Saturday, November 17, 2012

Frustrated with News Coverage of Israel's Attack on Gaza

Three interesting items:

  • Kai Staats, son of Linda Staats, who is part of the Rocky Mountain Synod staff, is working in Jerusalem with Bishop Mounib Younan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, as the Interim Communications Director for the ELCJHL and assistant to Bishop Younan, on a 3-4 month contract. Kai is a lay person with a background in business and web development. His mom describes him as a “general entreperneur/inventor ….a world traveler, creative thinker and writer.” She put me in touch with the blog he is writing about his experiences in the Holy Land and all he is learning. His recent posts tell his story of living in Jerusalem as rockets and fighter jets are overhead:     
I’m personally struck by the disparity in how the news is reported about the attacks on Gazans and the attacks on Israelis. The blame for Israel’s attack falls on Hamas. I haven’t heard reporters question Israel’s assertion that Hamas is responsible for Israel’s attacks. What is missing in these reports is Israel’s everyday harassment and airstrikes on Gaza or information about the Gazan farmers, fishermen and children killed over the last month by Israeli military.

Reporters let Israeli spokespersons get away with claiming that they are only defending themselves. The only broadcast I’ve seen/heard on mainstream US media outlets that has mentioned the occupation as the cause of the current violence was Piers Morgan’s interview with Hannan Ashrawi last night. But in his interview with Michael Oren a few moments earlier he let the Israeli ambassador go unchallenged when he blamed the Gazans for Israel’s attacks.

The story I’m hearing on the US news is that Israel is only defending themselves—in spite of their airstrikes and bombs, they are seen as the helpless victims, while Hamas is the aggressor. I am frustrated that no reporters are investigating Israel’s stranglehold on Gaza—how the blockade is the primary reason Gazans are suffering, unable to import or export goods. In 2009-10, Israel destroyed their infrastructure—electrical plants, schools, government buildings. And since 2010, in spite of Ambassador Oren’s assertion that Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, Israel continues to control its borders, refusing to allow building materials through the checkpoints.

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