With the dissolution of Israel’s governing coalition, the media has had a field day promoting all sorts of sensationalist ideas.
The primary target is new Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who Reuters describes as “known for harsh tactics” and “his readiness to use crushing military force” against Palestinians.
MSNBC.com makes it sound as if the appointment of Mofaz is a nail in the coffin of the peace process, and ruinous for American foreign policy:
“Mofaz, known for his hawkish views, had angered Palestinians with his tough policies and supported exiling Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Palestinians have expressed alarm that an Israeli government dominated by right-wing nationalists would be ideologically opposed to a state they seek and would use harsher methods to crush their uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
MSNBC states that Sharon’s actions have “broad repercussions for Mideast peace efforts and Washington’s goal of toppling Iraq’s leadership,” and that “In this way, a staunchly right-wing government might also disrupt U.S. efforts to tamp down Middle East violence as it seeks Arab support for a possible campaign to disarm Iraq.”
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In the meantime, BBC refuses to quit.
Last week, HonestReporting member Darryl L. complained that BBC wrote, in referring to Mofaz:
“He directed some of Israel’s most controversial military operations in the West Bank earlier this year, including Jenin — where Palestinians claim a massacre took place — and Ramallah.”
After complaints, BBC changed the sentence to read:
“He directed some of Israel’s most controversial military operations in the West Bank earlier this year, including Jenin — where a Palestinian refugee camp was all but demolished — and Ramallah.”
Oops. BBC replaced one myth with another. To suggest that the Jenin camp “was all but demolished” is inaccurate. Consider the facts:
The refugee camp at Jenin is 3,500 square meters, but fighting only took place in a 200-square-meter area (about 6% of the total area of the camp). The camp at Jenin had 1,100 houses, yet only 95 booby-trapped houses were demolished by the IDF (about 8% of the total number of homes).
These numbers coincide with those reported by Israeli government spokesmen. Go to http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0ll60 and scroll down to the Flash presentation.
Aerial photos of the camp (before and after the fighting) confirm the limited extent of the damage. See photos online at: http://honestreporting.com/graphics/jenin.map.jpg
Yet BBC glibly states that the Jenin camp “was all but demolished.”
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Other media reports joined in to resurrect the Jenin massacre claim, as in this headline from The Independent (UK):
“General Linked to Jenin Atrocities Named Defence Chief”
Coincidentally, Amnesty International issued a 76-page report this week on Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin and Nablus that accuses the IDF of war crimes. The Amnesty report states that “Palestinian armed groups [killed] 40 civilians between 1 March and 1 April.” But according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, 96 civilians (plus 35 soldiers) were killed in terror attacks in March.
In response to the Amnesty report, the IDF said:
“As part of its adherence to the rules of the conduct of war, the IDF goes to great lengths to avoid harming civilians, especially children. This concern is an integral part of soldier training, of the regulations governing when to open fire, of orders issued by commanders, of operational plans, and of the message conveyed by the highest-ranking officers.
“Regrettably, while some civilians have been injured during the fighting against the Palestinian terrorist groups, in no case were these injuries intentional. Those hurt were either individuals involved in Palestinian terrorist activity, or civilians who were unintentionally hurt when they entered a live-fire zone. The terrorist factions have transformed Palestinian civilian population centers into terrorist activity headquarters.”
Read the Amnesty International report at:
See the full IDF response at:
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The rest of Israel’s government was a media target as well. The Guardian makes a crazy comparison, trying to equate Israeli democracy to Palestinian thugacracy:
“Now, given the disarray in the Knesset, the Palestinians may reasonably ask, as the Israelis frequently do, who are they to negotiate with? Who may be considered their partners for peace?”
Is that so? The Baltimore Sun and others reported Sharon as saying that anyone who joins his government would have to conform to practices put in place by his former, more moderate Labor Party partners and agree to the eventual formation of a Palestinian state. “Policy lines will remain exactly the same: war on terror, renewing political negotiations, and reaching an agreement,” Sharon told Maariv. The sentiment was echoed in a message delivered to the White House.
===== HIZBULLAH-CANADA CONNECTION? =====
The National Post of Canada (http://www.nationalpost.com) reports that Canada continues to allow fundraising operations for Hizbullah, and that Hizbullah has laundered tens of thousands of dollars through Canadian banks while drawing on the accounts to shop for military equipment.
Hizbullah is not included in a list of terrorist groups that are banned under Canadian anti-terror legislation. Another Canadian law lists only the military wing of Hizbullah as a terrorist entity.
Yet is there really a distinction between Hizbullah’s military, social and political wings? The Post reports that a Hizbullah agent, Mohamed Hussein Al Husseini, told Canadian Security Intelligence Service investigators that the three branches of Hizbullah were all engaged in terror and all controlled by the same man. “Hizb
ullah is considered an apparatus — a military, organizational and popular apparatus,” Al Husseini, an alleged Hizbullah hijacker who lived off welfare in Montreal, said during interrogations following his capture in Canada in 1993.
“These three units constitute Hizbullah’s protection and carry out its policies. The orders for these three units come from Iran, but final approval is obtained from Hassan Nasrallah and Sayed Fadlallah,” Al Husseini said. “Hassan Nasrallah has personal contact with these three units.” He went on to say that all three branches of Hizbullah were “involved in security activities, that is, hostage taking and explosives… It’s a terrorist organization. This is terrorism.”
Jean Chretien, the Canadian Prime Minister, stirred controversy two weeks ago when he attended a summit in Beirut with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and then brushed off the incident.
===== PILGER AGAIN! =====
On Wednesday evening, South Africa’s E-TV will be broadcasting John Pilger’s anti-Israel documentary, “Palestine is Still the Issue.” See background info at: http://www.honestreporting.com/Critiques/2002/78_pilger.asp
===== CLARIFICATION =====
A recent newspaper commentary about American businesses advertising on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV station was authored by Avi J. Jorisch of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.