On December 27th 2009, an editorial from the Guardian’s weekend sister paper The Observer appeared on CiF, entitled ‘One year on, we need progress in Gaza’. I am always interested in these editorials because in my view they provide a clear insight into the mindset inside the Guardian offices and cannot be excused or dismissed as mere opinion pieces by guest writers. They also serve to illustrate very clearly the manner in which the Guardian itself promotes a warped version of events in the Middle East which then become ‘fact’ in the minds of so many of its readers, reminding me somewhat of that old party game ‘Chinese whispers’.
There isn’t a single paragraph of this editorial which does not contain some distortion of the truth, vital omission or downright lie.
“IN THE 12 months since Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza in Operation Cast Lead,…” Absolutely no mention of the events leading up to Cast Lead and the 8 years of attacks out of Gaza on Israeli civilians. “The Israeli economic siege has remained in place since Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections and enforced its rule within Gaza.” No mention of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit on June 25, 2006 or the barbaric methods used by Hamas to consolidate their tyrannical rule over Gaza, which did not come about through the ballot box.
“The economy is dependent on the Hamas-regulated warren of tunnels on the southern border with Egypt.” No mention of the fact that these tunnels are used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza strip or the fact that Egypt also keeps a closed border with Gaza.
“Rocket fire by the Palestinian factions has finally been halted,..” Actually, it hasn’t. Although things have undoubtedly been easier for Israelis in the south this year, since the end of Cast Lead some 127 rockets and 70 mortars have been fired into Israeli territory. Whilst Israelis may be pleased with what has been termed ‘a quiet year’, I doubt very much that the writer of this editorial would be happy to have his or her children living under such conditions. “So its failure to dislodge Hamas from Gaza, coming so close after the disaster of its adventure in Lebanon in 2006, has seen its military diminished.” This is pure imagination on the part of the writer – the aim of Cast Lead was to reduce rocket attacks on the south, and that has been achieved, just as relative calm on Israel’s northern border has held since 2006. If anything, Cast Lead demonstrated very clearly just how efficiently the conclusions of the Vinograd Report have been learned and implemented.
“The conflict was conducted in the febrile conditions of an Israeli general election which saw all main parties aggressively endorsing the war.” The reason such a high proportion of Israelis endorsed the war had nothing whatsoever to do with elections and everything to do with 8 years of attacks on Israeli civilians. “A coalition that has included Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, a man notable for demanding Israeli Arabs swear an oath of loyalty or face expulsion.” Actually, Lieberman proposed a loyalty oath for all Israeli citizens, regardless of ethnic background, but that just doesn’t sound suitably racist for the writer, so selectivity has been applied.
“Netanyahu has carefully managed a new style designed to derail US demands for a freeze to further settlement in the West Bank by offering the most partial of freezes, in the knowledge it cannot possibly be acceptable to the Palestinian leadership.” One has to ask if the writer actually bothered to read Mr. Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech, and one also has to ponder the fact that no-one seems to wonder why, if the Palestinians are such avid peaceniks, they don’t just come to the negotiating table without a bundle of ever-escalating pre-conditions.
“Israeli-Palestinian talks are on hold; the economic stranglehold of Gaza goes on. All largely ignored by the international community.” Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though the international community, and the Guardian in particular, talks about precious little else!
“Israel yesterday shot dead six Palestinians in two separate incidents in the West Bank” Besides the writer being obviously geographically challenged (one of the incidents was in the Gaza strip), the fact that all these Palestinians were involved in terror activities goes completely unmentioned, as does the fact that three of them were responsible for murdering an Israeli citizen.
“They must be allowed access to markets so that they can rebuild, and at least makes some attempt towards lives of dignity.” Well, when things are calm and terrorist activities are not taking place, that’s exactly what happens. In fact, had the Gazans chosen economic development over terror when Israel evacuated the Gaza strip in 2005, the additional 400 hectares of prime agricultural land with state-of-the-art facilities which were left to them could have been a serious boost to the Gazan economy.
“It is not good enough for the world to ignore this problem while a new generation grows up frustrated and alienated in what is effectively an enormous prison. That is no solution, merely tragedy deferred. Violence will follow.” The writer obviously buys into the whole ‘they can’t help being terrorists’ argument, so beloved of the West and the UK in particular. Just a few days ago the PA noted the 45th anniversary of the first terror attack in Israel by Yasser Arafat – maybe the writer of this editorial can enlighten us as to the ‘frustrations’ endured by Arafat & co.– bearing in mind that 1967 was still years away – which according to the GWV must have lead them to a life of terror.
Actually, I think it’s high time that the Guardian editors took a crash course in the origins of terror and, ever willing to be of help, I just happen to have a short video here in which a former terrorist explains what lead him to that way of life .
In Part II of this piece we will examine the comments relating to this editorial and the relationship between the distortions and lies published by the Guardian above the line to the mindset and beliefs of the commentators below it.