Wednesday 16 July 2014

Identifying with Gaza

Everyone at the BBC should read it and ask themselves some important questions. In particular "why are WE doing this?" 
They very well know that their influence over millions of listeners is akin to WMD in the wrong hands.

“Why are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary.” begins O’Neil. 

He goes on to cite examples of Western and European militarism which the people accept with little more than a shrug and a sigh. Libya, Pakistan.... 
“Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth.”
 “they want the invaders and destroyers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere to rap Israel’s knuckles for bombing Gaza.
"It’s like asking a great white shark to tell off a seal for eating a fish.” 
It’s powerful writing. O'Neill highlights recent examples that illustrate the double standards evident in and perpetuated by the social and mainstream media.
The Israeli who earned a virtual standing ovation for declaring she wanted to burn her Israeli passport. 

The so-called Sderot Cinema incident, which was Tweeted and retweeted even though it seems what they were cheering, and who wouldn’t, was not Israel’s strikes on Gaza but the interception of incoming missiles bound for them and their loved-ones with love and kisses from Hamas. 

 He mentions the gazaunderattack hashtag, recently featured in a BBC mini exposé, which revealed that many of the emotive pictures posted therein were, let’s say symbolic rather than actual. We noted it here on this blog
I urge everyone to read Brendan O'Neill's article, particularly anyone who has influence on/at the BBC.

 BBC radio 4 announces the latest news about how many people have been killed in Gaza overnight. “Ten people including a five-month-old baby” we’re told. It’s becoming clear that the BBC wants us all to identify with Gaza in a unique way.

It’s not just that the BBC is reluctant to state that “we” (the UK) are amongst those that consider Hamas a terrorist organisation - the BBC will say “Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organisation” it’s also that the BBC's many correspondents in Gaza constantly force feed us with warm, human-heavy anecdotes featuring individual Palestinians; names, dates and quirky descriptions included. That is perfectly fine until it plainly airbrushes out all the Islamism, antisemitism and corruption that has led to the appalling situation they, (and really the rest of the world) are experiencing. Here is another small but significant example of the BBC’s attempt to make us identify with the Palestinians of Gaza. It’s a handy, pocket-sized “educational” guide to Life in the Gaza Strip. It is entitled “Life in the Gaza Strip”
It’s grim. The people are depicted as noble, long-suffering and hard-done-by.  (Hard-done -  by Israel of course)  An open prison, shortages and restrictions, poverty and deprivation caused by its deadly enemy and Satanic neighbour. Under the heading FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, a picture of a crowd of agonised looking, headscarfed women, apparently clamouring to get out.

The two crossings, Rafah and Erez have become harder to pass through because of restrictions imposed by Israel...... and Egypt. 
“The smuggling tunnels had meanwhile proliferated after the tightening of the blockade of Gaza. They were used to import construction materials, livestock, fuel, food, cash and weapons.” says the BBC.

“Weapons, cash and luxury goods; Israel sends in truckloads of essentials every single day” say many others.

They’re poor, 40% unemployed and the 50,000 civil servants don’t always get paid, the BBC says.

But the BBC is not so explicit where the poverty gap is concerned.  Here’s what they don’t say: 
Someone who has benefitted financially is the former Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. [...] according to reports in the past few years, Haniyeh's new-found senior status has allowed him to become a millionaire. This is an unusual feat, given that he was born to a refugee family in the al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.
 In 2010, Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusuf reported that Haniyeh paid for $4 million for a 2,500msq parcel of land area in Rimal, a tony(sic) beachfront neighborhood of Gaza City. To avoid embarrassment, the land was registered in the name of the husband of Haniyeh's daughter. Since then, there have been reports that Haniyeh has purchased several homes in the Gaza Strip, registered in the names of his children - no hardship, as he has 13 of them.
 At least with regards to his eldest son, it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree, given his arrest on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with millions of dollars in cash in possession, which he intended to take into Gaza.

Gap between the rich and poor? I should jolly well think so.

The BBC has a cute picture of some small schoolgirls dressed in lovely blue and white striped dresses with white frilly collars. They’re sitting at desks and raring to learn.  But alas. The shortages caused by you know who are going to deprive them of their lovely UN education. 

Is that an honest picture? Not quite. (delete the annoying ad. It's the NYT)

Hamas creates its own textbooks.
What Gaza teenagers are reading in their 50-page hardcover texts this fall includes references to the Jewish Torah and Talmud as “fabricated,” and a description of Zionism as a racist movement whose goals include driving Arabs out of all of the area between the Nile in Africa and the Euphrates in Iraq, Syria and Turkey.“Palestine,” in turn, is defined as a state for Muslims stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. A list of Palestinian cities includes Haifa, Beersheba and Acre — all within Israel’s 1948 borders. And the books rebut Jewish historical claims to the territory by saying, “The Jews and the Zionist movement are not related to Israel, because the sons of Israel are a nation which had been annihilated.”For contemporary history, there is a recounting of Hamas’s battle with Israel last fall that exaggerates: The books say that rockets from Gaza sent “three million Zionists underground for eight days” (somewhat fewer Israelis were in and out of shelters sporadically), that Tel Aviv was hit (one missile landed in the sea, and another fell well short) and that an attempted strike on Israel’s Parliament building “forced the Zionists to beg for cease-fire.”

"Gaza's population is expected to grow to 2.13 million by the end of the decade" says the BBC. Heaven help us. Mind you, the density is 4,505 people per km2, compared to .....Monaco 36,356, Singapore 7,751 and that ghastly overcrowded hell-hole London 5,100. And that’s according to the BBC.

The old lady in the picture in the BBC’s article looks as though she's on dialysis, and the caption says: 
“Electricity and fuel shortages have disrupted the functioning of medical facilities.”

It’s those devils again, causing more hardship, but this time the devils are the Egyptians, says the BBC.

The main reason for the worsening shortages of essential drugs and medical supplies in the Gaza Strip is that the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of health in the West Bank has not delivered enough drugs and medical supplies to Gaza, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), international aid organizations and Gaza health ministry officials.
WHO did not attribute the shortages to Israel’s more than three-year blockade of the Strip. “Israeli authorities are not blocking the entry of drugs and disposables to Gaza. They recognize these are priority items for humanitarian needs,” said WHO head in Jerusalem Tony Laurance.
Gaza’s health ministry is run by the Hamas-led government, but its funds and supplies are provided by the PA, led by rival Palestinian faction Fatah in the West Bank. Lack of communication between the two ministries due to internal conflict is worsening an already crumbling healthcare system in Gaza.
Thirty-eight percent of essential drugs such as antibiotic syrups for children and cancer treatment drugs were out of stock in Gaza (defined as less than one month’s supply at central level) in early 2011, WHO reports. These shortages affect all health ministry facilities, which provide 40 percent of primary health care and 80 percent of hospital care services in Gaza.
“The PA [West Bank] health ministry is responsible for supplying Gaza with the drugs and disposables for health ministry hospitals and health clinics in Gaza. The deliveries they made in 2010 to Gaza were significantly lower than in 2009,” Laurance told IRIN.

Next on the agenda is
They can’t afford it says the BBC. They can’t farm and they can’t fish. Restrictions are due to rocket fire from Gaza, they concede. However, missing from the BBC:
Despite the ongoing rocket fire by Gaza terrorists, Israel has not halted the entry of trucks into Gaza – and on Thursday, some 200 trucks carrying food and “basic supplies” entered Gaza. The government said that the trucks were allowed to pass through for “humanitarian purposes,” and were inspected and found not to be carrying any items or equipment that could be used to attack Israel.
The trucks are said to be carrying a greater than normal supply of food,officials said. According to sources, the IDF and Defense Ministry officials urged the government's Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Yoav Mordechai, to allow an increased amount of supplies into Gaza, so that residents would have enough to eat in case the IDF begins a ground assault against Hamas.The trucks enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is often targeted by Gaza terrorists for missile attacks. The workers at the crossing are all Israeli, and have been given special safety instructions by the Home Front Command, officials said. It should be noted that one of the terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF several days ago was located right next to the Crossing.

The BBC’s illustration depicts children with candles as the media has done many times before (even when you can plainly see light peeping through the closed curtains.)  The text is about power cuts and fuel shortages. Whose fault do we think this might be? Well, we might be a bit wrong.

Energy crisis in Gaza Strip deepensGaza is suffering a major energy crisis. Locals are subjected to power cuts lasting as many as 12 hours a day.Israel has recently approached senior officials in the Palestinian Authority offering to sell the PA enough diesel oil to keep the power plant operating, but the Palestinians are refusing. The Gaza Strip is entirely dependent on the oil-fired power station. Egypt has recently closed smuggling tunnels through which fuel was smuggled into the Strip. Until 2010, the Palestinian Authority purchased diesel oil from Israel through a deal with Dor Alon paid for by the European Union. Ramallah and Gaza began fighting on energy supply after Europe stopped its funding of the deal.
 Palestinian sources are pointing to three explanations for the cessation of fuel supply: Recent attacks by Bedouin tribes and terror cells against Egyptian elements; Egypt's desire to increase profits on fuel; and an attempt by Cairo to signal to Hamas to accept Mahmoud Abbas as head of the provisional Palestinian government. They explained that Cairo knew what points in Gaza to pressure when dissatisfied with Hamas' conduct.
Electricity was stymied for 70,000 Gazans earlier this week, as a result of Hamas terrorists misfiring its rockets on a power plant. The Israeli Electric Company did not send in technicians to repair the damage out of fear for their lives while under fire. Israel provides 100 megawatts of electricity to Gaza on a regular basis, much of which is purchased by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which owes Israel 1.4 billion shekels (nearly half a billion dollars) for unpaid electric bills.

The BBC says: "The shutdown of Gaza's power plant in November 2013 due to a fuel shortage and the inability of waste water treatment plant operators to keep their generators running ......" .Israel's fault?
Israel has continued to send humanitarian aid into Gaza throughout the operation, and continues to provide the bulk of Gaza's water, electricity, gas, and communications infrastructure - despite the fact that Hamas has fired over 8,500 rockets on Israeli civilians since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
In Israel, some 70 percent of sewage is treated and re-used in agriculture. Israel has also built several large desalination plants and has averted a potential water crisis. Palestinians, however, in both the West Bank and Gaza, face a growing water crisis.,7340,L-4482619,00.html “In Gaza, the first desalination plant built by the World Bank was completed in October of last year,” Bromberg said. “But the tragedy is that it has no electricity to run it. So tens of millions of cubic meters of sewage are seeping into the Mediterranean each year. This is a perfect example of why water and the environment can’t wait.”
Water issues between Israel and the Palestinians were supposed to be worked out in a joint water committee, staffed by experts. But that committee has not met in two years, and there is growing need for water in Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
However, the water news is not all bad. During the years of negotiations with the Palestinians in the 1990s Israel built a pipeline to supply water to Gaza but did not connect it. After Hamastook over Gaza in 2007, theFatah-controlled Palestinian Authority did not want to pay for Gaza’s water, due to Fatah’s rivalry with Hamas.
Since the start of Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy last July, Israel and the Palestinians have reached an agreement to connect the pipeline and provide the Gaza Strip with 10 million cubic meters of water annually. However, that is only a fraction of the 50-60 million cubic meters that Gaza uses each year.

I’ve trawled through miles of Google to find these articles. You have to sift through several pages of the same anti-Israel material, very like the BBC’s only a little more explicitly antisemitic, to find the other side of the story.  
Don’t criticise me for cherry picking. One has to, when the  mob is mistaken.

The BBC should give the uninitiated the information they deserve and let them decide for themselves who to identify with. They might conclude, as many of us already have, that the Palestinians are the architects of their own misfortune. To be fair to the paying public the BBC should explain that if the Palestinians ever decide to accept Israel and learn to appreciate the opportunities it has to offer the whole region, their lives could be transformed.
Oh, and please read Brendan O'Neill's article


  1. In fairness to the BBC, that looks like a case of Hamas supporters using the BBC brand for propaganda purposes, without the BBC's knowledge.

  2. Thanks Sue for this invaluable information all in one place so it can be easily used in small amounts for complaints to the BBC. I do hope your readers will take advantage of all your hard work in finding it and use it .There is a great need to inspire people to complain and this will help . Even if it is a short email and then a follow up not to allow the BBC to fob them off with unsatisfactory answers .They will have to employ more people to answer complaints! .

  3. Thanks from me too to both Sue and Craig. I put in a complaint about a long pro Palestinian piece on my local news and asked when they would be doing a similar piece from the Israeli point of view. I got a long response listing all the ways they give Israel's point of view nationally, which of course wasn't what I asked.


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