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Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

Eyeless in Gaza

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About Maurice Ostroff
There are none so blind as those who will not see
 
June 14, 2006
By Maurice Ostroff
 
The time has come to strip off the blindfold and see things as they are. No matter who was responsible, the deaths of the seven Palestinian civilians on a Gaza beach was a sad human tragedy, but the international frenzy aimed at pinning the blame on Israel is wrongly focused and counterproductive.
 
John Milton's "Samson Agonistes", based on the story of the gouging out of Samson's eyes in Gaza gave us the oft-quoted phrase "Eyeless in Gaza", later popularized in Aldous Huxley's 1936 novel of that name. No phrase could be more appropriately applied today to the selective blindness of journalists and politicians who refuse to see the facts on the ground in Gaza. They seem "eyeless" to the fact that the Palestinians deliberately aim at civilians in crowded areas and openly rejoice when they make a hit.

For example, at an intersection in Sderot, a town suffering multiple daily rocket attacks, a community center is located adjacent to elementary schools and preschools.  At this normally busy intersection, two craters  bear testimony to tragedies narrowly averted through sheer luck or divine intervention.  One missile landed  just 15 minutes after the intersection had been filled with children.

By contrast Israel  aims its missiles at specific hostile targets, taking  pains to minimize collateral damage and holds critical internal enquiries whenever uninvolved persons are hurt unintentionally.
 
In making their hasty judgments, these opinion makers ignore the context in which events occur and fail to take account of "intent", "malice aforethought" and "degrees of guilt". It is not necessary to be a lawyer, to consider these concepts. Ordinary citizens who serve on juries are frequently required to consider them.

Deliberate attempts to kill, even if unsuccessful, are without doubt heinous offences, deserving severest condemnation. However, as a result of the "eyeless syndrome", Gazans deliberately targeting lethal missiles at schools, private houses and synagogues hardly provoke even a mild reprimand.

On the other hand, one encounters knee-jerk reactions from the UN Secretary General as well as some politicians, journalists, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, denouncing Israel at every opportunity, irrespective of facts.

One must ask what message UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan conveys when he calls on Israel to ensure that its actions not put civilians at grave risk, but refrains from balancing his call with a similar message to Palestinians who have been putting hundreds of civilians at risk daily, deliberately targeting more than 1,000 rockets at civilian population centers in Israel during the past ten months. I venture to suggest that this unbalanced message is seen by Palestinians as a green light from the highest office in the UN, to continue these attempts to massacre civilians.
 
Sadly, this unbalance has been consistent for years. At the infamous Durban Conference in September 2001, while strongly criticizing Israel, the UN secretary said nothing to discourage the blatant anti-Israel incitement and remained silent about the almost daily Palestinian terror acts occurring at the time. This lack of criticism was understandably interpreted by terror organizations as encouragement. Indeed, five bombings soon followed in Jerusalem accompanied by a sharp rise in international terror.
 
Again, during a press conference, on August 19, 2003 when asked about a gruesome bus bombing in Jerusalem, killing 18 uninvolved persons and maiming over 110 others, including babies and young children, the severest criticism Mr. Anan could offer was that "it was unnecessary and unpardonable".
 
The picture of the tear-stained face of the young girl that was flashed around the world was a PR masterpiece, arousing as it did, deserving sympathy in all of us. But thinking critically, it should not be seen in isolation, but as representative of all the grief-stricken children innocently caught in violent conflicts wherever they are occurring

Again, thinking critically, it is evident that all the media hype examining the Gaza beach tragedy in isolation is an exercise in futility. If the objective is to contribute towards an end to this type of tragedy, the subject  can be intelligently studied only in the context of the wider conflict.

 

 

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