Tuesday, May 22, 2007

War in the Middle East

It's on across the whole region.

Israeli forces are fighting Hamas - the Palestinian Islamist terrorists in Gaza - who are backed by Iran.

Lebanese forces are fighting Fatah al-Islam - the Palestinian Islamist terrorists in Lebanon - who are backed by Syria and Iran.

US and Iraqi forces are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq - the Islamist terrorists in Iraq - who are backed by Iran.

See a common thread in that?

Clues: Terrorist. Islamist. Iran.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Are Your Assumptions About Israel and the Middle East Valid?

There have been many truces between the Palestinian nationalist terrorists (aka Fatah) and the Palestinian Islamist terrorists (aka Hamas).

And still the fighting and deaths continue.

There have been many announcements about the imminent return of the Israeli kidnapped soldiers.

And still Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev continue to languish somewhere in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or Iran.

There have been many conciliatory overtures and soothing words in English by Israel's neighbouring enemies hinting to rose-coloured-glass-wearing Western audiences that Israeli concessions will be rewarded.

And still the hate propaganda in Arabic in print, on radio, the Internet and TV continues.

There have been many concessions by Israel to its neighbouring enemies including withdrawals from the Sinai, Lebanon, Gaza, parts of Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) and prisoner releases.

And still the suicide terrorism, rocket attacks against Israeli communities and other forms 'resistance against the Zionist occupation' continue.

There have been many years since Israel successfully absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees ejected from hostile Arab countries, while hundreds of thousands of Arab Palestinians left mostly of their own accord to make way for the invading Arab armies into Israel.

And still the Palestinian refugee problem with its fictitious 'right of return' claims continue to remain 'open wounds'.

There have been many plans, proposals, initiatives, accords, road maps and diplomatic solutions imposed on Israel by many outsiders including Europeans, Americans, Quartets, Arab Leagues and the UNs to achieve a just and lasting peace.

And still the rejectionism within most of Israel's neighbours continues.

There have been many wars, battles, acts of terrorism, divestment campaigns, UN resolutions aimed at weakening and eradicating the State of Israel as a Jewish state.

And still the population growth, economic growth and living standard increases within Israel continue.

There have been many minorities persecuted in Arab countries including Jews, Christians, Assyrians, Copts, Muslims - Shiite or Sunni, Kurds and Azeris.

And still the minorities in Israel continue to enjoy religious, cultural, economic and political freedom unsurpassed by any western country.

There have been many articles like this one written over many years to highlight the facts about Israel in particular and the region in general.

And still anti-Semitic anti-Zionism within the Arab, Islamic and the secular Western world continues to rise.

Does Accurate and Complete Coverage Matter?

Israellycool continues his excellent real-time updates of the conflict between the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, the civilians in Sderot on the receiving end of Qassam rockets and the IDF attempting to shut down these terrorist attacks.

See the post Blogging the Conflict: May 19th-20th, 2007 as well as all the previous posts.

Courtesy of Israel Matzav, (via Israellycool), this video highlights Sderot and what its residents have had to cope with for the last seven years.

Jerusalem Post covers the latest conflict news here, while Ynet's roundup is here. Haaretz article here discusses the response by the government and others to help those in Sderot and neighbouring areas under fire.

One thing worth noting is that the residents of Sderot have been terrorised by Qassam rockets for seven years now.

In that time, truces have come and gone.

Israeli withdrawal from Gaza has come and gone.

Fatah and Hamas control of Gaza has come and gone.

Elections for Palestinian parliament have come and gone.

Western aid for the Palestinians in Gaza has come and gone.

Arafat has come and gone.

Diplomatic 'solutions' like the Road Map have come and gone.

There has only been one constant in all this.

Terrorism in the form of Qassam rockets targeted at civilians.

None of the preceding actions have made any impact.

With that in mind, it is time to check back at how ABC's Middle East Conflict section of their new website is covering the conflict.

The latest headlines and summary lines are:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Israeli tanks advance into Gaza Strip
About 15 Israeli tanks entered northern Gaza on Thursday, a Palestinian security source says.

Israeli gunships hit Hamas again
Israel has launched a new air strike on Hamas militants in Gaza as the Islamic group's fighters again clashed with Palestinian rivals on the streets.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nine dead in Middle East fighting, air strikes
At least nine people have been killed during another day of violence in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza civilians 'killed, wounded' in Israeli air strikes
Israel has launched more air strikes against what it says are Hamas targets in Gaza, killing at least one person, as top officials consider a strategy for stopping rockets being fired at Israeli towns.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Israel continues air raids despite new Gaza truce
Rival Palestinian factions have clinched a new cease-fire deal to end a week of violence that has left more than 50 dead but Israel is continuing to pound targets across Gaza.

Latest Gaza truce holds
A cease-fire between rival Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip appears to be holding.
Some observations:

1. How extensive is the news coverage about the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and their towns?

Clue: it rates a brief mention at the end of one summary line.

2. One can almost see the anguished look and hear the despairing tone in the ABC journalist's voice as he/she says the word 'again' in the headline 'Israel gunships hit Hamas again'.

3. Can you deduce from the headline and summary lines who committed the acts of internecine violence?

Contrast the passive voice used to describe the Hamas-Fatah conflict with the active voice when the Israeli Defense Force gets involved.

4. The award for the most inaccurate, distorted and unbalanced item goes to the first posting on Sunday.

Firstly, the headline 'Israel continues air raids despite new Gaza truce' falsely links the 'air raids' (more accurately described as targeted defensive operations against terrorists threatening Israeli civilians) to the concept of a truce.

Israel's defensive operations are directly related to the incoming Qassam rocket attacks. If there was no truce and no incoming Qassam rocket attacks, then Israel would not respond. If there was a truce and incoming Qassam rocket attacks, then Israel would respond to try prevent these attacks.

A pretty straightforward concept which passed straight over the ABC editor's head.

Secondly, there is no attribution to the 50 dead, nor an indication of whether these are civilians or terrorists. The latter of course would be described as 'militants' in ABC-speak.

Thirdly, use of the word 'but' strikes a somewhat accusatory tone. In ABC-Land, it all makes sense: 'The Gazans have reached a truce, so why the continuing pounding by Israel? Tut, tut. Naughty violent Zionists. Again.'

Until one considers that the truce and the Israeli response are not directly related.

Fourthly, the words that describe Israel's air strikes as part of their defensive operations are 'targeted', 'pinpoint' and 'accurate'. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) are renowned for taking out a single moving vehicle, thereby minimising collateral damage to bystanders where possible. This consideration is in fact built into the rules of engagement strictly adhered to by the IDF.

The ABC prefers to use the words 'pound targets' to describe the Israeli response, which could mean (a) repeated strikes - which is somewhat inaccurate because each target has been different - or (b) could mistakenly conjure up images of battering Gaza.

Poor choice of words. Intentional or not?

Given the emotive quality to the word 'pound', it is reasonable to assume intent.

5. The ABC have resumed their optimistism and fixation on the truce. This can only lead to severe mood swings. Again.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Short and Curlies Again

Not to be outdone by Haaretz and their balls-up highlighted in a previous posting, Jerusalem Post decides to get into the action too:

The quote in question reads:

Olmert has removed his incompetence from the pubic agenda.
That sounds surgical not political.


Bizarre Headline

The BBC's coverage of the conflict involving Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and Israel has resulted in this lexical gymnastic:

What's with the word 'fresh'?

And is 'air' being employed as an adjective or noun in this particular sentence?

It reminds me of Israellycool's arsenal of Zionist Death products.

Perhaps this is the introduction of the Zionist Death Air FreshenerTM?

Does Europe Prefer Military Force?

There is an interesting opinion piece called Europe's Choice in the Jerusalem Post.

It concerns the response to Iran's nuclear program as it surpasses the final technological hurdles.

Strikingly, ElBaradei has declared that Iran has already passed the technological "point of no return" concerning enrichment. What Iran is really racing for, however, is a strategic "point of no return" - when the world concludes that a nuclear Iran is no longer preventable, but must be accommodated.

This point has not yet been reached, but is fast approaching. There is only a short time left to drastically tighten international sanctions, in a last-ditch effort to avoid having to choose between military action and a nuclear Iran.

The last paragraph highlights a scenario that repeats itself throughout modern history: kicking the can down the road will only make it worse later.

The US is enacting tougher and tighter laws concerning divestment from Iran.

So what is Europe doing?

A US Congressional report found that firms such as France's Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy's ENI and Inpex of Japan have invested more than $100b. in Iran's energy sector since 1999. Such investments must stop.

European foreign policy chief Javier Solana said recently, "Iran is steadily moving toward nuclear weapons capability, and the negotiations are not working... But this doesn't mean war.... You have to resist the urge to strike out militarily, which could even be worse than Iran gaining nuclear weaponry.

The choice is Europe's:
Actually, it is in Europe's hands whether Iran's challenge means war or not. Europe must choose between its commercial interests and its desire to avoid war. If the US and Israel are left with no option but military action, European shortsightedness will be to blame. Europe needs no further UN resolutions to act; it needs to decide to divest itself from Iran.
As the moment of truth approaches, there is an increased transparency about Europe's choices:
  • Naivety: Assume that Iran won't use their nuclear weaponry for blackmail or a Second Holocaust. Re-badged as Iranian Roulette.
  • Appeasement: Stall. Delay. Pretend diplomacy still has a chance. Learn to live with a nuclear Iran. Israel gets fed to the crocodile first.
  • Ruthlessness: Business with Iran is more important than Israel. "Sorry, Zionists, but we have to protect our economies and keep people employed."
  • Confrontation: Divest from Iran, stand with Israel and the US, take some heat but force Iran to back down on its nuclear program.
The first three choices will increase the chances of large-scale military action from the US or Israel or both, because they do not address Iran's nuclear program.

The last choice is the only one that actually attempts to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and thereby reduces the need for a pre-emptive strike.

If the pacifist non-confrontational instinct of Europe prevails, it will likely result in confrontation and conflict.

It's deja vu all over again.

Expect Europe to subsequently turn around and condemn the actions of the US and Israel in their actions to eliminate an existential threat to Israel.

Perhaps Europe does prefer military force - albeit not by its own military - if it consciously chooses naivety, appeasement or ruthlessness.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Second Holocaust Countdown: 889 days

Continuing on the thread from last time, The Religion of Peace brings us a picture from Iran:

It appears as though there would be some domestic support in Iran for launching a nuke at the Zionists.

Meanwhile, former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton picked up on this blog's allusion to the 1930s:

"If the choice is them continuing [towards a nuclear bomb] or the use of force, I think you're at a Hitler marching into the Rhineland point. If you don't stop it then, the future is in his hands, not in your hands, just as the future decisions on their nuclear programme would be in Iran's hands, not ours."
In case you thought that providence in the form of technical glitches would help prevent a nuclear holocaust, think again:
Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency have concluded that Iran appears to have solved most of its technological problems and is now beginning to enrich uranium on a far larger scale than before, according to the agency’s top officials.
Which means the IAEA will have to increase the words per minute for discussions.

A glimmer of hope that something will be done:
The United States yesterday called for tough international action against Iran after reports that international inspectors have concluded Tehran has made major technical strides in recent days toward processing nuclear fuel -- material that can power a reactor or an atomic bomb.
And this for protecting those divesting from Iran:
U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday introduced new legislation that would protect fund managers and state pension programs from shareholder lawsuits if they divest stakes in energy companies that do business with Iran.
And this from US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice:
U.S. President George W. Bush will keep a military option on the table as he seeks a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Iran over its nuclear plans, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

"The American president will not abandon the military option and I believe that we do not want him to do so," Rice said in an interview with Al Arabiya television, part of which was broadcast on Tuesday.
Plenty of upbeat talk.

Talk that can be heard over the top of the ticking clock that says '889 days'.

Incoming Qassam Rocket Video

Imagine living in suburbia where you get this three times a day. Or night.

Now imagine that this happens thirty times a day.

Welcome to Sderot.

And the Palestinian's gift to Israel for the withdrawal from Gaza.

UPDATE: The video has been removed from YouTube by the user. It can be seen here instead.

Do Headlines and Context Matter?

In the past few months, there has been a steady stream of Qassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.

The Palestinians who fire these rockets are targetting civilians in the towns of Sderot and Ashkelon.

As mentioned in a previous post, Elder of Ziyon is keeping tabs on how many of these rockets have been fired at the Israel populace:

February: 80+ rockets
March: 50+ rockets
April: 80+ rockets
Recently, the steady stream of rockets has become a deluge. From 32 in the first two weeks of May to more than 70 in three nights from May 15 through 17.

Israellycool did an excellent job of providing a comprehensive update on the attacks in recent days - see the posts for May 15, May 16 and May 17.

The purpose of these rockets is to target Israeli civilians - men, women and children - inside Israel close to the border with Gaza.

Rockets kill and injure at random.

They terrorise and traumatise Israelis even when they miss.

Every day and night for the last four months, rockets have reigned down on these communities. Is this news?

Now it has ramped up to a full-scale bombardment. Is this news?

The Palestinian terrorists have 'succeeded' in injuring scores of Israelis, some seriously. The most recent attack hit a synagogue. Is this news?

Before continuing, have a think about what the reaction would be if an Israeli missile hit a mosque while deliberately aiming at Palestinian civilians. Would that be news? Would it be covered the same way?

Now look at ABC's Middle East Conflict section.

Their list of recent headlines is:
Monday, May 14, 2007.
Four dead, 15 abducted in Gaza factional violence
Palestinian officials say four Palestinians have been killed in Gaza overnight and Hamas say 15 supporters have been abducted in the deadliest outbreak of factional fighting in the coastal strip in months.

Rival Palestinian factions agree to cease-fire: report
Egyptian mediators have reportedly brokered a cease-fire in a new flare-up of violence between Fatah and Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip.

Two Palestinians killed despite truce
Two Palestinian gunmen have been killed in Gaza in fighting between the rival Hamas and Fatah groups, despite an Egyptian-mediated truce.

Palestinian Minister quits amid killings
Palestinian Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmi has resigned, rocking the two-month-old unity Government amid the biggest surge in factional fighting in months.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007.
Palestinian PM orders end to factional violence
The Palestinian Authority has ordered its security forces onto streets of Gaza to put an end to factional violence which has killed at least eight people.

Eight more dead in Gaza unrest
Eight Palestinians have been killed in clashes between members of President Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard and Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007.
More dead in further Gaza clashes
At least 13 people have been killed during a third day of renewed factional fighting in the Gaza Strip .

Egyptian official shot while monitoring Gaza 'truce'
Gunmen shot and wounded a top Egyptian official in Gaza as he tested whether a shaky cease-fire deal between feuding Fatah and Hamas loyalists was holding.

5 guards killed at Fatah official's home
Hamas gunmen have killed five guards working for a senior Fatah security official in an attack on his house in Gaza City, says a Fatah spokesman.

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Gaza erupts in fresh violence
At least 21 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday as President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and Islamist Hamas battled for control of Gaza and Israel launched a round of air strikes against Hamas.

Israeli air strikes target Hamas in Gaza
The Israeli air force has carried out a series of raids on Hamas targets in the Gaza strip killing at least three militants and wounding 20 others.

Friday, May 18, 2007.
Israeli tanks advance into Gaza Strip
About 15 Israeli tanks entered northern Gaza on Thursday, a Palestinian security source says.
Where is the news about the daily barrage of attacks on the Israeli communities in Sderot and Ashkelon? Where is the news about the injured Israelis?

The reader needs to drill into each individual article to find isolated sentences nestled deep within the paragraphs to reveal some information:
Israel was responding forcefully to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.
And interestingly, the first mention is not on May 16 (accounting for the time difference) but on May 17:

While Gaza battles raged, militants have fired rockets at southern Israel, causing injuries but no deaths, in an apparent attempt to draw Israel into the fighting.
The ABC waited for two days and nights of escalated rocket attacks before making any mention at all, let alone cover the 250 rockets in the last three months.

Notice the ABC have assured the reader that injuries are not deaths. In case you did not know that, or were getting overly-concerned about the rockets.

But back to the headlines and summary lines.

On a news website, do the headlines and summary line matter less, equally or more than the content of the articles themselves?

The ABC would have to say either these headlines and summary lines matter no more than the entire article, in which case they need to explain what is their purpose, or admit they are deliberately avoiding any mention of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

This is because in all the headlines and summary lines above, there is not a single mention of a rocket attack.

Not a single mention of an injury.

Not a single mention of a property or religious building being destroyed.


According the ABC's assessment, factional violence in Gaza is more newsworthy than violence aimed at Israelis.

Now consider the coverage of the context to Israel's response to the rocket attacks on its communities.

One rocket fired at civilians is unacceptable, so what should Israel do when its citizens are threatened by scores of rockets every day?

Does Israel have a duty to protect their populace from war criminals?

Should Israel take action to eliminate the threat?

Do the rocket barrages set the context for Israel's response?

Is there any headline or summary line that gives the reader background to Israel's response to the rocket attacks from the ABC's headlines?

Should the ABC be held to a higher standard of coverage completeness when they employ the description "Complete coverage of the crisis in the Middle East" on their own website?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Interesting Discussion Thread

Israellycool has opened up an important and interesting discussion thread:

Should the State of Israel accept Evangelical support?
All neoZionoid readers are encouraged to contribute to this discussion by clicking here.

Cool Facts About Israel

A good video to watch about the achievements Israelis have made.

Will those who are normally critical of Israel recognise the net positive contribution from the Jewish state?

(Hat tip: Chernstar)

UPDATE: Someone left a comment in response (redacted and subsequently removed to reduce offense):

over 100 times.

That helps answer the question above.

By responding to the post, albeit with the oldest form of bigotry, the commenter has acknowledged the video, and by inference, the wonderful achievements by Israelis.

Did the commenter realise he/she was probably using technology invented by Israelis?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Their Open Doors and Closed Minds

... leads to this:

(Hat tip: Chernstar)