Gaza: don’t believe the media hype

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Image credit AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS

Unless you’ve been living a hermit-like existence for the past week I’m sure you must be aware of the current war going on between Israel and the Gaza strip.

I say war, although that implies a sense of equality. “Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanised armour…no army…and calls it a war. It is not a war. It is murder.” The words of world-renowned activist Noam Chomsky.

But that’s not how it’s portrayed in the mainstream media. Malcolm X once said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”  And this couldn’t be truer of the Israeli conflict.

BBC News headlines read: “Three Israelis killed by Gaza rocket attack”, but fails to mention the Palestinians that have been killed since the commencement of the rocket and air strikes. And I assure you its more than three. Many more. Just one Israeli rocket in the past week killed 14 Palestinians. And on Saturday the Israelis launched 300 air strikes into the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The death count is always rising. But in the newspapers Israelis are described as being “killed” whereas Palestinians have simply “died”.

Another BBC News headline “Escalating violence takes its toll on Israelis” and speaks of the fact that normal life in Israel has been put on hold. It doesn’t mention that the current state of fear the Israelis are in is a permanent reality for the Palestinians. Netanyahu said “No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire”, so why does he expect Palestinians to tolerate this?

A Sky News report interviews an Israeli citizen who says about the Palestinians: “They are terrorists, they’re not humans.” But you’d be hard-pressed to find an interview of the family of 10-month-old Hanen Tafish who died on Thursday or an interview with the remaining members of the al-Dallu family, 7 of whom have died, including 4 children.

It’s honestly absurd that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch tweeted “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?” The facts show the complete opposite.

The media supports Israeli claims they are only mounting their attacks in “defence”. However, Noam Chomsky stated: “You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defence. Call it what you like, it’s not defence.” It’s also not defence when you’re using tanks against children throwing stones. And it’s definitely not defence to tie a 13-year-old Palestinian child to an armoured jeep as a human shield so his friends won’t throw stones.

Since Wednesday when the air strikes began 91 Palestinians have been killed (at the time of writing, the number is always rising) and hundreds injured to the extent that hospitals cannot house them. The loss of life is not an acceptable collateral in any conflict, especially not when it’s innocent children, Israeli or Palestinian. But that doesn’t detract from the facts – Palestinians are being slaughtered.

So I think it’s important to be aware that it’s not an equal war going on in the Gaza strip. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers. They’ll have you hating the Palestinians, the ones who have been subjected to constant bombings and fear of death, demolition of their homes, and forced to live in a large prison called “the Gaza Strip”.

Oxford Palestine Society (PalSoc) has set up a protest on Tuesday 20th November at 5pm. A large demonstration organised by Stop the War Coalition will also be taking place in London on Saturday 24th November at 12pm, meeting at Downing Street in the hopes that something can be done about the crisis.

The Israeli state has broken 65 UN resolutions and suffered no consequences. 75,000 Israeli reservists have been mobilised as the country is currently priming itself for another invasion of Gaza. Four years ago, when they invaded, they committed a number of crimes such as using chemical weapons and human shields. Why would anything be different this time?