Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Murder of Journaliss - The ‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’ Deliberately Targeted Palestinian Journalists

Mark Regev – the Goebbels of Israeli PR - justifies the murder of Palestinian journalists.  

Avital Leibovitch and Mark 'Goebbels' Regev.

Here is Mark Regev said, justifying Israel's bombing of Palestinian media buildings in Gaza:
“After a second Israeli attack on a media building in two days, this time killing two journalists, the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev explains to al-Jazeera English that because the journalists were Palestinian the Israel military considered them legitimate “targets.” Regev’s remarks were made just a few hours after the November 19, 2012 bombing of al-Shuruq Tower and another building used to house the offices of several media outlets, including both Palestinian and international networks.
Speaking to al-Jazeera, Regev said,
“We took out the target that we wanted to take out.” When pressed by al-Jazeera over the injuries of eight journalists the previous day, where one lost his leg, Regev continued:

    “Oh you’re talking about… oh first of all maybe we have a discussion about who is a journalist and if you’ll allow me I will elaborate on this. There is the al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas command and control facility, just as in other totalitarian regimes; the media is used by the regime for command and control and also for security purposes. From our point of view that’s not a legitimate journalist.”
Palestinian journalists protest at Israeli military attacks
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent then followed-up by asking, “So what are you saying? That a local Arab journalist life is any less than an internationalist journalist?”Apparently for Regev, yes, in Gaza there are no legitimate Palestinian journalists, only targets.”

It is one of the best examples of the police state nature of Western ‘democracies’ today that their military and leaders need to physically prevent opinions they don’t like being broadcast.

It is no surprise therefore than its war on ‘Hamas’ (for which substitute the Palestinians of Gaza) Israel targeted and bombed buildings housing journalists in Gaza.  The justification of Israeli  PR ghoul, Mark Regev, is not surprising.

Israeli aircraft hit two Gaza media buildings on Sunday, wounding eight journalists
Hamas , for better or worse, is the elected government in Gaza.  It runs the administration.  To therefore say one targets Hamas is to say that one targets any form of Gazan administration. It is also of course a lie.  Hamas runs schools, roads, sewerage plants (presumably also harbouring terrorists since they are regularly bombed) and much else, besides organising resistance to Israeli attacks. 

The purpose of the bombing was to return Gaza to the stone age.  Indeed this was exactly what Israel’s racist Interior and Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, of the religious medieval Shas Party said when he urged the Israeli military "to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages" and destroy its infrastructure.

Journalists aren’t part of the medieval society that Yishai aspires to.  He has presided over the sending back of asylum seekers to their torturers in Eritrea, established concentration camps for refugees in the Negev and admitted just one asylum seeker in the past year.

It is little wonder that Yishai has been praised by the holocaust denying British National Party, who can only gaze in wonder and appreciation that a ‘Jewish’ state has elected such a racist monster to high office. BNP praises Israel minister on foreigners.  Even the Zionist rag, the Jewish Chronicle has had to admit to that (see bnp praises israel minister foreigners) Martin Bright and Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

Of course there are good precedents.  George Bush bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul during the invasion of Afghanistan and discussed bombing Al Jazeera’s HQ in Quatar with Tony Blair. David Keogh, a civil servant at the Cabinet Office, and Leo O'Connor, a research assistant to former Labour MP Tony Clarke, (who disgracefully handed back the memo of a conversation between the two to Downing Street) was jailed under the Official Secrets Act 1989 for 6 and 3 months respectively, but not before the Daily Mirror had published the memo.
Palestinian journalists protest against Israeli attack on Gaza medi
It is an example of the attitude of Western leaders and war-makers to any version of the truth but their own.  In the above case, the BBC justified the Blair-Bush conversation as a ‘joke’, though as Andreas Whittam-Smith ex-editor of the Independent wrote, note-takers rarely record jokes.  Likewise the US attacked journalists in its savage attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.


Journalists demand UN probe into why Israel targeted them in Gaza

Jillian Kestler-D'Amours
The Electronic Intifada
Ramallah, 25 November 2012

Journalists in Hebron protest against deadly Israeli targeting of media in Gaza

(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)

RAMALLAH (IPS) - As people anxiously wait to see if the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will hold, local and international human rights groups are calling for investigations into Israeli human rights abuses committed during its eight-day assault on the Gaza Strip, including flagrant attacks on journalists.

“We want an international investigation into what happened in Gaza,” Abdal Nasser Najjar, chairman of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, said. “We want to put an end to this [Israeli] policy of killing and injuring journalists. There is no difference between a journalist: Israeli, Palestinian, or international. We want to do our jobs only, as journalists.”

In its most recent assault on the Gaza Strip, which Israel called Operation Pillar of Defense, 162 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,100 injured. Three Palestinian journalists were killed and more than a dozen injured in targeted Israeli air strikes.

According to MADA, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, the Israeli army has killed 18 journalists, including two foreign journalists, in the past decade.

They have classified journalists as enemies. They don’t want the world to know what they’re doing in Gaza, what the crimes of the Israeli soldiers are. I think they didn’t want the information to go from Gaza to outside,” Najjar, who is managing editor of the daily newspaper Al-Ayyam, said.

On 20 November, two Palestinian cameramen from al-Aqsa TV were killed instantly when an Israeli missile hit their car, which was reportedly marked with the letters “TV” in neon letters. The two journalists — Hussam Mohammed Salama, 30, and Mahmoud Ali al-Koumi, 29 — were on their way to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City to document the admission of injured Palestinians.

The same day, a third journalist, Mohamed Abu Aisha, director of al-Quds Educational Radio, was killed when a missile hit his car.

“Deliberate”

Reporters Without Borders called the Israeli attacks “deliberate” and, in a statement released Wednesday, stated that “journalists are entitled to the same protection as civilians and should not be regarded as military targets.”

Almost a dozen reporters were also injured when Israeli air strikes hit buildings housing local and foreign media offices in Gaza City on three separate occasions. These buildings housed the offices of al-Arabiya, Agence France Presse, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, and Russia Today, among others.

“We demand the United Nations set up a committee to carry out a full investigation into these attacks and take action against the Israeli government. Moreover, the international community must respond immediately to this heinous act,” Jim Boumelha, the president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said in a statement.

On 21 November, the Israeli military spokesperson’s office posted the following message on its official Twitter feed: “Warning to reporters in Gaza: stay away from Hamas operatives & facilities. Hamas, a terrorist group, will use you as human shields.”

The Israeli government also insinuated that since al-Aqsa TV — one of the media outlets targeted by the Israeli air strikes — is affiliated with Hamas, its employees are not real journalists.

There is the al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas command and control facility. Just as in other totalitarian regimes, the media is used by the regime for command and control and also for security purposes. From our point of view, that’s not a legitimate journalist,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev in a heated televised interview on Al Jazeera. “We don’t target journalists. We target Hamas,” Regev said.

“Just a pretext”

According to Issam Younes, director of the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Israel’s questioning of Palestinian journalistic standards is only a pretext to justify its destructive attacks on the Gaza Strip.

“Imagine if Hamas said that those commentators on [Israeli news stations] Channel 2 and Channel 10 are [Israeli intelligence agency] Shabak people, then they are legitimate targets for Hamas to attack? It’s just a pretext,” Younes said.

Movement in and out of the Gaza Strip is almost entirely controlled by Israel; Egypt operates the southern Rafah border crossing. At the start of its latest military offensive, Israel allowed the entry of dozens of international journalists into Gaza.

This was a change from past Israeli policies. During its 2008-09 military operation in Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, Israel barred the entry of foreign journalists into Gaza, and declared the Israel-Gaza boundary, including a two-kilometer zone inside present-day Israel, and large areas inside Gaza as “closed military zones.”

It also used extreme violence against local journalists who were documenting the three-week Israeli assault from inside Gaza.

Al-Aqsa TV’s Gaza offices were completely destroyed during the offensive, resulting in a financial loss of approximately six million dollars, and the offices of the weekly newspaper al-Risala were also damaged.

There aren’t any red lines anymore,” Younes said. “Everything might be a target, as long as there is this political cover and as long as [the Israelis] believe that they are immune, above the law, and can do whatever they want without being investigated.”

AFP Gaza office hit by Israeli strike, 3 Palestinian reporters killed in other attacks

One person was killed when Israel struck AFP’s Gaza bureau for the second time in two days. The IDF claimed the media buildings, which included the AFP bureau, were being used by Hamas to direct military operations, and were legitimate targets.

The IDF has targeted Gaza media buildings for three consecutive days as part of Israel’s ongoing ‘Pillar of Defense’ operation. On Tuesday, two Israeli strikes killed three Palestinian journalists. The building housing AFP was hit in another attack later, and no casualties were reported. A Wednesday attack on AFP’s building killed a two-year-old child.

"The child Abdul Rahman Majdi Naeem was martyred and another citizen was wounded in the targeting of the Naama building,"
Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

Mahmoud al-Koumi and Husam Salameh, camera operators for local TV station al-Aqsa, were killed in a car marked as a press vehicle near the al-Wihda towers in Gaza. Both journalists were 30 years old and had four children.

Two other al-Aqsa employees were wounded in the first strike. The second attack killed the director of al-Quds Educational Radio, Muhammad Abu Aisha, in his car.

A series of explosions followed by a widespread blackout were also reported near the Al Shorook building in Gaza, which houses several media outlets.

Later on, air strikes targeted two hotels in Gaza where reporters covering the Israeli assault were staying. No deaths were reported, but Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari was injured. Hugh Naylor of the National newspaper told Ma'an news agency said the blasts blew out windows in the Deira and Beach hotels.

Following Tuesday’s attacks, the IDF wrote on Twitter that its air forces “surgically targeted a Hamas operations center on the 7th floor of a media building in Gaza,” with a “direct hit confirmed.” The IDF also tweeted a warning to all journalists to stay away from Hamas facilities within Gaza territory, claiming that the group will use them as human shields.

The al-Qassam Brigades wrote back: “Warning to Israelis: Stay away from Israeli #IDF = #IOF, We just targeting Israeli soldiers, fighter jets, tanks and bases."

Israel's minister of incitement


Yishai has urged the IDF to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, and destroy the enclave's infrastructure.

Haaretz Editorial    Nov.20, 2012       

The public debate on Operation Pillar of Defense has been slightly more restrained than during similar operations in the past, giving the impression that Israeli society has matured and moderated. Interior Minister Eli Yishai is the notorious exception. In the past few days he has missed no opportunity to rant, rave and rile people up.

Yishai has urged the Israel Defense Forces "to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages" and destroy the enclave's infrastructure. Yishai supports a sweeping ground offensive in the Strip.

Of all the ministers, the one whose party represents a dark, medieval culture is inciting us to send Gaza back to those very days. Many of his party's elected officials and voters don't serve in the IDF, yet their leader is exhorting the IDF to get entangled in Gaza, kill and be killed.

Yishai isn't the only one making radical proposals. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and other politicians have said unacceptable things. But Yishai is the most prominent - he's a deputy prime minister.

Yishai makes these statements solely to curry favor with his voters. He has always done so, inciting and instigating, sowing hatred and fear against the migrants from Africa, gay people and other minorities. Society should have sent Yishai packing long ago. The prime minister also bears responsibility - he should have reprimanded his deputy. Yishai speaks for the government and the state.

Since 1948 Gaza has been a disaster area. Poverty, population density and misery ruin its residents' lives. Many of them are refugees - add to that the Israeli occupation, the severance from the West Bank and the blockade.

Destroying Gaza's already meager civil infrastructure isn't only inhuman and a war crime, it doesn't do Israel any good. Israel has tried it more than once. It has demolished roads and bridges, destroyed power stations and water supplies and turned the lives of Gaza's 1.5 million people into hell.

As a result, Hamas has only grown stronger, the people's suffering has worsened and with it the hatred for Israel. Israel should seek the complete opposite: Gaza's prosperity. So anyone who wants to "send Gaza back to the Middle Ages" is a despicable politician and a bad adviser.

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