Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AP: IDF tanks enter Gaza, carry out noble aggression

Israeli tanks manoeuvre near the Gaza Strip  before crossing into the Palestinian-controlled territory.

Israeli tanks manoeuvre near the Gaza Strip before crossing into the Palestinian-controlled territory. Photo: Reuters

Detain This

When tanks, bulldozers, and soldiers of a militarily dominant state roll into the territories of the people it occupies and dominates — destroying private property, livelihoods, and prospects for a secure peace — many terms could appropriately describe the act. Others are simply too flattering.

This morning’s AP headline of note out of Gaza City is titled ”Israeli tanks move into Gaza, level farmland,” wherein the first sentence tells us that ”Israeli tanks forged into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and intensifying violence that has chipped away at a tenuous cease-fire.” [1]

Hmm, let’s see. They entered Gaza in a hostile fashion and ”level[ed] farmland.” Ah. They didn’t destroy private property. Nope. They didn’t invade. Uh uh. They didn’t even allegedly or perhaps commit collective punishment or any other act of aggression. They did what had to be done, you see: they “forged,” as in forge on, young brave soldiers! One day we will be liberated from the tyranny of those peasants!

This is an appropriate use of the word forged: George Washington and his militia forged on with a seemingly impossible task of defeating the British empire. (It’s a terribly misleading word to use in describing a depraved or illegal act by an indomitably armed state against mostly unarmed individuals.)

The clever use of language is among the numerous propaganda tools in the corporate-state media arsenal. Others include omission of content and context, false or heavily distorted time-lines, and what one might call “playing dumb.” All of which are employed by the editor of the current AP report, which only gets worse as it wears on.

The sugar-coating of Israeli aggression continues as AP tells us that “[t]he Israeli military described the activity as ‘a routine operation to uncover explosive devices near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.’” How on earth that would justify trespassing and the leveling of farmland, we’re not told. But that’s playing dumb for ya: when a reporter gathers 2 and 2 but fails to make sense of why it doesn’t equal 4.

“Militant groups said they fired both mortars and rockets,” says AP, adding that “[t]he tanks did not respond to the Palestinian fire.” Well, of course they didn’t! Why waste rounds (or appear to initiate hostilities) when you have 1–3 feet of steel and dozens of armed comrades in full suppression mode, protecting you as you “forge” on?

“At least 17 militants have been killed since the truce began unraveling, and by the military’s count, militants have fired more than 140 rockets and mortars at Israel,” says AP, curiously omitting Palestinian civilian casualties; how the truce “began unraveling”; how many projectiles were fired by the IDF at Palestinians; and that there have been zero Israeli casualties.

What comes next goes beyond playing dumb. AP assures us that “[i]n an effort to squelch the rocket fire, Israel has kept cargo crossings into Gaza clamped shut for the most part, drastically restricting vital supplies.” Keep in mind that this is the AP editor — not Israeli officials — telling you that in order to plug the dam, holes are being drilled into it. You are expected to then believe that it’s an honest and effective attempt to fix the leak. (The genocidal blockades and ”security operations” into Gaza and the West Bank are the main reasons for the Palestinian violence; yet, Israel is tightening the blockade in order to bring calm?)

The distortions continue. “[A] small, Hamas-allied group said they consider the truce to have broken down, and Israel has threatened to hit hard if the rocket fire persists,” AP says. “Before the truce was reached, militants barraged Israel with near-daily rocket attacks, provoking sometimes harsh military retaliation that killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians.”

Again, there is no focus on why Palestinian entities consider the truce broken — only on the Palestinian response, which is spun, as always, into the root cause. Those “near-daily rocket attacks” were a direct response to exactly what Israel has done today as “covered” in the current report: invading Gaza and West Bank towns; leveling farmland; rounding up, kidnapping, beating, and murdering Palestinian farmers, women, and children; and demolishing their homes and other private property.

What a sick and maddening irony: AP has blatantly distorted the conflict time-line to conceal the same military-state atrocities being committed and allegedly being reported at the current point of the conflict, in the current report.

Countless and brazen are the ways corporate media will help loot Americans of billions each year to continue subsidizing such Nazi-like behavior from the U.S. government and its so-called best friends.

Don’t be conned.

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[1] All quotes attributed to AP are ibidem.

UPDATE: An updated version of the same report was released this evening (11∙18), with an altered title and lede, and more info. The title now is “Israeli tanks rumble into Gaza, raze farmlands,” and the word forged in the lede is now “pushed.” Two UN accounts of the humanitarian situation in Gaza were added. Link: (this link is now dead. 11-19-08 k)


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