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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why are we allowing foreign press into Gaza?

Seriously, I'm confused.  This is an easy call... a slam dunk:  "No, you can't go into Gaza looking for [probably staged] grisly photos of dead and wounded civilians.  Why?  Because we said so!"

Not good enough?  Here are a few reasons you can take back to your bureau chiefs:

1.  You didn't send your reporters to hang out in Sderot and the other Gaza-belt Israeli communities to get a first-hand look at the human side of our suffering, so your sudden interest in having a press-presence in Gaza is just a tad transparent, don't you think?

2.  Whether you want to admit it or not, your reporters are going to either act as human shields (meaning they'll inhibit our ability to act freely when they are near a target), or they are going to get their foolish asses killed (making us look even worse than you've already made us out to be). 

3.  The Palestinians have demonstrated their willingness to play to the cameras during two Intifadas.  Your presence has a tendency to get young, bored, otherwise-non-political Palis out onto the streets and into violent confrontations with our troops.  So far we've been able to limit our attacks to Hamas leaders and combatants.  But once your camera crews draw out the idle young mobs, the casualty figures will shoot through the roof.  And that will end up being your story.  Reporters are supposed to report the news... not manufacture it.

4.  You have demonstrated that you have no contextual or historical background for covering this conflict.  You have also made it clear you have no desire to acquire either.  You will inevitably send in 'journalists' who don't know the geography, language, culture or history of either side in this conflict, forcing them to rely on unreliable (and biased) local sources and 'fixers' to supply the meat of their stories.  There are already Palestinian journalists inside Gaza.  Your stories are going to end up echoing their propaganda, so why not just take their feed?

5.  We have been working very hard to keep weapons out of Gaza (unsuccessfully, it turns out.  Thanks a lot, Egypt!).  Why on earth would we allow one of the Palestinian's most potent weapons - a fawning foreign press - into the war zone?  Do you think we're really that stupid?  Well, maybe we are.

It turns out the Israeli Supreme Court just approved a petition that will allow a pool of foreign journalists into Gaza. 

[~slaps forehead in frustration~]

 In Lebanon we had to fight a war on two fronts; on the battlefield against an illegitimate terrorist army, and in the media against foreign dupes who printed whatever this illegitimate terrorist army told them/allowed them to see.

We couldn't do anything about that becasue we didn't control the battlefield.  But in Gaza we do. 

Apparently we will never learn.

Posted by David Bogner on January 1, 2009 | Permalink


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Are you sure the Israel Supreme Court wants its own country to win?

Posted by: Bob Miller | Jan 1, 2009 5:15:50 PM

Soon, and very soon, I hope, the press will finally be seen as the enemies of Israel that they are, and it won't bother anyone to treat them as such and make them the fat, juicy targets they so richly deserve to be.

Posted by: jewel | Jan 1, 2009 7:57:30 PM

We hit 35,000 stories on the Google News O' Meter yesterday. My goodness.

Mumbai, Darfur, Tibet, global recession, Barack Obama's election, or even the Olympics did not merit a fraction of those numbers. Shortage of Gaza news? I don't think so.

This weird fascination and demonization of Israel and Jews. . . I will never understand it.

Meanwhile, "Death to all (Zionist) Juice!" here:


Posted by: Ari | Jan 1, 2009 8:41:04 PM

This is a very old problem.

I was studying in Israel during the first Lebanese War. That was my first exposure to the media's viciously anti-Israel bias, and to the lengths to which the media would go to get an anti-Israel story.

You may recall an incident wherein two reporters for a major news outlet were shot by Israeli snipers in a restricted zone because they were assumed, at a distance, to be enemy soldiers. In fact, reporters had been warned to stay out of the area for exactly that reason, but that fact never seemed to make it into all the outraged media stories to follow. And buried among all the articles blasting the "trigger-happy Israeli soldiers" was a Newsweek interview with several Palestinian villagers. Where was the village? IN THE VERY SAME RESTRICTED ZONE IN WHICH THE OTHER KNUCKLEHEADED REPORTERS WERE KILLED!!! Aaaarghh!

Bottom line: a war zone is no place for a reporter. Especially a foreign reporter. But once again, the Israeli Supreme Court exhibits the survival instincts of a lemming. And those guys can't be voted out of office.

Posted by: psachya | Jan 1, 2009 9:01:34 PM

Hashem Yeracheim Aleinu. Sometimes it's easier to be an idiot than to be smart. Well apparently, all of the time...

Posted by: Lakewood Falling Down | Jan 1, 2009 9:18:12 PM

I like point (3) the best. Good luck with all that.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 1, 2009 9:45:49 PM

I like point (3) the best. Good luck with all that.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 1, 2009 9:45:50 PM

It is a weird and wacky world.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 2, 2009 1:17:18 AM

If Israel doesn't let in foreign press from outside of Gaza, than the only reports will be from Arab stringers in the area. They are worse and could be loyal to Hamas and are more likely to report only on the Arab suffering (which exists, but of course, wouldn't if Hamas would put down their arms)

Posted by: amechad | Jan 2, 2009 12:44:46 PM

Well, though High Court abets the enemy, in reality it approved an understanding with the government which allows only 12 journalists into Gaza at a time under IDF supervision.

Posted by: Israeli Uncensored News | Jan 2, 2009 4:25:52 PM

A quick question for you, if you have the time: What would be the approximate number of rockets fired into gaza by israel and rockets fired by palestinians into israel over the course of last year? (including latest war). I was trying to present an alternate view to my family than the newspaper healines this morning, but I can't seem to find any accurate facts on the internet (surprise, surprise!). Any help or recommeded internet sites much appreciated!

Posted by: zemirah | Jan 3, 2009 11:25:32 AM

To those who are interested in statistics: From January to November 2008, Israel registered 1'212 rocket and 1'290 mortar shell hits. There was not a single month without hits.
If you skim through the directory, you might find the data for December and the current campaign against Hamas.

Posted by: reader | Jan 3, 2009 3:07:46 PM

a good source for israeli news is www.israelnationalnewss.com. you can fine statistics such as the amount of rockets there.

Posted by: avi | Jan 4, 2009 1:41:01 PM


today's hamodia reports that in fact that israel and egypt have *not* been letting journalists into gaza

stay sage

Posted by: lion of zion | Jan 5, 2009 7:40:46 PM

i meant stay safe
(i'm sure you'll stay sage[ly])

Posted by: lion of zion | Jan 5, 2009 7:41:47 PM

israel puts media clamp on foreign journalists: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/world/middleeast/07media.html?hp

Posted by: Seth | Jan 6, 2009 10:30:19 PM

Yes, the Palestinians staged the death of 410 children. Is this a mixture made with all the Heinz tomato ketchup they have lying around since Israel's blockades on Gaza? DELUDED

Posted by: Sarah White | Mar 2, 2009 11:16:55 PM

Your country is a military dictatorship run by a corrupt military mafia. Your last 2 PMs were both done for corruption and your last president was a woman molestor. The censorship of all the press in Israel is such that you never learn the truth. Hence your ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that the Greater Israel project is the same kind of project as Serbia was accused of - the one difference was that Serbia was accused of wanting an ethnically-pure territory, Israel wants a religiously pure territory. But the way Israel goes about it is the same as the eway Serbia was accused. Ethnic-cleansing and murder of innocent civilians, and always terror. We have enough quotes from Israeli leaders since 1948, its not actually in doubt, the historical record speaks for itself.

Of course, the hasbara brigades like you keep the discussion off the real topics: UNSC Res 242 and the ICJ ruling on the wall of shame.

UNSC Res 242 reaffirms "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" in other words all the territory annexed by Israel since 1948.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that Israel's building of the wall in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory" (including in and around East Jerusalem) violates various international obligations incumbent upon Israel, and that the wall must be dismantled immediately and Israel must make reparation for any damage caused. (Para. 163) Observing that "the wall's sinuous route has been traced in such a way as to include within that area the great majority of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem)," the ICJ also found that "the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law." [2] (Paras. 119-120)

This is the real issue and until this is addressed the Palestinians have the right under international law to defend themselves against occupation. All territory acquired by Israel that is not in the original Partition Plan has been illegally acquired by war and illegally settled. Until this massive injustice is righted Israel doesn't have aleg to stand on. Until Israel recognises the right of Palestine to exist, they cannot expect a reciprocal declaration from the Palestinians. Until Israel refrains from using violence for political reasons and to make territorial gains it is a terrorist state and as such has no right to peace.

The sooner you people realise you're not going to get away with your theft of the land the sooner this will all be over and you can live in peace. But first Israel and all Israelis must renounce and denounce the Greater Israel project. Will you? If you don't. You don't want peace.

Posted by: Sarah White | Mar 3, 2009 12:00:30 AM

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