Thursday, January 1, 2009

AP: Israeli sorties target Gaza mosques—Amen!

Just when you thought The Associated Press couldn't be more callously unethical — more legally- and morally-dismissive — in its reporting of the criminally depraved Israeli carpet-bombing of Palestinians in Gaza, they outdo themselves.

[I]t is prohibited to commit any acts of hostility directed against historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples, and to use them in support of the military effort.
Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Part IV, Article 16

On December 28, AP reported that Israel was targeting "symbols of Hamas' power." And what did AP mean by that? Mosques, schools, homes, universities, etc. According to AP, this was just fine and dandy because those targets were legitimate ones. And how did they know it? Israeli officials told them so.

Yesterday, December 31, buried in a report titled "Israel moves forward and sends more troops to Gaza," AP reported that on Wednesday, Israel had targeted and "leveled . . . the fifth mosque hit in the campaign." But to AP, this was no big deal. Why? "The Israeli military . . . said that it was being used as a missile storage site and that the bombs dropped on it set off secondary explosions." [1] (Which is exactly what Israeli officials say every time they target a civilian object — an act prosecutable by death or life imprisonment. And AP takes it as Gospel.)

Today's early morning headline reads: "Israel targets Gaza mosques used by Hamas." As in all AP's reportage on Israel's massacre on Gaza, you will not find one word of morally- or legally-grounded indignation on the part of the AP editor or from an independent, third-party source, such as a representative of a charitable or humanitarian organization or an expert in international law. And why not?

Well, because:

[Yuval] Diskin, the Israeli security services chief, said Hamas [and] . . . [o]ther militants were hiding in Gaza hospitals, some disguised as doctors and nurses, and in mosques, where militants had set up command and control centers, Diskin said. [2]

And that's the Gospel.

Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population such as food-stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of food-stuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.
–Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Part IV, Article 13

Throughout their "coverage" of Israel's overt genocide on the Palestinians of Gaza, AP has reported on the Israeli military's destruction of smuggling tunnels used by Hamas and other "militants" (to AP and Israel, all Palestinians are "militants"). Like those universities, mosques, etc., the tunnels were simply more "symbols of Hamas' power." But yesterday, it appeared that AP was coming around.

In "Gaza's tunnel economy collapses in bombing raids," the lede read thus:

The Gaza Strip has lost its last lifeline after five days of Israeli bombing raids that destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels under the sandy border with Egypt.

The passages did not just supply Hamas with arms, but brought in flour, fuel and baby milk. For Gazans, already used to blackouts and shortages from an 18-month border blockade, the daily hunt for basics is ever more desperate - though there are no reports of outright hunger. [3]

And so perhaps things were beginning to turn for the better. Perhaps AP was shedding its callous and pig-thick skin to reveal its human, conscientious, tell-the-truth-come-what-may side. Which, in journalistic lingo, is commonly referred to as "journalism."

Unfortunately for the fool-hardy, it was a façade. AP deemed those "last lifelines" thus:

Israeli warplanes pounded the illicit tunnels as a part of the heavy bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza that began Saturday. The hundreds of tunnels were seen as key to keeping Hamas in power.

Again, these were "objects of Hamas' rule," and therefore legitimate targets, according to "the world's most trusted source of independent news and information" and "the most moral army in the world."

But perhaps you're not yet convinced that The Associated Press is colluding with the Middle East's indomitable, military-state superpower in its unquestionably immoral and illicit aggression upon defenseless human beings. Maybe the evidence heretofore is not enough. Okay, then. Let's go back to that last block quote and examine the last part of the last sentence:

[T]here are no reports of outright hunger.

If, after reading that, you were shown third-party, independent, or even mainstream British media accounts overwhelmingly to the contrary, would you then be convinced? No? Okay. Let's try the historical perspective/double-standard approach.

When news reports of ethnic cleansing, political and religious persecution, and overall collective punishment of Jews and other "non-Aryan" and dissident groups at the hands of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich began to surface in the mainstream press, the Führer's regime became the target of sanctions, boycotts, and so on, by citizens' groups and states alike. International bankers who once financed the Reich began withdrawing support, and through the eventual financial strangulation and subsequently diminished military wherewithal, the German state was defeated, and soon thereafter the Reich's political victims were freed.

But imagine if the international bankers never relinquished their financial support for the Reich. Imagine if, instead, the British empire and the United States were giving unprecedented amounts of military and financial aid to the Third Reich and constantly declaring unwavering support for their "greatest ally" and "best friends in the war on (Jewish and anti-Reich) terror"? And what if your country, which was party to the inhumanity, was also taxing you to subsidize it?

Moreover, what if your country's mainstream media were reporting the policies and actions of those governments without offering even a hint of moral and legal objection on their part or the part of independent sources? What if, instead, the world's largest news agencies tacitly approved of it all? Would you have been outraged then?

If not, well, you're probably a perfect candidate for an editorial position at The Associated Press.

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3. Emphasis added.

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