Sunday, April 04, 2010

4-Apr-10: Boys being boys

The next time we come across news media quoting statistics about tormented Gazan Palestinian Arab victims out of the mouth of Muawiya Hassanein (and it happens a lot), we plan to keep the following in mind 
The macabre count of Dr. Hassanein in Gaza [Online here]
GAZA CITY (AFP) — Doctor Muawiya Hassanein has no time for pleasantries these days. When a journalist calls, he barks out the latest number of the dead from Israel's war in Gaza and hangs up, getting back to his macabre count. The head of emergency services for the Gaza Strip, Hassanein is the sole person who keeps a running track of the ever-escalating death toll of Israel's deadliest offensive ever in the overcrowded enclave. "Every day, I get at least 200 phone calls from journalists and I give more than a dozen interviews," says the exhausted 55-year-old. "I never hold back on information..."
Four days ago, he was the source of this incendiary report that quickly grabbed front page prominence all over the world...
Gaza: Child killed by disputed fire [Online here]
Published Tuesday 30/03/2010 (updated) 01/04/2010 09:23
Gaza – Ma'an – A child was shot and killed east of the Yasser Arafat International Airport in Rafah on Tuesday, medics said. Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said Muhammad Zen Ismail Al-Farmawi, 15, was shot dead near the southeasterly border by Israeli forces...
No room for doubt about the man's certainty in this or any other story for which he is the source. A child murdered in cold blood, and at Easter no less. "Mohammad was apparently this year's "sacrificial paschal lamb" according to this especially scurrilous polemic. (The expression 'blood libel' is often overused. In this case, it's literally true, and as in the distant past, it's directed at the Jews. You can relax, Prof. Ira Chernus - no one over here is expecting you to retract or apologize. We more or less understand what drives you, and well appreciate that accuracy doesn't come into it.)

But in reality, the report was invented and false. The fifteen year-old is alive and well and back with his parents.
Gaza teen reported dead returns home alive [Online here]
April 4, 2010
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A Gaza teen that Palestinian officials reported was killed by Israeli troops returned home alive. Mohammed al-Farmawi, 15, had reportedly been killed Tuesday during clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops on the Gaza border during Land Day protests. Gaza health officials had reported Tuesday that the teen was struck and then left to bleed for several hours before his body was collected, according to reports.
He was not left to bleed for hours - or at all. Ambulances were not "unable to retrieve the body because of ongoing clashes in the area" because no body existed. He was unharmed, whole, basically just doing what fifteen year olds sometimes do, even in battlezones.

And Muawiya Hassanein, the source of this beat-up, was doing what so many lazy and/or agenda driven journalists needed him to do. And will continue to do.

Friday, April 02, 2010

2-Apr-10: Today's really big news

The world's largest broadcasting organisation, whose self-described mission is to enrich people's lives, devotes the front page of its website at this hour (Friday morning) to a so-classically-BBC slanted and partial, cold-blooded report of what it presents as yet another merciless, vengeful Israeli attack on the defenseless of Palestinian Gaza.

A pity the article does such a characteristically poor job of setting the context and proportions, 'forgetting' for instance to mention the death, by Hamas rocket just two weeks ago, of an innocent farm worker on the Israeli side of this highly dangerous frontier. (Reminder to BBC editors here.)

Also a shame that the BBC's reporters and editors persist in depicting the now-near-daily terror attacks emanating from the jihadist lair of Hamas-controlled Gaza in such mendaciously misleading ways. Today's report helpfully explains the background this way: "On Wednesday, they [unidentified "militants" in customary BBC double-speak] fired a rocket into an empty field in southern Israel, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, military sources said."

Nonsense. The terrorists of the jihadist regime in Gaza have never fired into empty fields. That their explosive-packed rockets sometimes land there rather than in Israeli schoolyards, agricultural greenhouses or among their own long-suffering Gazan brothers and sisters (a regular phenomenon almost uniformly unreported) is fortunate for us. Their intentions are always far more deadly and calculated than this, as the BBC's editors know but routinely conceal.

And as the BBC also knows, the capabilities of the Hamas terrorists go well beyond rockets. News reports yesterday disclosed that the Egyptians "discovered a large weapons cache in an underground storage area in the Sinai peninsula", right next to some "13 underground tunnels running between Sinai and the Gaza Strip". The Egyptians maintain a blockade against the terrorist Hamas regime in Gaza but the BBC routinely reports only that Israel, not Egypt, does this. See a sidebar in today's BBC report by its Jerusalem man, Jon Donnison here where he writes: "Gaza remains under an Israeli economic blockade..." There is zero likelihood that he is unaware of the Egyptian blockade. But it is unmentioned.

When you paint a conflict in completely bogus "suffering innocent victims" terms, as the BBC habitually does when reporting on events in and near Gaza, you need to let your readers understand why the innocents (that would be the Gazan Palestinian Arabs) suffer and who causes them to suffer (that would of course be the Israelis). The BBC's correspondent writes that "these [today's Israeli] strikes were on a relatively small scale". Nevertheless the strikes constitute the largest news story in the world, as of this hour.

This is evidently what it means (see the BBC's mission statement) to deliver "programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain". The world's news consumers deserve much better.

UPDATE Friday 2.30pm: Yet another Gazan Palestinian Arab explosive projectile was hurled over the border into Israeli space in the past couple of hours. Fortunately this one, too, landed in an open space but this was not the intention of the terrorists. The BBC, as of this writing, has no mention of this on its news site. Its visitors will not know that this afternoon's attack is the 35th terrorist rocket to have been fired in the general direction of Israeli towns and communities in the month of March alone.