Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hasbaranalysis: 'Operation Hamas Moderation'

Tuesday's media critique — "Who needs hasbara when you have AP 'analysis'?" — exposed a few major but subtle tendencies in Associated Press Israel-Palestine coverage that should leave no doubt who is buttering AP's bread. But just in case, the following is a point-by-point critique of another "analysis" under the same byline: Steve Gutkin, bureau chief for the W. Jerusalem bureau.

The report, "Analysis: US, Israel could coax Hamas to moderate," [1] opens:

Postwar Gaza could become a test of President Barack Obama's inauguration speech offer to Muslims to "extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Only, His Majesty wasn't directing that part of his collectivist hypocrisy toward "Muslims," as AP's own transcription shows:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. [2]

Apparently to Gutkin, Muslims in general don't deserve "mutual interest and mutual respect" because they all "cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent." This subtle if unintentional tinge of Gutkin's Zionist colors sets the tone for the balance of his hasbara-laden U.S.-Israeli policy paper disguised as news analysis. "Analysis ... coax Hamas" continues:

The extended hand would be open borders and international reconstruction money for the Hamas militants who rule Gaza. The unclenched fist would be the Islamic militants of Hamas giving their moderate Fatah rivals a foothold in Gaza and holding its fire against Israel.

If this is objective analysis, what would U.S.- and Israeli-centric commentary look like? According to Israeli and U.S. propaganda, Hamas are the militants and Fatah are the moderates; but do pray tell, what are the Israelis?

Well, according to Gutkin in the next paragraph, they're certainly not mass-murdering, society-destroying, shakedown artists!

After an Israeli offensive that killed nearly 1,300 Palestinians and left much of Gaza in ruins, the new U.S. administration and a soon-to-be new Israeli government have a chance to forge a fresh strategy toward Hamas.

Ah yes. The "offer they can't refuse." Nothing to see here folks: just normal U.S.-Israeli diplomacy against those "Islamic militants" who, by their very nature of being Muslims, need "moderation" because they are corrupt, deceitful, dissent-crushing, political power-hoarders.

Next, we're basically told that the lifting of the impoverishing and imprisoning siege on Gaza's 1.4 million people is merely a Hamas demand, and that the ultimate guarantor of liberty of the American Republic — the Second Amendment — is but the last refuge of militants, terrorists, and Islamic dissent-crushers:

That could mean giving Hamas what it most wants — an open border with Egypt — as long as Fatah and international monitors control it. Any such deal would also require providing assurances to Israel that Hamas will stop smuggling weapons over the Egyptian border.

Right, because who needs a well regulated militia wherein every lawful individual has the right to bear arms to defend life, liberty, and property against all enemies foreign and domestic, thus most-proficiently securing other natural rights such as self-determination, anyway? That would be so un-American, kind of like those corrupt and deceitful Muslims — all 1.x billion of them.

Extending Hamas a hand runs the risk of cementing the militants' power in Gaza. But a deal with strings attached could chip away at Hamas' stranglehold on the territory, which has been the main impediment to U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Of course. The "main impediment" wasn't anything like the U.S. and Israeli funding, arming, and training of Fatah fighters in the attempt to overthrow the landslide-elected government of Hamas back in June 2007. Nor has it been Israel's rejection of every "moderate" Hamas peace offering over the years. No. It was rather that the popular, elected government would remain lawfully in power, what with how they "strangled" all those people into voting for them.

Hamas . . . is not about to suddenly recognize the Jewish state or join the peace talks between Israel and the moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.

No, they would merely, for the umpteenth time, be offering long-term peace with (and implicit recognition of) Israel within the June 4, 1967 borders — something the "international community" agrees on and something AP has reported yet somehow always seems to forget.

"But . . . Hamas appears to have evolved since the days when it regularly invited youngsters to strap on bombs and blow themselves up inside Israel," opines Gutkin, apparently recalling how the Zionist state has reformed itself so nicely since its days of blowing up civilian objects and assassinating leaders to hijack the land of Palestine.

"Today," Gutkin continues, "after violently seizing control of Gaza in June 2007, the group seems as interested in successful governance as attacking Israel." You don't suppose that, by its "violently seizing Gaza," Hamas was in fact showing that it was "interested in successful governance"? If my state's militia thwarted a coup attempt by an empire-sponsored totalitarian regime, I'd call it a success and would subsequently enjoy having them around to see how else they'd serve and protect me and my family.

Many Israelis believe Hamas' decision to fire rockets at Israel at the end of a six-month truce — a decision that sparked the latest war — was based solely on the group's hatred of Zionists. But the reality is more complicated.

Actually, it's very simple. Israel broke the cease-fire on November 4th and never lifted the siege even enough for minimal humanitarian requirements: facts which AP would just as soon have erased from the historical record. And Gutkin knows fully well that while the Israeli military claims that the rockets were the spark, Ha'aretz and other mainstream U.S. and Israeli newspapers have been reporting that Operation Cast Lead was planned for more than six months before the carpet-bombing began. (This is another blatant omission by the news wire service you thought you could trust these last 163 years.)

Gutkin concedes the border closure part, but goes on to virtually blame Hamas, using tired, irony-deficient hasbara:

Since trade links between Israel and Gaza are unlikely as long as Hamas remains sworn to Israel's destruction, efforts to ease the blockade are concentrating on opening the border with Egypt.

Let's see. Hamas, through words in its virtually irrelevant 1987 charter, is guilty, at this juncture, of what amounts to a thought crime of wishing Israel away; while Israel is squeaky-clean, even though it has physically wiped indigenous Palestinians off about 90% of the land they lawfully inhabited before the Zionist state was violently imposed on them. Yeah.

Israel is the word's 4th most powerful military, superpower of the Middle East, in possession of hundreds of nuclear weapons, and is subsidized and blindly defended by the world's superpower; yet, Hamas — with no ground-to-air missiles, tanks, planes, helicopters, ships, subs, humvees, nor body armor to speak of — is taken as a serious existential threat to the insecure military-state.

The "Israel's destruction" talking point is the hasbara way of sidestepping the fact that Israel stands in defiance of more than 60 U.N. resolutions; the bulk of which demand that Israel allow Palestinian refugees back to their land, and that it end its illegal occupation of territories (West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Golan Heights) acquired through war and conquest.

To be sure, no truce deal will be possible unless Israel is assured Hamas will stop firing rockets at Israel and smuggling increasingly lethal weapons across the Gaza-Egypt border.

No, Steve. To be sure, Hamas will have no reason to launch those terrifying rockets once the illegal, aggressive act of war (the blockade) is lifted, and eventually, once the belligerent occupation is ended according to the peace plan accepted by everyone but the U.S. and Israeli governments and a couple of their Pacific island bitch-states.

In other words, you can be sure that Israel will continue to reject the very thing the current hasbaranalysis ponders upon the Islamic "militants" of Hamas: "moderation."

— — —

1. "Analysis: US, Israel could coax Hamas to moderate," The Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 1∙22∙9.
(yahoo.com/s/ap/20090122/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_gaza_enticing_hamas_analysis)
2. "Text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address," The Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 1∙20∙9. Emphasis added.
(yahoo.com/s/ap/20090120/ap_on_go_pr_wh/inauguration_obama_text)

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