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The Great Arab-Israeli Misery, or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to View This War as a Video Game

Reported by Marie Therese - July 20, 2006 -

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dawdles in Washington, trying to decide which pair of Ferragamos to wear with her pale pink-yellow-or-ivory suit when she finally goes to the Middle East. Bowing to pressure from just about everyone, she oh-so-beneficently rescinds the fees that the State Department planned to charge our citizens evacuating Lebanon. The President obsesses about pork products while Americans in Lebanon are on the verge of starvation, dehydration and dysentery. As for Dick Cheney he's in his nebulous "undisclosed location" probably cleaning his gun for the next round of hunting. As usual, American cable TV, especially FOX News, has become the 24-hour propaganda arm of the Bush administration. Once again, we have a war reported without dead bodies and blood.

On July 7th Lord Ian Gilmour, former UK Secretary of Defense and a member of the Conservative Party in England was interviewed by E. D. Hill of FOX & Friends regarding the escalating tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In the course of their discussion Lord Gilmour reported something that, he claimed, had not been reported in America.

E. D. HILL: "Well now we looked at - it appeared that we were taking steps toward some type of, you know, policy there, where there would be recognition of Israel's right to exist and that there would be some kind of peace and then all of a sudden we have, you know, the kidnappings and the retaliation and a lot of people get the frustrated feeling that it's a cycle that just keeps on repeating itself."

LORD GILMOUR: "Yes, yes, I think probably in your country [these things] haven't been reported. The day before the Israeli soldier was kidnapped, the Israelis kidnapped a Palestinian doctor from Gaza and his brother."

HILL: "Yes."

LORD GILMOUR: "And there are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners ..."

HILL: "Uh-huh."

LORD GILMOUR: " ... without trial in Israel. So, to make this great fuss about one when this is an evil spreading everywhere is wrong and, believe it or not, the Israeli occupation is still expanding."

HILL: "Yeah."

LORD GILMOUR: "They pretend they want peace but they're still stealing Palestinian land by building their illegal colonies and that is very provocative to whom - to a lot of other people as well."

E. D. Hill ended the discussion and stiffly thanked Lord Gilmour.

COMMENT: Of course, Lord Gilmour was wrong, wasn't he? The American media would never withhold a crucial piece of information, now would they? If you believe that, you're the kind of person who would be receptive to buying a famous bridge in New York!

In 2002 Lord Gilmour wrote an insightful article entitled Let There Be Justice for All, Mr. Bush, outlining in greater detail his first-hand observations of the situation. Would that we here in America had politicians with a similar depth of experience in foreign affairs. A hat tip to Russ Mason for the Gilmour article!

Google searches revealed that, with the exception of Lord Gilmour's comments (never to be aired again on FOX News), only one American media outlet - Democracy Now - made mention of the abduction of the doctor and his brother but that wasn't until July 14th when guest Noam Chomsky said this:

"Well, of course, I have no inside information, other than what's available to you and listeners. What's happening in Gaza, to start with that -- well, basically the current stage of what's going on -- there's a lot more -- begins with the Hamas election, back the end of January. Israel and the United States at once announced that they were going to punish the people of Palestine for voting the wrong way in a free election. And the punishment has been severe.

"At the same time, it's partly in Gaza, and sort of hidden in a way, but even more extreme in the West Bank, where Olmert announced his annexation program, what's euphemistically called "convergence" and described here often as a "withdrawal," but in fact it's a formalization of the program of annexing the valuable lands, most of the resources, including water, of the West Bank and cantonizing the rest and imprisoning it, since he also announced that Israel would take over the Jordan Valley. Well, that proceeds without extreme violence or nothing much said about it.

"Gaza, itself, the latest phase, began on June 24. It was when Israel abducted two Gaza civilians, a doctor and his brother. We don't know their names. You don't know the names of victims. They were taken to Israel, presumably, and nobody knows their fate. The next day, something happened, which we do know about, a lot. Militants in Gaza, probably Islamic Jihad, abducted an Israeli soldier across the border. That's Corporal Gilad Shalit. And that's well known; the first abduction is not. Then followed the escalation of Israeli attacks on Gaza, which I don't have to repeat. It's reported on adequately."

In light of the above, it appears that FOX News (and the rest of the American corporate media) are deliberately editing the information we Americans receive. With this is mind, I would like to offer my own version of the timeline for this latest installment of the Great Arab-Israeli Misery. Since the whole thing is being played up as a 24-hour, non-stop video game, I've included a variety of scores as well, so our readers can keep track of who's winning and who's losing.

Friday, June 9, 2006 - Seven members of the same family are killed by an Israeli artillery strike on a Gaza City beach. Millions of TV news viewers throughout the world are riveted by the video of inconsolable young Palestinian girl whose father was one of the dead. On July 17th on Hannity & Colmes the following exchange took place between Alan Colmes and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which Netanyahu disputed virtually all reports, including ones made by FOX News, that the family died as the result of an Israeli artillery attack.

COLMES: "Much has been written, Mr. Prime Minister, about the capture of an Israeli soldier, which is what touched this off, but the international press has also reported that there was a killing of seven family members on a Gaza beach on June 9th, after which Hamas called off its cease fire. Which, in your view, is the precipitating event here?"

NETANYAHU: "Um, I think that the tragic loss of a family was a (pause) projectile that had been there and probably took off. It was not an offensive Israeli action or even a defensive Israeli action, from all examinations that we took. But I think there is an asymmetry here. Israel left Gaza. Israel left Lebanon. Why are they fighting us? You ask what is precipitating this? The answer is: Nothing that Israel does. It's just Israel being there, breathing, the fact that I'm standing in front of you right now, breathing, speaking to you as the citizen of a Jewish state in the heart of the Middle East - that's, for them, an unacceptable provocation."

ISRAELIS: 7 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing

ARABS: 0 kills inflicted - 0 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Saturday, June 24, 2006
Israel abducts an unnamed Palestinian doctor and his brother, both residents of Gaza. No word on their condition or whereabouts.

ISRAELIS: 7 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed

ARABS: 0 kills inflicted - 0 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 0 abductions completed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Sunday, June 25, 2006
Palestinians, members of the military wing of Hamas, cross into Israel and kidnap Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

ISRAELIS: 7 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed

ARABS: 0 kills inflicted - 0 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 1 abduction completed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Israel launches an attack on Palestinians in Gaza. Here is a brief report from CNN describing what happened:

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli troops and armored vehicles crossed into southern Gaza early Wednesday in what the Israeli military said was an attempt to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Palestinian militants.

Soldiers backed by artillery traveled from the Israeli military encampment in Kerem Shalom to the southern Gaza town of Rafah, near the Gaza-Israel-Egypt border, said the Israeli Defense Ministry.

The Israelis took up positions in Gaza shortly before 3 a.m. (8 p.m. ET) in the area where Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted Sunday. Two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the weekend raid by Palestinian militants who tunneled into Israel.

"The IDF will continue to act with determination and to employ all means at its disposal to combat terrorists and their infrastructure ... and will continue to make every effort to return Cpl. Shalit home quickly and safely," the military said Wednesday in a statement.

ISRAELIS: 7 kills inflicted (disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 1 full military invasion started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed

ARABS: 2 kills inflicted - 0 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 1 abduction completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Sunday, July 2, 2006
Israel attacks the Palestinian Prime Minister's offices, injuring a Palestinian passer-by. Israel also fires on the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, killing 1 Palestinian and fired a missile at a religious school.

ISRAELIS: 8 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 1 full military invasion started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed - 1 building destroyed - 1 school destroyed

ARABS: 2 kills inflicted - 1 casualty incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 1 abduction completed - 0 full military invasions - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - 0 buildings destroyed - 0 schools destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Wednesday, July 5, 2006
The Washington Post reported

GAZA CITY, July 5 -- Israeli military aircraft destroyed the Palestinian Interior Ministry before dawn Wednesday, wounding at least seven people, hours after the military wing of the governing Hamas movement fired a rocket at the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon that landed in an empty school.

It was the second time in five days that Israel targeted the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, although the attack that rumbled across this city Wednesday was far larger. One wing of the multistory building collapsed entirely, and much of the rest sustained serious damage. Among the wounded were four children, hospital officials said, who were likely injured in homes near the ministry that were damaged in the attack.

23 Palestinians civilians killed in these attacks.

ISRAELIS: 31 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 1 full military invasion started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed- 1 building destroyed - 2 schools destroyed

ARABS: 2 kills inflicted - 5 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 1 abduction completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - 0 buildings destroyed - 0 schools destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Hezbollah crosses Israel's border, kidnaps 2 Israeli soldiers, kills three Israeli soldiers. Israel bombs house of Hamas leader, kills 9 members of same family. Local hospital reports 37 Palestinian casualties.

NABATIYA, Lebanon -- Hezbollah fighters seized two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a raid in northern Israel yesterday that effectively opened a second front for the Israeli military, already engaged in a 17-day-old operation to free a soldier held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. (Washington Times)

ISRAELIS: 60 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 0 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 1 full military invasion started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed - 1 building destroyed - 2 schools destroyed

ARABS: 5 kills inflicted - 42 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 3 abductions completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - 0 buildings destroyed - 0 schools destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Thursday, July 13, 2006
Israel opens up second front, bombs Lebanon. Destroys two bridges, the road to Damascus, Beirut airport. Kills 40 Lebanese civilians, including 10 children. Hezbollah kills two Israelis and wounds 35 in retaliatory Katushya rocket attacks. An additional 52 Palestinians killed in Gaza (23 in first attack on PM's building, 52 in attacks since then resulting in 75 Palestinians total).

ISRAELIS: 146 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 35 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 2 full military invasions started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed - 1 building destroyed - 2 schools destroyed - 1 airport destroyed - 1 blockade started - 1 road destroyed

ARABS: 7 kills inflicted - 43 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 3 abductions completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - 0 buildings destroyed - 0 schools destroyed - 0 airports destroyed - 0 blockades started - 0 roads destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Sunday, July 16, 2006
Hezbollah attacks northern Israel with more Katyusha rockets. Israel's death toll raised to 24, including 12 civilians. 20 more are injured. Seven Canadian citizens killed in Israeli air strike. Canadian Broadcasting reports that Israelis have killed a total of 150 people, mostly civilians. Also have destroyed a Lebanese power station

ISRAELIS: 150 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 55 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 2 full military invasions started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed - Many buildings destroyed - 2 schools destroyed - 1 airport destroyed - 1 blockade started - 2 roads destroyed

ARABS: 24 kills inflicted - 43 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 3 abductions completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - Some buildings destroyed (Israel not releasing figures) - 0 schools destroyed - 0 airports destroyed - 0 blockades started - 0 roads destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


Tuesday, July 19, 2006
FOX News reports that Lebanon's Prime Minister claims that the total number of Lebanese citizens killed by Israeli attacks to date is 300 with casualties estimated at 1,000. They also report that Israel says it has lost 29 citizens.

ISRAELIS: 300 kills inflicted (7 disputed) - 55 casualties incurred - 4,000 Arab or Palestinian prisoners held with no legal standing - 2 abductions completed - 2 full military invasions started - 2 bridges destroyed - 1 power plant destroyed - Whole blocks of buildings destroyed - Many schools destroyed - 1 airport destroyed - 1 blockade started - 2 roads destroyed

ARABS: 29 kills inflicted - 1043 casualties incurred - 0 Israeli prisoners held with no legal standing - 3 abductions completed - 0 full military invasions started - 0 bridges destroyed - 0 power plants destroyed - Some buildings destroyed, Israel not releasing figures - 0 schools destroyed - 0 airports destroyed - 0 blockades started - 0 roads destroyed

ADVANTAGE: Israel


(N. B. Naturally the numbers above are not posited as being accurate, but are a snapshot gleaned from various media reports.)

COMMENT

Yesterday morning (7-19-06) during FOX & Friends First Adam Harmon, an American citizen who has served in the Israeli army for 13 years, stated that he believes that "the actions against the terrorist organizations in Gaza and Lebanon are actually going to increase stability in the region. ..."

Later in the F&F show, Steve Doocy reported that the Israelis bombed a wealthy Christian neighborhood in Beirut, believing that there was a nest of terrorists there.

Further reports throughout the day revealed that the Israelis dropped 23 tons of explosives on a bunker 100 feet underground that was supposed to be the lair of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah claims that it was the foundation for a mosque and that Israel did not achieve its objectives. Israel has not issued a statement at this time.

If you want to get the Lebanese perspective on this situation, there is a series of blogs on eBlogger with a wide variety of thoughts on what is happening in their country. One prints graphic pictures of the dead and reacts in anger. Another writes that he abhors violence on all sides. A third reports that the UAE, hearing that ambulances had been destroyed, shipped 12 new ones, which were blown up on their way to the Bekaa valley.

And then there is Assaad's visceral take on letter-writing, child to child. Warning: It's devastating!


PLEASE NOTE: I realize that this is a hot-button issue with passionate opinions on all sides. I will delete any comments that feature ad hominem attacks, insults, name-calling, racial slurs, etc.


SOURCES

Human Rights Watch, June 6, 2006

CNN, June 29, 2006

Associated Press (cached only), July 2, 2006

Al Jazeera English Edition, July 2, 2006

Washington Post, July 5, 2006

BBC, July 12, 2006

Washington Times, July 13, 2006

CNN, July 13, 2006

CNN, July 14, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2006