I caught my first mainstream coverage of the Gaza assault just now. It was on CNN and I watched it because they had a telephone interview with a doctor from Gaza. I turned it off at the point when they were about to interview some military expert about how long we could expect this to last. The whole segment was a split screen with looped video of the 'fireworks' going on in Gaza on one side. The headline they were hawking was not about the interview with the Gazan doctor, nor was it about a report from Israel by Christian Amanpour which also aired during the segment. It was that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is flying to Israel in a show of support for the state. I felt like vomiting. They also reported that the US is in no hurry for a ceasefire (these things take time to be done right ya know), they had a clip of Bush blaming Hamas for the carnage and a bit on Obama's reaction to recent events in Gaza (he apparently doesn't have one and he also doesn't have any advice).
I have been wondering over these past few days about the reasons for the scale and horror of this attack. Are they simply bloodthirsty psychopaths driven by a radical ideology or a need for power and control? I have learned through reading excerpts from Political Ponerology that psychopaths will keep doing the same things over and over again as long as they have worked in the past. They are not really capable of predicting the complicated outcomes their actions may have. So, could this be just more of the same old, same old to them, just a bigger and better version? Is this, as has been suggested by many on the left, all about which politician can prove to the Israeli voters they are the biggest bad ass on the block? I don't have any good answers to those question but my suspicions are that they are doing this to provoke an attack from other Arab countries (ie. Iran or Syria). If you think about it, how awful must this be for Arabs in neighbouring countries to watch this. And they don't get the sanitized, rah rah Israel version of events that we in North America do. How can they sit back and allow this to happen? They are seeing the video below which is of the bombing of a Gaza street market. I believe the Israeli's said they were targeting a truck they suspected of carrying Hamas rockets. Turns out, it was just some guy who owns a welding shop moving some oxygen tanks that he was afraid would be looted from his business after his building was damaged when they bombed the Mosque next door. His son was killed in the attack.
How would you react to this if you were them?
Note: You Tube has already removed the video but it is still up on Google video as well as several other places including Blip TV and Muslim TV. I suspect the masters will be working overtime to scrub this footage from the internet. It is exactly the kind of coverage they won't want anyone in America or Israel to see.
UPDATE: From Glenn Greewald at Unclaimed Territory.
There's good reason to believe [this video footage is] not from a [recent]Israeli attack, but it's certainly reflective of the carnage in Gaza. It's much easier to undervalue the suffering imposed on The Other when you don't have to see it.
It may be from this 2005 incident.
The Israeli's did however use a drone to bomb the truck carrying oxygen tanks (mentioned above) which killed 8 people including the truck owner's son. One can imagine the carnage would be similar.
WARNING: This is extremely graphic footage!!!
Over the past few days, I've done a lot of reading on the ongoing massacre in Gaza. I was heartened to read a number of articles that were highly critical of the Israeli actions. (A commenter at Empire Burlesque highlighted a few of them at his blog, Disquiet Reservations.) I haven't been able to bring myself to watch or read any of the mainstream news coverage but after reading hundreds of comments I think I have managed to glean the major talking points. It really appears evident there is a small army of propagandists working this story. What I have read over and over (and over and over and over) from the pro Israel crowd is how Hamas has been lobbing rockets at some of the Israeli border towns that are situated near the Gaza strip and that they broke the ceasefire (which isn't true). They never mention these are towns that were built on land that was forcefully and brutally stolen from the Palestinians who are now imprisoned in that embattled hell hole. This is the 'supposed' justification for the Israeli actions. I am aware that everyone that reads this blog knows that is total bullshit however I found myself wondering about these rockets. As I know next to nothing about weapons, and there was so much talk about how Iran or Hezbollah or any other number of 'bad guys' are allegedly supplying Hamas with the material to make these things, I imagined they were a somewhat sophisticated weapon. I don't know what exactly I had in mind but I was astonished when I saw some of the pictures of these things. I read a comment by some Israeli official who admitted the rockets were more of a 'symbolic threat' than anything else and after seeing them I'm inclined to think that may be an understatement. They look like some kind of large fire cracker made out of stovepipes and scrap metal. I realize they have managed to kill or injure a few people with these things but it was interesting for me to note how effective the propaganda is in convincing people they are a major threat that must be countered by this horrific bombardment (using the latest and greatest US weaponry) of the people of Gaza. I imagine when most people hear the meme about the Hamas rocket 'barrages' they picture something much larger and more deadly than this.
On a different note, I watched the documentary Occupation 101 last night. I recommend taking the time to watch it. It does a good job of explaining some of the history of the occupation as well as showing what it has been like for the Palestinians to live under this brutal occupation.
You can watch it on Google Video here or in the comment below.
I embedded the video in the comments because it doesn't like my code for the pictures when I embed the video in this post using Full HTML.
The Maan News Agency a news agency from Palestine is reporting that thousands of leaflets have been dropped on the Gaza strip by Israeli airplanes asking the Palestinians to inform them of the whereabouts of rocket launchers in return for aid and assistance. I am a little dubious about the content (which I have pasted below) that they are reporting. I don't know anything about this news agency, however AP did report it was a major independent news agency in a 2007 article at Haaretz.com regarding the arrest of one of it's executives. Heres a link to the Wiki entry on it.
Dear people of the Gaza Strip,
Bear the responsibility for your fate!
The projectile launchers and the terrorist elements pose a threat on you and your families.
If you wish to provide help and assistance to your people in the sector, call the number below to provide us with the needed information.
The future of the massacre is in your hands
We will be glad to receive any information you have and it is not necessary to give us your personal information.
We will keep it as a secret.
Call us at the following number:
Or e-mail us at:
To provide us with any information on the terrorist factions.
Note: To protect your safety we ask you to be secretive when you call us.
Head of the Israeli defense forces
After months of a sickeningly brutal blockade, in which more than a million people have been deprived of life's essentials, the blockaders have escalated the "conflict".
The first wave of "retaliation" was a series of airstrikes in which -- according to reports -- 60 warplanes attacked 50 targets, killing more than 200 people and injuring at least 400 others.
You can read more here and/or comment below.
And please see this comment from McJ.
I have to be away for a couple of days, perhaps a bit less. I will rejoin you when conditions become more favorable; in the meantime please behave yourselves.
I could be talking about Predators attacking Pakistan, trying to root out extremism. But it's Christmas, and I'm talking about something else instead, just for a little while.
You can read it here and/or comment below, as usual.
Best wishes to you and yours, now and always.
I think I'm mostly feeling alienated from Christmas during the GWOT because of what goes on in church.
You can read the rest here and/or comment below.