Friday, November 10, 2006

TRAGIC DEATHS: WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is back in the news today in the wake of the tragic deaths of 18 Palestinians in the Gazan town of Beit Hanoun as a result of an apparent misfire of Israeli shells.

There has been widespread international condemnation of Israel as a result of the shelling while the Palestinian leadership has vowed to renew suicide bombings against the Israelis. For their part, the Israelis expressed regret about the tragedy and offered aid for the wounded.

The incident was covered all of the daily newspapers available in Melbourne. The Australian Newspaper and Melbourne's Herald Sun covered the story and provided at least a little context to the Israeli shelling by reference to the IDF's operation to deter the firing of rockets from the area into southern Israeli communities.

Predictably however, the Melbourne Age chose to provide a report from Nidal al-Mughrabi of Reuters which simply fails to provide any of that context for its readers who must be left wondering why on earth those nasty Israelis were operating in the area [RETALIATION URGED OVER GAZA SHELLS] ?

Thankfully, there are some journalists who have the desire to paint a more complete picture in order to provide the necessary context to such a tragic story as that of the deaths in Gaza - journalists like Anne Barnard and Sa'id Ghazali of the Boston Globe. Their report told us what Zakaria al-Kafarna, an uncle of one of the victims, said:-

"... he blamed the bombing in part on militants who fired rockets nearby. Anyone can come to the area and fire a rocket, he said. 'What about us? We are sleeping.'"

Why are there "militants" firing rockets across the border at Israeli towns and from inside such heavily populated areas as Beit Hanoun?

A little over a year ago, Israel departed from Gaza and ended its occupation of land inhabited by 1.4m Palestinians.

Surely, the withdrawal from Gaza would have provided the Palestinians, governed then by Fatah and now by Hamas, with a perfect opportunity to show the world that they can develop a peaceful civil society in at least this part of the world.

No.

All we heard was the thunder of Quassam rockets, the noise of the destruction of greenhouses, the digging of more tunnels with which to import weapons of war into the hands of terrorists and the din of the critics who complained that Israel was still in "occupation" because it controlled the borders, the airspace, the ports etc. There were even those among the Palestinians who were desperately searching for a Gaza equivalent of the Sheba Farms to hang their "no end to occupation" hats upon.

And during that time, Beit Hanoun has been a hub of terror activity - a place where some of those smuggled weapons have been discovered by the IDF and a place where Quassams are being fired at Israeli towns on a daily basis.

The Palestinian government has done nothing to prevent the smuggling of the weapons or the firing of the Quassams.

And the Melbourne Age has done little to report on this activity or the looming tragedy for the people on both sides of the green line between Israel and Palestine as a result of the weapons build up and the continuing indiscriminate firing of rockets at civilian targets.

FOOTNOTE: Among the ignored items in much of the media was the report from earlier this week about the Palestinian woman suicide bomber who blew herself up in Gaza. There have been several other unsuccessful and unreported suicide bombing attempts in recent months which have remained on the Blank Pages. These attempts come with the full support of the official Palestinian Authority media. You can read about these in Arnold Roth's excellent blog This Ongoing War.

5 comments:

Portofino said...

"...the Palestinian leadership has vowed to renew suicide bombings against the Israelis..."

Wilbur,

I found an interesting article through the website you mentioned. The continuing incitement to violence on PA TV, this week's suicide bombing in Gaza and the following item makes liars out of the Palestinian leaders who speak of renewing suicide bombing or that Hamas are the bad guys and Fatah the good guys:-

Israel's security fence has dropped from the news lately. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy's recent declaration somewhat explains the loss of interest. "I have significantly evolved on the matter of the separation fence. Although the wall was a moral and ethical problem for me, when I realised terror attacks were reduced by 80 percent in the areas where the wall was erected, I understood I didn't have the right to think that way," said Douste-Blazy.

How does it work? By making it harder to cross from the Palestinian Authority areas into Israel, smuggling is reduced, with traffic channelled through monitored border crossing points.

Before the fence was erected, Israeli security managed to prevent around 30% of attempted terrorist attacks. Today, the number is closer to 95%.

A case study is young 20 year old Israeli Arab Warud Qasem. Qasem worked in our local Ra'anana supermarket as a cashier. Her cousin was an illegal Palestinian worker in Ra'anana's Spaghettim restaurant. Three months ago, she joined Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. [You will recall that Al-Aksa is an official organ of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, and that many of its active terrorists received salaries and benefits from internationally funded Palestinian Authority budgets.]

Qasem was able to use her citizenship and familiarity with Israel to help weapons smuggling and to pinpoint terror targets. She recruited her cousin in a plan to plant a bomb in the Spaghettim Restaurant. But asked to smuggle the 7 kilogram bomb into Israel in her car (which has Israeli license plates) she demurred because the border police were likely to catch her. The bomb was driven around the West Bank, searching for a way around the fence into Israel, when Qasem was arrested with it in her possession. She is now facing charges - our town's citizens having been saved from attack by the security fence and the ever alert Israeli security services.

Of course, the intrepid Kofi Annan has never been one to let facts, public opinion or the potential saving of the lives of innocent civilians stand in the way of demonizing Israel. In his fading days as UN Secretary General, the ever-intrepid crusader for the rights of Palestinians to murder Jews has found yet another way to divert even more UN resources to the Palestinian international propaganda campaign. He is initiating an office to collect data and testimonies on damages caused by the separation fence to Palestinians in the West Bank. This "Register of Damage" is to be set up in Vienna, and is intended to serve possible future international adjudication. The office would simply collect and register claims, without any an evaluation or assessment of the loss or damage claimed. "The office of the Register of Damage would not be a compensation commission nor a claims-resolution facility, nor would it be a judicial or quasi-judicial body," said Annan, adding that "Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall's construction."

It would be naive to ask what data collection Annan is undertaking to create a "Register of Damage" caused by Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians. It would be laughable to expect the UN to prepare a mechanism for potential compensation from the international funders and institutions (including the UN) who underwrote that terror for years.

Needless to say, if the Palestinians stopped the violent and criminal attacks against Israeli civilians, there would be no data to collect. There would be no damage to record. There would be no fence. Instead, there would be a basis for the peace that every Israeli yearns for. If only Anan would use UN influence and resources to resolve the Middle East dispute, instead of perpetuating it.

Anonymous said...

The Palestinians want Israel condemned in the UN for this tragedy. Meanwhile, insurgents kill 66 people in Baghdad and the world yawns. Hundreds are butchered by Arab militias in Darfur and the world yawns. The Sri Lankan army bombs civilains and the world yawns.

The Palestinians would be better off doing something to stop the attacks from their territory and the IDF wouldn't come after them.

Anonymous said...

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/11/08/srilanka.violence/

Evan said...

Slightly off-topic, but:

Sonja Karkar replies to reports of IDF "attacks on women" in Gaza - and of course, she makes no mention that these same women were acting as human shields for Hamas terrorists:

http://www.nucleardisarmament.org/NuclearDisarmament/news.cfm?article_id=2567&view=search_details&details=full

Anonymous said...

Another thing about those women.

I thought Gaza was supposed to be in the middle of a humanitarian crisis in which the population was being starved as a result of international sanctions.

And yet, when I saw these female human shields marching towards the mosque I couldn't held but notice that not one of them looked undernoursished to me. In fact they looked as if they'd been in what we call a "good paddock".

Or does Hamas feed its supporters and starve the rest?