Today is day 22 of the Israeli offensive into Gaza. Yet again we see in this mornings news that ANOTHER UN school has been hit by Israeli rockets, 19 killed and 100 injured, as well as a busy city market, killing 15 and wounding dozens. So far, since this attack began there has been more than 1,200 deaths in Gaza, over 200 children killed, while 3 people have died in Israel. Is that proportional? So many children have been injured and killed that Jon Snow, a reporter with Channnel 4 in the UK, has gone as far as asking: Is this a war on children?
The photo above is of 3 of the 4 Bakr family, just seconds before being killed on the beach in Gaza on the 15th of July. However Israel may try to justify their actions, their hollow words are not being accepted by the Irish people. More and more “normal” people are standing up to voice their anger against Israels onslaught, including many people who, as they say themselves, supported Israel in the past. Of course there are those who will defend Israel to the end and who are not going to waver from their pro Zionist position (examples of endless dialogue on Brazil forum here and here), but what is of interest to me, are the millions of normal people who are seeing the reality from Gaza and from that taking a stand for Justice.
The nature of how we receive information has changed radically. Of course the main ways are still there: reading the newspapers, listening to the radio, watching TV. But now people are also getting news via their social media networks; they see disgusting images and videos in their Twitter and Facebook feeds of the reality from the ground. Not only do people see this, but they are also quickly passing on this information on their social media to friends and family in their social networks, little by little the critical dissemination of the truth is unfolding.
It has been claimed that Israel always fight their wars on two fronts; the actual battle ground but also the “communication war”, whose purpose is to sway public opinion to justify their actions. Many commentators have said we are witnessing a critical juncture; it seems that as the ground war goes on further, with all its death and destruction, that Israel is quickly losing the war for hearts and minds. We are seeing much of mainstream media, in the past absolute defenders of Israel, now allowing critical voices and opinions to be expressed. For more on this I would direct you to Paul Mason’s excellent article; “Why Israel is losing the social media war over Gaza” and “Why Israel Is Losing the American Media War” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells.
In regards to the Irish dialogue on Gaza and the shifting of public opinion, I would like to direct you to two very important radio shows that happened last week on the national radio station RTE, both on Liveline. For those not accustomed to Irish ways, it is the show where the nation phones in to “talk to Joe (Duffy)”, to moan about the problems of the day, air their grievances etc. Last week though much time was devoted to covering the reality of the suffering in Gaza, the reasons for the conflict and as to how peace can be achieved. Anyone who listened could find very very little credibility in Israel supporter spin and could only identify with the sheer horror being experienced by the people in the worlds “largest open air prison”; The Gaza Strip. Below are links to podcasts of both shows as well as some more background on the situation. So have a listen and make your own mind up.
Thankfully huge numbers of Irish people have already taken to the streets, are pushing at the government to take real steps in regards to diplomatic relations with the rogue state of Israel. Even Irish doctors have taken a firm stand in denouncing the criminal acts of Israel. In fact again Ireland is being recognized internationally for the high level of support it is making in solidarity with those in Gaza. Hopefully their actions will further inspire people in other countries to do likewise, like Brazil, where this Irishman finds himself, where he is still a little shocked to see so little commentary and support from friends, as well as the showing of actual solidarity in the streets.
Stop #GazaUnderAttack – No to Israeli war crimes – No the ILLEGAL siege of Gaza – Yes to a peaceful transition to the 2 state solution – FREEDOM FOR GAZA – FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE.
1 – RADIO
2 – IRISH SOLIDARITY
3 – JON SNOW + THE WAR ON CHILDREN
4 – DEBUNKING ISRAELI MYTHS
5 – CHOMSKY HITS IT ON THE HEAD
6 – WHAT IF YOUR COUNTRY WAS OCCUPIED
** 1 – Radio:
Liveline 1: Israel / Palestine conflict – can there ever be peace in the area, Tuesday 22 July 2014 (48 mins)
Derek Graham and Trevor Hogan spoke to Philip Boucher-Hayes (who visited Gaza too) about the situation in Gaza. Derek has lived in Gaza with his for wife for over two years, he is home in Ireland at the moment and described the living conditions there. Trevor wrote a piece for the Irish Independent this morning, he went out on the flotilla to GAZA in 2011 and was locked up by the Israelis. Went back a second time in 2013.
Liveline 2: Israel / Gaza Conflict, Wednesday 23 July 2014 (21 mins)
Dermot is the Information Officer at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin. Colm is an ex-Civil Servant who has travelled to Israel and Gaza. Fran has also visited the area. The Liveline listeners discuss the current situation between Israel and the Palestinians.
Morning Ireland – Gaza: No place for children, 30 July (5 mins)
Morning Ireland – Dissent not being tolerated, 30 July (18 mins)
** 2 – Irish solidarity:
Well done girls.. again Irish solidarity is recognized all around the world..
FULL LIST OF IRISH SOLIDARITY EVENTS, via IPSC : All out for Palestine! Ongoing actions for Gaza around Ireland (Updated when we have updates!)
Protest in Derry, Ireland for Palestine. Image here
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) show solidarity in Dublin’s ha’penny bridge
** 3 – JON SNOW + THE WAR ON CHILDREN
VETERAN CHANNEL FOUR news journalist Jon Snow has recently returned from a spell in Gaza, where he reported on the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
His personal testimony about what he witnessed there has seen a huge reaction online.
Here it is, in full:
Related blog post from Jon Snow: Gaza is not just about them, it’s about us, too
Leaving Israel and beleaguered Gaza far below me, I lay back in my BA seat headed for London. I donned my headphones and listened to Bach’s heavenly violin concerto in E major, and wept, as I rarely have as an adult.
I wept for two peoples with remarkable similarities. Two peoples of extraordinary gifts and ability. Two peoples living in an area far smaller than England, one of which besieges the other, both of which target each other’s civilians.
This is humankind’s most grievous cancer, for its cells infect conflicts in every corner of the world. We fail as humankind if we do not devise a coming-together. Our leaders, as a vast priority, have to try and try again to use every mechanism in our rare animal capacity – our considerable intellects – to bring these peoples to resolution whatever the cost.
– More info on the death of the 4 Bkyr family on Gaza beach:
Report from The Guardian: Witness to a shelling: first-hand account of deadly strike on Gaza port (July 16)
There is a deafening explosion, then a second. Four children are dead.
It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: “They are only children.”
In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen’s shacks on the wall were dead. They were aged between seven and 11; two were named Mohammad, one Zakaria and the youngest Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family.
Three others who were injured made it to the hotel: Hamad Bakr, aged 13, with shrapnel in his chest; his cousin Motasem, 11, injured in his head and legs, and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21, who was hit by shrapnel in his stomach.
– Speaking on RTE radio on liveline, Derek told how he knew the family and that the family were not hamas supporters, but in fact supported Fatah. He made an interesting point about how you can see by the colors for the dead at the funerals, which political groups the familes have sympathies for.
** 4 – DEBUNKING ISRAELI MYTHS
– Debunking Israel’s 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes, via Huffington Post. Click link for all myths debunked.
1) The Gaza Strip isn’t occupied by Israel
2) Israel wants a ceasefire but Hamas doesn’t
3) Israel, unlike Hamas, doesn’t deliberately target civilians
4) Only Hamas is guilty of war crimes, not Israel
5) Hamas use the civilians of Gaza as ‘human shields’
6) This current Gaza conflict began with Hamas rocket fire on 30 June 2014
7) Hamas has never stopped firing rockets into Israel
8) Hamas provoked Israel by kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers
9) Hamas rule, not Israel’s blockade, is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip
10) The Israeli government, unlike Hamas, wants a two-state solution
11) All serious analysts agree it was Hamas, and not Israel, that started this current conflict
** 5 – CHOMSKY HITS IT ON THE HEAD
Noam Chomsky, a US born jew nails it on the head in 3 and a half minutes!!!