28 January 2009

So who broke the ceasefire?

I don't consider this point to be of any particular importance, for reasons I'll go into later, but it is much used and abused in a lot of Israel-bashing articles, so it is worth addressing as a separate item. As a sample of that "impartial reporting", here goes a clip from CNN:

"The reality and the truth is that ... the side that broke the ceasefire was Israel" - says Mustafa Barghouti branded by CNN "independent Palestinian legislator" (what a joke...). In fact, this is all he says on the subject, continuing with the usual litany of Israeli misdeeds. No proof, no corroboration, but nevertheless it is worth screening.

Probably feeling that Barghouti's statement needs a bit more substance, the (guest? I am not sure, I rarely watch CNN) commentator eagerly displays additional proof, such as quotes from some newspapers, including Guardian (yeah, well). All this supported by a (quite unusual for normally immovable TV anchors) feverish movements of hands, head, the whole body - quite extraordinary by itself, and the commentator is not looking into the camera, which is a telltale sign. Hatchet job if I ever seen one.

As all the other sources before CNN, the main reference to the event that supposedly broke the ceasefire points to November 4, 2008. IDF, acting apparently at will, entered the Gaza strip and killed six Hamas fighters. (At least no one disputes that these six nice folks were Hamas thugs.)

The circumstances leading to this vicious act by IDF are left unexplained in most cases, in a few cases there is a muted reference to a tunnel, but it could as well have been 6 Hamas engineers working on a segment of the future Gaza subway, as far as most of the Western sources are concerned.

Now to that bit about the circumstances:

For the first time since the ceasefire took effect in June, IDF forces operated deep in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night in a bid to collapse a tunnel located 250 meters (273 yards) from the border – and which terror groups intended to use for kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Palestinian sources reported that six gunmen were killed in the clashes that ensued during the operation, and that several others, including a female bystander were injured.
So this special kind of subway was only 250 meters from the border. Probably it was just a part of preparations for a Christmas surprise gift-bearing visit or somewhat in this vein.

But again, this case is just an example of the methodology developed for "analyzing" the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It is really simple: disregard the history and take a snapshot of what is going on at the moment, if the moment is convenient to your narrative. Israeli tank shell devastating a Palestinian family - cool, it's an excellent snapshot. 50 Qassam rockets flying in the other direction a day before - who cares, it was yesterday. An Israeli unit crossing the border and killing six gunmen (let's call them simply Palestinians, it makes the snapshot that much clearer) - good, it shows the IDF for what it is - a killing machine. The side fact of the tunnel these "victims" were busy digging under the border - forget it, it confuses the issue.

However, the big picture is there, for many to see. And here we come to the reason I said that I am not totally overwhelmed by the issue of who was first in this case. The so called "ceasefire" was a sham to start with. What kind of ceasefire it is when Qassams and mortars keep being launched, albeit with a lesser frequency? Ceasefire, incidentally, is defined as "A state of peace agreed to between opponents so they can discuss peace terms". Surely you would expect a state of peace not being broken even by a single bullet, not to speak about rockets and mortars? Surely you would expect that in case of every breach of ceasefire the other side will be not only entitled to respond but will indeed respond?

Apparently not when the freedom fighters of Hamas are concerned. For some obscure reason, the Western media seems to be completely at ease with Hamas frequent breaches of ceasefire, but is willing to accept what CNN and other media outfits define as Israeli violation of it.

Of course the miracle of ceasefire is another point that is frequently mentioned and used by the media. As if it was all sunshine and happiness. As if the border crossings weren't attacked, as if bullets, mortar shells and Qassams weren't flying.

As if the whole world was deaf and blind.


Cross-posted on Yourish.com.