USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Palestinian Deaths up to 700 while US Media Downplays Arab Suffering

Posted by uscsjp on January 7, 2009

The mainstream US media has been careful to balance images of Gazan suffering with those of Israelis, leading to accusations it is not reflecting the unequal death toll [EPA, link provided by Al Jazeera English]In the US, Gaza is a Different War

by Habib Battah

The images of two women on the front page of an edition of The Washington Post last week illustrates how mainstream US media has been reporting Israel’s war on Gaza.

On the left was a Palestinian mother who had lost five children. On the right was a nearly equally sized picture of an Israeli woman who was distressed by the fighting, according to the caption.

As the Palestinian woman cradled the dead body of one child, another infant son, his face blackened and disfigured with bruises, cried beside her.

The Israeli woman did not appear to be wounded in any way but also wept.

Arab frustration

To understand the frustration often felt in the Arab world over US media coverage, one only needs to imagine the same front page had the situation been reversed.

If an Israeli woman had lost five daughters in a Palestinian attack, would The Washington Post run an equally sized photograph of a relatively unharmed Palestinian woman, who was merely distraught over Israeli missile fire? When the front page photographs of the two women were published on December 30, over 350 Palestinians had reportedly been killed compared to just four Israelis…”

–Al Jazeera English, 7 January, 2009

Also from Al Jazeera:

Live Twitter updates on Gaza

Hamas in the Eyes of an Expert

Israel’s Fait Accompli in Gaza

See Also the Latest Headlines from Democracy Now!:

“Israel Bombs UN School, 40 Killed

In Gaza, at least forty Palestinians died Tuesday after Israel fired mortars at a United Nations school that was sheltering Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes. Fifty-five Palestinians were also wounded in the attack. Doctors said all of the victims were civilians, including many children. Christopher Gunness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency condemned the Israeli attack.

Christopher Gunness: ‘Over a thousand had taken refuge in this school. The Israelis had been told exactly what the GPS coordinates of the school was, of all of our facilities in Gaza. All of our facilities are very clearly marked as UNRWA facilities. If there have been violations of international humanitarian law, and our response is rooted very firmly in international humanitarian law, we want there to be a full and impartial investigation.’

Israel admitted to firing mortar rounds at the school but claimed its actions were justified, because Hamas militants were using the school to fire rockets. But the UN said there were no militants at the school.

John Ging, the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency: ‘We very carefully vet anybody seeking shelter in our locations. We have experienced, long-serving staff who are managing those facilities. We are hugely sensitive to the integrity of our facilities at this time of conflict. And we have zero tolerance for any violations by any of the militants. And so far we’ve not had violations by militants of our facilities.’

Israeli Army spokesperson Avital Leibovich accused Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields.

Avital Leibovich: ‘The fact that Hamas is putting civilians in areas where military activity takes place is horrible, I think. I think Hamas should be accountable for any civilian in those areas, which he located those warehouses, those storages of Grads (rockets) and so on.’

Palestinian Death Toll at 680; Israel Death Toll at 10

Al Jazeera reports 680 Palestinians have died in the twelve days since Israel’s attack began. Over 3,000 Palestinians have been injured. The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports at least 130 Palestinian children have died. The Israeli death toll stands at ten, including four Israeli soldiers who died by so-called friendly fire.

Obama: ‘Deep Concern’ Over Loss of Civilian Lives in Gaza and Israel

Following the Israeli attack on the UN school, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the situation in Gaza.

President-elect Barack Obama: ‘The loss of civilian life in Gaza and in Israel is a source of deep concern to me. And after January 20th, I’m going to have plenty to say about the issue, and I am not backing away at all from what I said during the campaign, that starting at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East.’

Egypt Proposes Ceasefire

On the diplomatic front, Israel and Hamas are said to be studying an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that has won backing from the United States and Europe. A French official said the plan could lead to a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip within eight days. However, the Jerusalem Post reports Israeli officials are considering expanding its ground invasion of Gaza.

Venezuela Expels Israeli Ambassador

Meanwhile, in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has expelled the Israeli ambassador in Caracas in protest over the Israeli military operation in Gaza….”

–Democracy Now!, 7 January, 2009

Finally, The Electronic Intifada hosts Analysis from Jonathan Cook and Saree Makdisi:

Bombing to make the Gaza prison even more secure for Israel
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 7 January 2009

In its bombing campaign on Gaza, Israel is destroying houses and, it hopes, Hamas, politically. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, link provided by EI)

In its bombing campaign on Gaza, Israel is destroying houses and, it hopes, Hamas, politically. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages, posted on EI)

There are two persistent myths about the aim of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza: the first that it is an entirely defensive move, a way to end the rocket fire of Hamas; and the second that it is designed to restore the army’s credibility after its failure to cow Hizballah in 2006…”

–The Electronic Intifada, 7 January, 2009

“By choice they made themselves immune”
Saree Makdisi, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009

A young girl from the al-Daya family is dug out of the rubble after her familys four-story home was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 6 January. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, link provided by EI)

A young girl from the al-Daya family is dug out of the rubble after her family's four-story home was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 6 January. (Mohamed Al-Zanon/MaanImages, posted on EI)

“Israel has killed and injured almost 4,000 men, women and children so far in its assault on Gaza; it has entombed whole families together in the ruins of their homes. As I write, news is breaking that Israeli bombs have killed at least 40 civilians huddling in a UN school which they mistakenly thought would be safer than the homes from which Israel’s relentless barrage — and its deliberately terrorizing ‘warning’ leaflets and prerecorded phone calls — had already driven them. (I still have one of the leaflets the Israelis dropped on besieged Beirut in 1982 and the language is exactly the same — ‘flee, flee for your lives!’)….”

–The Electronic Intifada, 6 January, 2009


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