“In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour,” Olmert said. “I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me. “I told him the United States could not vote in favour. It cannot vote in favour of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favour.”
So who’s wagging who here, exactly?
Aside these minor considerations, it’s business as usual in ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’: two Palestinian reporters are brought before a military tribunal for ‘violating a censorship decree during wartime‘. Do note that Israel has been at war – and under martial law and military censorship – since its foundation in 1948. Foreign journalists in Israel are routinely required to submit their articles to IDF censors before dispatching them, amd foreign journalists are still denied entry into Gaza after 19 days of massacres, a measure that places Israel right down there with other rogue states like Birma and the US. (Note also that the Jerusalem post still insists on calling Palestinians ‘Jerusalem Arabs’. There has never been a people called ‘the Palestinians’ after all. Oh no…) In another unsurprising move, the electoral council in the same country has just banned both Israeli Arab parties from participating in the upcoming elections…
Meanwhile, a (very) few sane Israelis continue to be more critical of their government and army’s actions than any western journalist and commentator. Listen to Uri Avnery: ‘Nearly 70 years ago, in the course of the Second World War, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centres. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands. Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz. This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.
Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in Israeli media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas “terrorists” use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave Israel no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to Israel’s deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured. In this war, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp. The rationale of the Israeli government (“The state must defend its citizens against the Qassam rockets”) has been accepted as the whole truth. The view from the other side, that the Qassams are a retaliation for the siege that starves the one and a half million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, was not mentioned at all.’ (From the article ‘Israel’s war of lies, deceit and propaganda‘)