurious. We are being hypnotised into seeing a hundred to one as some sort of equality of death, as if the value of a non-Israeli life is somehow one-hundredth that of an Israeli life.
On the rolling news broadcasts, images of Palestinians screaming and crying in grief are shown among a confusion of images of demonstrations and mass panic street scenes and Koran waving. At best, a local Englishman explains their situation in a half-screen box. Any attempt to follow what he is saying is disrupted by the flickering voiceless images of Palestinian chaos. The message is “You cannot understand these people. They are nothing like you.”
Israelis are interviewed in the circumstances of normality. Standing by their cars, discussing the events in English and expressing their concerns in the context of normal conversation. Israeli politicians are interviewed in modern well-set up studios. They say things that us Europeans tend to disagree with but they are recognisably like us. Reporters stand outside their comfortable hotels and discuss the day’s tallies and discuss Israeli reactions.
The overall impression seems to construct view of the Israelis that seems well nigh taken for granted in the US – that they are just like the people in USA or Europe or Canada, it’s just that they are insanely being bombarded by a load of Islamo-fanatics who hate their freedom and democracy and advanced way of life, etc.
Hmm. It’s not as if this is deliberate news management or anything. (Yes, “I am being sarcastic”, to quote Homer Simpson.) I initially thought it was just a side effect of the world’s journalists naturally gravitating towards interviewees who speak their language and can be easily reached from their hotels. And I was pretty depressed that, in the supposed age of the citizen journalist, traditional factors like accessibility and language and official control of information sources still frame the “news” so decisively.
But, it’s not just that.
“Israel is not currently permitting international journalists to cross into Gaza” (From the BBC report of a journalist who is Gaza resident)
Well, it’s not apparently permitting international medical aid to pass through the Mediterranean – as it admitted ramming a boat doing just that or it didn’t, according to UPN, according to which news source you believe – so it’s hardly going to allow foreign journalists into Gaza.
Hence, you can read lots stories like this in the New York Times.
A piercing shriek went up and a young woman fainted as the body, wrapped in a white shroud, was brought into the packed funeral hall.
On Tuesday, this fast-developing modern port city about half way between Gaza and Tel Aviv buried its first victim of a rocket attack: Irit Sheetrit, a 39-year-old mother of four
But, as far as I can see there very few people reporting for the Western media from within Gaza. Here’s one, a worker for an Islamic charity, writing on the BBC about the psychological effect of this on the children and about how hospitals are overwhelmed with the number of injured and dead people.
At the hospital I saw something I have never seen before – dead bodies outside on the floor. Everyone in Gaza has a relative or a friend killed or injured after these attacks.
Here’s another from the Guardian on a family that lost 5 daughters in one bombing raid. They lived in a refugee camp. Their lives were already shit and then they lost 5 daughters in one raid, while they were sleeping.
The Israeli strategy is based on a an insane belief that they will undercut support for Hamas by going ape on the Palestinians till they drop support for Hamas. This shows a level of ignorance about history and human psychology that seems almost wilful. The news management might have a fair amount of success in shaping how the USA sees and responds to this tragedy. But it is hardly going to convince the rest of the world. It’s not going to convince the people of Gaza of anything except the need to oppose Israel at any cost. It is not going to convince any Arab countries that they have any solution to the question of the Palestinians beyond slow burn genocide.
In the process, the Israelis are recruiting for Hamas, they are recruiting for Al Qeda. And, if the international community fails to put a stop to what they are doing, it is doing the same.