What media don't mention about the Gaza conflict
This new year 2009 has started pretty fast. And very hard as well. The news of another conflict in the Middle East is definitely not the kind of news that anybody would expect to start a new year. But, if you ask me, it was just about time until this conflict ignited.
I have heard from different newspapers and other information sources the outrage that the Israeli invasion on Gaza has brought. Thousands of people around the world have demonstrated their disapproval of the operation performed by the Israeli Army (IDF), and most of the media I've seen have clearly put Israel in negative light for its actions. Is this a fair judgment?
The bias that the media has against Israel is nothing new. Throughout the years, sources of information have depicted Israel as a repressive State that systematically abuses the rights and freedoms of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Even though it is not a secret that the current military operation in the Gaza Strip is the result of more than 10 years of daily missiles launched from Gaza into Israel, some people have tagged the current operation as a butchery and a genocide orchestrated against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli Army. Is this an accurate judgment? Here are a few facts that should be considered when making up our minds:
- Israel is a sovereign, democratic, non-repressive State (Fact: The Israeli population is comprised of Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other minorities. Despite the Jewish majority among Israeli nationals, there are Israeli Christian and Muslim minorities that enjoy full Israeli citizenship, which includes the possession of Israeli identity cards, enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and right to vote).
- The current operation in Gaza is NOT aimed against Palestinian civilians, as some media have (willingly or unwillingly) reported (Facts: 800,000+ leaflets disseminated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to Gaza civilians instructing them to stay away from terrorist and weapons storage sites // 70+ times the IDF warned populated areas before conducting airstrikes).
- The Operation Cast Lead (as the military operation in Gaza has been dubbed) is the result of the ongoing missile attacks made by Hamas against Israeli civilian targets (Facts: 10,000+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since 2001 // 6,500+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 // 3,200+ rockets and mortars fired from Gaza in 2008 alone // 28 deaths caused by rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel since 2001. The dead include Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers).
- Most of the Palestinian casualties during the Operation Cast Lead so far are a result of Hamas using the civilian population as human shields to protect themselves and their weapons across Gaza (Facts: 3 mosques in Gaza used as weapons, ammunitions and explosives depots that were struck by the Israel Defense Forces during the operation in Gaza. The strikes occurred only at night and never during prayer times, to avoid civilian casualties // 0 -that is, zero- wounded Palestinians allowed by Hamas to cross from Gaza into Egypt for treatment, whereas at least 20 Palestinians, including 2 children, have been evacuated to Israel for medical treatment).
- Hamas has constantly refused to negotiate peace with Israel, ignoring the willingness of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to reach agreements through negotiations. Instead, Hamas believes in the jihad (holy Muslim war) to reach its goals (Facts: In 2005, Israel evacuated 100% proportion of the Gaza Strip and handed it over to the Palestinians // Hamas' charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and the instauration of an Islamic State in the territory that comprises Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. // Hamas' charter also explicitly considers peace talks and negotiations a waste of time, and considers Jihad as the only path to success).
Whereas the death of Palestinian civilians must be condemned by all means, it is also true that those casualties cannot be blamed on Israel alone. Hamas has a track record of utilizing civilians to protect their own terrorist interests, and at the end of the day, Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas as their leadership in early 2006, being clearly aware of Hamas' ideology and modus operandi. Hamas is a terrorist organization, and the world should fight terrorism so we can have the hope of handing a peaceful world to the generations to come...
With information from The Israel Project and Hamas Charter
Photo by AP