Archive for February, 2009

More repulsive attacks from Israeli Ch 10

Posted in Media Watch with tags on February 27, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

er7230Haaretz
February, 25 2009

A contestant on Israel’s version of the hit reality show “Survivor” has sparked outrage among the country’s Arab population for naming his shoe “Mohammed” while mocking a former contestant.

The incident comes a few days after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a public apology for a skit on another of the shows on Channel 10 television, in which a late night TV host joked that Jesus had been too fat to walk on water and that his mother Mary had not been a virgin.

The incident comes a few days after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a public apology for a skit on another of the shows on Channel 10 television, in which a late night TV host joked that Jesus had been too fat to walk on water and that his mother Mary had not been a virgin.

A website affiliated with Channel 10, Nana10, carried a clip from the flagship show in which contestant Natan Beshevkin can be seen referring to his shoes as “Nasrin” and “Mohammed.” Nasrin was the name of an Israeli Arab contestant who was voted off early in the season, and who had clashed repeatedly on the show with Beshevkin.

In earlier episodes, Beshevkin, who lives on the settlement of Nili and served as a Border Police officer, was shown taunting Nasrin in Arabic. In the episode where the Haifa resident was voted off, Beshevkin told the show’s “tribal council”, that to him, Arabs were “the people who threw rocks at me when I was riding my bike as a kid.”

The Nana10 clip has been linked on Israeli Arab websites, and printed in Arab newspapers, drawing harsh responses from Israel’s Arab and Islamic community leaders.

Laemaker Sheikh Ibrahim Tzarzur called the clip a “degrading and ugly campaign” against the Prophet Mohammed. He accused Channel 10 of organizing a campaign against Islam and Christianity and of “playing with fire.”

MK Hannah Suweid (Hadash), who spoke to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz after the Channel 10 skit on Jesus, issued a harsh rebuke of Survivor, saying the two incidents are linked and show that “racism and incitement against Arabs” are permeating Israeli society.

Nana10 issued a statement Wednesday saying that “when people come to judge what is said on a reality show, they should remember that the genre depicts reality. Therefore, we have no intent to whitewash reality, even if what it shows isn’t perfect.”

Last week, Olmert issued a public apology to the Vatican after the “Tonight with Lior Shlein” aired a skit denying that Jesus had walked on water, and claiming that Mary had had sex with many men besides her husband. Shlein also apologized, after stating that the clip had been a response to the Vatican’s decision to annul the excommunication of a bishop who denied the events of the Holcaust.

This article can be found at:Reality show contestant calls his shoe ‘Mohammed’, angering Israel’s Arabs

More repulsive attacks from Israeli Ch 10

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Vatican, Catholic bishops and Hizbullah allied in condemnation of Israeli TV show

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on February 23, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

042707044049-hizbullah-customAgence France Presse
February 21, 2009

Catholic bishops in the Holy Land expressed outrage on Friday over what they called “repulsive attacks” on Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary after an Israeli TV program spoofed them. Hizbullah issued a statement on Thursday condemning the show. “We, the members of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land deplore and condemn with utter dismay the repulsive attacks on our lord Jesus Christ and on his mother, the blessed Virgin Mary, carried out on Channel 10 of the Israeli television,” a statement by the bishops said.

Hizbullah said it was “deeply concerned with the insults against the blessed Virgin Mary and one of our great prophets Jesus Christ.”

“Hizbullah puts this heinous offense in the hands of all defenders of human rights and freedom of belief,” it said. “Zionists should put an end to their racism and their ridicule of religious symbols.”

Earlier this week, the private channel broadcast a series of skits, one of which suggested the Virgin Mary “was impregnated at the age of 15 by a school friend.” Another said Jesus died at a young age “because he was fat” and that his excess weight would have made it impossible for him to walk on water.

In the program, Israeli comedian Yair Shlein joked that since Christians “deny the Holocaust, then I want to deny Christianity.” Following protests, he later apologized to Arab Israeli Christian dignitaries.

The bishops said they viewed “this recent incident in the larger context of continuous attacks against Christians throughout Israel over the years” and called for an official investigation.

“It is unconceivable that such incidents have to occur in Israel which hosts some of the holiest shrines of Christianity,” said the statement, signed by the Latin patriarch of Occupied Jerusalem as well as Armenian, Chaldean, Greek, Maronite and Syrian Catholic bishops.

The pontiff is scheduled to visit Israel in May. But the Vatican said Friday it has formally complained to the Israeli government over what it called an “offensive act of intolerance.” A statement from the Vatican press office said its representative in Israel complained to the government about the show, which was broadcast recently on private Channel 10, one of Israel’s three main TV stations. The statement said the government quickly assured the Holy See that it would intervene to interrupt the transmission and get the broadcaster to publicly apologize.

This article can be found at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=99529

Vatican, Catholic bishops and Hizbullah allied in condemnation of Israeli TV show

PROPAGANDA WATCH: TIME Magazine challenges Gaza death toll

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on February 18, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

2009021823395090_1In a February 18 article in TIME Magazine’s Middle East Blog entitled “Gaza Body Count: Were We Duped?”, Zionist propagandist Scott MacLeod hits new lows by suggesting that the massive Palestinian death toll during Israel’s recent Israeli war against the Gaza Strip may have been exaggerated by “Palestinian propaganda.”

The absurd charge does not deserve rebuttal. There’s more than enough proof — photographic and otherwise — of the unprecedented carnage in Gaza, most of it borne by the defenseless civilian population.

Nevertheless, we would remind Mr. MacLeod — as a propagandist for one party to the conflict — that he could become criminally liable if that party is found guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity by a legitimate court of law.

There is no question of the numbers — or innocence — of the more than 1300 Palestinians killed during Israel’s recent three-week-long onslaught in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, the following article attempts to apologize for Israeli blood-lust by casting doubt on those figures in the minds of the average reader, indirectly suggesting that Palestinian resistance faction Hamas “inflated the number of victims.”

Even though the author pretends to be neutral by appearing to distrust Palestinian casualty figures issued by the Israeli military, his intentions are obvious — one has to look no further than the article’s blatantly loaded title.

If you find yourself falling for the author’s pretended objectivity, just note the quote from the Talmud in the last paragraph: “One who destroys a single life destroys an entire world. One who saves a single life saves an entire world.” Anyone who knows their Talmud can tell you that the true reading of this phrase — which is also heard in the “Holocaust” propaganda piece “Schindler’s List” — is: “One who destroys a single Jewish life destroys an entire world. One who saves a single Jewish life saves an entire world.”
Gaza Body Count: Were We Duped?
TIME Magazine, Middle East Blog

February 18, 2009

By Scott MacLeod

Was the news media — and by extension, world public opinion — outrageously duped by Palestinian propaganda into exaggerating the number of casualties in the recent Gaza war and thus unjustly tarnishing Israel’s image? That’s the line of a report on Gaza casualties released this week by the Israel Defense Forces, prompting debates and questions in the blogosphere including among commenters on our Middle East Blog.

True, most news reports have relied on figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health or the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

On Jan. 19, Palestinian Ministry of Health figures put the number of dead at 1,314, including 522 women and children, or 39 percent of the total.

On Jan. 22, the PCHR reported that 1,285 people had been killed in the Gaza conflict, including 895 civilians, or 69.6 percent of the dead.

The IDF report on casualties first appeared in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Conducted by the IDF’s Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, the 200-page report identified more than 1,200 Palestinian deaths and listed casualties by name.

According to the Post, the CLA said “580 of these 1,200 had been conclusively ‘incriminated’ as members of Hamas and other terrorist groups.” The CLA said 300 were “non-combatants” — women, men over 65 and children aged 15 and under. The CLA said the remaining 320 were all men, and estimated that two-thirds were “terror operatives,” the Post said.

By this count, according to the CLA, one-third of the Palestinian death toll were civilians — not the two-thirds claimed by the PCHR. “World Duped by Hamas Death Count” read the Post headline on the story.

A controversy over the Gaza toll initially made international headlines on Jan. 22, right after the cessation of major hostilities, when Lorenzo Cremonesi, a reporter for Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper, published a report from Gaza disputing the Palestinian death count. Corriere quoted “a doctor” in Gaza’s Shifa hospital saying the death toll could not be more than 600, reporting that the dead mainly consisted of young Hamas fighters between 17-23 years old. The paper also said that local journalists knew about the fabrication and quizzed Hamas officials about why they were “inflating the numbers of victims.”

So were we duped? Have Corriere and the IDF managed to shine a light on the truth about the war that the rest of us didn’t see?

The media were largely dependent on the Palestinians for the casualty data. It’s worth remembering that Israeli authorities barred journalists access to Gaza until the end of the war, hindering independent accounts of the conflict and its effects. Information from one side can be wrong or even deliberately distorted. I can say, though, that I have high regard for PCHR director Raji Sourani, who I know from my many reporting trips into Gaza. He is a dedicated and courageous activist and recognized as such internationally. Certainly, Sourani is in the pocket of no government, having long tangled with Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike in his defense of human rights.

What is more important to note is that the Palestinian figures were effectively accepted and endorsed by independent organizations such as the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Israeli human rights groups. They effectively corroborated the Palestinian figures, not by doing independent body counts, but in most cases by closely observing the war on the ground in Gaza with scores of their own staff people. The ICRC, for example, had a dozen or so foreign staff working mainly in Gaza hospitals, and another few dozen Palestinian staff. Indeed, the CLA report itself basically corroborates the overall death count of 1,300 plus or minus — and indirectly dismisses the figures contained in the Jan. 22 report in Corriere as off base by half.

What the CLA is really disputing is the Palestinian claim of civilian deaths — two-thirds of the overall number killed. Such a figure is an indictment of Israel’s Gaza operations as well as of the IDF’s commitment to “purity of arms” — the doctrine that vows that “IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.” Some 200 groups including the Palestinian Authority have pressed the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate possible Israeli war crimes for alleged targeting of civilians and non-military buildings.

The issue of combatant deaths versus civilians deaths is murkier business than totaling the overall body count, even leaving aside the question of the methodology that enabled the CLA to “conclusively” identify 580 and inconclusively tag another 200 of the dead as terrorists. One problem is the conflicting definitions of combatant. Are you a combatant if you are a member of Hamas but do not carry arms? Are you a terrorist if you are not a member of Hamas but still went into the streets to defend your neighborhood against Israel’s incursion? The CLA appears to be using the loosest possible definition, which naturally maximizes the number fitting into the category.

“One civilian death is one too many,” said an ICRC official to me this week when I asked about the CLA’s casualty report. Yes, whether there were 895 civilian deaths in Gaza, or “only” 405, the number the CLA seems prepared to acknowledge, most people would agree that far, far too many civilians died and suffered during the brief but violent Gaza conflict.

Most people would include Israeli activists such as Rabbis for Human Rights, to whom I’ll give the last word. The group wanted to hold its annual retreat this year in Ashkelon, to show solidarity with the citizens of southern Israel who were under the bombardment of Hamas rockets. But military orders forbidding big gatherings that could result in large loss of life forced the retreat to be held elsewhere. During the conflict, RHR jointly published newspaper ads in Israel declaring: “Citizens are not cannon fodder — Not in Sderot and not in Gaza.”

In his RHR blog on Jan. 12 at the height of the war, Rabbi Arik Ascherman lamented, “During the first week or so of Cast Lead, we were told that the IDF was not harming citizens. It is perhaps a credit to Israelis that this is what they wanted to believe. However, as the numbers of dead children, reports of the IDF not allowing ambulances to get to the injured for days, etc. are gradually creeping into the Israeli press, the standard response has changed to ‘We have no choice.'”

At the end of RHR’s retreat, the rabbis issued a communique expressing deep distress at the loss of life on both sides. It also emphasized “the ultimate value of human life in the Jewish traditions: ‘One who destroys a single life destroys an entire world. One who saves a single life saves an entire world (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5).'”

The above article can be found at: http://mideast.blogs.time.com/2009/02/18/gaza-body-count-were-we-duped/

PROPAGANDA WATCH: TIME Magazine challenges Gaza death toll

9/11 activist killed in Buffalo plane crash; Israelis suspected onboard

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , on February 18, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090218014616495_1Sept. 11 widow, activist killed in Buffalo plane crash
The Associated Press

February 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — Up until the very last moments of her life, Sept. 11 widow Beverly Eckert poured her grief into action — pushing presidents, lawmakers and even herself to do more to make the country safer.

Eckert was on a commuter plane approaching the Buffalo airport Thursday night when it nose-dived into the ground, killing all aboard and one person on the ground.

President Barack Obama, speaking in the White House’s East Room Friday, said Eckert “was an inspiration to me and to so many others, and I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead.”

Just a week before her death, Eckert met with Obama at the White House as part of a group of 9/11 families and relatives of those killed in the bombing of the USS Cole, discussing how the new administration would handle terror suspects.

Eckert was traveling to Buffalo to celebrate what would have been her late husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday.

Former 9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer said her passing was “a profound loss for the country.”

The grim circumstances of her death were hard to accept, particularly for those who lost loved ones in the 2001 terror attacks.

“The fact that it was a plane crash, it was fire, it was reminiscent of 9/11 that way, that’s just very difficult,” said Carol Ashley, a retired schoolteacher from Long Island whose daughter died at the World Trade Center.

The women met after the 2001 attacks, and became active together on 9/11 family issues. Eckert’s husband — who was also her high school sweetheart — had been at work on the 98th floor of the south tower.

Eckert, 57, cried often when telling others about how her husband called her that morning from the burning building and said he loved her.

All of the women were grieving, but Eckert seemed unable or uninterested in holding back her tears.

She carried that grief to Congress as she advocated for better anti-terror efforts, part of a small group of widows, mothers, and children who played the roles of lobbyists.

She pushed for a 9/11 Commission. She pushed the Bush administration to provide more information to the commission. And when the commission’s work was over, she pushed Congress to adopt their recommendations.

Together, they forced lawmakers in 2004 to pass sweeping reforms of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

“I did all of this for Sean’s memory, I did it for him,” she said, crying once more. “There is a euphoria in knowing that we reached the top of the hill. … I just wanted Sean to come home from work. Maybe now, someone else’s Sean will get to come home.”

For Eckert, the public role was not easy.

One night after a long day at Congress, she found herself stuck in the New York City, without a connecting train to her home in Stamford, Connecticut.

“We slept in the train station,” she told The Associated Press in 2004. “We had no place else to go. That’s when you look at yourself and say, ‘What am I doing? How can we possibly get this done?'”

As Congress hemmed and hawed on the reform bill, Eckert said she’d sleep there, too, if necessary.

After the law passed, she turned her energies to Habitat for Humanity, helping build homes for low-income families.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, one of Eckert’s allies in Congress, called her “one of the most wonderful people I have ever known.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=6870225
Also note the following article, published on the same day:


50 killed in NY plane crash; 2 Israelis suspected onboard
Ynet (Israel), The Associated Press

February 13, 2009

Foreign Ministry inquires on whereabouts of two Israeli nationals suspected to have been on flight that crashed in Buffalo, leaving all passengers dead. Continental Airlines says no knowledge of Israelis aboard flight

Foreign Ministry sources following the plane crash in Buffalo, New York, which left 50 people dead, expressed concerns on Friday for the lives of two Israeli citizens who may have been onboard the aircraft.

The concerns arose after two families contacted the ministry after being unable to contact their loved ones.

The Israeli Consulate in New York is also involved in an effort to inquire for more details on the victims of the crash.

A Continental Airlines spokesperson said, “At this point, we have no knowledge of any Israelis onboard the plane.” However the Foreign Ministry stated that the airline had contacted the two Israelis’ families.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 flying from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey headed for Buffalo Niagara International Airport crashed into a house while coming in to land Thursday night.

The above article can be found at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3671312,00.html

9/11 activist killed in Buffalo plane crash; Israelis suspected onboard

S. Africa deputy FM: “Jewish money controls U.S., most western countries”

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on February 7, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090207160403517_1“Jewish money” buys minister a tongue lashing
AFP

January 29, 2009

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s deputy foreign minister has been taken before the national human rights body for allegedly saying that “Jewish money” controls the United States, officials said Thursday.

Fatima Hajaig allegedly told a political rally two weeks ago in Johannesburg that Jews “control America, no matter which government comes into power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush.”

“Their control of America, just like the control of most western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money,” she allegedly said.

Outraged by the remarks, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies — a civil rights group — said it filed a complaint Wednesday against Hajaig at the human rights commission.

“We submitted yesterday our formal complaint on the minister’s outrageous statement to the South African Human Rights Commission,” the head of the group, Zev Krengel, told AFP.

“That minister’s statement is incorrect, inflammatory and outrageous. We feel in our young democracy and in the 21st century, we should learn to respect each other and refrain from such anti-Semitic statements,” Krengel said.

The rights commission’s spokesman Vincent Moaga confirmed that the body had received the complaint, but could not give a timeline for processing it.

Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa declined to give details on the case, but told AFP that the South African government “has committed itself to fighting against all forms of racism, in all their ramifications, including anti-Semitism.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20090129122403225C966201
Also:

Jewish Board rejects Hajaig’s apology
The Independent Online

February 4, 2009

The row over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig refused to die after she issued an “unequivocal apology” — which the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) immediately rejected as very equivocal.

Hajaig apologized for any pain she may have caused to South Africans and particularly the Jewish community with her recent remarks about “Jewish money power” controlling the West. She denied that she was anti-Jewish though she admitted she had “conflated Zionist pressure with Jewish influence” in her controversial statement.

But the SAJBD said she had “failed to address, let alone repudiate” her “blatantly anti-Semitic sentiments” and so it was pressing ahead with a complaint against her for anti-Jewish hate speech which it laid last week with the SA Human Rights Commission.

However, some members of the Jewish community felt that Hajaig’s apology, even though “mealy-mouthed” should be accepted.

The row first blew up over Hajaig’s statement — at a pro-Palestinian rally in Lenasia on January 14 to protest the Israeli assault on Gaza — that the control of the US and most other Western countries was in the hands of “Jewish money”.

“Sometimes I feel that America and [its] people — and most of them don’t think anyway — are completely led by their nose, by the Israeli interests that surround the Zionists that are in America,” she was reported as saying then.

“They in fact control, no matter which government comes in to power, whether Republican or Democratic whether Barack Obama or George Bush, inclined to be the same, the control of America just like the control of most Western countries is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else.”

Hajaig has not denied making these remarks.

The SAJBD, the American Jewish Committee, the Democratic Alliance and other organizations condemned her remarks for playing into historic, racist stereotypes about Jews that had sometimes led to “tragic consequences”.

Hajaig said in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday, that she had been opposed to apartheid and all forms of racism — including anti-Semitism — all her life. But she had also been “cognizant of the immense suffering that the Palestinians have experienced” as a result of Israel action, including the recent Gaza war.

She had addressed this suffering in her Lenasia speech where she had also deplored “the attempts of Zionists to justify policies” including “unmitigated state violence directed against unarmed civilians; as much as I deplore indiscriminate attacks against Israeli unarmed civilians.

“At a singular point in my talk, and entirely unrelated to any South African community, I conflated Zionist pressure with Jewish influence. I regret the inference made by some, that I am anti-Jewish. I do not believe that the cause of the Palestinians is served by anti-Jewish racism.

“As a member of the South African government and a committed member of the ANC, I subscribe to the values and principles of non-racialism, and condemn without equivocation, all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism in all its manifestations and wherever it may occur.

“To the extent that my statement may have caused hurt and pain, I offer an unequivocal apology for the pain it may have caused to the people of our country, and the Jewish community in particular.”

But the SAJBD said in a statement in response that it was pressing ahead with its complaint to the SA Human Rights Commission against Hajaig. It said it had received no communication from her.

It said her statement “failed to address, let alone repudiate, the blatantly anti-Semitic sentiments originally expressed by her, but merely apologized for any hurt it might have caused to the Jewish community. The bulk of the statement, in fact, focused on the Middle East situation and Ms Hajiag’s viewpoints in this regard.

“It can only be concluded that Ms Hajaig stands by her previous statement that the United States and most other Western countries are controlled by Jewish money power. As such, her latest statement does not constitute an acceptable apology but, in fact, serves to compound the original insult to the Jewish world, the people of South Africa and the United States government.

“The SAJBD urges the South African government to unequivocally distance itself from the false, inflammatory and racially offensive allegations made by Deputy Minister Hajaig.”

SA Human Rights chairperson Jody Kollapan confirmed last night that he had received the complaint from the SAJBD and intended to meet the board’s leaders on Monday to discuss the complaint and the outcome they hoped for.

He declined to comment on the substance of the case.

The above article can be found at: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=6&art_id=vn20090204025403625C101393

S. Africa deputy FM: “Jewish money controls U.S., most western countries”

After Gaza, resistance reconsidered

Posted in Media Watch with tags , on February 3, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090203144213616_1Inter Press Service (IPS)
February 3, 2009

CAIRO — Despite declarations of victory by Israel, the military assault on the Gaza Strip failed to achieve its stated aims, many analysts say. The assault, and even its exceptional brutality, may only have vindicated the notion of resistance among the Arab public.

“The steadfastness of the resistance in Gaza in the face of Israeli military power has resuscitated the idea of armed resistance,” Gamal Fahmi, political analyst and managing editor of opposition weekly Al-Arabi Al-Nassiri told IPS.

From Dec. 27 to Jan. 17, Israel pounded targets throughout the Gaza Strip from air, land and sea, in ostensible retaliation for rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian resistance factions, chief among them Hamas. The latter two weeks of the campaign brought a parallel ground offensive that encountered fierce resistance in and around a number of population centers.

The campaign only came to a close — albeit an uncertain one — following Israel’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire Jan. 17. The next day, Palestinian resistance factions also announced a temporary cessation of hostilities, but not before launching several rocket salvoes at targets inside Israel.

Over the course of the following week, Israel gradually withdrew its ground forces from the Gaza Strip. When the dust settled, more than 1,300 Gazans lay dead, mostly women and children. Thousands were injured.

Israeli military officials hastened to declare the operation a success. Some Egyptian commentators, however, say that despite the high civilian death toll and infrastructural damage the conflict represented a strategic victory for the Palestinian resistance.

“Victory in war isn’t determined by casualty rates but by the achievement of war aims,” Abdelhalim Kandil, political analyst and editor-in-chief of independent weekly Sout Al-Umma wrote Monday (Jan. 26). “And Israel failed to achieve its stated aims after more than three weeks of punishing Gaza.”

He said Israel’s ‘unilateral ceasefire’ — for which Israel received nothing in return from the Hamas-led resistance — was unprecedented in the history of Israeli war-making. “The resistance called its own ceasefire one day later, but not before demonstrating that its capacity for launching rockets at Israel remained intact,” Kandil wrote.

Gamal Mazloum, former Egyptian Army general, said Israel’s stated war objectives changed more than once mid-campaign.

“Over the course of the conflict, Israeli officials went from saying that the goal of the operation was ‘removing’ Hamas, to ‘degrading’ its rocket-launching capacity, to ‘teaching Hamas a lesson’,” Mazloum told IPS. “But the unexpected steadfastness of the resistance forced them to conclude operations without achieving any of these. Now Israel says its chief aim is to ‘cut off weapons smuggling’ to Gaza.”

According to Hamas officials, Israel’s real objective was clear from the outset.

“The reason for Israel’s aggression is to change the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip,” Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook was quoted as saying during the conflict Jan. 13. “They have been thinking about this ever since Hamas won the elections.”

This was not the first attempt at forcible removal of the resistance group.

Shortly after Hamas’s surprise victory in the 2006 legislative elections, the U.S. covertly armed and trained elements of the Palestinian Fatah movement, Hamas’s secular rival, with the aim of wiping out the Hamas leadership in Gaza in one fell swoop. Based in the West Bank, Fatah currently heads the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the leadership of western-backed PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The scheme, coordinated by U.S. Lt-Gen Keith Dayton and Fatah strongman Mohamed Dahlan, later became known as the Dayton Plan.

But after learning of the plot in mid-June 2007, Hamas preemptively routed its Fatah adversaries and seized control of Gaza. Hamas has maintained control of the Gaza Strip ever since. As a result, Gaza has been subject to an internationally-sanctioned embargo that has brought it to humanitarian ruin.

Hamas officials say that Israel’s latest assault was simply an attempt to finish the job that Fatah — with U.S. and Israeli support — failed to do in 2007.

“They tried to push Fatah to stand and fight Hamas, but we defeated them in the Gaza Strip,” Marzouk said in a reference to the failed Dayton plot. “So Israel took action themselves.”

Several commentators agree that both campaigns had the same objective — namely, the obliteration of Hamas. “Both the Dayton Plan and Israel’s recent war aimed — and failed — to remove Hamas from power in Gaza,” said Mazloum.

Despite the Dayton Plan’s significance in the chronology of the conflict, it is seldom referred to in current reporting by the western mainstream media.

“The Dayton affair is largely ignored — but then facts concerning Palestine are always subject to deceptions and disinformation in the western media,” Fahmi said. “The western press also rarely mentions that Hamas won democratic elections in 2006, or the extent of corruption in the PA.”

Along with Israel’s failure to achieve its stated war aims, commentators note that the war on Gaza — horrific images of which have been transmitted around the world — represented a public relations catastrophe for Israel.

“The war revealed Israeli criminality to the entire world,” said Fahmi. “It also served to put the Palestinian cause back on the conscience of the international community.”

“Israel’s image is now at an all-time low,” said Mazloum, pointing to the massive demonstrations worldwide in solidarity with Gaza. “Israel is already suffering from the effects of this crisis, politically, economically and socially.”

Mazloum attributed Israel’s uncharacteristic unilateral ceasefire declaration to mounting worldwide outrage over its assault on Gaza’s largely defenseless civilian population.

“There was an unprecedented explosion of popular rage in the Arab world, which put most Arab governments under tremendous pressure and could have led to serious regional escalations,” said Mazloum. “The blatant carnage also eventually led to pressure on Israel by the international community to stop the aggression.”

Both domestically and regionally, he said, Hamas was already reaping the fruits of what amounted to a political victory.

“Both in Gaza and the Fatah-controlled West Bank, the people have rallied around Hamas as defender of the Palestinian cause,” said Mazloum. “And on the regional level, Hamas proved its staying power and showed it cannot be simply removed from the equation. Egypt, for one, will now have no choice but to deal with Hamas as a political reality.”

According to Fahmi, the most notable outcome has been a resurgence of the notion of armed resistance to Israel — after some 30 years of fruitless negotiations.

“Resistance doesn’t mean irrational violence devoid of political considerations, as its detractors would suggest,” he said. “On the contrary, it is — particularly in the face of brutal occupation — the only logical choice.”
The above article can be found at: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45651

After Gaza, resistance reconsidered