The Media and Gaza

At 19:00 GMT on November 21, 2012, the State of Israel and the militant and quasi-fundamentalist governing body of the Gaza Strip, Hamas, announced a ceasefire. This agreement, brokered by the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America, ended eight days of violence in this volatile corner of the Middle East.

Coined by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as Operation Pillar of Defense, the latest apparition of violence in the ongoing Gaza-Israel Conflict, involved continuous Israeli air-strikes against targets throughout Gaza City. One of the first air-strikes resulted in the death of Ahmed Jabari, the second-in command of the military wing of Hamas.  Throughout the duration of hostilities there were also numerous rocket attacks by Hamas into southern Isreal from cold war era Soviet GRAD ordinance, homemade Palestinian Qassam mid-range rockets; and Iranian made Fajr-5 long-range missiles. 

The mainstream media within the U.S. offered up around the clock coverage of the escalating violence, providing citizens of the Republic with news that some bloggers described as blatantly one-sided and ubiquitously pro-Israeli in its content.    

Human rights activist and blogger, Omar Baddar, opined on huffingtonpost.com on what he thought were the inexcusable flaws in American mainstream media coverage of the most recent armed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.  

According to Baddar, the mainstream media proliferated five “lies,” which greatly misconstrued the happenings in Gaza City. According to the blogger, these lies were Israel was forced to respond to rockets to defend Its citizens, Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties, the conflict is about Israeli security, Hamas is the problem and there is a viable military solution to the problem. 

It is important to note that the nature of Baddar’s career makes him a clearly biased source regarding ongoing Arab-Israeli confrontations. However, throughout his blog he does not hide his personal feelings and in the classic form of a skilled blogger, he backs up his statements with a large quantity of linking. 

These links, include an article from CNN, which attributes the most recent round of violence to an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas militants at IDF forces on November 10th. Baddar is incensed that CNN offered far less prominent coverage to a November 8th incident, where a Palestinian boy was killed in an Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip. This story appeared on the Palestinian wire-service Ma’an News Agency but failed to make the rounds on corporate sites in the same way, including CNN, subsequent stories regarding November violence in the area did.

In his critique of the mainstream media, Baddar points out that incendiary remarks made by prominent Israeli officials received far less airtime on american mainstream outlets than they did in foreign newspapers and independent online news sites. For example, the liberal British newspaper, The Independent, broke the story of Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, saying, “(the) goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Alternatively, The Huffington Post lead the way in following up on equally fiery remarks made by Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. In an op-ed, the younger Sharon stated, “We(Israel) need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza.”          

Additionally, Baddar, points to the independent online not-for-profit, The Electronic Intifadaas a website that is almost unknown within the United States, I had no idea it existed, and one that offers a Palestinian perspective on Arab-Israeli relations. Author, Ali Abunimah submitted a blog on November 15th to the website regarding his opinions why early efforts to reach a truce, in the week-long conflict’s infantile stages, fell through. 

As stated earlier, Baddar is an activist, an activist who has clearly not removed himself from the long-lasting conflict between Israel and Palestine. Nevertheless, while being thoroughly one-sided in his critique of the one-sided coverage in the mainstream media, Baddar illuminates the vast resources and bountiful perspectives available on alternative forms of media; from independent websites, quasi-independent in the case of Huff Post and foreign news services. 

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