Live-Blogging Israel’s Media War 11/19/2012November 19, 2012 9:36 by Pesach Benson
I’m liveblogging the media war from the HonestReporting headquarters in Jerusalem. Come back to this page throughout the day for the latest developments.
This is Monday’s liveblog. For Tuesday’s click Liveblogging Israel’s Media War 11/20/2012.
For the duration of the Gaza conflict, turn to HonestReporting for everything you need to know.
8:12 pm: YNet describes how a brave mother in Ofakim dramatically gave new meaning to human shield during a rocket attack:
A couple and their baby girl were lightly wounded on Sunday afternoon by rocket shrapnel near Ofakim.
The couple immigrated to Israel from the United States and Britain out of Zionizm. “We arrived at the junction at the entrance to Ofakim,” the mother recalls, “we stopped our car on the side of the road, got out and bent down as told. I protected my daughter with my body.”
7:58 pm: Don’t miss Simon Plosker’s live appearance on BBC radio at 8:00.
6:23 pm: Daily Telegraph: Israel weathered 44 million hacking attempts over the weekend.
The scale of the attacks on Israeli institutions by hackers, including Anonymous, reached a peak on Sunday with no fewer than ten million attempts on the site of Israel’s President Shimon Peres, seven million on the foreign ministry and three million on the site of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
6:16 pm: The IDF ain’t backing down from striking the Islamic Jihad group in the media center.
5:53 pm: I’m reading Journalists face conflict when covering Israel-Gaza attacks
5:43 pm: Breaking news: Lebanon foils bid to launch rockets at Israel
Two katyusha rockets aimed at Israel and set to launch were discovered Monday in the southern region of Mazraat Halta, near the occupied Kfar Shuba Hills, a security source told The Daily Star.
The source said the rockets were defused by security forces.
5:44 pm: More info on Ramiz Harb, the Islamic Jihad leader killed at a Gaza media building used by the terror group, along with several other Western news bureaus:
The Israeli military said in a statement that Harb was “responsible for propaganda” for the brigades. It says three senior Islamic Jihad members were also in the building.
5:36 pm: HonestReporting editor Simon Plosker will appear on BBC World Service radio this evening at 8:00 pm, Jerusalem time. You’ll be able to listen online live. Don’t miss it!
5:24 pm: HonestReporting just published Top 5 Media Fails: The Media Hall of Shame
5:17 pm: Must read: Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno takes on the issue of “proportional response” and witheringly fisks the Centre of Research on Globalization. Gives new meaning to murder by numbers:
Those keeping score — and Lord knows there is a massive network of number-crunchers who’ve made a specialty of turning war kinetics into a game of sabermetrics — have been kept busy pushing around the beads on their abacuses, fitting metaphor for a conflict of ancient dimensions.
Indeed, one pedant from the Centre of Research on Globalization, palpably unsympathetic to Israel’s predicament, has deduced that it would take 4,477,714,286 rockets triggered from Gaza and 4,477,714 years “to kill all Jews in Israel,” assuming that Israel’s Jewish population does not increase. That’s because, as the author almost sadly notes, Hamas can boast only a 0.217 per cent “kill rate’’ of Israelis from Gaza since 2004. Israelis should apparently take comfort from Hamas’ errant aim.
It gets downright absurd to weigh the mutual impact of casualties as a yardstick for measuring the misery these two sides have inflicted on one another. Yet, for the moment at least, that’s precisely what administrations in world capitals are doing as they monitor Israel’s military response to rocket provocations from the restless Gaza Strip, ruled by a government that is formally designated a terrorist organization since seizing control of a cesspool territory Israel abandoned in 2005 . . .
Proportional force is a shade shy of an oxymoron. It also means this: Stalemate — as you were, everybody — till next time.
4:48 pm: Breaking news: The Israeli Air Force struck the Gaza media center for a second time. Islamic Jihad says one of its leaders was killed. AP identifies him as Ramez Harb.
4:12 pm: I’m reading The Israeli Assault on Gaza: How Surgical Are the Strikes?
4:03 pm: Anderson Cooper kept his cool when a Gaza explosion rocked his live report.The CNN correspondent was talking with Don Lemon at the time.
Fights have been breaking out between some groups when residents of an area become angry with militants wanting to fire from their neighbourhood.
3:39 pm: Ceasefire watch: Reports from Cairo, where negotiators are trying to work out a truce, say Israel has made six conditions for signing on. YNet lists them, but adds they haven’t been independently confirmed:
1. A lull for a period of more than 15 years.
2. An immediate cessation of arms smuggling and the transfer of weapons to
3. Cessation of rocket fire on the part of all armed Palestinian factions and an end to attacks on soldiers near the Gaza
4. Israel has the right to hunt down terrorists in the event of an attack or if it obtains information on an imminent
5. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will remain open, but the crossings on the Gaza-Israel border will remain
6. Egypt’s politicians, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, will be the guarantors of any ceasefire agreement. Meaning, the agreement will be backed by Egypt’s political echelon rather than by its security establishment.
On a related note, see Ehud Yaari’s take (at Foreign Policy) on what an Egyptian-brokered deal should look like.
“Just two days ago, a nineyear- old girl from Gaza who was hurt in her palm was brought to Sheba. Her father is an Arab journalists who writes from Gaza for an Israeli newspaper. She was accompanied by her mother. An Israeli boy who was wounded by a Gazan rocket that fell in Kiryat Malachi last week is in the same room with a Gazan girl whose fingers were amputated due to injury,” Marom said. “We regard our hospital as a bridge to peace.”
3:25 pm: There’s a graphic image of three dead children — ostensibly Palestinian — making the rounds on social media. The kids are actually Syrian and they were killed a month ago. Anav Silverman debunks Another Photo of Syrian Massacre Falsely Recycled as Gaza Tragedy.
3:17 pm: Peter Mullen has a bone to pick with the BBC:
But true colours will inevitably show themselves and, sure enough, over the weekend the Corporation began to screen its horrific and heart-breaking accounts (with pictures, of course) of the Gazan children slaughtered by the nasty Israelis.
What is never explained – because propaganda aims not to explain but to seduce – is the fact that Hamas stores its rockets and high explosives in schools and hospitals, and those leaders who are not so far up the pay scale that they are allotted their personal bunkers are obliged to live in their own houses with their families. And even the most meticulously targeted airstrike cannot distinguish between a terrorist and his three-year-old son when they are sitting in the same front room.
2:37 pm: An otherwise decent look at Iron Dome was marred by a sloppy error. The Guardian‘s Harriet Sherwood writes:
But only about a third of the 1,000-plus rockets fired from Gaza since the start of Operation Pillar of Defence have been intercepted.
The Iron Dome system calculates where incoming rockets are headed, and only fires if populated areas are in danger. A more gushing piece by Time explains the numbers Sherwood misunderstood:
As of Sunday, Hamas had fired close to 1,000 missiles and rockets into Israel. Iron Dome decided — by tracing their trajectory and likely impact points within seconds of launch — that about two-thirds didn’t pose a threat and let them fall harmlessly to Earth. It destroyed about 90% of the remaining 300 or so that threatened to land in populated areas, Israeli officials said.
approximately 500 foreign journalists have arrived at the GPO in order to receive the press credentials that allow them free access to the conflict zones. They join the approximately 1,400 journalists and crew members who are already in the region to cover Israel and the Middle East.
1:58 pm: Shimon Alankri was one of the soldiers injured in last week’s attack on an IDF patrol that precipitated Operation Pillar of Defense. Matthew Kalman of The Independent visited the British-Israeli army medic:
Recovering in hospital yesterday, Mr Alankri relived the moments when he feared he might become the next Gilad Shalit, the French-Israeli soldier kidnapped in a similar attack. “There was a loud boom and lots of smoke,” Mr Alankri told The Independent, speaking slowly and quietly, choosing his words with effort. “We didn’t believe it had happened. We were shocked we had been hit. Then we immediately returned fire. When we realised what was going on we thought, what can we do? We’ve got to fight back.”
1:28 pm: I’m reading Jonathan Schanzer, who says Hamas miscalculated Egyptian support for war:
The rulers of Egypt are presiding over a dysfunctional country of 80 million. They are entirely dependent on western aid to avoid the real prospect of hunger. Just prior to the current crisis in Gaza, Egypt had secured a commitment from the European Union for aid totaling $6.4 billion. A $4.5 billion loan is on the way from the IMF. The U.S. is committed to supplying $2 billion a year to Egypt.
But this money, of course, also buys influence. It means that the Egyptian Muslim Brothers cannot simply follow their ideological inclinations.
The result is that, as of now, the Egyptian authorities, along with Qatar and Turkey, are seeking to induce Hamas to agree to a renewed ceasefire. The Gaza leaders are rejecting Egypt’s proposals.
1:08 pm: Two interesting thoughts from Amir Taheri (Times of London, paywall):
1. “The Hamas leadership, for instance, could benefit from a conflict with Israel as a way of warding off Arab Spring-style tensions in Gaza. Hamas would also be happy to wreck the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic show of seeking symbolic statehood in the West Bank;”
2. “Hamas has not allowed anyone to leave the refugee camps and settle in the enclave as a normal citizen. Some “refugees”, who are, in fact, prisoners of Hamas’s strategy, have been in those camps for generations. Today, Gaza is an open sore, a concentration camp with 1.5 million captives.”
1:01 pm: Spain’s ex-Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, slams Hamas in a Times of London op-ed (paywall, regrettably):
The military activities we now see are just the logical counter-reaction against an unbearable situation. The ferocity reported by some is not coming from the Israeli forces, which make great efforts to avoid civilian casualties. This is precisely the opposite of the Palestinian rockets, whose only targets are civilians — men, women and children. . .
Make no mistake, Hamas is a terrorist organisation whose goal is to put an end to the existence of the state of Israel and to impose a fanatical regime based upon religion. Hamas, by its nature, is the enemy of what we, democratic, open and tolerant people, are and believe in.
We want to see peace in the region, but we have to make a clear distinction between those who want to prevail through terror and those who defend themselves from terrorist attacks. We make a call that we should stand by Israel in such difficult moments.
(Image via Flickr/Pontificia Universidad CatAlica de Chile)
12:43 pm: Hamas and Jerusalem have to be aware that a sustained war will have a draining effect on the Israeli economy. According to Haaretz:
The business information company BDI estimates that Pillar of Defense is costing the economy about NIS 1.1 billion a week . . .
Most of the costs come from the use of ammunition and fuel to conduct the actual war. While it gets the most attention, the damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure is likely to be a more modest NIS 25 million, BDI says.
Meanwhile, the south of the country can expect to lose NIS 200 million of output during a week of fighting, while the rest of country will lose about NIS 120 million a week.
12:27 pm: The Christian Science Monitor asks if the Tel Aviv bubble has burst.
12:10 pm: The Dalu family deaths are tragic, but no Hamas culpability for embedding itself among civilians? Come on, LA Times.
11:57 am: I’m reading Brigades That Fire on Israel Show a Deadly New Discipline at the NY Times.
11:48 am: I don’t expect any less of The Guardian any more. Its print edition gave terror a platform. Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook weighs in on the war. Skimming through the reader comments, a good number of people are ripping the piece.
an op-ed soapbox to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.
11:14 am: Everyone knows Qassams are just crude, home-made projectiles, right?
11:08 am: AP visits Sderot and Beersheva:
“We’re not heroes. It’s scary but we must carry on,” 60-year-old Richard Atwan said Sunday, sipping a cup of coffee in the nearly vacant Negev Mall. “We’re prepared to suffer now, so that it will be better in the future.”
Moments earlier, a siren had sent him and a dozen others scampering to a bomb shelter for cover. Crowded inside, they gasped as a pair of explosions was heard.
10:46 am: Iron Dome’s overall success has to give Sheikh Nasrallah conniptions.
Missiles are their preferred “judgment day” weapon and are the main tool, from Iran to Lebanon, with which they hope to maintain a balance of terror against Israel.
10:37 am: Haaretz: A technical malfunction caused Kiryat Malachi’s Iron Dome battery to be shut down for a half-hour on Thursday. The rocket that killed Mira Scharf, Aharon Smadja, and Itzik Amsalem struck during the down time.
10: 26 am: Worth reading: Legal analysis: Targeting Hamas police, media sites.
10:04 am: So, Ashleigh Banfield, what’s your take on Jerusalem?
Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel. It is not the capital, at this point. But it is the disputed center of the universe, so to speak, when it come to Israel.
(Via Israel Matzav)
9:58 am: Your daily dose of moral equivalence, courtesy Times of London cartoonist Gary Barker:
9:48 pm: Michael Orend does a good job handling questions from Mara Schiavocampo of NBC News about Palestinian rocket fire and Israel’s red lines:
Since the year 2009, our last operation, we’ve had something in the vicinity of 8,000 rockets fall on the state of Israel. That’s more than twice all of the German rockets that fell on London during World War II. You saw how the British and Americans reacted to that.
9:46 am: Israel sent 70 truckloads of aid: medical supplies, cooking fuel, and food to Gaza.
9:30 am: Started off the day blogging a conversation I had with my daughter about the war.
(Image via Facebook/Israel Defense Forces)