Gaza Conflict Day Day 15: Soldier Missing in Gaza, Presumed Dead

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The IDF confirmed that one of its soldiers in Gaza, is missing and presumed dead. The 21 year-old Sgt Oron Shaul is from the northern Israel town of Poriyah. The IDF released the names of other fallen soldiers.

Oron Shaul

Sgt. Oron Shaul, missing in action, presumed dead

 

2. 20,000 Israelis attend lone US-born soldier’s funeral.

3. Dr. Irwin Mansdorf takes a closer look at the unseen psychological scars Israeli civilians in Sderot are suffering as a result of Hamas rocket attacks:

One woman who lived across from an area where several rockets have fallen spoke of the disruption to life caused by repeated trips to shelters during missile attacks. In a description that we heard from many other Sderot residents, she told of not being able to take a shower, sleep through the night or listen to music for fear of not hearing a siren and being unable to seek shelter. Children’s reactions were particularly acute and noted by almost all the parents interviewed. One parent spoke of her children suffering from bedwetting and being scared to use the toilet, for fear of missing a warning siren. Others reported having behavioral problems and difficulties in school and learning, attributing this to a state of constant nervousness, lack of sleep and strong reactions to sudden loud noises. For many, the lack of sleep, the heightened anxiety and the disturbed physiological reactions have caused significant occupational impairment.

4. The Return of the Radical Propagandist Doctor: Radical anti-Israel Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert reappears in the media.

5. Another Charge of “Disproportionate” Force: It’s about time the media started to consider their use of terminology in the conflict instead of lazily abusing the language of international law and human rights.

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Operation Protective Edge

• For details on today’s developments, see live-blogs at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel, and i24 News. Among the more notable developments:

• Israel foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons from Jordan across the Dead Sea. Times of Israel coverage.

• The army says it has “uncovered 66 entrances to some 23 tunnels, and bombed the lengths of six of them,” reports Haaretz.

• The organizer of a pro-Palestinian rally in Calgary “plans to apologize publicly to pro-Israeli demonstrators who were beaten up during the event.” Vox rounds up the ugly anti-Semitism of international demonstrations against Israel. Australian demonstrations for and against Israel were more peaceful. Meanwhile, France, Germany and Italy condemned the anti-Semitic demonstrations. More on that at AP.

• Hmmmm. India refuses to censure Israel.

 

Blankfeld Award

 

Media Angles

• The Washington Post apologized for sending a Britain Eakin, a pro-Hamas intern, to cover a D.C. anti-war protest. Editors at the Boston Globe, Time, and The Guardian can commiserate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post covered a protest outside the State Department on July 20 against U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel’s actions in Gaza. One reporter sent to cover the protest, Britain Eakin, is an intern who has written opinion pieces elsewhere that sharply criticize Israel in the conflict. The Post should not have sent her to cover the protest and, had it known of her writings, would not have done so.

• Do you get the feeling Al Jazeera’s having a tough day?

  1. Avigdor Lieberman wants to ban Al-Jazeera from Israel
  2. Al-Jazeera: Lieberman inciting against us
  3. Gunshots fired at Al Jazeera bureau in Gaza
  4. IDF denies any direct attack on Al Jazeera or other Gaza press offices

Cal Thomas nails the prevailing groupthink in a quite commentaries I’ve seen over the last few days:

Major newspaper editorials condemned Hamas, but their condemnation was hedged by calls for “restraint” on “both sides” and “proportionality” in Israel’s response to the attacks. There is little or no mention of Hamas’ directive to ignore Israel’s warning to leave homes in areas where the rockets have been placed among civilians. The Hamas strategy is to parade the bodies of the dead before TV cameras to demonstrate Israel’s “cruelty” and uncaring attitude toward innocent lives.

 

Still, there was room for the predictable screeds against Israel.

• I’ll probably catch some reader flak for this, but here’s Jon Stewart‘s take on the Israel-Gaza crisis. I give you permission to laugh.

 

Michael Oren on Hamas’ media strategy relying on dead Palestinian civilians:

Above all, Hamas knows that shocking images—some of them taken from the carnage in Syria and Iraq and even from Hollywood horror movies—inflame public opinion. Under mounting pressure, governments will endorse UN condemnations of Israel for war crimes. Hamas missiles cannot destroy Israel, but international sanctions can tie its hands from deflecting them.

 

Unwittingly or not, the international media is complicit in Hamas’s plan. While some may think they help the Palestinians by highlighting their plight, in reality, the journalists only worsen it. They effectively absolve Hamas of culpability for using Gaza’s population as a human shield, of stealing its aid money to buy munitions and dig fortified tunnels with the sole purpose of killing Israelis, and of contributing nothing to Gaza’s welfare.

Pierre Rehov also comments on why Hamas succeeds at this:

If a rocket succeeds in going through Israel’s anti-missile defense and causing damage to Israel, Hamas is “showing its strength,” by hitting the Jewish state. If a retaliation by Israel sadly results in the death of Arab civilians, Hamas is “showing how inhuman Israel is,” and therefore how much Israel deserves the world’s opprobrium. For Hamas and similar terror groups, therefore, the “show” is always a win-win.

 

Why is the dirty eye of the camera always playing for the same actors? Let us forget antisemitism, which obviously plays a role in this current equation. Many media outlets even belong to Jews, but they use the same images, often from the same point of view.

 

The reality is that terrorists, activists, Palestinian fighters or whatever you want to call them, long ago learned the weakness of democracies. In societies where the distribution of power is the key to freedom, freedom of speech is a solid counter-power, capable of revealing corruption, denouncing a policy, and reshaping a system. The media are the real leaders of the free world.

• Here’s a headline I never thought I’d see:

 Egyptian media applauds Israel’s Gaza offensive

• Technology run amok at the Chicago Tribune? The combination of this headline and automated ad-word advertisement is truly bizarre.

Chicago Tribune

 

When journalists call Israelis ‘scum’

• Channel 4′s Paul Mason comments on “why Israel’s losing the media war.”

• Israeli government officials continued their media offensive. Weighing in are Ambassador to the Vatican, Zion Evrony, MK Hilik Bar in The Guardian, and Ambassador Ron Dermer, who addressed a Christians United for Israel event and appeared on CNN. Last but not least, Tzipi Livni discussed the situation with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Commentary/Analysis

• Did UNRWA commit a war crime by handing rockets over to Hamas?

• Dr. Qanta Ahmed:

its time Muslims examined the Other Occupation: the inexorable advance of political Islamism over Islam . . .

 

Operation Protective Edge merely underlines this Other Occupation.

 

Heavy criticism has been leveled at Israel’s emphatic assault on Gazans and the Gaza Strip because of the escalating casualties. Less well acknowledged is that Israel is combating not just an organization devoted to securing its territory in a conflict over land, but a totalitarian ideology that definitively leaves no room for either Israel, Israelis or moderate Muslims to exist.

• Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune aimed his poison pen at Hamas and its crocodile tears for Palestinian civilians.

Steve Breen

 

• Worth reading: Keren Blankfeld comments on life under fire:

As an American citizen in town for only a few weeks, I’m witnessing just a sliver of what it’s like for Israelis trying their best to live a “normal” life in a kind of twilight zone where different rules apply. An endless supply of optimism that peace and safety are around the corner seems essential to keep society functioning.

• Thane Rosenbaum (Wall St. Journal via Google News):

On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than innocent civilians. And you have wittingly made yourself targets.

 

It also calls your parenting skills into serious question. In the U.S. if a parent is found to have locked his or her child in a parked car on a summer day with the windows closed, a social worker takes the children away from the demonstrably unfit parent. In Gaza, parents who place their children in the direct line of fire are rewarded with an interview on MSNBC where they can call Israel a genocidal murderer.

Demilitarize Gaza, says Michael Oren.

• Rabbi Menachem Creditor, a self-described progressive, Zionist faith leader in Berkeley, California says, “I”m done apologizing for Israel.”

• Aaron David Miller: Why Israel and Hamas Need Each Other

• For more commentary/analysis, see Spengler (Why Israel needs to finish the job now), Avi Issacharoff (How will Gazans ultimately judge Hamas “victory?”), Richard Cohen (Israel fights for its existence), Ben Wedeman (Hamas no longer amateur fighters), Jonathan Kay (Hamas blew it), David Ignatius (How to break Hamas’ stranglehold on Gaza),

• Terrific  staff-eds weighed in at the Daily Telegraph, San Diego Union-Tribune, and New York Post. But hold your nose over staff-eds in The Independent and Irish Times.

• For a sense of what the critics are saying, see New York Magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Irish Examiner, Johannesburg StarRichard Seymour, plus cartoonists Dave Granlund, Steve Bell, (if you get it), Malcolm Evans, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Rob Rogers — who provides your daily dose of moral ambiguity:

Human Shields

 

Image: CC BY flickr/Markus Spiske

 

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

 


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