Friday, January 9, 2009

AP's Chronological Disorder: Israel-Gaza Edition

Every so often, in the effort to keep readers "well-informed" on major ongoing conflicts, The Associated Press releases what they typically refer to as a "chronology of events."

The following rundown seeks to correct the latest such propaganda-packed 'pologia: "Chronology of Israel's relationship with Gaza." [1]

- June 1967: Israel captures the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip during six-day Mideast war. An Israeli census put the population at 380,000, at least half of whom were refugees from Israel. Today the population stands at about 1.5 million. The U.N. lists just over 1 million as refugees and their descendants.

June 1967: Israel launches preemptive war against Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Parts of Syria (Golan Heights), Jordan (West Bank/Jerusalem), and Egypt (Gaza Strip) are invaded, conquered, and seized by the IDF. In violation of international law, Israel begins building "settlements" and transferring thousands of its own citizens into the territories, including Gaza. Palestinian resistance groups cite this illegal and belligerent Israeli occupation of Palestinian land as their raison d’être.

- December 1987: A clash in the Jebaliya refugee camp sets off Palestinian uprising, which lasted until 1993 and claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians and 192 Israelis. The militant Islamic Hamas is formed early in the uprising.

December 1987: The deaths of four Palestinians and injury of seven others in the Jebaliya refugee camp at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces — and the preceding and ensuing violent crackdowns on protesters by the IDF — sets off Palestinian uprising. Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, is officially formed early in the uprising, after years of Israeli backing by officials attempting to counter and destabilize Yasser Arafat's Fatah party of the PLO.

- September 2005: Israel withdraws its troops and all of its 8,500 Jewish settlers. It retains control of Gaza's airspace, coastal waters and border crossings.

September 2005: Israel withdraws its "troops" and its illegal Jewish "settlers." It retains control of Gaza's airspace, coastal waters and border crossings, thus in effect remaining the occupying power according to international law. This occupation is cited by Palestinian "militant" groups in Gaza as the pretext for their violent resistance.

AP omission: January 2006: Hamas is elected by landslide vote as majority parliamentary party. Soon afterward, Israeli, U.S., and E.U. governments begin enacting an economic, political, and military siege on Gaza — in essence, collectively punishing the territory's 1.4 million people. Many Hamas politicians and supporters are rounded up and imprisoned. Others are assassinated.

AP omission: June 2006: A Palestinian family picnicking on a Gaza beach are shelled by an Israeli gunboat, killing all but one. Citing this and other Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the ensuing weeks, Hamas-linked "militants" retaliate by capturing an Israeli "soldier" in a cross-border raid. Citing the raid and other Palestinian retaliations to IDF violence as a pretext, the IDF launches "Operation Summer Rains" on Gaza. During the "operation," several bridges, homes, and other civilian objects such as Gaza's power plant, are destroyed. Dozens more Hamas officials are kidnapped and detained. Scores of Palestinian civilians are killed by the IDF.

AP omission: November 2006: Israel launches "Operation Autumn Clouds"; during which, dozens of Palestinian civilians are killed by the IDF. In one "incident," 18 Palestinian civilians are killed in Beit Hanoun. Nevertheless, Hamas maintains its two-year-old commitment not to carry out Martyrdom missions ("suicide attacks") in retaliation, though rocket barrages into Israel continue.

- June 2007: Hamas violently seizes control of Gaza after routing forces loyal to rival Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas.

June 2007: An attempted coup d’état — conceived by Elliott Abrams and financed, armed, and facilitated by the Israeli, U.S., Jordanian, and Egyptian governments — fails. Hamas thus effectively seizes control of Gaza after routing "forces" loyal to rival Fatah faction of "moderate" President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas was prepared for the coup attempt due, in large part, to forewarnings in the form of foreign media reports as well as seized PA documents. In response to the Hamas "takeover," Israeli, U.S., and E.U. governments intensify the "economic siege" on Gaza.

- June 2008: Hamas and Israel reach truce to halt the cross-border rocket attacks and end Israeli offensives in Gaza.

June 2008: After several Hamas offers for a cease-fire, Israel finally agrees after Egyptian "moderation." The conditions: Hamas halts rocket-fire into Israel and cracks down on others firing them, while Israel would lift the Gaza siege per humanitarian requirements. Israel does not hold up its end of the "bargain."

- Nov. 5, 2008: Palestinians resume rocket and mortar fire into Israel after Israeli incursion. The Israeli army says clashes erupted late Nov. 4 after its forces uncovered a tunnel in central Gaza that militants planned to use to abduct Israeli soldiers.

Nov. 4, 2008: Israel invades the Gaza strip, destroying private property and killing six Palestinian resistance fighters. The IDF says it destroyed a tunnel, alleging that the tunnel would soon be used by Palestinian "militants" to capture Israeli "soldiers." Palestinians retaliate with rocket attacks into Israel.

- Dec. 19, 2008: Hamas formally declares the truce over, rocket fire on Israel intensifies.

Dec. 19, 2008: Citing Israel's refusal to effectively lift the siege as agreed to in the June cease-fire, Hamas declines to extend the "truce." Israeli and Palestinian violence continues.

- Dec. 27, 2008: Israel launches a fierce air offensive, killing more than 200 Palestinians in the first day. The government says the open-ended campaign is aimed at stopping rocket attacks that have traumatized southern Israel. Most of the casualties are security forces, but Palestinian officials said at least 15 civilians were among the dead.

Dec. 27, 2008: In a culmination of more than six months of preparations, the IDF begins carpet-bombing Gaza. Most of the dead from the initial air strikes were non-combatant Hamas security recruits. Within the first week of the attack, at least seven mosques, one major university, and numerous other civilian objects are bombed, killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, while three Israeli civilians and one IDF "soldier" are killed by rockets fired by Palestinian "militants."

- Jan. 3: Thousands of Israeli troops launch a ground offensive in Gaza.

Jan. 3: Thousands of Israeli "troops" launch a ground invasion of Gaza.


All the bulleted items from the AP report are talking points finely crafted and polished by the W. Jerusalem bureau's Israeli-centric editors, with the "help" of the IDF and Hasbaraniks at The Israel Project, CAMERA, and elsewhere. To make matters worse, the bureau is located on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land and, as such, it exists only by the IDF's approval. A pattern of truth-telling (a.k.a., "anti-Israel reporting") can spell trouble, like, say, perhaps a suddenly-expiring and non-renewable lease, a witch-hunting horde of angry "settlers," or one of those "secondary explosions."

Thus, we typically get what we got the other day: a "Chronology [sic] of Israel's relationship [sic] with Gaza."

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