Palestinian children hold hands as they walk past a destroyed mosque and houses after they were hit by an Israeli missile strike.
That isn’t exactly what The Associated Press said. But, when its W. Jerusalem bureau released the December 27 report titled ”Analysis: Hamas unlikely to be toppled,”  it is exactly what it meant.
Casual observers world news will read the headline and not question the editorial motive. After all, it is simply an objective “analysis” of the situation, or at least that’s how it appears. Besides, most readers will have no idea that an editor, and not a reporter, had ultimate say over the content and style of the report. So, for typical casual or disinterested readers, it’s on to the next headline because, furthermore, the typical reader rarely reads beyond the headline.
But, if the reader’s curiosity is piqued, or if he is generally interested in the subject, he will read further to what is known in journalistic lingo as the “lede” — the first one or two paragraphs in a news report, where the gist of the story is made evident:
Gaza’s deeply entrenched Hamas rulers won’t be easily toppled, even by Israel’s unprecedented bombings Saturday that killed more than 200 people, most of them men in Hamas uniform.
For now, Israel’s defense minister says he’s striving for a lesser, temporary objective — to deliver such a punishing blow to Hamas that the Islamic militants will halt rocket attacks on Israel.
From that, the typical reader will comprehend that: 1) Israel’s mission, and particularly its airstrikes on Gaza, while being “unprecedented” in scope, are not going to be enough to accomplish their objective, 2) the objective is to remove from power those pesky, and apparently unfit, rulers of Gaza, known as Hamas, 3) Hamas are “Islamic militants” who fire rockets into Israel for no apparent reason, thus triggering the Israeli mission, and therefore, 4) there is nothing morally or legally objectionable about the Israeli aggression, which has so far ”killed more than 200 people” — especially since “most of them” are reportedly Hamas personnel (those unfit militants who deserve to be ousted by aggression even if that aggression casues civilian casualties).
At this point, the typical reader may think, “hmm, oh well”; then go into his living room and turns on Fox News, Keith Olberman, or Dancing with the Stars to get his evening dumbing-down.
But the more-discerning reader, however, will be troubled by that lede. Not only does it conceal half the story, but also half the context, by: 1) taking the official Israeli perspective on things, and 2) omitting moral and legal implications of Israel’s actions.
But what is even worse is that those who typically never read past the lede comprise the vast majority of all consumers of AP content. Which may not seem so shocking until it is put into perspective.
AP claims that “on any given day, more than half the world’s population” gets its news from AP in one form or another. There are roughly six billion people inhabiting the world. That means that 3 billion people, at most, have access to AP content (reports, TV news, newspapers, etc.). But, let’s say that only half the world’s people are of age to adequately comprehend world news. That still makes three billion potential observers; half of which is 1½ billion readers and viewers getting their news from The Associated Press. Most likely, then, 1½–3 billion people get their news from AP, and thus are exposed to ”analysis” such as the above. And most of them are just typical readers who do not investigate much further than the headline and lede.
But perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves here, and being unfair to AP. Perhaps the editor intends to elaborate on the lede, providing context on the situation, and maybe several accounts from the non-Israeli point of view. So to be sure, let’s read on.
But Israel’s offensive, launched just six weeks before a general election in the Jewish state, is fraught with risks.
Sounds promising. Maybe the editor will now mention the human toll — perhaps the moral and legal implications of those ”more than 200 people” killed. That would pass as conscientious and objective ”analysis.” Let’s see:
The horrific TV images of dead and wounded Gazans are inflaming Arab public opinion, embarrassing moderate Arab regimes and weakening Hamas’ rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel also risks opening new fronts, including unrest that could destabilize the Abbas-ruled West Bank and possible rocket attacks by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas on northern Israel.
Hezbollah already proved its military prowess in its 2006 war with Israel, firing thousands of rockets. That war erupted while Israel was fighting in Gaza. Meanwhile, stone-throwing protests erupted across the West Bank on Saturday.
Nope. Conjecture-bolstering innuendo, and further pity for Israel.
Far from being cowed, Hamas leaders sounded defiant Saturday, and Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel. One Israeli was killed Saturday, and mounting Israeli casualties could turn Israeli public opinion against the offensive.
Nope. Not there.
“Once you set the ball rolling, you cannot determine where it is going to stop,” said Mouin Rabbani, a Jordan-based Mideast analyst.
Now, what should the 1½–3 billion of the world’s people who are exposed to AP content gather from that? That Israel’s unprecedented violence is bound to: 1) be a PR nightmare for the “Jewish state” and its “moderate” Arab allies, and will 2) cause further reprisals from various Arab entities other than those “Islamic militants” of Hamas.
How nice, that the AP editor has voiced the concern coming from those whose primary concern is the fate of the obviously indomitable state of Israel in the wake of reprisals, both physical and PR-wise.
But where is the editor’s reflection of the concern for the decidedly-weaker entities, like the more than one-million Palestinian civilians who are not armed to defend themselves against the aggression from Israel, the regional superpower? What are the moral and legal implications of what basically amounts to shooting turkeys in a barn?
Again, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Reading on:
Israeli leaders say they had no choice but to act.
How nice, once again, that the editor took up for the military-state whose leaders are under the threat of a PR nightmare. Continuing:
A truce between Israel and Hamas, which took effect in June, began unraveling in early November, following an Israeli cross-border raid in Gaza.
Now we’re getting some context. But what about the details of that “raid”? Were unarmed Palestinians beaten, killed, and kidnapped? Were vast swaths of farmland leveled, homes razed, and other private property destroyed and confiscated? Not according to the editor of this particular report.
Let’s give the editor one last chance to prove his credible and objective analytical prowess:
Since then, Gaza militants have fired scores of rockets. Israel held off on a major response, apparently in hopes that a new truce could be negotiated.
Indeed, Israel held off on “major responses”; but they did kill Palestinians on a near-daily basis, hypocritically declaring every last one of them “militant” or “terrorist” — a claim that is far from the truth. (In fact, several Gazan journalists and aspiring journalism students were peculiarly targeted.)
Furthermore, it may be “apparent” to the AP editor that Israel was merely hoping for peace. But reality belies such a naive (or contrived) “analysis.”
Yesterday’s carpet-bombing of the world’s most crowded territory on earth was planned for over six months; which means that the poor little state of Israel knew it would commit the aggression even before and during the Egyptian-brokered “peace talks” that broke down with the aforementioned Israeli raid.
Now, the very few typical readers who have made it to this point in the report, if they are shrewd and concerned about the truth, may begin to wonder, “What’s going on here? If, in fact, these ‘raids’ are truly intended to stop rocket fire into Israel, then why does the editor’s ‘analysis’ not put the contradiction to that very allegation in more-certain terms?” More-certain terms, that is, being legal, moral, and historical facts, as well as basic logic, such as:
— The state of Israel, being the occupying power, is under obligation to: 1) allow freedom of movement in and out of the territories it occupies, 2) ensure access to medical facilities, medicine, schooling, and worship — or at least not prevent it, and 3) withdraw, soon as possible (e.g., sooner than 41 years), all military and civilian populations from all territories conquered by war and occupied since.
Until those conditions are satisfied, violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli aggression is lawful, whether it carries the media-parroted label Hamas, Fatah, militant, terrorist, Islamic, or other — and whether the resisters are said to be intending to “destroy Israel” (an impossible goal for a “rag-tag” militia).
— In January 2006, the Palestinian people in Gaza AND the West Bank elected Hamas to be the parliamentary majority by a landslide vote. So, any attempt by Israel to violently emliminate the Hamas leadership and remove it from power is a naked act of illicit aggression, and flies in the face of those claiming Israeli motives of peace and the praise Israel receives for being a champion of democratic society. (In fact, all Israel has done since those elections is target Hamas officials, militant and non, and killed more Palestinians than the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians, by a staggering ratios.)
— Since the 2006 election of Hamas, the U.S., Israeli, Egyptian, and EU governments have been coalescing in the forced mass-starvation and slow-drip genocide of the Palestinians of Gaza. Nevertheless, AP would have its readers believe that the embargo, sanctions, denial of trade routes, and travel prohibitions only began in response to Hamas rocket attacks. Nor do they mention that the siege was merely intensified last June, after Hamas defeated the U.S.-Israeli-Fatah coup — another huge story hideously absent from AP’s “coverage.” Isreal began kidnapping, assassinating, and detaining non-militant members of the Hamas government and its supporters shortly after the elections — and bombed Gaza’s only power plant and other vital civilian infrastructure, including bridges, in its June ‘06 campaign known as “Summer Rains.”
So, suffice it to say that the editor has committed egregious malpractice by never bringing to the surface the moral and legal implications of the attempted Israeli toppling of Hamas so-casually pondered in the headline. Nor do they include even the most recent, vital contemporary history of the “conflict.” Just out of sheer morbid fascination, let’s read on:
Saturday’s strikes appeared aimed at hurting Hamas, while minimizing risk to Israeli forces. . . .
Yeah, and AP appears to be a legitimate source of news, free of political agenda. How much thought really had to go into that hackneyed line, anyway? It looks rather obvious that those alleged goals were accomplished. All Hamas outposts were destroyed, scores if not hundreds of Hamas employees were killed, and only two Israeli casualties have been suffered. Good thing we have an AP editor to give us this unique scoop on unfolding events. But what about Israel’s razing of schools, homes, a mosque, and a university?
By now, it should be rather obvious to the typical-turned-shrewd reader that the AP editor is serving as an Israeli propaganda agent.
However, Barak defined a narrow objective, to halt the rocket fire from Gaza, not to bring down Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist group.
Hamas, and nearly every Palestinian for that matter, considers Israel a terrorist state. Is that not newsworthy? Or are Palestinians not allowed to play the name-calling game?
Eighteen months after seizing Gaza by force, Hamas is in firm control and commands thousands of armed men.
Again, the lie about Hamas seizing Gaza by force, as if they were acting out of an unwarranted urge to overtake Palestinian society. And, are there are not hundreds of thousands of “armed men” in Israel? Armed with U.S.-supplied F-16s, tanks, Apache helicopters, AK-47s, and such? You know, all the adequate weapons of actual “self-defense” that are denied to Palestinians via U.S.-Israeli-Egyptian embargoes and trade-route seizures?
It is unlikely to be brought down by force, short of Israel reoccupying the territory. Israel doesn’t like that option because it doesn’t want to get bogged down in urban warfare.
Of course not. They prefer to fight like cowards, from armored vehicles 500 meters away, and from F-16s and unmanned drones 5,000 meters above.
“Israel is not looking for a knockout against Hamas because the costs are too high,” said Shlomo Brom, a former senior Israeli military official. “The purpose is to eventually return to a cease-fire.”
While far from being defeated, Hamas took a hit Saturday.
Hamas officials said all of the group’s security compounds were struck. The militants may eventually have to agree to a truce, perhaps even on lesser terms than the June cease-fire, just in order to rebuild.
However, the Gaza offensive also hurt Abbas, increasingly sidelined as a leader even before Saturday’s violence. The past year of peace talks with Israel has had no visible results. Meanwhile, Hamas has said it will no longer recognize Abbas as president after his four-year term ends next month.
Most Palestinians have never recognized him as the rightful president — especially since his clear decision to collude with the occupying Israeli state. His dissolution of the Palestinian government a year-and-a-half ago is neither constituted by Palestinian law nor recognized by most Palestinians. Like the U.S.-Israeli-Fatah coup against Hamas, AP never mentions these little morsels.
Abbas could not be seen Saturday as openly siding with Israel.
Kind of like AP could not be seen as openly shilling for Israel.
Abbas, who was in Saudi Arabia, was to return to the West Bank on Sunday. But he did little more than call for restraint, and his security forces clamped down on West Bank protests against Israel’s Gaza offensive, for fear they could spin out of control.
This is total hooey. Abbas the terror-thug has been “clamp[ing] down” on his own people with the assistance of the Israeli occupiers and their U.S. benefactors ever since he was installed to power in the West Bank by same entities.
“One of the victims (of the Gaza offensive) is President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority,” said Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib.
Perhaps, but even bigger victim has been the truth, thanks to state-worshiping “news” outlets like AP.
Don’t be a typical reader of world news; be shrewd, sceptical, and alert. Learn to spot the not-so-obvious deception and the angles taken by those claiming to be objective sources of news and information.
When you see a report like the current one (”Analysis: Hamas unlikely to be toppled”) you can expect it to be not much better than a think tank policy paper; for, while it appears to be honestly criticizing a government’s policy or action in the headline, by the time you read past the lede, it usually turns out to be PR damage-control for that same evil government.
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 apnews.myway.com//article/20081227/D95B8Q180.html. All block quotes are therefrom.