Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israel Prevents Journalists From Entering Gaza To Prevent The Truth From Getting Out

In an open letter filed on behalf of 400 international reporters, the Tel-Aviv-based Foreign Press Association said:

"In an unprecedented restriction of press freedom, the Gaza Strip has been closed to the foreign press. As a result the world's media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time."

From The Real news Network /January 1, 2009
Rafah - Report from the ground

Fida Qishta of Rafah, Gaza describes the past few days as Israeli bombing kills hundreds

Condoleeza Rice On Gaza- Bush Regime's Propaganda Minister Warmongering

It should be noted Condi makes no mention of the Israeli sanctions and Siege of Gaza which began in 2007 has prevented the importation of food and medecine and other necessities into Gaza. Is it that because the people of Gaza are Palestinian or because they are Arabs or because they are mainly Muslims that to her and most Americans they don't count as being Human. She does not mention that it was Israel in November which breached the ceasefire first nor does she mention that some 400 Palestinians have been killed since last Saturday and only four Israeli have been killed. Nor does she mention that Hamas publicly offered to extend the ceasefire but it was Israel which refused to do so. Nor does she bother to mention that Israel has attacked boats trying to bring Humanitarian aid into Gaza. Nor does she bother to mention that Israel has not allowed jounalists to enter Gaza.

This is not surprising since the United States under Bush and Carter inflicted collective punishment on the people of Iraq for ten years before the Bush Regime invaded Iraq leading to the deaths of about one million Iraqis. During that conflict the Americans only allowed journalists into Iraq if they agreed to be embedded with American troops otherwise the US government would not guarantee their safety and US forces have been accused of firing on journalists in Iraq. The Americans like the Israelis dislike journalists who might give an alternative view on these conflicts from that of the US or Israeli governments biased propaganda.

And why would any reasonable person after eight years of the Bush Regime's lies and propaganda believe anything one of the administration's personnel has to say . Bush, Bolton ,Condi and the gang are just repeating their same old BS and " Staying the Course" since even now they believe they were right about everything they have done since Bush was first sworn into office. By going along with these criminals Obama is tarnishing his reputation before even getting into office. So the people of Gaza it would appear will get little or no sympathy from President-Elect Obama who appears to get all his info on the situation from the American Pro-Israel Mainstream Media.

and the Israeli government once again shows its contempt for the Press. Israel as usual is only in favor of a Free Press if it tows the Israeli Government's Party Line. Freedom of The Press does not extend to journalists who might in any way be seen as critical of Israeli policies and actions.

: "Killing the Messenger: Journalists Targeted in Gaza" by Jennifer Utz, Huffington Post on Jan. 2, 2009

Watch the broadcast media's live coverage of the current conflict in the Middle East, and you'll see correspondents doing stand-ups in Israeli cities like Jerusalem and Ashkelon. But virtually no reporters are actually on the front lines in Gaza.

That's because for nearly two months, the Israeli government has prevented foreign journalists from entering the territory.

In an open letter filed on behalf of 400 international reporters, the Tel-Aviv-based Foreign Press Association said:

"In an unprecedented restriction of press freedom, the Gaza Strip has been closed to the foreign press. As a result the world's media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time."

In a reassuring turn of events, the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to allow the international media into Gaza.

As a result, Israel must now allow up to 12 journalists to enter Gaza whenever it opens the Erez Crossing, the only passenger gateway into the territory.

Still, recent press freedom within Gaza is restricted and dangerous.

...A more frightening assault on press freedom is repeat behavior from Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon; Israel is once again using air strikes to target journalists.

On Sunday, the Gaza City headquarters of the Hamas-operated Al-Aqsa TV were bombed by Israeli Defense Forces.

In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement:

"Under international humanitarian law, journalists are entitled to the same protections as all civilians. We are the military's targeting of a media outlet. It is not permissible to target journalists even if their coverage is openly partisan."

Similarly, in the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli jets destroyed the five-story headquarters of Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

During that war, Israeli forces also singled out other media infrastructure; aerial attacks on telecommunications devices killed and injured people working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation and Tele-Liban.

On July 22, 2006, Israeli fighter aircraft chased a convoy of Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, and Al-Manar vehicles, and fired missiles on the road behind them, even though their cars were clearly marked 'Press' and 'TV."


"Israel Bans International Media from Gaza, Arrests Human Rights Activists" By CHERRIE HEYWOOD Middle East Times ,Nov.19,2008

GAZA CITY, Gaza -- Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza to cover the deteriorating humanitarian situation there as the country 's complete closure of the territory enters a third week.

Several groups of European parliamentarians were banned last week from passing through Israel's Erez border crossing into Gaza to assess the situation on the ground and to hold meetings with Hamas leaders.

Three international human rights activists were also forcibly arrested, by the Israeli navy, from Palestinian fishing vessels in Gaza's waters.

AP head, and Israeli Foreign Press Association chairman, Steven Gutkin said journalists had called him complaining of being refused entry since last week.

Since then, he said, the association had appealed to the government to allow access, with no success.

"We consider it a serious problem for freedom of the press. We think that journalists have to be placed in a special category. A blanket ban on people going into Gaza should not apply to journalists," Gutkin added.


"The truth about those Hamas rockets" By Dennis Rahkonen Online Journal Contributing Writer Jan 1, 2009

Five years ago, the Bush administration lied about weapons of mass destruction to dupe us into supporting an illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq.

A few days ago, Israel trotted out only an infinitesimally more credible excuse -- the Hamas rockets case -- as justification for its own murderous shock and awe in Gaza, a long-planned campaign perniciously aimed at ousting a “regime” that came to power via popular, democratic vote.

Yes, such rockets exist, but they’re little more than slingshots against Israel’s incredible military might, and they’re used out of desperation by Palestinians who’ve never been accorded the democratic space within which to gain redress of their eminently just grievances.

Israeli apologists have presented absurd propaganda about those devices.
...Conscientious Israelis acknowledge that the Hamas rockets rationale is fraudulent. For instance, Jerusalem Post writer Larry Derfner has noted, “We don’t want to see how people in Gaza are living, we block it out of our minds -- which, I suppose, is natural for a society at war, but which also keeps that war going longer than it might if we would recognize that Gaza is getting so much the worst of it.

“The [Palestinian] Kassam [rockets] have terrorized the 25,000 people in Sderot and its environs, but have caused very, very few deaths or serious wounds. By contrast, Israel has terrorized 1.5 million Gazans, locked them inside their awfully narrow borders, throttled their economy, and killed and seriously wounded thousands of them . . .

“This is crazy. Israel is the superpower of the Middle East, but because we still think we’re the Jews of Europe in the 1930s, or the Israelites under Pharaoh, we spend a lot more time fighting our enemies than we might if we looked at the whole picture, not just our half of it . . .”

"Gazans fight cold and hunger as supplies run dry" The,January 1, 2009

...Aside from the terror of the Israeli bombs, Gazans also have to contend with more insidious enemies: cold, hunger, and the risk of falling ill when almost all medical supplies have run out.

There has been no electricity for days, causing pumps to fail and water supplies to run dry. Toilets and showers are a forgotten luxury for a population merely trying to stay alive in a withering aerial blitz that has shocked even war-hardened Gazans.


...Cold, hungry and afraid, Gazans are directing their anger at their neighbours. “I blame the Arab countries first and foremost,” said Mr Hamed. “They are the once who have left us to our fate without any support. We are civilians, we have no hand in political disputes. We are the victims of both the siege and of politics.”

"9 Steps to Peace for Obama in the New Year"By Deepak Chopra, AlterNet. Jan. 1, 2009.

You have been elected by the first anti-war constituency since 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected after promising to end the Korean War. But ending a war isn't the same as bringing peace. America has been on a war footing since the day after Pearl Harbor, 67 years ago. We spend more on our military than the next 16 countries combined. If you have a vision of change that goes to the heart of this country's deep problems, ending our dependence on war is far more important than ending our dependency on foreign oil.

The most immediate changes are economic. Unless it can make as much money as war, peace doesn't stand a chance. Since aerospace and military technologies remain the United States' most destructive export, fostering wars around the world, what steps can we take to reverse that trend and build a peace-based economy?

1. Scale out arms dealing and make it illegal by the year 2020.

2. Write into every defense contract a requirement for a peacetime project.

3. Subsidize conversion of military companies to peaceful uses with tax incentives and direct funding.

4. Convert military bases to housing for the poor.

5. Phase out all foreign military bases.

6. Require military personnel to devote part of their time to rebuilding infrastructure.

7. Call a moratorium on future weapons technologies.

8. Reduce armaments like destroyers and submarines that have no use against terrorism and were intended to defend against a superpower enemy that no longer exists.

9. Fully fund social services and take the balance out of the defense and homeland security budgets.

These are just the beginning. We don't lack creativity in coping with change. Without a conversion of our present war economy to a peace economy, the high profits of the military-industrial complex ensures that it will never end.

also check out:

"Killing Without Consequences in Gaza"By Mustafa Qadri , Foreign Policy in Focus. Jan. 1, 2009.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Israel’s latest attack on Gaza was a pre-meditated attempt to destabilize the Hamas regime.

...The present conflict is the deadliest since Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank in the Six Day War of 1967. That is a surprising achievement given the bloody history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, particularly during the Palestinian uprisings, or intifadas, of 1987 and 2000.

Israel has targeted Hamas, but the vast majority of the casualties from its attacks have been civilian police officers, government workers, and other civilians. The Palestinian death toll currently stands at 350 while more than a thousand have sustained injuries. The figure is expected to increase as Israel’s bombardment continues. Since Monday morning, Israel’s navy has commenced bombing Gaza from the coast. Compounding the suffering is the fact that medical and other humanitarian supplies are in a dire state thanks to Israel’s three-year-old blockade of the territory. Half the population of Gaza, even before this most recent attack, was living below the poverty line.


It is becoming increasingly clear that Israel’s latest attack on Gaza was a pre-meditated attempt to destabilize the Hamas regime. The Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper recently revealed that even while it was negotiating a ceasefire, the Israeli government drew up a detailed plan to destroy Hamas in Gaza six months ago.

No member of the international community is more complicit in Israel’s crimes than the United States. The Bush White House was quick to blame the violence on Hamas even though Israel is responsible for the vast majority of the death and destruction. A spokesperson for President Bush described the movement as a bunch of “thugs.” Such statements legitimate Israeli aggression by dehumanizing a democratically elected government.

There is little hope, however, of a shift toward a more balanced U.S. role under President Barack Obama. Ever fearful of the powerful Israel lobby, he has gone to great lengths to prove his loyalty. “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night,” Obama said during a visit to Israel earlier this year, “I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that.” Sadly, that logic does not appear to apply to the Palestinians. According to the UN, 105 Palestinian children have been killed this year, thanks largely to Israeli forces armed and supported by the United States.

and from "Understanding the Gaza tragedy "by Richard Falk Huffington Post, Jan. 2,2008

For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel's 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.

Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel used its authority to prevent credible observers from giving accurate and truthful accounts of the dire humanitarian situation that had been already documented as producing severe declines in the physical condition and mental health of the Gazan population, especially noting malnutrition among children and the absence of treatment facilities for those suffering from a variety of diseases. The Israeli attacks were directed against a society already in grave condition after a blockade maintained during the prior 18 months.

also see: "Right and Left, Diaspora Jews more critical of Israel than ever"By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent,Jan.2, 2009

and so it goes,

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