Monday, March 12, 2012

12-Mar-12: Manipulating public opinion is as important to the terrorist strategy as firing rockets and here's why and how

Gaza: Terrorist operating his rocket launcher
from behind Palestinian Arab human shield [Image Source].
Why is this constant truth not expressed in the reports that
reach mainstream media news-consumers? Is it irrelevant to
the casualty figures?
More than a million Israelis are now four days into a recurring nightmare: air raid sirens at intervals of some hours, and sometimes of minutes. Indiscriminate, ongoing firing of lethal-payload missiles into their cities, farms, villages, buses, schools and homes round the clock. And it's being done by semi-organized groups of thugs whose sole reason for existing is to do exactly this.

This, as we have written before, is an asymmetric war. Meaning, our side chooses to fight by the rules that govern relations between countries, while theirs conducts war by the rules that you find in effect throughout the Arab world.

Are we being prejudiced in saying something that everyone with eyes can see? The death toll from the Arab version of warfare - the one where you direct anti-missile batteries and tank fire at your own citizens, Syrian-style or as the Yemeni regime does - speaks for itself and is pretty instructive. Yesterday alone, the Syrian government, the one with a seat at the United Nations and at UNESCO, murdered some fifty Syrian women and Syrian children according to the Christian Science Monitor, while CNN says 45 Syrians were killed by Syrian government forces in one city alone, Homs.
"Women and children were stabbed and burned to death late Sunday in the Syrian city of Homs, opposition activists said, after peace talks between a U.N. special envoy and the Syrian regime failed to yield a cease-fire... Children were stabbed to death in front of their mothers, and women and minor girls were sexually assaulted before being shot."
Over here throughout southern Israel, hundreds of communities are in effect under siege. This is not because the Israeli side lacks the firepower to blast the enemy forces who are firing deadly rockets 24/7 with intent to kill. It's because the IDF, on the instructions of the government and people of Israel, operates with the restraint that is a natural part of being a civilized society. The price we pay is terribly high.

Yet, for the most part, reports in the news media today continue to paint matters in the traditional neighbourhood-bully (that's us) versus homeless-wailing-widows-and-barefoot-children (that's the Gazans), conveniently forgetting many things including these two central points:
  1. The Gazan forces, no matter what we think of their ethics, are equipped to an almost incomprehensible degree with missiles. These are stored in residential homes, in hospitals, in mosques, in places which - if the IDF chose to attack them directly (and the IDF does not lack the field intelligence to do this - would cause utter devastation to Palestinian Arab society in Gaza.
  2. Consistently, over the years, anyone watching the news reporting that emanates from Arab sources in  general and the Palestinian Arabs in  particular, will have noticed how important a role is played by the manipulation of Western public opinion. This especially true of the way pathetic and defenseless victims are trotted out when needed and used to galvanize the natural desire of people in civilized countries to stand up for the weak and victimized. The trouble is, this frequently is done by distorting, exaggerating and inventing facts.
Here's an especially infuriating example brought to light thanks to the alertness of Elder of Ziyon.

Elder points to a report published by the Maan newsagency, a source of a great deal of Palestinian Arab spin since its inception in 2002 in Bethlehem. Maan is purveying the story of Nayif Shaaban Qarmout, a schoolboy of 15 who was killed today in Beit Lahiya, north Gaza by "an Israeli airstrike" according to Ma'an's correspondent. How many readers of the world's mainstream media will think twice about the truthfulness of this report? It plays so well into the fat-and-skinny narrative so beloved of editors and analysts. But it's evidently untrue and meaningfully so.

A syndicated APF news item (Agence France Press - never accused of being partial to the Israel side in such matters) published some hours ago adopts the customary he-said/she-said approach to the claims and counterclaims of the boy's death. But then buried near the end of the report, there's this rather unambiguous observation:
According to an AFP correspondent at the scene, there were no signs of any impact on the ground which could have been caused by a missile, with the most likely cause of his death being some kind of explosive device he was carrying.
So it appears that Israel's war machine not only takes self-limiting, extreme painstaking care to avoid unwanted civilian casualties among the ranks of our enemies; but it turns out that the "Zionist entity" (as anti-semites throughout the Arab and Iranian world prefer to call Israel) happens to be confronted with an enemy that consistently, historically, deliberately exploits its own children in the terrorist war it visits upon its neighbours (us).

This is another in a depressingly long list of reasons why the men with the rocket launchers are rightly called terrorists.

And also why Israel's civil authorities are forced to make decisions like the one, just announced, to move all child and women patients at Ashkelon’s Barzali Hospital into bomb shelters, while sending home as many other patients as possible as the terrorist  bombardment  from Gaza continues and moves northward to where Israel's largest cities are.

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