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Mainstream media frames Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians as ‘retaliatory’

on 12 Comments

After 21 months of a one-way ceasefire, Israel is once again escalating attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, Israeli shelling killed Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old grandmother.

“My mum was killed while sitting peacefully in our farm,” her son Mohammed al-Amour told Middle East Eye’s Mohammed Omer.

Airstrikes in eastern Rafah also injured 21-year-old Khazima al-Farra.

Two days before, airstrikes on Gaza City injured three children and 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien.

In response to the recent Israeli attacks, Palestinian resistance groups have launched rockets and mortars, however, no injuries have been reported to Israeli soldiers or civilians.

Outside of Gaza, media outlets have finally broken a de facto vow of silence on Israeli attacks on the besieged enclave, however, they have been framed as retaliatory.

The Associated Press wire story was picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets. Here’s the headline: Israel Retaliates to Gaza Fire With Strikes on Hamas Targets.

The article makes no mention of the dead grandmother or any other casualties.

The escalation comes as the Israeli military is discovering tunnels dug by Gaza’s armed resistance groups. The tunnels proved to be a game-changer in the 51-day war in 2014, allowing for dramatic operations on military targets inside Israeli territory.  Israel claims to have developed new technology to locate the tunnels, however, no evidence or details of the technology have been provided.

The Shin Bet is in custody of Mahmoud Atuna, a high-ranking tunnel engineer, who it claims was captured when he climbed over the border fence to attack Israelis, armed with just two knives. But this narrative doesn’t add up. Why would an engineer with sensitive information about Gaza’s tunnel network attempt an attack himself, and why with just two knives? This raises suspicions that Atuna flipped and is collaborating with Israel, and the information he provided has prompted Israel’s current anti-tunnel operations.

While officials on both sides have expressed that they do not want another war, Israel’s ever-tightening siege and continued attacks on civilians make it an inevitable outcome in the near or distant future.

One way cease fire

As The Electronic Intifada’s Rania Khalek observed, The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont wrote that “Israel and Hamas have largely observed a ceasefire since the 2014 war.”

That’s a half-truth, at best.

Hamas, for its part, “has not fired a single bullet” into Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon boasted this February. “We’ve been enjoying unprecedented quiet.”

Israel, however, has broken the ceasefire regularly, with deadly results.

On October 10, 2015, Israeli forces shot more than 145 protesters inside Gaza, killing seven.

As demonstrations continued the following day, Israel killed two boys, aged 13 and 16.

That night, Israeli warplanes bombed a sleeping family, killing a pregnant mother and baby girl.

In March, 2016, fragments from Israeli airstrikes ripped through a home, killing 9-year-old Isra and 6-year-old Yassin Abu Khussa, and injuring a third child.

The same month, Israeli soldiers opened fire on a school east of Gaza City, narrowly missing any of the 33 students and lodging a bullet into a wall.

In December, 2015, Egyptian forces shot dead 28-year-old Ishaq Khalil Hassan who attempted to escape Gaza by sea.

During the four months I have spent in Gaza since the August, 2014 ceasefire, I have seen and heard Israeli gunfire on a daily basis. From land, sea and skies, gunfire, drones and warplanes are a near constant.

Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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12 Responses

  1. Egbert on May 6, 2016, 4:27 pm

    Retaliation? By Israel? I don’t buy it. Ordinary countries might retaliate, but Israel is ahead of that curve. It pre-retaliates for potential future actions against it.

  2. hoya saxa on May 6, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I like BDS failures that call someone who throws molotov cocktails and slings rocks a protester. Yeah, slight difference from what I think of when someone pickets in front of walgreens.

    HAmas fired mortars at Israel since Israel found a tunnel on their OWN property. I know you call this Israel’s aggression. You would be wrong. Sorry some people died. Next time dont fire on the IDF. So simple.

  3. Citizen on May 7, 2016, 3:29 am

    Depressing. All Americans ever get fed to them is Israel-defending-itself. Nothing about the provocations, what Israel does until finally HAMAS launches some puny rockets.

    • Kay24 on May 7, 2016, 8:53 am

      Agreed. It is not rocket science, all one has to do is look at the casualties and the weapons used on both sides, to realize who exactly is who needs to defend themselves from the aggressor.
      This is David and Goliath, and David is the occupied.

  4. lonely rico on May 7, 2016, 5:04 am

    Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old grandmother.
    “My mum was killed while sitting peacefully in our farm,”

    The most impoverished population in the world –

    Target practice for –
    “the most moral army in the world.”

    MSM lies and conceals,

    And we choose not to see, look aside.
    We are complicit in this savage criminality,
    enablers of this seemingly endless cruel insanity.

    • hoya saxa on May 7, 2016, 3:22 pm

      guess the palestinians should have said yes to a free state already and stopped embracing terror. Also not Israels fault if egypt hates palestinians and doesnt let them cross.

  5. Stogumber on May 7, 2016, 5:41 am

    In a way this is funny. I remember well that the German Zionist website “hagalil” some years ago complained that Israeli military acts were (by the German media!) always called retaliatory – in this way the German media would appeal to a traditional stereotype of Jews as vengeful.
    (In Germany the words for retaliation and revenge are nearly synonymous, and I suppose it’s the same in English.)
    And just then I thought: Wait! Isn’t the Israeli government itself callings his acts retaliatory?

    • MHughes976 on May 7, 2016, 12:26 pm

      ‘Retaliation’ is built of words meaning you react, not act first, and that you return like for like, ie observe a rule of proportion. Revenge has no such limitation. I remember someone saying that two phrases you never see in our objective and honest media are ‘Israeli gunmen’ and ‘Palestinian retaliation’.

  6. Talkback on May 7, 2016, 7:57 am

    At least the article(s) make clear that this is the view of Israel’s “defence” force.

    Btw. “retaliation” is a war crime.

  7. eljay on May 7, 2016, 7:58 am

    The “Jewish State” – a “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” – builds the barrel, stocks it with fish, waits until they get restless and then shoots them.

  8. Ian Berman on May 7, 2016, 10:28 am

    Has anyone seen a good timeline of the sequence of events. As I understand it, but I am still not sure based upon shoddy reporting, Israel entered Gazan territory first before any firing began. They did this just before Netanyahu visited the border.

    We would like to cover this in detail at Palestine 365, so your help would be appreciated.

  9. ahadhaadam on May 8, 2016, 11:15 am

    There is no doubt in my mind that what caused the recent flare up is Israel’s tunnel operations *inside* Gaza. Israel is not really known for respecting any borders, especially when it comes to Gaza, where there is no border but a concentration camp fence that includes a 300 yard death zone. It’s taken for granted that Israel is allowed to invade Gaza, shoot fishermen, blockade it, starve it, shoot protestors inside the ghetto with live ammunition, fly drones, etc. But any rocket fired by Hamas to these daily abuses is considered a “violation” and warrants “retaliation”…

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