07
Jan
09

On Air: facts or propaganda ?

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“Why Do They Hate the West So Much ? We Will Ask ” is the title of  this commentary by the Independent’s Robert Fisk.

He argues that journalists and diplomats have “bought the lie” that the Israelis take great care to avoid civilian  casualties.

He”s referring of course to the attack on the UN school which not only killed 42 people, but even persuaded Barack  Obama to break his silence.

In the article, as we have found on WHYS, he talks about the – and this is my awkward  phrase – “lies/facts difficulty”. You know what i mean, you’ll have seen the posts. 

The school deaths were, depending on your version of the truth, a deliberate attack on civilians, or the tragic consequences of Hamas cynically using human shields.  

For some people , Israel were the first to break the ceasefire ; FACT . LIE, it was Hamas say others.     FACT: Israel targets civilians, LIE: Hamas use human shields, . FACT: Hamas wants to wipe Israel off the map. LIE, they don’t . And  so on and on.

All of which is an amzing certainty when Israel won’t let foreign journalists into Gaza to find out for themselves.

The diplomacy goes on and of course there’s talk of a ceasefire. Tony Blair (who we’ll invite on to the programme)  is in the thick of it but, as Deborah Orr argues here,

“His line is that a two-state solution can only be achieved if “Palestinian unity” is delivered first. He would not, of course, approve of the sort of Palestinian unity that would be delivered were the Palestinians on the West Bank to vote Hamas as well. Like Israel, he has a certain type of Palestinian unity in mind. “

In the shorter term Israel says it will have a three hour lull each day to open a humanitarian corridor.  Hamas say they won’t fire rockets during the cessation.  I’ll wager a small bet that both sides will argue the other side didn’t observe it properly.

This piece from the Jerusalem Post suggests Hamas have been desperate for a lull for some time, and argues that no-one’s really sure what Hamas are trying to achieve. 

As for Israel, what are their war aims ? Again, no-one’s sure exactly. Stop the rockets ? topple Hamas ?

What we do know is that at the moment, you want us to keep talking about it. So we’ll try to assemble a panel of people who can blow away, what you might call “the fog of war”. Senior correspondents, experts on propaganda and  media analysts who can shed some light on what -as far as we can tell- the “facts” are.


118 Responses to “On Air: facts or propaganda ?”


  1. 1 Monica in DC
    January 7, 2009 at 15:13

    There are always at least two sides to every story, and everyone has their own opinion. And frankly, no offense WHYS but the media isn’t always exactly straightforward and unbiased either. I just wish everyone would stop fighting.

  2. 2 Kenneth Kaine
    January 7, 2009 at 15:13

    both sides are to blame is this whole fiasco how Hamas can continuously fire rockets into Israel while under a so called cease fire and not expect a retaliation is very absurd. Hamas broke the ceasefire first this does not give Israel the right to kill innocent women and children during the course of pursing fugitives and vigilantes which the world has termed as terrorists. What needs to be understood is the fact that organizations like Hamas thrive during war times since their philosophy is based to fighting the oppressor. this however does not mean that they are not trigger or the instigator of crisis neither does it mean that when chasing after them innocent civilians especially women and children should be killed. I believe the only solution to whole problem is placing an Arab lead international police and army to protect the Palestinians from both Hamas and Israel i think after installing a stable peace in the area a fresh general election should be held. I believe half of the fighters fighting along Hamas are not very educated at the teachings of Islam and if Israel wants get a long term peace in the region they should undertake a education scheme to show people of the region that violence is not a worth while cause is not accepted by religion. the international community has not made anything any easy by taking sides to the conflict yes clearly both sides are wrong i don’t understand why we waste time arguing who is more wrong than the other both sides are very wrong either in ideology or in retaliation.

  3. 3 Asiya
    January 7, 2009 at 15:22

    I just have a question to whom ever can answer it from Israel’s side: How can a Hamas militant be identified on the ground? Unless he or she carries a big identification sign( like a gun or a rocket), they can easily be mistaken for civilians and vise-versa. So how can you be sure you are shooting at the right people?

    And a question to the Hamas side: Is this not a bit like a David and Goliath story? You are hoping to win this by casting stones at the big giant? It may very well have worked for David, but I doubt that this Goliath will fall down.

    Asiya, from Mozambique

  4. January 7, 2009 at 15:27

    In the absence of a recognised/ accepted authority to defer to, there is no way of sifting facts from lies; each is a combination of both. One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.
    Who is a civilian? Can we call non-members of an army who offer their homes and private quarters as a base from which an army can operate “civilians”? There is no way Hamas can continue to fire its rockets from Gaza into Israel and hope that Israel will just sit still. If anyone argues that there are civilian casualties in Gaza then one of the following applies:
    a) Hamas is taking human shields, hiding amidst civilians to fight a war in the hope that Israel will not dare harm the civilians. Thus taking their own people hostage.
    b) There are no civilians; the people of Gaza have all joined Hamas, each offering their shelters, resources and ultimately their lives for the achievement of the ‘Hamas Cause’.
    Help me ask Gazans, “are you against Hamas firing into Israel, and are willing to help bring that to an end?”
    Then ask the Israeli’s if Hamas move out of Gaza to a new location from where they continue to fire their rockets, will you still fire at Gaza?

  5. 5 Lubna
    January 7, 2009 at 15:32

    Hi gang ! :-)… Interesting, so the Israelis won’t let foreign journalists into Gaza inorder to find out for themselves what’s actually going on, and then they’d come out to the outside world complaining of the anti-Israeli propaganda… If Israel is truely on the safe side and doesn’t have something to hide, then why did she ban foreign journalists from getting into Gaza and reporting its story to the outside world ?! MAY BE because she’s afraid that they would shed the light on things that should remain in the dark, MAY BE… Anyway, as for me, I get the news of the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its people from the BBC Arabic Service Radio, they do have an xtraordinary network of reporters and journalists inside Gaza, I just wish that their reports and stories would be translated into English, so that ordinary citizens in Europe and the US can get them and know what exactly is going on in Gaza… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  6. January 7, 2009 at 15:36

    I’m usually a huge fan of Fisk’s writing but in this case I think he may be wrong. The reports I’m hearing (and I should stress I’m talking Aussie media plus the World Service, not what’s being heard in the US or UK) are very definitely NOT buying the lie.

    I’ve heard a gratifying number of reports questioning the motives and excuses of both sides and taking care to point out questionable statements.

    Long may that continue.

  7. 7 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 15:37

    If journalists get in, they’ll probably be killed, and that will be more outrage directed as israel, as Israel will be blamed for it, regardless of whether Israel or Hamas fired the weapon.

  8. 8 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    January 7, 2009 at 15:52

    I recently heard a commentator on US network news make this excuse for why the conflict is so difficult to resolve: He said that it has been going on for 2000 years. The editors of the program apparently did not think it was relevant to point out that this figure is 600 years or so greater than the age of Islam.

    Is it any wonder that no one seems to be able to see a way out of this crisis in the face of such reinforced ignorance?

  9. 9 Patti in Cape Coral
    January 7, 2009 at 15:53

    Both sides seem to say the same thing over and over, and both always seem to have justification for continuing the violence. Why do they hate the west? I think because the west comes down on the side of Israel, who they see as occupiers. I wonder since we are an ally of Israel, does that mean we cannot be seen to publicly disagree with what they do? I can’t tell from the news reports exactly what is going on because of the explanations given by both sides. Apparently, the Palestinian deaths are blamed on Hamas because their tendency to use human shields. Then again, Israel is apparently aiming at UN targets where there were no Hamas, only civilians seeking refuge. Isn’t there anyway there can be any independent reporting? No, because Israel is not letting any reporters in. That would make anyone suspicious…

  10. 10 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    January 7, 2009 at 15:59

    I am far from a position to speak to the truth of what happens in the Middle East.

    I might suggest, though, based on the universal regret of Israelis for the accidental loss of innocent life, that the US offer to replace the Hamas rockets with an equal number of “sugical” weapons. Then everyone can regret responsibility for their crimes against humanity with equal sincerity.

  11. January 7, 2009 at 16:04

    It’s interesting over the last hour or so I’ve had plenty of replies to the daily email. I pointed out that the following opinions often get brought to the table as complete fact….

    Hamas uses human shields
    Israel targets civilians
    Israel broke the ceasefire
    Hamas broke the ceasefire
    Hamas wants the total destruction of Israel

    Many people can’t believe I’m even suggesting these aren’t cast iron facts….Kind of proves the point of what we’re saying.

  12. January 7, 2009 at 16:09

    Israel never started the war Hamas did. Robert’s insinuation ignores the fact that if Hamas had sophisticated weapons Israel would have been history. If Israel wanted to really annihilate Gazaians it would be in a flash, the Israelis are more compassionate than Hamas lets be fair to Israel it never started the war.

  13. 13 John in Salem
    January 7, 2009 at 16:13

    The truth is always the first casualty of any war and the only fact we can count on is that EVERYONE lies.

  14. 14 S
    January 7, 2009 at 16:24

    Nothing can justify Israel’s actions. Its like theyve learned nothing from their past. This situation needs diplomacy and negotiation, not senseless killing. They of all people in the world should know, violence cannot be obviated by more of the same.

    Their cause might be justified – a nation is well within it’s rights in protecting it’s citizens, but not in this way. This is a war crime, in every respect. The fact that Hamas has fired rockets into Israel will go down as an act of terrorism, but a country engaging in a coordinated massacre like this is ridiculous.

    I hope that history does not forgive Israel for this, just the way Hamas will forever be remembered as a terrorist outfit. In the end, that will be the litmus test for the triumph of humanity over it’s mistakes.

  15. 15 Anthony
    January 7, 2009 at 16:26

    @ Asiya

    Look at police shootouts in every country. You see gun fire/smoke, you shoot in that direction. If someone across the street is shooting at me from inside a house, trying to kill me, I’m gonna return fire where I see it coming. Even though they’re shooting a .22, if I have an AK-47, I’m gonna be using that.

    Re: Does Hamas want the Jews destroyed (wikipedia):
    Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant states the following: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Cedar tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslem).

    Re: Who shot first.
    I think Hamas, who has never accepted the existance of Israel, whose charter calls for the end of Israel. I mean, if you have a group openly saying that Israel should be crushed in their charter, who would you believe.

    Re: Civilians
    Hamas started using civilians as Suicide Bombers back in 1993, does anyone here really think that they wouldn’t have a problem firing from schools if they have been responsible for about 500 suicide bombers since then?

    I’m not pro Jew or pro Muslim, but I believe Israel in this case.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  16. 16 Ramesh
    January 7, 2009 at 16:26

    Somehow the international community would force israel to stop the current war on hamas. Hamas on its part may agree to stop firing rockets into israel. Would it mean peace is achieved? No way. We will see history keep repeating again and again until both parties realize violence is not a way to solve the problem.

  17. 17 Bert
    January 7, 2009 at 16:31

    Definitely, Israel should allow jouranlists access to Gaza.

    An undeniable FACT is that the only resolution to the conflict, from the Hamas point of view, and the point of view of their supporters even on WHYS, is the dissolution of Israel as a state. The consistent firing of rockets into Israel will continue, with Hamas in power, until that end is met.

    So people should take that into account. Even on WHYS, on many occasions, the justification for the continuous rocket firings has been that Israel is an “occupying power.” So ask yourselves, how can this be resolved, then, in any way tyhat isn’t purely one-sided?

  18. 18 Olivia in USA
    January 7, 2009 at 16:32

    I like Lubna’s idea of translating the BBC Arabic Radio Service into English. The more sources of information we have and the more differing points of view we listen to, the better our chance of distinguishing truth from fabrication.

  19. 19 kpellyhezekiah
    January 7, 2009 at 16:34

    ladies and gentlemen, please this isn’t what the world press should be discussing now. We must with one voice keep on crying loudly that both parties must STOP fighting. We must not allow the politicians to take us away from this claurian call.

  20. January 7, 2009 at 16:35

    Isreal does all it can to avoid hurting civilians. It is Hamas who endangers civilians, by using the FACT that there is a natural effort to not endanger children.

    The Fact that most of Isreal’s casualties are from their own friendly fire. These are typical problems while humans wage war. Certainly Hamas cannot accuse Isreal of killing their own soldiers on purpose. These “accidents” just happen all the time while at war.

    If you look at all the names on the “Wall” at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. The horrible Facts are than 20 percent of them are all from mistakes, accidents, and murders from fragging incidents of an army’s darker side of clumsey people. When you hand guns, handgrenades, and advanced dangerous-deadly weapons to tired, and angry people things go wrong more often than you would like to believe.

    The facts that so few civilians are hurt and injured/killed from all the ordinance that the Isrealis rained down upon the Gaza strip does tell a story of selected targets. If the Isrealis simply carpet bombed the entire area, there would have been thousands more killed.

    The Palistinians need to oustracise Hamas and expel them so they can go attract attack where ever it is they go.

    Meanwhile, Isreal should bunker bust all tunnels from Boarder areas where rockets are smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

    troop

  21. January 7, 2009 at 16:35

    Once president, will Obama do anything much different? Many people are cynical as to how he will handle it. I would strongly suggest he steps into the situation with eyes wide open as to the reality of what is unfolding at this moment and before now. He has to face down any requests or excuses for furthering the conflict, so as to be of advantage to Israel in the short or long term.

    It will be a brave man who steps into this tumultuous situation and grabs the bull by the horns at long last, forcing Israel to listen, negotiate, compromise and maintain a constant dialogue, with severe repercussions for either side, if they were to break any agreements made during all conversations and meetings. Now is the time more than ever for “jaw, jaw and not war war.” Obama has to bash some heads together and force them to talk. If it requires explicit intervention, ruling and new laws being passed by the United Nations to be implemented and enforced, then so be it. If Israel flout a ruling just once, then the whole international community to a man must boycott and establish punitive trading sanctions that will make them think twice next time.

    This is not left wing rhetoric or bleeding heart liberal bias, as supposed by so many who just look for the nearest cliché to attach to purely commonsense suggestions, as I propose here. There is so little to counter the accepted and given points of view in UK & US media. Thank God for a journalist such as Robert Fisk!

  22. 22 kpellyhezekiah
    January 7, 2009 at 16:41

    Until both parties STOP fighting, let us refuse to listen to them and force them to stop. This should be the stand of all the envoys in the middle east now. they should put all the presure at their disposal on them. Let the street demonstrations go on.

  23. 23 Tseday
    January 7, 2009 at 16:54

    If Israel has nothing to hide, it should allow foreign journalists to enter Gaza and report with their own eyes.

    Frankly, i’m tired of Israel’s constant lies about the situation…Israel is in denial that there is even an occupation!!! Hamas rockets are not the cause but a response to the occupation.

    Yes, Israel ‘withdrew’ from Gaza in 2005, but it still retained full control of its borders and airspace, restricting movements of people in and out of the territory…the people of Gaza did not benefit from the ceasefire, in fact their humanitarian condition has been deteriorating for the past few months…they had severely reduced access to energy, food and medicine…Hamas has a ‘raison d’etre’ because of Israel’s illegal siege and blockade of Gaza

    The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago

    If Israel wants a long-lasting peace, it has to address the land occupation issue 1st and give the Palestinians large portions of their homeland back…Israel is still an occupying force and that’s why groups like Hamas will always have reason to exist.

    Let me remind you what the 1st prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, even admitted himself:

    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves. Politically, we are the aggressors, and they defend themselves. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view, we want to take away from them their country.”

    That is the root cause of this conflict…

  24. 24 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 7, 2009 at 16:54

    When Hamas and Hamas supporters use the word “occupation,” they are referring to Israel’s occupation of the land of Israel. They deny Israel’s right to exist and are dedicated to ending it.To allow the word “occupation” to be used repeatedly in news reports without clarifying what it really means—the destruction of Israel—is to buy into Hamas’ propaganda.

    Hamas is not interested in peaceful co-existence with Israel and continues to prove it. Whatever the casualties and deprivations of war, all the actions that follow from Hamas’ dedication to the destruction of Isreal must be laid at Hamas’ door, no matter what the propaganda might be from either side.

    And to repeat something that has been said many times on the blog, given Israel’s military capability, if they really wanted to kill Gazan civilians, the death toll would not be in the hundreds but in the hundreds of thousands.

  25. 25 Steven in Boston, MA
    January 7, 2009 at 17:05

    Based on the total number of suicide bombings, beheadings, and kidnappings committed by Muslims as opposed to the number committed by Jews, I tend to come down on Israel’s side when it comes to facts vs. fiction.

  26. 26 Bert
    January 7, 2009 at 17:08

    Donnamarie writes: “When Hamas and Hamas supporters use the word “occupation,” they are referring to Israel’s occupation of the land of Israel. They deny Israel’s right to exist and are dedicated to ending it.To allow the word “occupation” to be used repeatedly in news reports without clarifying what it really means—the destruction of Israel—is to buy into Hamas’ propaganda.”

    Yes, indeed, I thought that point was well understood.

    This is why I ask, how can the conflict be resolved, in the view of those who take this position, without the dissolution of Israel as a country?

    It’s really a simple question, folks.

  27. 27 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 17:15

    This question could be asked about any conflict, this should be extended to beyond Israel. What else in the news, who do you believe? Russia vs. Ukrain in their natural gas conflict right now. Propaganda or fact being used by each side? This isn’t just an Israel vs. Hamas issues, it’s EVERYWHERE.

  28. 28 Tony Flett
    January 7, 2009 at 17:18

    I have 2 questions:
    1) If Israel does not recognise the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as a legitimate nation then Israel is killing its own citizens because of their ethnicity. What Israel is doing is ethnic cleansing.
    When this happened in Yugoslavia, the EU, NATO, UN and others decried it as ethnic cleansing and sent troops to stop it. But when it happens in an Arab nation no-one cares. Are Arab nations/people worth less?

    2) Do Arab Israelis have the same rights as Jewish Israelis (inside Israel)? If not then surely Israel is an apartheid regime. And just like South Africa when it had a similar regime, Israel should be subjected to international sanctions and be ostracised until it changes. Why is such a regime supported in the UN?

  29. 29 Mark
    January 7, 2009 at 17:18

    Israel’s government says that a cease fire must include cessation of bombing by Hamas/terrorists. That would be the same as New York telling all New Yorkers that electricity/food/transportation is all being cut off until all drug dealers stop selling drugs to kids. Same effect at the end of the day, people are dying at the hands of a few and Israel wants to hold everyone responsible for the actions of those few. That is impossible and therefore you could believe that Israel does not actually want a ceasefire.

  30. 30 Tony from Singapura
    January 7, 2009 at 17:29

    Israel targets civilians
    ————————-

    This is clearly true. Israel bombed a mosque during prayer time. Muslim Prayer times are well known, so if Israel intended to minimize civilian casualties, they would have bombed the mosque outside of prayer time.

    Israel bombed the UN compound despite having WGS84 coordinates of the facility.

    Nothing that comes from the mouths of Israeli spokesmen can be taken as truth.

  31. 31 Michel Norman
    January 7, 2009 at 17:35

    There is a myth going around that Robert Fisk is a balanced journalist who writes balanced reports. Unfortunately this is just a myth. Perhaps Fisk would like to write a report on the thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by the British and American air forces, or the hundreds of thousands of carpet bombed Germans. As a soldier in the Israeli army and the father of two soldiers I know that I can look at myself in the mirror, I can look at both of them and be hugely proud of them because we all belong to the most moral army in the world, that has to fight in imposssible conditions against people for whom nothing is sacred.

  32. January 7, 2009 at 17:36

    The premise is reliability in learning the truth of the conflict. The truth is this: geopolitics, especially in the Middle East is so severely distorted it’s nearly impossible to get to the truth.

    The distortion is primarily due to false-flag provocations, i.e. black-ops/psy-ops, which the media (BBC included), never discuss. Why? They’re all totally infiltrated (top to bottom) by intelligence agencies – 2 things to never forget:

    1. “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” – James Jesus Angelton – Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

    2. “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” – William Colby – Director of the CIA (1973-76)

  33. 33 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 17:38

    @ Tony

    Israel is in peace negotations with Fatah, they are working out a solution.

    While Israeli arabs allege some forms of discrimination, and I’m sure some exists, the only difference is that most Israeli arabs aren’t required to serve in the military, pretty much only Bedouins and the Druze serve in the IDF.

    If you’re try ing to make this out into an Israel is an apartheid state, let me remind you that in Jordan, Jews are not allowed to be citizens or own property. In Saudia Arabia, all religions but Islam are outlawed, and non muslims are not even allowed to enter Mecca or Medina. If you’re going to go into the apartheid thing, then you might want to look at the arab countries and how they treat minorities. While Israel isn’t perfect by any stretch, minorities live like kings compared to minorities in Arab nations.

  34. 34 Michel Norman
    January 7, 2009 at 17:39

    Hammas and Hizbollah both “fight” the same way – lobbing missiles at civilians, and then doing there worst to cause situations in which there are civilian casualties, so as to create world opinion to call for a ceasefire so that they can claim that they have taken on Israel and not been defeated. FOr a fact, look at the pictures coming out of gaza and all you will see is dead children and women screaming. You contribute to this with stories of hundreds of dead – without differentiating between the civlians and the military casualties. In this war the vast majority of Palestinian dead are hammas not civilians, but not according to the BBC – on a good day you will make us the equivalent of Hammas – they are both evil so now the BBC is symetrical and everyhting is OK.

  35. January 7, 2009 at 17:51

    Robert Fisk is right.
    It’s no different here to Israel. The Cultural and Islamic Propagation Ministry in Iran does it. Either you toe the official line or you don’t get advertisements for your paper.
    Every nation is guilty of misleading the press. Journalists are obliged to report government views. Editors and publishers are at the mercy of state run media and governments in Mideast, China and Arab nations. Either you comply or you don’t get a visa, a meal, accomodation and transport. It is as simple as that.

  36. 36 John Smith - Jamaica
    January 7, 2009 at 17:59

    Israel continues to administer occupied territories despite UN mandates to cease doing so. Both sides are wrong in this issue, but the Israelis continue to lie about not targeting civilians, at least Hamas does not deny this. If a sovereign nation anywhere else in the world were to use deadly arms against its “own” civilians, they would be charged with GENOCIDE and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. I wonder if we will see these charges levelled at Mr. Olmert, Mr. Barack, Ms. Livny and Mr. Perez, the main orchestrators of this mass civilian death and humanitarian crisis.

    My question is simple. Do the actions of the Israelis warrant investigation by the War Crimes tribunal?

  37. 37 Bert
    January 7, 2009 at 18:00

    Mark, I doubt Israel has any illusions about achieving a lasting peace. Their stated intent was much simpler: to destroy the caches of rockets in Gaza. And they acknowlegged that this is only a temporary solution, to slow down the tempo of rockets fired into Israel.

    I’m just not sure I understand what people thought would have happened. The blockade of Gaza was specifically to prevent importation of such weapons. Obviously, not all that effective. So it’s not like this offensive came out of the blue, guys.

    What would happen if, say, the Navajo started firing rockets into Santa Fe? Would the New Mexico and US governments just sit by and let that happen for years and years and years, and do nothing about it?

  38. January 7, 2009 at 18:07

    As they say, truth is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately in any war, both sides are blinded by their own propaganda.

    Until both sides figure out that those who are already dead are less important than those that will die in future there will be no change.

  39. 39 Dan
    January 7, 2009 at 18:09

    If I was an Israeli General I would NOT allow the media into Gaza to allow Hamas to pimp their people in front of the cameras.
    If I was a member of the media I would not go to Gaza afraid I would be kidnapped.
    Perhaps this is WHYS broadcast from Israel.
    What we are seeing is a Medieval Theocracy holding its people hostage and attacking with intent to destroy a member state of the United Nations.
    Israel has every right to do what it is doing and hopefully put an end to the scourge from Gaza.
    Please note that even Egypt has sealed the border with Gaza where is the cry for Egypt to provide humanitarian assistance?

  40. January 7, 2009 at 18:10

    It is clear that the press has become the official mouthpiece of their respective governments. And since war seems to be the only game in town these days, they continue to repeat the lies without any qualms. The truth is dead, as dead as the innocent victims we see every day on the boob.

  41. 41 James D - Pontoise
    January 7, 2009 at 18:11

    Parallels… Your coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution shows some historical depth (not enough). Your coverage of the current attack on Gaza shows none. Why not? How can the Gaza Strip be understood without some historical background? Situation at peace = historical coverage . Situation at war = no historical depth whatsoever. Something’s wrong here. What are yoàu going to do about it?

  42. 42 viola
    January 7, 2009 at 18:11

    Fog is right and most commenters here don’t blow away any of that fog but simply add to it.

    WHYS has stated the problem: Everyone has a narrative favorable to whichever side they have chosen to champion. Thus, we see Lubna referring to the “Israeli aggression” in this lamentable war while ignoring or justifying the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. That’s one example: anyone can pick out similar narratives favored by those who view the Israeli-Palestinian-Zionist-Islamist conflict differently.

    It would help if everyone could be more objective. Objectivity starts with learning facts about events in place and time without reference to motives. An example would be an accurate, verifiable timeline of events without accompanying editorials, analyses, opinions, and propaganda. I believe BBC has such a timeline. When BBC’s, NY Times, Washington Post’s, Jerusalem Post’s, Al Jazeera’s, and other Islamic countries’ newspapers offer identical, historically accurate timelines of events to their readers, and every country’s history books offer identical, objective facts, then and only then will the Islamic world’s and the rest of the world’s views begin to merge.

  43. 43 Fred R
    January 7, 2009 at 18:12

    A Spanish woman in Gaza

    Now here is an interesting titbit via Friends of Israel in Galicia – a TV interview with a Spanish woman in the Gaza Strip (Khan Yunis).
    For those whose Galician may be a bit lacking:
    She says she has food to eat. She got hold of eggs and potatoes and made an omelette. She also has tomatoes and peppers.
    She has electricity. (She was blogging at midnight).
    When asked if Israelis fire at buildings with civilians inside them she says she had heard of an incident but, ’in any case the Israelis warn beforehand for buildings to be evacuated.
    Having criticised the Spanish govt for not doing enough to get Spanish nationals out she said that when they were about to let foreigners leave the Strip Hamas started firing rockets at Israel causing the closure of the Erez crossing.” They became prisoners (hostages?)’ of Hamas.’

  44. 44 Partha R - NewDelhi India
    January 7, 2009 at 18:13

    Current conflict in Gaza perhaps can be better tackled & long term peaceful solution can be found by promotion of values of compassion, tolerance ,mutual respect that is clearly mentioned in Holy Quran . Media in Arab & Western world have critical role to play in promotion of peace & stability in Middle East region . They are inculcating perceptions of entire population in subtle way in day -today basis & influencing psychodynamics of individuals . Media consciously need to shift from destructive divisive politics to constructive cooperative politics in it’s product mix to promote mutual understanding & trust , tolerance between Israelies & Palestanians in fact, between Jewsish & pan Islamic communities . Such actions by Media will also help to fight terrorism.

  45. 45 Brad in Detroit
    January 7, 2009 at 18:15

    As a long time supporter of peace and justice for Palestine, I feel the discussion here in the US is gradually starting to change. The lopsided casualty rate (500 dead Palestinians, 5 dead Israelis) is just so obvious that even those that are slow to criticize Israel are becoming sickened.
    Even the CNN website, which historically downplays Israel’s aggressive actions, has had to mention the incredible disparity. Is this a turning point? Has Israel gone so far as to even alienate past supporters?

    Let’s also remember, the American government supports Israel… but millions of Americans stand with Palestine and their struggle for freedom and peace.

  46. 46 Bruno
    January 7, 2009 at 18:15

    I find this claim that the high civilian toll is due to Hamas using human shields very tiedious.

    There was exactly the same claim in Lebanon. However after their investigations, Human right watch, Amnesty and others NGOs declared they found no proof of this claim.

    And even more interesting : Israel itself actually used this tactic not long ago. There was this article by the New york times of israeli soldiers entering palestinian homes at random, picking people here, blinfolding them and making them walk while using their shoulder as a support for their guns.

  47. 47 Anthony
    January 7, 2009 at 18:18

    @ Mark

    Thats absurd, the difference is that the majority of the people in Gaza agree with Hamas (they were voted in right), so if 90% of the people backed up drug dealers, and helped the drug dealers, and backed them up with “soldiers” and money, then that would be the same.

    @ Tony Fleet

    Yes, and the North ethnically cleansed the South during the U.S. civil war.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  48. 48 Lance F
    January 7, 2009 at 18:21

    I was out for a walk, heard the topic and had to come home.
    I am tired of all the carnage, and as a teacher my heart dies when I see the injured children. But, I wish to point out one thing that no one has reflected upon. The Gazans elected Hamas as their government, then that elected government has been attacking another nation in an undeclared war. Why shouldn’t Israel defend itself from an attack from the government of an adjoining state. This seems to be something that the Gazan people need to address, as they chose their government.
    I realize that this is a simplistic view, because there are so many causes and reasons for the conflict.

  49. 49 richard
    January 7, 2009 at 18:22

    finally, a story about media bias and propoganda.
    gaza says it only civilians getting killed, i find it amazing
    that the israeli army has such poor shooting skills towards
    militants. could it that the militants use civilians as shields.

  50. 50 Michelle from Jamaica
    January 7, 2009 at 18:24

    Both Palestine & Israel have innocent blood on their hands. This war will end when both sides recognize that each life is precious, and learn tollerance and respect for all. The old cleche’ “you can’t fight fire with fire” still holds true.

  51. 51 Lubna
    January 7, 2009 at 18:28

    Hi Donnamarie my darling… I do really hate to disappoint you, but when I refer to the Israeli occupation, I mean the Israeli occupation of the 1967 lands i.e. the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are occupied territories according to the international law Donnamarie, so the Israeli presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal and should be termed “occupation” according to the international law… Thank you… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  52. 52 C Harris
    January 7, 2009 at 18:29

    I heard a rumour going around that I am God…You should all listen to me and make peace…

  53. 53 Kimani,from Nairobi.
    January 7, 2009 at 18:29

    I believe the israeli spin doctors are among the best the in world.the spokesperson,MARK REGEV is as articulate as any goverment official lair. The irony is that Hamas wins the propaganda war hands down. Perhaps its all because of focused media like the BBC and above all else,Al jazzera. Certainly its because the israeli relentless genocidal crusade is simply indefensible.and i feel strongly that am right here.

  54. 54 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 18:31

    Come on people, this doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out. Hamas NEEDs civilian deaths to have any chance of suriving, by getting public sympathy. Do you think they can beat Israel militarily? So why do people find it hard to believe Hamas would do things that leads civilians to get killed?

  55. 55 Steve - USA
    January 7, 2009 at 18:32

    The guardian journalist says that only 20 israelis have been killed over the past 7 years. That’s if you ignore all the deaths from other causes other than missiles. There have been suicide bombings, shootings, car attacks, He’s completely IGNORING all the deaths from suicide bombings.
    He’s comparing total palestinian deaths vs. just israeli deaths from rocket attacks, and leaving out all other acts of terrorism that have killed hundreds of israelis. If he’s that dishonest on the air, how can you trust him in his reporting?

  56. 56 GB
    January 7, 2009 at 18:36

    @ Steve

    It is rare that I agree with you but the ubiquity of bias and subsequent perpetuation of propaganda are very real issues in media coverage of all types of conflict.

    How can one know the truth? Relevant but nearly impossible to answer definitively. I’d say we need to start with educated and savvy audiences, unfortunately. Audiences who seek to acquire their information from a variety of “reputable” sources, peer-reviewed articles and journals. As a consequence, we may never really learn the truth until long after the original conflict has taken place thinking of the famine in Ethiopia, the Iraq war, the massacres in Lebanon, the genocide in Rwanda…

  57. 57 Jonathan
    January 7, 2009 at 18:36

    It’s not necessary to have equal coverage for both sides in a conflict. Did the BBC strive for balance by following every address by Winston Churchill with a statement from Goebbels’ propaganda ministry?

    Jonathan
    San Francisco

  58. 58 Lwike
    January 7, 2009 at 18:39

    The problem is they disagree on history which is the source of the present. Someone is not telling the truth.
    The current generation of listeners need to know about history particularly all UN resolutions that Israel has ignored since 1948

  59. 59 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    January 7, 2009 at 18:40

    The question of who broke the cease-fire does seem to be the most applicable. But of course it is not so simple. Should any violation of human rights be considered as “the first shot?” If so, what are the claims by Hamas that Israel has violated human rights?

    It is my understanding that the laying of siege against a civilian population is prohibited by international law. If a siege causes the death of innocent civilians by deliberate isolation of a population from life sustaining rescources, how does this differ from deaths caused by random rocket fire?

    I’ve been told that Hamas claims its acts of terrorism are retaliatory, Israel claims that its massive response will prevent future terrorism. It seems to me the only difference is that Israel has enough firepower to believe its own justification.

  60. 60 SH
    January 7, 2009 at 18:40

    Are we comparing suffering?

    Holocaust and the killing of 6 millions is not the worst tragery in world history or greatest man made massacre? It is up there but not the worst.

    What about slavery in America, Cambodia filling fileds, the cleaning of Haitians in the Dominican Republic? we can go on.

  61. 61 Jason
    January 7, 2009 at 18:41

    Why has nobody discussed the fact that Egypt has not allowed journalists into Gaza or why it has not allowed significant humanitarian aid to enter Gaza? I believe that Israel’s attempt to prevent journalists from entering Gaza and to severely constrain aid to its civilians is deeply regrettable, but it’s not the whole picture. Egypt controls the southern Rafah border, and (as far as I can tell) it is within its power to allow both journalists and aid to enter the territory. It chooses not to. Why is nobody talking about this? Why does the media seem to exclusively mention Israel regarding these matters with no mention of Egypt’s role?

  62. 62 Justin from Iowa
    January 7, 2009 at 18:42

    Israel is justified in randomly killing palestinians, because that is what palestinian terrorists do to Israelis. The fact that they DON’T is important.

  63. 63 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 18:42

    No wonder Israel won’t let them in, that guy is going to go out of his way to be biased. Robert Fisk seems to think the Wall hasn’t improved security, I suppose that’s why they are virtually no suicide bombings anymore? Sorry if enough israelis aren’t getting blown up to satisfy your desire for that! That man is so biased that I could never trust anything he writes! He’s an outright liar, especially with his claim that only 20 Israelis have been killed over the past 7 years.

  64. 64 Carrie
    January 7, 2009 at 18:42

    Hamas has been targeting Southern Israel for how many years now. People just keep on thinking about the present issue which is that yes, Israel went ahead and attacked Hamas. But what else is there to do? What would anyone else do if they’re territory or country is being attacked? Stay passive?! C’mon people! This was bound to happen.

    Now, what people should do is stop choosing or discussing whomever started it! People should be concerned on how to stop it! There are so many civilians being killed for no reason. They did nothing wrong, they should not be attacked!

    The UN should stand up and take action!

  65. 65 Tony, Canada
    January 7, 2009 at 18:43

    It’s a disgrace and an insult to our intelligence the way you the BBC is bending over backwards in trying to appear impartial by equating the death and destruction in Gaza with that of the towns in Israel that are within range of Hamas rockets. How can you compare over six hundred dead with nine unless you believe that Israeli lives are worth a great deal more than Palestinians?

  66. 66 Lib
    January 7, 2009 at 18:43

    Its amazing how the Holocaust is always thrown out there as the worst human horror. What about 400 yrs of slavery!!! & millions of lives? Is black life any less?

  67. 67 Anthony
    January 7, 2009 at 18:45

    This guy is seriously down playing the amount of Isreali deaths as a result of a gazans action. 10 people? just on August 19th, 2003, 23 Israelis were killed because of a bus suicide bombing.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  68. 68 Neal Cassidy
    January 7, 2009 at 18:45

    Sometimes historical distance can allow a more dispassionate understanding of events. May I suggest the American Indian wars as an analogue to the Arab-Israeli conflict:

    During the 19th Century, Native Americans were increasingly under pressure from white settler expansion. The US Government made and broke countless treaties with the Indians. When Indian warriors reacted with the occasional massacre of settlers, they were described as heathen savages in hysterical press reports. This justified overwhelming military repression, massacres of entire villages, and the eventual “pacification” and isolation on cramped reservations.

    Now in hindsight, we recognize that the Indians were grievously wronged, and we can understand their attacks as predictable responses to intolerable violence and pressure.

    With one significant difference – Jews having historical roots in the region – the current struggle is similar. Israel is an expansionist power, and its continuing expropriation of Palestinian land and the isolation of communities places extreme pressures on Palestinian society. Israel says that there is no occupation of Gaza. This ignores the reality that millions of people have been locked into a squalid slum and denied any future.

    This leads to violent responses such as suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israelis. While these actions cannot be justified, they have to be understood as a totally predictable response to overwhelming and intolerable Israeli aggression and repression.

  69. 69 Robertt, Uganda
    January 7, 2009 at 18:45

    Qn: was the first ceasefire broken by hamas or by israelites? Was it by hamas firing rockets against the terms of the truce or was it israel refusing to open the borders or by assasinating hamas leaders?

  70. 70 Trent West
    January 7, 2009 at 18:46

    How does the question of journalists’ safety affect impartiality? If I am an international journalist and I am depanding on one side or the other for safety I am really going to be impartial?

  71. 71 Fiona
    January 7, 2009 at 18:49

    Israelis like Brits must be worth a lot more than Palestinian women children.

    Israeli policy is like the police retaking a bank in a hostage situation by gunning down the innocent hostages along with the robbers…..

  72. 72 GB
    January 7, 2009 at 18:53

    @ Anthony

    Remember, Israel has claimed that its military action is in response to Hamas’ rocket fire…

  73. 73 Allan in Texas
    January 7, 2009 at 18:53

    What if, for some reason, the Mexican drug lords started lobbing mortar and artillery shells across the Rio Grande into places in the U.S. like El Paso and Tucson and San Diego?
    And then, what if the Mexican government said it wouldn’t or couldn’t do anything to prevent such attacks?
    Do you think the American people, the American government, the American military would tolerate this for a heartbeat?
    Change the boundaries as you wish. But use that situation.
    Why does the world criticize Israel?

    AS TO THE FACT THAT INNOCENT CIVILIANS ARE DYING
    I accept the statement that Hamas is burrowing its infrastructure into the civilan environment just simply to provide (1) camouflage and, more importantly from their point of view, (2) to raise a hue and cry about civilian death when Israel retaliates. (Hamas has demonstrated no concern for human life except to use it as a foil.)

    AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE CIVILIAN DEATHS?
    What hypocrisy for the world to pretend to be shocked. The concept of civilian exemption from warfare hasn’t been around since 1918.
    In WWII: the Germans bombed London lacking the technology and the will to discriminate between military and civilian targets.
    The RAF and the USAF retaliated in spades.
    Russia had more civilian than military deaths in WWII
    And what about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Did only military personnel die there?
    Further examples: Korea, Viet Nam (We even invented a phrase there: “Collateral Damage”). In no particular order: Bosnia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Need I go on?

    AND WHAT ABOUT THE HAMAS ROCKETS? Are they aimed at military locations? Gimme a break!

    ONE OTHER THING
    What about the suicide bombers? Are they careful before they send themselves to Nirvana? Are they sure they are taking only uniformed military personnel with them? You know the answer to that.

    By the way, has anyone ever heard of a Jewish suicide bomber? Or a Christian suicide bomber? Hindu? Sikh? Shinto? Pantheist? Animist? Certain not an atheist.

    Allan

  74. 74 Steve
    January 7, 2009 at 18:55

    And I’m talking about Palestinian terrorism, not just Gaza. WHy do you have to distinguish the two? Terrorism is terrorism, it doesn’t matter that most of it came from the West Bank.

    He never said “around gaza” until the very end, and what does that mean? It’s still terrorism.

  75. 75 Victor
    January 7, 2009 at 18:57

    The fighting in Gaza is only the first round. All the signs point to an imminent involvement of the Hezbollah, probably sooner than later. Highly motivated through fresh spiritual Ashura cleansing rituals. That is what the Hamas were REALLY counting on, and when that happens, the Pasdaran will rub their hands in Glee…Welcome Mr. Obama.

  76. 76 Justin from Iowa
    January 7, 2009 at 18:59

    I think the commenter had to be talking about military deaths only, involved in attacking in and around gaza.

  77. 77 Livia Varju
    January 7, 2009 at 19:07

    I listened to your programme. Someone said, we shouldn’t call Hamas a terrorist organization because, after all, they were democratically elected (or something like that). This is false logic. As if being democratically elected washed that murderous terrorist organization of all its sins, e.g. suicide bombings in places where there would be a maximum of civilians: restaurants, buses, markets. As a matter of fact, having voted for Hamas makes those who voted for them terrorists because they obviously approve of Hamas plans to kill civilians and eradicate Israel.
    Livia Varju

  78. 78 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    January 7, 2009 at 19:13

    As we speak now, the number of people reported to have been killed in Gaza is reaching 700 (that is seven hundreds human lives), at least 100 of them are children (that is one hundred of children) have been killed.

    Israel has not *committed* the *act* of killing these people in less than two weeks, or has it?! Israel only wants to stop the rockets of Hamas. To achieve its goal, Israel is bombarding Gaza, a small city where 1.4 million people are living in a 360 square kilometer area, using state of the art weapons, fighters, tanks … etc. A “surgical operation” targeting only its enemy, Hamas, Israel says.

    Israel also *committed* the *act* of bombarding the “shields” its enemy “uses”, this should not be a problem, except that those “shields” Israel is actually *hitting* are humans, innocent civilians, a well known fact, at least to Israel!

  79. 79 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    January 7, 2009 at 19:57

    @ Justin from Iowa

    “Israel is justified in randomly killing palestinians, because that is what palestinian terrorists do to Israelis. The fact that they DON’T is important.”

    You are absolutely right! Israel don’t kill the Palestinians randomly, this is for two simple reasons:

    1- If they do, you would have refereed to Israelis as “terrorists” as well, wouldn’t you?!

    2- It’s so difficult for Israel to kill randomly, because they don’t have home-made rockets; instead they do have sophisticated and profound weapons and air fighters; such weapons, as you know, hit its targets precisely, they don’t miss it!

  80. 80 Jonathan
    January 7, 2009 at 20:10

    Poor Gaza, so isolated and helpless. Its only natural resource seems to be hundreds of missiles that it fires into Israel. But wait, missiles don’t grow on olive trees; obviously someone somehow managed to bring them in. They could have imported materials to build a society and an economy, or the “humanitarian” supplies they now complain of lacking, but unfortunately they chose the weaponry. I’m sure it’s somehow Israel’s fault; everything always is.

  81. 81 Ramesh
    January 7, 2009 at 20:37

    Lubna, you are right in your meaning to occupation. But I heard on WHYS a pro palestine person saying that Hamas regards that Israel was created throwing out palestine people from their own land. It clearly indicates that hamas regards the very existence of Israel as occupation of palestine land. It may be true if we go back into the history. But would it be possible to get Palestine country by removing Israel from the map, somehow, I wonder. I like to hear what you think of hamas assertion. No offense meant.

  82. 82 Justin from Iowa
    January 7, 2009 at 20:45

    So Ibrahim, lets assume that the israelis aren’t being surgical in their strikes, but are performing more of a general bombardment of the area. (A worst case scenario) Aren’t they justified, considering that is exactly what has been done to them?

    I mean, in a strictly eye for an eye equivalent, Irael gets suicide bombed, rocket bombed, terror attacks… if they respond with missiles and artillery, haven’t palestinians simply reaped the whirlwind they themselves sowed?

  83. 83 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    January 7, 2009 at 21:21

    In modern civilized countries nowadays, when someone commits an outstanding criminal act, the person and the act would be subject to research and analyzes. It is to prevent the same crime from happening again. Such person, as psychiatrists would suggest, is sic and usually had had an abnormal life, often faced a tough experience(s) or incident(s). Nobody is born criminal; there should be a background and a history that would lead to such criminal act.

    Eventually, the current crises of Gaza will come to an end, hopefully, but do you think the (700) killings by Israel, the pain and suffering the people of Gaza has endured, the double standards and the injustice the “West” has offered in dealing with this case will simply go away, vaporize? How do you think this will come up later, in what form, and against whom?!

    Israel has killed 696 people in Gaza in less than two weeks period, at least 100 children and women were among them. It does not make any difference whether it was intentionally or not. How many “sick” people Israel has created for the world?

    “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”–Newton’s third law of motion. It is still being considered as Fact (hopefully), and still applies (unfortunately)!

  84. 84 archibald in oregon
    January 7, 2009 at 21:51

    Israel is backed by the U.S., who is in a war against terrorism in two other Arab nations. Why not make it a holy trinity? Unification and/or reconciliation is the last thing the Israeli and U.S. gov’ts want, though they deny this emphatically; No enemy, no money………. Keeping the Arab world in a perpetual state of upheaval and insecurity, justifies harsh controls and sanctions, which in turn leads back to violent response on the part of Hamas, etc., thus continues the best source of revenue, war.
    Terrorist organizations are not innocent of wrong doing, but, they would have far less ground on which to stand if circumstances allowed for they and their countrymen, the right of self determination, a right that many who sit in judgement take for granted……….
    The fact that foreign journalists are not being allowed in the Israeli controlled areas of Gaza, seems to indicate that Israel has something to hide.

  85. January 7, 2009 at 22:42

    I think the fight is unfair! The Jewish soldiers should have to have one hand tied behind their backs, and they should only be allowed to use pistols. And no tanks or armored vehicles, because it is unsafe to drive with one hand tied behind your back.

  86. 86 Kristina
    January 8, 2009 at 00:13

    I agree with Steve,

    Dear Readers: Propaganda is everywhere, One has to be completely brain dead (excuse my language) to perceive any kind of information as absolute truth. Reality is muldtidimensional at all times and there is never one, proper, correct or right way to look at things. The only thing one can do is find a variety of different sources, perhaps contradictory, and come to his own educated conclusion. And furthermore, it is already more than obvious to what lengths Hamas has been willing to go to for their “Palestinian cause”, which is nothing but a poor excuse for complete disregard for human lives and fundamentalist rhetoric.

    peace

  87. January 8, 2009 at 03:18

    Israel 2009 mirrors America 2003 : a “war on terror” deliberately meant to fuel hatred and secure the victory of hawks in upcoming elections, outright propaganda with daily lines carefully edited by spin doctors, and media kept in the dark or turned into weapons of mass disinformation.

    Israeli moderates have a choice : making sure Israeli embraces post Nov 4th History, or remaining silent and letting their country vote for Bush-Cheney 2004.

  88. 88 Scott in Thailand
    January 8, 2009 at 03:35

    I think the fact that more Israelis have died from bee stings than Hamas rockets in the last 8 years puts the whole episode in perspective.

    Whilst we have this ridiculous bias towards Israel Islam will hate the West.

    Israel break UN resolutions and has illegal weapons of mass destruction. These were the reasons that we went to war with Iraq and the whole world should FORCE a solution upon Israel.

    Only then will we be able to see if Islam is a religion of peace. Whilst they have this just cause to support we Westerners will have to endure attacks around the world.

  89. 89 Deryk Norton
    January 8, 2009 at 04:02

    “Why do they hate the West so much?”

    One need only read the Hamas Charter to answer this question. In the Hamas Charter you will find “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.” The Charter also states that there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except through Jihad. Central to the Jihad is the killing of Jews, Christians and all organizations considered to be “Zionist”, including even Rotary Clubs. It is clear from the Charter that Hamas is unwilling to co-exist with anyone who does not agree with it. All it takes to be hated by Hamas is to have a different belief.

  90. 90 Mark From Kansas
    January 8, 2009 at 04:05

    The fact is that a blockade is an act of war, therefore Israel did not honor the cease fire from the start.

    I think the biggest threat to peace in the middle east is the State of Israel. They consistently provoke and make war with their neighboring countries. Yes there are nut jobs shooting home made rockets into their country, and they do need to pursue and eliminate the threat.

    Conventional war fare is barbaric, outdated, and ineffective when it comes to combating terrorism. If they really want to put an end to the cycle of terrorism, they need to stop displacing Palestinians with illegal settlements, honor UN Security resolutions, BUILD SOME SCHOOLS, CREATE JOBS, and get people MEDICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP Palestinians needs to become functioning members of society.

    Bombing heavily populated areas, having fire fights in the streets and shooting at primary schools with tanks does nothing but breed more terrorism.

    They have a financial incentive to continue the cycle of terrorism. If there were actually peace in Israel they would not receive billions of dollars in military aid and technology from the US.

  91. January 8, 2009 at 05:03

    A cease fire is a great idea. It would be a mutually beneficial idea. Here are the conditions for a really fair and valid agreement.

    1. Isreal agree to leave Gaza and not destroy the entire 30 by 4 miles of beautiful coastal land. Isreal agree not to build settlements and simply let the Palistinians build their own society.

    2. Hamas and all the people of the Gaza strip recognise Israel’s right to exist and agree not to fire rockets into Israel or attack in any way.

    3. The Gaza strip and the West Bank be connected so that there is enough room and ground for a road and buffer strip of one Kilometer on each side of this road so that there is no boarder to cross between the two palistinian land masses.

    4. Jeruusalem be a shared city of peace and each state have a piece of the City.

    5. The United Nations build their main Headquarter there; in such a manner that the building is half on the Israel side and half on the Palistinian side.

    6. Neutral party like a United Nations peace keeping force monitor Gaza. Any smuggling of weapons. Any attempts of Hamas to attack Israel…….Israel is free to wipe out Hamas military targets and bull dose all structures into the sea.

    7. Palistinians will have to flee to sea or UN Refugee camps in the desert of any
    Arab nations or Persian Nations willing to donate survival shelter and other resources. Palistinians can revert to being pastoral managers of flocks, and dwellers of tents to survive in ways that are appropriate to their contributions to their culture.

    troop on the Oregon Coast.

  92. January 8, 2009 at 06:08

    We very concerned about the situation in Gaza. The majority of people in our country are very angry with politics of Israel towards innocent palestinian people.
    Hey, Powerful Presidents and leaders of the nations!
    Why are you keeping silence and doing nothing?
    When financial crisis began every leader was active and did his best to stabilize the financial situation, and now when the war has broken and millions of innocent people are killed everyday – they do nothing, complaining that ceasefire wasnt met. They just don’t want to do something! It is something unbelievable!
    The whole world is making discussions who is to blame for and looking how palestinians dying!

  93. 93 Marwan-Canada
    January 8, 2009 at 06:19

    I am a Palestinian whos family lives in Gaza city. I just have a question that I dont have an answer for..Why Israel is above the law? Is it possible that the international laws were altered to benifit Israel?
    The international law also says that collective punishment is a war crime, yet Israel sees the attack as self-defense. I believe that if what is happenning in Gaza is happening in any other country, it would be called (genocide).
    However, when it comes to Palestinians, Gazans in particular, it is called (self defense), i am definitely not a fan of the double standards and i am sure many of you arent.

    My family has been living a nonstop, 24-7 nightmare that just continues on and on with every morning and every night. I understand that there is a BIG political play being played here, but when it comes to civilians, people being killed randomly and homes, mosques and hospitals are destroyed, somebody gotta SCREAM and say ENOUGH

  94. 94 A Hassan
    January 8, 2009 at 11:19

    The killing of innocent people cannot be justified.

    Israel argues that it is targeting Hamas but obviously many of the people that it had actually targeted were innocent people.

    In the eyes of Israel, Hamas is targeting innocent people – Should Israel target innocent people too?

    Israel is not doing itself any favours.

  95. 95 RP Thailand
    January 8, 2009 at 11:39

    Excellent point given by Tseday –

    “Let me remind you what the 1st prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, even admitted himself:”

    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves. Politically, we are the aggressors, and they defend themselves. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view, we want to take away from them their country.”
    —————————————

    And guess what happened? He was assassinated by? yeah, you got it…his own Israeli people!

  96. 96 dr caplan
    January 8, 2009 at 12:42

    After living in nahariya for 30 years i can honestly say that most Israelis look upon war as filth,blood and fear and if you are in one you dont pretend otherwise , i gather that some of our enemies have visions of 72 virgins and glory, i have come to the conclusion that our arab neighbours think it is a greater good to kill jews than protect their own poeple. Thus we hear hamas is looking forward to house to house fighting with the nevitable civilian casualties and hizbulla thinks that the last lebanese war with its inbedding of missiles in private homes was a great success and has no fear of same .
    Somebody tried to kill my children today.
    Those who wish for a proportional responce should note what the allies did to german and japanese cities when their CHILDREN were being bombed.
    For those who wish to feel empathy for the innocent imagine your daughters face was threatened by a neighbour who tries to slash it by a razor(not a friendly rocket ) for 7 years I am sure that most parents would demand protection and if a warning was not sufficient would be willing to act personally even if others feel that that a wee scar is not the end of the world.

  97. 97 Amani
    January 8, 2009 at 13:08

    In this war we need to ask ourselves; does the Muslim world share the same understanding of the concept of “civilian” with the West?
    What are the Palestinian civilians doing in a war zone? Why are the Old allowing rockets to be fired from their backyards? Why are the women sheltering Hamas fighter with their children? and why are the fighters of Hamas dressed in T-shirts?? Why are the Palestinian civilians storing rockets in their children’s schools and in mosques?
    A civilian should not be present in the war zone, he/she should not allow ammunitions in their properties and the sheltering of the military personnel should take place in military basis, fighters should identify themselves as military petronel! Rockets are to be stored in military storages, NOT in schools and places of worship! This is the international law of war as the west understands it!

  98. 98 M. Adebayo
    January 8, 2009 at 13:29

    Dr. Caplan,

    But the facts show the Israel has killed more Palestinians over the years, than your comments portray. There is this interesting cartoon, in which an Israeli child is portraying saying to a Palestinian child: ” My father told me that Arabs are terrrorists, barbarians and animals”, to which the Palestinian child responded: “My father could not tell me anything because your fathers killed him”. The point is that the Palestinians have been under occupation for 60 years and continue to be humiliated by Israel. What would you do if you were in that situation, Send roses to your occupier and humiliator?

  99. 99 Nili
    January 8, 2009 at 13:39

    Israeli troops do everything they can to avoid harming civilians, however, they are fighting a group who hide behind civilians, lie about everything and whose only goal is to wipe Israel off the map.

    Just this past year pro-hamas arabs who are living, working and supposedly part of the state of Israel have attacked, killed and maimed innocent civilians–no military in site. Nobody seems to think that is a crime?

    Any reasonable person who looks at the size of the arab countries and the tiny sliver of land that is Israel should be asking why the arab nations do not want the Palestinians. Why after all these years are they refused citizenship in any arab countries? It’s time people stopped allowing the “Palestinians” using their failure to destroy Israel become the cause of the century. They do not want peace–they want total destruction of Israel.

  100. 100 Sarah Potter, UK
    January 8, 2009 at 13:56

    Well i think what Israel is doing is absolutely disgusting. They are killing hundreds of innocent people and the saddest thing is that no one is doing anything about it….

    Over 700 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 13 days yet all that keeps coming back is that Hamas “the militants/terrorists” are throwing rockets into Israel….I think what really needs to be considered is the fact that the people in Gaza have been for a long time and still are locked in a prison with all of their borders closed…. with no ELECTRICITY,MEDICAL SUPPLIES OR FOOD being allowed in…if this isn’t injustice then what is???

    Isn’t what the Israelis are doing now in Gaza terrorism???

    I also think that the media is extremely biased and pro-israel and on top of the fact that no journalists have been allowed into Gaza, i see very few reports about just how many people are dying everyday….All i seem to hear is excuses about the deaths…there was possibley a hamas member in there or someone who knew hamas or someone who has once spoken to Hamas or a child who may one day in the future speak to Hamas etc…it’s absurd!

    I don’t think Israel will ever allow Palestinians to live freely on their land and the 3 hour ceasefires i see as an excuse to carry on the bombing and the killing…..Maybe they are considering killing the whole population on Gaza and settling on it…who knows…..?

    Without anyone acting to stop this injustice, yes,I think israel can do exactly what it wants…

  101. 101 faysal
    January 8, 2009 at 14:22

    Let me start up with this fact :Israel is occupying Arab territories.
    Yes, it can..but at what costs? That what’s happening in Gaza is making me wonder : justice and security, what is more important? I’m now over 50 years old; few years ago, after Madrid and Oslo, I was about to be convinced that the Zionist State was riding on the peace highway, but the events that took place since then, especially after Annapolis, turned my convictions and my thoughts upside down………….Gaza is The straw that broke the camel’s back.
    Back to justice and security. Fighting for security is insane, illogical; how does anybody accept that “WAR BRINGS SECURITY”? This will put Israel in unlimited and unpredictable danger…This is insane..But what if it admits the fact that peace will bring justice and prosperity to the entire area? I’m wondering, does it really want PEACE? Does it tolerate this fact, to live in peace?
    The war against Gaza will end..sooner or later. But what’s next? What will people do and say when the extremism devastate the the world?
    Israel is doing nothing but feeding the fire of violence and “terrorism”. The whole international community is involved and responsible.
    Can Israel do whatever it wants? Absolutely YES…But can it rule and dominate the whole world?
    I guess not.

  102. 102 Chen
    January 8, 2009 at 14:55

    I am afraid that, after all the injustices and atrocities they suffered in the past (most in the hands of Christians, not Muslims), the Jewish people in Isreal have come to a sad, but understandable conclusion: the only guarantee for their survival is POWER. When both sides has the same belief in the magical force of the gun, the line between the victim and persecutor is very thin and the positions can be easily reversed.

  103. January 8, 2009 at 16:19

    Sarah Potter, if Isreal have killed over 700 civilians, where are the hamas? What number of these account for hamas dead? Or has hamas metamorphosed into civilian?

    Hamas asked for this and they should be out there fighting like men. I thought you should say that hamas should leave the back of ladies and go out and fight like men.
    Isreal is hero, taking this kind of hostility. Only God knows how many people would have died if not for the bomb shelter. Even your country will not tolerate what hamas is doing.

  104. January 8, 2009 at 16:22

    It is not a matter of who is lying about this and that, it is simply a matter of Hamas and its terrorism against Israeli citizens over and over again. Israel had no choice but to put a stop to it in any way they can. Israel left and removed some thousands of their own citizens from Gaza with the intention of the palestinians running their own affairs, instead Hamas took power and control and chosed to fire rockets into Israel, killing some Israeli civilians, so that Israel like any other country is determined to put a stop to it.

  105. 105 BOYD BWALYA
    January 8, 2009 at 18:00

    Whats disturbing me the most about athe GAZA crisis is the KISS KISS approach by the Arab governments.

    Sureley with all the OIL in their backyards all that the ARBABS need to do is stop oil production for a DAY or TWO and America will tell Israel to pull out of GAZA and put an end to all this nonsense.

    Just look at the way Putin is making Europe dance with Gas in his backyard.

    Kitwe – Zambia

  106. 106 allen
    January 8, 2009 at 18:54

    Facts or propaganda?
    I have seen a Palestinian Terrorist using a young child as a human shield while this coward hid behind a 9 or 10 year old boy with his AK-47 rifle and the child screaming in terror.
    I have seen “dead” or “wounded” terrorists who get up and walk off normally once the Camera Crew stopped filming.
    I have seen young, really young, Palestinian boys throwing Molotov Cocktails—primed by adults hiding under cover– while these children put their lives on the line.
    My family have been on the receiving end of so called “civilian” terrorists passing themselves off as civilians while carrying out acts of terror.
    I have been there!
    Fact: Israeli mothers don’t send their children into Arab/Palestinian Pizza parlours to blow themselves and other children up. The Palestinians do
    Fact: Israeli troops don’t fire rockets into Gaza from schools and hospitals or mosques. The Palestinians do.
    Fact: Israeli teachers and spiritual leaders don’t teach or preach hatred for their Arab neighbours in schools or synagogues. The Palestinian terrorists and their lackeys do.
    Fact: Neither Egypt or any of the other Arab nations assist the Palestinians by accepting refugees . Makes you think and wonder why?
    There are so many blatantly obvious facts, but of course if one is Anti-Semitic or Anti-Israel then any facts can be distorted despite the obvious!

  107. 107 DENNIS
    January 9, 2009 at 06:28

    As for Israel, what are their war aims ? Again, no-one’s sure exactly. Stop the rockets ? topple Hamas ?

    Here is my thesis>>>The Israeli authorities are doing for the war ending thoughts, when it ends,
    1)Topple Hamas
    2)Control the Airspace, water ways of the Palestinians
    3)stop the rockets
    4)Installed a corrective government that will come to the table for long term peace…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  108. 108 DENNIS
    January 9, 2009 at 06:30

    BOYD BWALYA January 8, 2009 at 18:00

    Whats disturbing me the most about athe GAZA crisis is the KISS KISS approach by the Arab governments.
    ========================================

    I have to agree with your remarks Boyd because in reality, the Palestinians do not have access to the international bodies i.e. United Nations because of there status!!!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  109. 109 DENNIS
    January 9, 2009 at 06:32

    M. Adebayo January 8, 2009 at 13:29

    re: Dr. Caplan

    What would you do if you were in that situation, Send roses to your occupier and humiliator?

    I would not be sending roses to anyone who has been committing violence against me and my country, but, I would be sending my army and military to stop the violence!!!!!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  110. January 9, 2009 at 09:51

    To everyone standing up and speaking in support of Israel,

    I simply ask you all to examine your own conscience for a brief moment and just picture the scenarios being played out daily on our TV screens and imagine that happening in front of your very own eyes and how helpless, forgotten and discarded you would feel. All the time knowing there was no respite or let up in the military’s willful behaviour, and that your very existence and that of your family and friends was in real peril.
    Comforting to know that it will probably never happen to you or your family, friends and all those around you within your lifetime isn’t it? But when it doesn’t happen on your front doorstep you tend to dismiss it and think that a country such as Israel is an innocent caught up in the turmoil of recent times. Go on with your blinkered points of view, ignorance and blind and deafen yourselves to 700 plus Palestinian deaths, which will just rapidly escalate if someone doesn’t step in right now and forces Israel to back down and cease hostilities with Hamas, who didn’t break the ceasefire in reality. But you go on believing the same media and Israeli storyline as to put your mind at rest with regard to Israel’s so called necessary actions and abhorrent bombardment of innocent Palestinian men, women and children. I hope your consciences are clear and you all sleep easy at night!

  111. 111 Jack Hughes
    January 9, 2009 at 10:33

    Sarah Potter in UK:

    Look at a decent map and see the border with EGYPT.

  112. 112 John in Germany
    January 9, 2009 at 15:50

    @ Mathew.

    Hamas has the Key………….They are provocative at the Israelis to a point where every person with a conscience would say stop!!. Believable is that they are just careless about what is happening-the more dead and dying, the more sympathy they will get. You see they can stop it now, without any loss of face. It is in thier hands right now. So Why don’t they?. Tell us.

    Digital photography allows everything these days, if the Israelis did tell people to go into a house just to bomb it, then that is a serious crime and should be punished, in my opinion it is propaganda.

  113. 113 Martin
    January 9, 2009 at 16:51

    Will Israel be prosecuted for war crimes when this present conflict is finished?

  114. 114 Martin
    January 9, 2009 at 16:57

    What else can be said apart from innocent Men, Women and Children are being killed daily. Deprived of food and vital medicines. Un aid workers being killed. Schools being bombed. Babies dying.

  115. 115 Kristina
    January 10, 2009 at 07:51

    The fight against TERRORISM – is a FACT, everything else is PROPAGANDA!

  116. 116 ~Dennis Junior~
    January 13, 2009 at 05:56

    On Air: facts or propaganda ?
    There are enough facts and propaganda on the each side…Israel and the Gaza [Palestinians]….They want the world to know, who is doing what and how much damage it is causing to the other side….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  117. January 14, 2009 at 13:18

    John in Germany,

    In all conscience can you sanction the deaths of nearly a thousand Palestinians including many children, with thousands more injured? A Palestinian doctor attending to the injured and wounded, house was bombed and he had to treat his own two injured children as a consequence. Direct criticism from the International Red Cross, other terrible incidents with the casualty rate rising all the time, if this equates to a proportionate response I feel truly sorry for you and others who can think that way.

    To those who think that close to 1000 Palestinian deaths as opposed to 13 Israelis killed (10 of them soldiers) can be sanctioned in any way at all, is quite frankly, unbelievable. There is no justification for the wilful behaviour of the Israeli Defence Force (there’s a misnomer if ever there was one) acting with utter impunity in Gaza and to even conceive that their actions will offer any type of solution to the situation. This will just exacerbate tensions in the region with the distinct potential to widen the conflict in the Middle East and beyond. If that happens then don’t be surprised at any level of retaliation within the State of Israel and from outside its borders. This military action has just poured oil on the fire and is a rallying call to many more angry and vengeful Palestinian youths to the cause. What a success story!

    And the fact that no international representative media, besides those already there, can neither comment, televise, photograph or report in any way what is really going on in Gaza, is enough in itself to display that the Israeli government don’t give a damn what the rest of the world thinks, and aren’t too keen for them to find out the reality on the ground for Palestinians in Gaza.

    If the US hadn’t ever so cleverly abstained when the UN and international community were calling for a ceasefire, then many more lives would’ve most likely been saved. This response by the US just gave the green light to further proceed with the action in Gaza, and just let them cast a blind eye over the whole situation. This allowed the Israelis to continue in their wanton behaviour being that there was no objection forthcoming from Bush et al. Indeed there never was and never ever going to be a call made from the current Whitehouse, to halt the action. Of all this you must be proud and glad.

  118. 118 Ibrahim
    January 14, 2009 at 13:49

    A few facts which almost everyone agrees on (please tell me if it is otherwise):

    1. Israel is occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank.
    2. Israel is blockading Gaza’s land, air and sea borders.
    3. Israel is building settlements and checkpoints on occupied Palestinian land.
    4. Israel is refusing to allow the Palestinian refugees to return home.


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