Monday, August 4, 2014

Innocent Civilians Will Continue to Die Until #Hamas Brutality and Propaganda Are Exposed

From Melanie Phillips, at the Times of London, "You’re not getting the real truth about Gaza":

Ed Miliband has berated David Cameron for not condemning Israel’s attacks in Gaza. No 10 says it is shocked that Mr Miliband is making political capital out of the war. Meanwhile Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, says the suffering in Gaza is intolerable and has called for an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire.

The exchanges illustrate the widespread incomprehension of the nature of this conflict and the uniquely dreadful dilemma it poses.

The civilian suffering, particularly the dead and injured children, is indeed appalling and tragic. No one of any conscience could fail to be horrified. With these sickening images regularly broadcast on TV, and with interviewers all but accusing Israeli spokesmen of being cruel and reckless child-killers, it is no surprise that much of the public is being inflamed against Israel.

People don’t realise, however, how their emotions are being manipulated. They are not being shown how Hamas is using its own people as human shields and sacrifices, to enable it to continue firing rockets at Israeli civilians and to increase its own civilian casualties in order to turn western opinion against Israel.

It has built no shelters, forcing civilians to use UN schools, for instance, instead. It has ordered Gazans to ignore Israeli warnings to flee their houses and stay put under bombardment.

Declassified Israeli aerial pictures show rocket launchers situated in mosques, schools and playgrounds. Hamas rockets have been found stashed in three UN-run schools. A senior UN official, John Ging, has said Hamas “are firing their rockets into Israel from the vicinity of UN facilities and residential areas”.

Shifa hospital also acts as a Hamas command centre. Reporters know this, as they often conduct interviews there with Hamas spokesmen. Yet this detail is generally denied to the public. Nor are the public informed about rocket fire from that hospital. A Finnish journalist was a lone exception when she recently reported that a rocket was launched from the hospital’s parking lot.

Such war crimes aren’t usually publicised because reporters work under an implicit threat. One Spanish journalist admitted: “We did see Hamas people launching rockets close to our hotel, but if ever we dared point our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.”

Instead, news reports parrot the Hamas line. So the “overwhelming majority” of the casualties are reported to be civilian. In fact, an analysis by Al Jazeera shows that most of those killed have been young men of fighting age, not women, children or old people. Rules published by Hamas order anyone talking to the media to describe all Gaza casualties as “innocent civilians” and ensure “there is no evidence of rockets being fired from Gaza population centres”.

There is also virtually no reporting of Gazan casualties caused by Hamas’s own rockets falling short. Last Monday, there were explosions in a kindergarten and Shifa’s outpatient clinic. The media immediately blamed Israeli airstrikes. Yet both Israel and official Palestinian media blamed misfired Hamas rockets — a fact endorsed by a reporter who said he could only do so once he left Gaza and escaped Hamas intimidation.

The Israelis take more care than any other army to avoid harming civilians, warning them by leaflet, phone, text or warning shots to flee. Their rules of engagement restrict them from attacking where they know civilians are present, although when gunfire comes from a hospital or school the IDF are entitled to return fire. They have also aborted dozens of attacks when civilians are present. Yet it is the Israelis who are vilified as child-killers.

Ed Miliband says he condemns what Hamas is doing. How else, though, is Hamas to be stopped? Israel has stuck to every ceasefire. Hamas has broken every one of them, although it denies doing so...
Screw Ed Miliband. He's a chip off the old block, his communist father Ralph Miliband.