Info & Disinfo on Gaza, and Appeal for Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, killed in Israeli airstrike against Gaza

Some things to consider giving Israel’s bombing spree in Gaza on Dec 24:

-Israeli soldiers on a routine basis target Palestinians of all ages, including children, as they farm or fish, killing and maiming them. This is policy from the top-down, not random, not “bad apples”.  See videos here and here;  see reports here and here and here and here and UN.

-Israel has violated the Nov 2012 “truce”/”ceasefire” from the beginning, as documented here [Israeli Ceasefire Violations in Gaza and World Silence] and here.

and this important clarification from Yousef at the Jerusalem Fund:

Israel, and Kershner, Strike Again

The bias in New York Times reporting on Israel/Palestine is so systematic, it is predictable. Literally.When the news broke this morning that an Israeli had been shot by a sniper in Gaza while working on the fence around Gaza I knew that the killing would receive plenty of coverage in US media and of course in the New York Times by none other than Isabel Kershner. Even though Kershner routinely fails to report about Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip killed or injured by Israel, she rarely misses an opportunity to report about Israelis killed by Palestinians. That’s why earlier this morning I tweeted:

Has Isabel Kershner written her inevitable piece on the Israeli shot today yet after ignoring the large number of Palestinians shot in Gaza?
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) December 24, 2013

On cue, an hour and a half after my tweet, Isabel Kershner’s story goes up at the New York Times.

The headline:

Israelis Shell Gaza After Israeli Fence Repairer Is Killed

and the lead paragraph:

 An Israeli laborer who was repairing the security fence along the border with Gaza was fatally shot on Tuesday by a Palestinian sniper, according to the Israeli military, and Israel immediately responded by bombing targets it associated with militant groups in the Palestinian coastal territory.


both make clear that the events today were Israel responding to an attack from Gaza. But absent both from that framing narrative and her entire piece, as I knew would be the case, is any description of preceding events in the Gaza Strip in recent days which featured several and persistent Israeli violations.

Kershner doesn’t tell you that in the last 10 days the Israeli military shot a Palestinian teenager in Gaza on the 15th, shot and killed a man and injured two others in Gaza on the 20th, shot an injured a Palestinian farmer on the 21st, fired at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza on the 22nd, and shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man on the 23rd. All of these incidents happened in the days preceding today’s events and involved Israel firing into Gaza. None of them are reported in her article despite being vital context for today’s events.

She mentions that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in November 2012 “ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire” but fails to mention that Israel has been consistently violating that cease-fire. We’ve been keeping track of all of these violations here, precisely because we knew Isabel Kershner and others were not going to inform you about them.

She does however, enumerate all recent Israeli casualties….in the West Bank:

The Israeli killed on Tuesday was a civilian contractor who had been working for the Israeli Defense Ministry. His death came a day after an Israeli police officer was stabbed and wounded at a West Bank junction. On Sunday, a bomb exploded on a bus in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, minutes after the passengers had been warned to exit, preventing casualties. The police said they were working on the assumption that the bomb had been an attempted attack by Palestinian militants.

In addition, three Israeli soldiers and a retired colonel have been killed in recent months by Palestinians from the West Bank.

Kershner did a very similar thing in a piece last month which we called out here.

Her piece does end with this line “More than 20 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces this year, according to Palestinian officials.”

All the Palestinians killed and injured are an afterthought in this piece. Those killed and injured by Israeli fire in Gaza immediately prior to today’s events are not event mentioned. In what can only be interpreted as an effort to evoke sympathy for Israel’s actions, Kershner selects to inform the reader about attacks against Israelis in the West Bank while ignoring Israeli attacks on Gaza that occurred right before today’s events, even though today’s events occurred in Gaza and not in the West Bank.

The reader is treated to the familiar refrain: Israel is always acting to defend itself. The New York Times can do better and its readers sure deserve better than this.

With such horribly skewed and sloppy reporting, is it any wonder Americans are so misinformed about the situation?

**********************************************************************************

NAME: Hala Abu Shbeika, 3

VIOLATIONS: Excessive use of Israeli military force against Gaza’s civilians with the killing of a three year old child.

On Christmas Eve, little Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, was murdered, while Christians celebrated the joy of Christmas, when Israel launched at least 16 airstrikes against Gaza.

Please press the TAKE ACTION BOX to send letter of protest to H.E. LEILA ZERROUGUI, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children in Armed Conflict, H.E.RIYAD H.MANSOUR, Ambassador, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine and H.E. RON PROSOR, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.

APPEAL TEXT BELOW, CLICK HERE FOR APPEAL PAGE

H.E. LEILA ZERROUGUI

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

On Christmas Eve little Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, was murdered, while Christians celebrated the joy of Christmas, when Israel launched at least 16 airstrikes against the Gaza.

Israel launched the airstrikes shortly after a Gaza sniper shot an Israeli civilian labourer working on the border fence. The man was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Four days previously, Odeh Jihad Hamad in Beit Hanoun, 29, was a kilometre away from the border when Israeli soldiers shot him in the head. Israeli forces did not allow ambulances to the scene for an hour and a half after the shooting.

In November 2012, Israel’s Pillar of Cloud operation ( weapons testing operation) that killed 171 Palestinians ended in an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. Since then Israel has committed over 236 case fire violations and killed ten Gazan civilians.

For seven years the people of Gaza have been trapped by the illegal Israeli siege and in the last two months Israel’s blockade of fuel has caused a devastating humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of critical supplies and electricity for health services. In freezing temperatures blasted by a winter storm of unprecedented proportions, Gazan families and  their children have had no electricity, heat or light, the waste water pumping system collapsed pouring sewerage into the streets then Israel opened two dams close-by causing the flooding to rise further.

The UN and the international community have stood by doing absolutely nothing while Gaza suffers for seven years when the UN has recourse to impose sanctions.

Your duty is to protect Palestinian children and I call on you to energetically demand that sanctions are immediately imposed on Israel’s political and military leaders who have direct responsibility for the deaths of Palestinian children.

I remind you that the Security Council recognised early on the need for robust action including sanctions against individuals persistently committing violations against children in armed conflict. These sanctions include arms embargoes, asset freezes, and travel bans.

The readiness of the Security Council to impose sanctions against violators of the rights of children in armed conflict has developed over time. In Security Council resolution 1539 (2004), the Council expressed for the first time its intention to consider imposing targeted and graduated measures against parties to conflict violating the rights of children. This commitment was reaffirmed in resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), and 1998 (2011).

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2 comments

  1. Many thanks for your up to date reporting here, Eva. I was happy to be able to add the reference of the petition to my blog article on this latest situation. (http://carol.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2013/12/25/noel-a-gaza-le-deuil-et-la-peur-251276.html#more) The words of the song you quote are powerful. Music helps ! Tomorrow, there is a national gathering to call for the end to the blockade in Gaza in front of the Federal Parliament in Bern. This song would be appropriate there : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otuwNwsqHmQ
    I’ll be singing it in my heart for you and everyone there as we light the candles.

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