Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
Fact-Checking the Ceasefire Breaches

Killing Palestinians Doesn’t Count

by ALISON WEIR

On January 27th media headlines trumpeted that Palestinians had broken the latest cease-fire: a bomb had killed one Israeli soldier and injured two or three.

Virtually every media outlet reported this action as a major breach in the ceasefire that had begun on January 18th: CNN, AP, NPR, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News, ABC, CBS, the Christian Science Monitor, the LA Times, the McClatchy Newspapers, etc, all pinned the resumption of violence on Palestinians.

There’s just one problem. Israeli forces had already violated the ceasefire at least seven times:

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer in Khuza’a east of Khan Yunis on Jan 18 Israeli forces killed a Palestinian farmer east of Jabalia on Jan. 19 Israeli naval gunboats shelled the Gaza coastline, causing damage to civilian structures Israeli troops shot and injured a child east of Gaza City on Jan 22 Israeli gunboat fire injured 4-7 Palestinian fishermen on Jan 22 Israeli shelling set a Palestinian house on fire on Jan 22 Israeli tanks fired on the border town of Al Faraheen, causing damage to homes and farms on Jan 24

Yet, Americans who rely on American media for their news on Israel-Palestine are being led to believe that Palestinians initiated the violence (the death of one Israeli soldier) that has now led to Israel’s latest onslaught:

By the end of the day, according to reports, Israeli forces had already killed a 27-year-old Palestinian farmer by tank fire; had closed the crossings into Gaza, denying the entire population (1.5 million) access to desperately needed shipments of food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid; had launched a military drone that fired a missile into the city of Khan Yunis, injuring a Hamas member on a motorcycle and apparently at least one Palestinian child nearby; had sent 20 tanks and seven military bulldozers into Gaza; and had occupied a Palestinian home near the town of Deir Al Balah.

This is not the first time that the media have reversed the chronology of Israeli-Palestinian violence. While the media widely reported that Israel’s three-week-long massacre of Palestinians begun on Dec. 27th was a reaction to Palestinian rockets, the fact is that Israel had initiated the violence by breaking the truce on Nov. 4th by killing six Palestinians and injuring another six, and on Nov. 5th by killing yet another Palestinian. Only after this Israeli violence (and its continued suffocating closure of Gaza, another extremely significant truce violation) did Hamas rocket fire resume.

For Hillary, too, Palestinians don’t count

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held her very first news conference at the State Department, announcing:  “We support Israel’s right to self-defense. The [Palestinian] rocket barrages which are getting closer and closer to populated areas [in Israel] cannot go unanswered.”

Most Palestinian rockets are homemade projectiles constructed of scrap metal. They began to be launched only after Israeli invasions of Gaza and the West Bank had killed and injured hundreds of civilians. In six years, these rockets have killed a total of 28 Israelis. Israel killed at least 40 Palestinian men, women, and children in a few minutes on Jan. 6th when it struck a UN school. During its Dec-Jan invasion Israeli forces killed over 1,300 Gazan men, women, and children and injured over 5,000; Palestinian resistance fighters killed 9 Israelis, 4 of them civilians.

Hillary is only able to get away with such absurd and offensive statements, giving a green light for further carnage, and Israel is only able to continue its murderous rampages, because mainstream media coverage of Israel-Palestine is so abysmal.

It is time for all of us to tell the media we want the facts on Israel-Palestine, and to tell our neighbors, our Congressional representatives, and our new president what they are. We voted for change. It’s time we got it.

ALISON WEIR is executive director of If Americans Knew (www.IfAmericansKnew.org), which has produced a small flyer for people to distribute with the facts on the ceasefire.