Juan Cole On Gaza

By the way, Israel has just invaded Gaza several hours ago and are now occupying a small part of Northern Gaza. More on that later in the post.
Juan Cole makes a number of interesting points about the Gaza operation and its coverage.
Cole notes that American International School in Gaza sustained a direct hit from Israeli artillery. I assume that it was intentional. This school is working to promote good relations between the US and Palestinians. Hmmm.
Cole questions, quoting Jonathan Freedman, one again, what the whole invasion was all about. If Israel could not crush Hamas when they controlled Gaza, how do they hope to do so now when they are only going to make a temporary incursion into a few parts of it?
Most interesting of all was Cole’s account of watching CNN, or as a friend of mine calls it, ZNN (Zionist News Network).
CNN was interviewing Saeb Erekat, the PLO spokesperson. Cole noted that this was the first time he had seen a Palestinian spokesman on TV all week – it was all  Israelis, all the time. They had just started an interview with Erekat when ZNN suddenly switched to Ben Weideman (sure, he’s Jewish) in Jerusalem detailing the “task Israel has before it now.” They never did get back to Erekat.
Later, ZNN did an interview with Mustafa Bargouti, who complained that ZNN’s coverage of the war was completely one-sided. He has such a thick accent that it is hard to understand him. Cole pointed out how Israeli commenters always seem to be quite understandable. Cole wonders whether the media can’t find a Palestinian who speaks good enough English so he’s understandable to an American audience.
Interesting the subtle and not so subtle ways that pro-Israeli bias works in the US media.
What’s funny is that a lot of pro-Israeli Jews like to scream about how the US media is so lopsided in favor of the Palestinians. Yeah right! I do agree with them about the European media though. Just looking at the British media the other day, or at least the Independent and the Guardian, they are not pro-Israel at all. I would say that they are anti-Israel.
From the Palestinian side, some really biased and pro-Pallie fire-breathing coverage is available from the PFLP English site. You can get some great coverage of the war there too, albeit from a wildly pro-Pallie perspective.
According to the PFLP, the IDF has sustained casualties in the early hours of the offensive. They report that an IDF tank has been hit by a roadside bomb and that the IDF moved into Gaza in three different places. They are also claiming the use of cluster bombs and say that the IDF hit gas storage depots which is causing big fires.
Hamas says that they have killed a group of Israeli forces in Eastern Gaza. This was reported on the Arab Al-Arabiya news channel. There is no confirmation of this yet.
The Jerusalem Post agrees that there have been 30 IDF troops wounded in the early hours of the offensive in heavy fighting with dug-in Palestinian forces on the border. The IDF claims to have killed 30 Palestinian fighters so far, and another report says they have killed dozens of fighters. Palestinian sources report 3 fighters have been killed so far.
One thing that is pretty cool about the PFLP site is that it gives the lie to the notion that everyone fighting Israel is an “Islamofascist” or even a Muslim. The PFLP are very secular people, and in many cases, it’s not even accurate to call them Muslims. They’re about as Muslim as the average Israeli is Jewish.
Another thing that the PFLP site makes clear is that it is not just Hamas that is fighting Israel in this Gaza War.
The PFLP, in the form of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade (PLO splitoff), Seraya Al-Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, and the An-Nasser Salah al-din Brigades, affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees, the National Resistance Brigades – the armed wing of the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of  Palestine), the Al-Mujahedin Brigades, an armed faction of Fatah, the Eagles of Palestine, a previously unknown group, in addition to the Izzadeen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, are all participating in the fighting, so it’s not all just “Hamas”.
It’s useful to note that the PFLP reports that they too are shooting rockets at Israeli towns, so when you hear about rockets being fired at Israel, it’s not all “Hamas”.
According to Debka (about as wildly pro-IDF as the PFLP site is wildly pro-Pallie), the Palestinians plan to evacuate much of Gaza and collect inside Gaza City. No way is the IDF going to occupy Gaza City. Then they will move out of Gaza City at night to carry out attacks on the IDF. That instead of holding out and fighting to the last man in every part of Gaza. That’s probably a pretty smart way to fight the war.
The rocket barrages have hit into areas of Israel that to my knowledge have not been hit before. They hit Netivot and Ofaqim in the Negev, and incredibly hit all the way to Beersheba. To the north, they hit Askelon and Lakhish to the east of Kiryat Gat. They hit Ashdod and Gan Yavne to the east of Ashdod. The furthest target of all to be hit was Gedera. In general, these rockets caused little damage or casualties. That is because they are inherently inaccurate.
However, recently, rockets have made direct hits on buildings in Ashdod and other towns. In Ashdod, a six-floor building received a direct hit.

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3 thoughts on “Juan Cole On Gaza”

  1. “I do agree with them about the European media though. Just looking at the British media the other day, or at least the Independent and the Guardian, they are not pro-Israel at all. I would say that they are anti-Israel.”
    The European media biased against Israel? Pull the other one. The Guardian and Independent are hardly representative; they represent the extreme left of mainstream ‘discourse’, which amounts to some bland ‘liberal’ pieces in the op/ed pages and the letters – you know the sort of thing ” I’m not an antisemite, I love jews, they’re the wisest kindest, cleverst people, in fact they’re the only real humans and they should rule the world, but I think they could be a bit kinder to those Palestinian wogs even though they’re woman-beating terrorist scum’. I realise you can’t even get as liberal as that in fascist America, but basically the Guardian and Independent are far-right neoliberal propaganda sheets that let in a bit of pseudo-left bullshit to get the message across to a certain demographic, mostly public service professionals. The rest of the media is nauseating, the BBC being the worst. Three recent studies, by the Glasgow University Media Group (see their essential study ‘ Bad News from Israel), Cardiff University ( I think), and the BBC itself, showed enormous pro-Israel bias in the BBC’s coverage – the BBC rejected the findings of course.
    Anyway, how can you be biased AGAINST Israel? If you have a nodding acquaintance with the facts, you’d have to be a raving nazi, NOT to be against Israel.

  2. The fact is that Israel was right in her reaction to 8 years of Hamas terror and aggression. You see, until now there is quite a silence from the Hamas. Just one rocket a week and not 50 a day, and even the one and only is against the mail leading Hamas terror!!!
    So Israel was right by reacting with minimum needed force against overwhelming Islami terror!!!!
    Allahu Akhbar !!!!!!

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