The UN’s Ban Ki Moon Ignores Civilians Killed by the US and KSA

There are no shortages of wars in the Middle East; just a selective application of sympathy and condemnation.

US-Syria July 2016

On July 20, 2016, U.S.-led forces killed dozens of civilians, including children who were in their homes.  That strike brought the total Syrian civilians killed by U.S.-led forces to over 100 people in July.

The story was barely covered in mainstream media like the New York Times, where one would have to dig inside the paper for reports of the killings.  The liberal paper continued to protect its liberal president, especially as his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigned to become the next U.S. president.

The United Nations, whose headquarters is hosted in the United States, also remained almost completely silent on the mass murder of civilians.

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-Moon did not utter a word.

Instead, his deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, spoke about the civilian deaths in passing, the middle of various other reports.  He never mentioned that the killings were committed by U.S.-led forces.

The approach of the UN could not be more different than its approach to Israel two summers earlier.

Israel – Gaza July 2014

On July 22, 2014, the UNSG flew into Ramallah where he reported to the United Nations Security Council.  While he condemned Hamas’s firing of rockets into Israel, he only spoke of Palestinian Arab civilians who were impacted by the fighting:

I have also discussed Israel’s legitimate security concerns with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon, and I am going to continue my meetings with President Peres as well as other Ministers.

I once again strongly condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza into Israel. I am also alarmed by Israel’s heavy response and the corresponding high civilian death toll.

Since this Council was briefed on Sunday the violence has reached even more alarming levels.

Yet again, too many civilians, including many children, are paying the price for this latest escalation

I want to stress how deeply proud I am of our many UN colleagues, with UNRWA in the lead, courageously assisting the people of Gaza under such difficult circumstances.

They are providing crucial relief and shelter to civilians in imminent danger. The escalation of violence is now acutely affecting UNRWA’s regular operations.

A total of 23 UNRWA installations are closed as a result of the conflict. A total of 77 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June as a result of the conflict.

The premises have been used to store weapons. This is unacceptable.

Today, about 100,000 people – more than 5 percent of the population of Gaza – are seeking shelter with UNRWA.

In the past, our premises in Southern Lebanon and Gaza have been hit with serious loss of life. I call on Israel to exercise particular care to avoid another unfortunate incident….

This is the third time as Secretary-General that I have had to come on an emergency mission to the region to help end a crisis.

That means the children of Gaza are now living through the third major assault in the last five years of their young lives.

The horror and upheaval is beyond imagination.

The cycle of suffering must end.

The parties must seize the opportunity to not only renew a ceasefire but also support durable political, security, institutional and socioeconomic progress that stabilizes Gaza.”

Ban Ki-Moon never recognized that almost 80% of Israelis were being fired upon by Hamas rockets. He did not recognize the Israeli civilians hiding in shelters.  He did not remember the children of Israel “living through the third major assault in the last five years of their young lives,” but only the Palestinian Arabs. He did not seek global support for the security and stability of Israel.

Why is the UNSG’s so deeply engaged on behalf of Palestinian Arabs?  Why does Ban Ki Moon continue to call out Israelis?  In comparison, why doesn’t he even mention the United States’ killing of 100 civilians?

UNRWA and Money

As detailed in “The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables it to Only Find Fault with Israel,” the UN has a unique relationship with Palestinian Arabs.  The UN has become the guardians to these stateless Arab wards. As the UN has set up unique institutions just for this group of Arabs, the UN is put in the position of always defending them.

The UN shelters and protects the Palestinian Arabs, so attacks on them result in attacks on the UN.  The voices that the UN hears each day are of Palestinian Arabs, not Israelis.  As such, The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists.

This is in sharp contrast to every other conflict in the world, where the UN can act as an unbiased neutral party.

The comparison becomes more dramatic when the UNSG deals with permanent members of the UN Security Council, or other countries where the UN seeks to gain influence and money.  Such as Saudi Arabia.

On June 9, 2016, the UNSG made a rare public admission that he dropped listing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as a country that has killed many civilians, during KSA’s airstrikes in Yemen.  In defending his removal of KSA, Ban Ki-Moon saidI also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many U.N. programs.

In other words, the UN is not an arbiter of right-and-wrong. It is a political beast that must move towards money and power.

ban ki moon2
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

US and Afghanistan, The Obama War

To further underscore the point, the United Nations reported on the state of war in Afghanistan on July 25, 2016. The first half of 2016 saw the greatest number of civilian casualties – including 1,509 children – since US President Obama took office in January 2009. The total number of civilian casualties since 2009 stood at 63,934, a number that the report claimed was very conservative.

The US-led war broke apart a country.  The US’s pro-government forces were responsible for 40% of the civilian casualties – and growing.  The first six months of 2016 saw a startling increase of 47% more civilian casualties from pro-government forces, even while casualties from the anti-government forces saw a decline.

But the UN report never called out the United States publicly.  It never suggested that the US attacked civilians intentionally, as the UN does for Israel.  Just consider this language from the report:

“While noting international military forces’ efforts to minimize civilian casualties during aerial operations, UNAMA encourages the NATO/Resolute Support to increase the level of transparency during investigations into civilian casualties and provide adequate and timely redress for civilians impacted by their operations.

Did the UN ever highlight the phone calls, leaflets dropped, “knock on the roof” ordinances that Israel deployed in Gaza? A door-to-door effort without aerial bombardment to minimize civilian casualties at great risk to the lives of Israeli soldiers?

Nope.


That is the sorry state of the United Nations.  Rich and powerful countries, and those with large voting blocks (like the block of Islamic countries) get to dictate the agendas and avoid condemnation, while small countries with a fraction of the budget get picked on.  In the case of Israel, the dynamic is compounded by a biased judge.

Yet remarkably, a call that should be easy for progressives – fighting back against power and money – is lacking.  US progressives should rally to Israel and against the UN.  Instead, they united with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

It is well past time for an overhaul of the United Nations. It is also time for progressives to rethink their anti-Israel attitudes.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Ban Ki Moon Has No Solidarity with Israel

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The United Nation’s Ban Ki Moon is Unqualified to Discuss the Question of Palestine

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

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If Palestinians are Scared, it Must be Real

On May 21, 2016, the New York Times ran a front page story “New Tunnels Instill Fear on Gazan Side Too.”  The front page story continued onto page A6 with two black-and-white pictures of attack tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel.

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New York Times front page and page A6, May 21, 2016.
The pictures include a tunnel and a destroyed Gazan home. No photos of the kibbutz in Israel where Hamas gunmen appeared,
or of Gilad Shalit who was abducted via a tunnel.

The story spoke of the fear of Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza because Israel might seek to destroy the Hamas tunnels. The article described the “parallel anxiety” of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis stemming from the tunnels.

The Times article failed to mention that Hamas was democratically elected to a majority of parliament by these same Palestinian Arabs, based on a public platform that called for destroying Israel. For their part, the Israelis had no role in bringing Hamas to power.

The article correctly pointed out that “the tunnels were the prime rationale Israel gave for its ground invasion of Gaza during the 2014 battle with Hamas.”  However, back in 2014, the New York Times did not think much about those attack tunnels.

As detailed in “The New York Times’ Buried Pictures,” it took three weeks into the 2014 war for the Times to produce any pictures of the Hamas tunnels, even though multiple news sources had already been publishing pictures of them.  When the Times finally decided to write about it in an article called “Tunnels Lead Right to Heart of Israeli Fear,” it published the story underneath a picture of Palestinian Arabs mourning.

July 29 coverJuly 29. A6
July 29, 2014 New York Times cover with large color picture with caption:
“Overcome with Grief: At a morgue in Gaza City, Palestinians mourned the arrival of children killed in the Gaza conflict.”  The follow-up to the article contains a large black-and-white of Palestinians mourning, and only beneath that, was there a smaller black-and-white picture of a soldier in an attack tunnel.
(photos: First.One.Through)

The Times author, Jodi Roduren, made light of Israelis fear of the tunnels.  She repeatedly used language to make Israelis fear seem completely overblown.  Consider her remarks:

  • Tunnels have lurked in the dark places of Israeli imagination at least since 2006,”
  • In cafes and playgrounds, on social media sites and in the privacy of pillow talk, Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies.”
  • “As part of the propaganda push, the military has also invited a few journalists underground for a tour.”

One would think that the Israelis were completely paranoid for no reason and dreamed of scenarios that could not take place in the real world.  Roduren seemed to suggest that the Israelis then used the tunnels to advance a “propaganda push” to validate their invasion.


For the New York Times, the war is felt in Gaza and the Palestinian Arabs’ fears are real.  However, for Israelis, fears are overblown in imagined nightmarish scenarios, which the army then uses as a propaganda to conceal their over-reactions.

Even when the left-wing paper can admit that both sides have real fears, it cannot lay blame for the situation on the Palestinians that elected -and continue to support – this terrorist party.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The New York Times Wrote About Computer Hackers Charged by the US and Israel. Differently.

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Educating the New York Times: Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood 

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The Disproportionate Defenses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) produced a report in the spring of 2015 about the war between Israel and the Palestinians in the summer of 2014. The UNHRC continued with a debate in June 2015 in which several “delegations strongly condemned Israel’s excessive and disproportionate military aggression against the Palestinians” including from: Egypt; Tunisia; Maldives; Iraq; South Africa; Indonesia; Ireland and Cuba.

This analysis does not directly review “disproportionate force” but disproportionate defense employed by the two sides.

Obligation to Defend

The foremost responsibility of any governmental leadership is to protect its population.  Such defense can be implemented in a variety of ways: a police force or army to maintain order; infrastructure to ensure safety; and intelligence which can guide the appropriate use of manpower and equipment.  The United Nations has been developing a framework for “The Responsibility to Protect” over the past several years.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, only one side proactively protects its citizens, while the other side uses reactive defenses. One side assumes responsibility via using its own resources and capabilities, while the other side relies completely on outside agents.

 

ISRAEL – ACTIVE DEFENSE

Protecting Against Incoming Missiles and Armaments

Bunkers and Bomb Shelters: Israel is unique in the Middle East in establishing a policy of bomb shelters throughout the country. In response to being surrounded to hostile neighbors that have attacked and shelled its people and lands since its inception, houses, schools, hotels, hospitals and even playgrounds are built with bomb shelters.

The Palestinians have not built shelters. Instead, they used their cement to build tunnels with which to attack Israel.

Israel_-_shelter_by_kate_simmons
Playground shelter in Israel
(photo: Kate Simmons)

Iron Dome. Israel developed a new missile defense system called the Iron Dome, and continues to build new air defense systems to protect the country from incoming missiles.

The Palestinians have neither developed nor imported defensive systems. They have only imported offensive weaponry.

irondome
Israeli developed “Iron Dome” Defense System

Blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed a naval blockade around Gaza after the terrorist group Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, seized the land. The blockade has successfully kept out many missiles and other arms from reaching Hamas and ultimately causing death and destruction in Israel.

Protection Against Killers

Security Barrier. In September 2000, the Palestinians began multi-year riots which killed over a thousand Israelis through hundreds of attacks. In response, the Israeli government began to construct a security barrier in 2002 to keep out terrorists who mostly emanated from cities in Judea and Samaria/ east of the Green Line (EGL).

The Palestinians have not built any security barriers from the Israelis. There have been no suicide bombers going from Israel into Gaza or EGL blowing up civilians.

IMG_1805
Stretch of Security Barrier along highway
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Airport Security. Well before the world became attuned to airport security after the attacks on the United States on 9/11/01, Israel established an extensive airport security system. The screening of passengers, x-rays of baggage and other methods were in response to a series of airplane hijackings in the 1970s (a method of terrorism created by the Palestinian Arabs).

The Palestinians do not have an airport and therefore no such security concerns.

plane blowup 1970
Palestinians blow up plane, 1970

Protection Against Lethal Plans

Intelligence. Israelis utilize a wide variety of information sources to uncover plans to attack its country. Whether through a network of Israeli spies, Palestinian informants, money tracking, wiretapping and other means, the Israelis gather information and make assessments on potential Palestinian Arab attacks. It is then able to take preventative action before such attacks occur.

 

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND HAMAS – REACTIVE DEFENSE

Relying on Israeli Sensitivities and Sensibilities

Civilians. As detailed above, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have not instituted proactive tangible means of defending its people. One of the ways it attempts to defend the population is by making it nearly impossible to distinguish between fighters and civilians.

  • The fighters do not typically wear uniforms and can therefore not be distinguished from civilians
  • Men, women and children are all enlisted in the war against Israel
  • Militants fire at Israel from mosques, schools and civilian neighborhoods

Palestinian Arabs hope that Israel will not indiscriminately fire upon everyone. By forcing Israel to take time and extra precautions to target the right attackers, it slows down Israeli defenses during battles.

humanshieldsgaza

Destroying its Own Infrastructure. Hamas built an extensive offensive network of tunnels into Israel which originated in many private homes. By relying on Israelis sensitivities to minimize destruction in civilian neighborhoods, Hamas was able to protect many tunnel openings.

Further, Hamas and other Palestinian Arab groups often booby-trapped homes from which they attacked Israel. While the Palestinian Arabs destroyed their own infrastructure, they slowed down and killed many Israelis who looked to root out the attackers.

Relying on Global Bodies like the United Nations

United Nations. One of the principal methods that the Palestinian Authority uses to defend its population is through global bodies AFTER a war. The United Nations includes 57 Islamic countries (in the OIC) and 22 Arab countries (in the Arab League) which align themselves with the Palestinian Arab cause. Many of those countries do not even recognize the State of Israel. They were instrumental in passing the “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1975 and creating several committees devoted only to Palestinian causes.

The Palestinians turn to the UN to highlight the damage that Israel inflicts on its intentionally defenseless population. It uses deliberate attacks on Israel to provoke premeditated casualties to show the world.

This same UN has not condemned the Palestinian Authority for not properly defending its population. Instead, it recommended the incredulous idea that Israel must give the Arabs the defensive systems like Iron Dome that it developed.

The latest forum that the Palestinian Authority has pursued is the International Criminal Court, the ICC. While it is evident that the Palestinians Arabs definitely committed war crimes in the 2014 War against Israel, it would still sue Israel in the hopes that such action will hurt Israel, further its cause and protect the Palestinian Arabs.


 

As detailed above the two sides in the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict have disproportionate defenses.

  • The Israelis use several proactive approaches; the Palestinians use reactive methods
  • The Israelis rely upon ingenuity and preparedness; the Palestinians rely on Israeli sensitivities and global sympathy
  • The Israelis principally depend on themselves; the Palestinians depend on the world

A discussion of “disproportionate force” cannot be made in a vacuum without discussing “disproportionate defenses”. The global community cannot continue to sanction the acts of a leadership that deliberately deals in its own premeditated casualties.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Israel: Security in a Small Country

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The International Criminal Court for Palestinians and Israelis

The United Nations Audit of Israel

CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.

Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.

AL-SHABAAB

CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:

Al-Shabaab was specifically designated as a  terrorist organization by CNN, which did not couch the language as a suggestion that it could be considered a terrorist group by some third party.

AL QAEDA

As of early 2015, CNN considered Al Qaeda’s central command structure under threat while it spread around the world. It was clear in all circumstances that they were terrorists:

BOKO HARAM

CNN often localized Boko Haram to Nigeria and neighboring countries (compared to the growing global threat of Al Qaeda), but consistently referred to the group as terrorists.

ISIS

ISIS/ ISIL/ Islamic State has been extremely active in 2015 and gathering many news reports on CNN and all media outlets, particularly as the United States has been engaging them in Iraq and Syria:

TALIBAN

The Taliban has not been as prominent in the news lately.  However, when it was, CNN was clear that the group’s actions and the group itself was involved in terrorism.

These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.

Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.

HAMAS

On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says.  Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt.  The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.

CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”.  The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion.  The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.

How is that for a turn?

On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.

On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militantwhich is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.

These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel.  How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?

CNN’s Assertion of No Hamas War Against Israel 

In its August 22, 2014 article “Hamas leader admits militants abducted slain Israeli teens,” CNN quickly distanced the group leadership from the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys.  The three leading paragraph’s took pains to absolve the group’s leadership:

“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday.
“At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.”
Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”

The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.

These actions were done repeatedly by CNN, most egregiously on August 4, 2014 when it aired an interview “CNN exclusive: Inside the mind of Hamas’ political leader

Meshaal CNN Meshaal “Political Leader” on CNN

The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.”   Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:

  • that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
  • the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
  • the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
  • the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
  • the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?

During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:

  • if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
  • if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
  • if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
  • if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
  • if Hamas would abolish its charter?
  • if Hamas would recognize Israel?
  • what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005

It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis.  Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.

Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group.  It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:

“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”

Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Differentiating Hamas into Political and Military Movements

The New York Times wants to defeat Terrorists (just not Hamas)

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza  

Recognizing the Palestinians

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel

 

 

 

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Summary: The New York Times continued to minimize pictures of attacks on civilians and assassinations around the world by burying small pictures deep inside its paper. The precious front page ink was only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

 

The Every Picture Tells a Story series reviewed media’s deliberate use of pictures to tell a story to its readers. It is a story that conveyed Israel committing gross atrocities, uniquely in the world:

  • Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t it?” reviewed the New York Times’ use (and lack) of pictures of the three murdered Israeli teenagers in the summer of 2014 on the front page of its newspaper, while showing the Arab family whose son was killed.
  • Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster reviewed how the NYT showed a large color picture of a Palestinian Arab teenager injured by Israeli police on its front page, while small pictures of mass murders in Kenya, Uganda and Yemen were found inside the paper. Further, pictures of Israeli PM Netanyahu repeatedly showed up next to pictures of injured Arabs, while no member of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas ever made it to the front pages during the entire Operation Protective Edge.
  • The New York Times Buried Pictures analyzed the puzzling lack of exposure of the Hamas terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel, which were the primary reasons for the Israeli ground offensive into Gaza.
  • The New York Times 2014 Picture of the Year wrapped up these observations, noting that the New York Times used large color photographs on its cover page of injured Palestinian Arabs repeatedly – on July 11, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24 and 29 – while continuing to hide pictures of Palestinian Arab aggression, and attacks in conflicts around the world.

THE WORLD

The Times continued preference for ignoring mass killings and assassinations in the world continued into 2015.

During a week of April 2015, world governments and terrorists killed hundreds of people. Not one incident merited a front page picture in the Times:

These articles were found buried in the paper. The associated pictures were relatively small and several were in black and white. No picture showed the victims injured or hurt.

This is not a new phenomenon. The Times often minimizes attacks that occur in the MENA (Middle East/ North Africa) region.  The exception to the rule, is if Israel is the attacker.

ISRAEL

Natan Sharansky, a famous Jewish refusenik who was jailed in Russia for trying to move to Israel, developed a three part “3D test” to determine anti-Semitism: Double standards; Demonization; and Delegitimization. Many liberals disagree with this approach and feel that double standards do not convey anti-Semitism. The liberal argument is that Israel should not be held to the same standards as Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the many countries in the Middle East, let alone terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Shabab. As Israel is a modern progressive country, the standards should be more akin to the USA or Western Europe. But that argument falls flat in general, and in particular, regarding the New York Times coverage of Israel.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

First, the situations are not remotely comparable. The US and Western Europe do not sit in the middle of the Middle East, surrounded by a combination of: war; terrorist groups operating freely; countries and entities that threaten to destroy their countries; and constant attacks on its citizens. It is easy to be judgmental while lunching in Luxembourg. However, Israel is forced to fight and defend itself repeatedly because of the volatile neighborhood and hostile attitude of its neighbors.

Second, the New York Times uses a double standard for the US and its allies. The paper does not treat the war effort of the US and Europe which have opted to fight battles thousands of miles from their borders, in the same manner as Israel fighting to defend itself. The NYT never posted a picture of President Obama next to the victims of a drone strike (which the president actually authorized) as it does with PM Netanyahu (for general military actions). It does not show pictures of civilians killed by US troops. It minimizes the pictures of terrorists killed by the US and its allies, using small black and white photos in the middle of the newspaper, rather than large color photographs on the front page as it does for Israel.

DEMONIZATION

Third, the NYT and many liberals do not only use double standards, but demonize and delegitimize Israel as well. The unique focus on how Israel defends itself is one thing (double standards). Uniquely showing pictures of injured Palestinian Arab victims alongside pictures of Israeli leaders and weaponry is demonization.

Simply compare the natural human reaction of looking at a small headshot picture of an al Qaeda leader (accompanied by an article that the United States killed the person), to a collage of pictures of injured and killed Palestinian civilians alongside pictures of Israeli military personnel and another of the Israeli Prime Minister. A person would likely skip the article buried in the paper that only has a head shot. But the large color collage of pictures on the front page delivers a biased story that is impossible to ignore: that the Israeli government is responsible for sending its army to kill civilians.

Further, consider opening the pages of paper and seeing a smoke trail coming from Gaza (the closest the Times came to showing Hamas militants firing weapons). The accompanying article refers to the people in Gaza providing a “counterpunch,” making the group appear as the victims instead of the party that initiated the fight.

20140718_103800

Imagine if the Times had shown pictures of the missiles Israel used to “tap” the roof of targeted homes to let the occupants know that a real explosive was coming so they could flee. Imagine the Times showed pictures of the thousands of leaflets that Israel dropped on certain neighborhoods urging residents to leave an upcoming battle zone.  Imagine pictures of Arabs holding cellphones far from the military action, because they received calls from Israel to move to safety.

You would need to imagine such images, because the Times does not print them.

DELIGITIMIZATION

The defensive nature of Israel’s war against Hamas was delegitimzed by the Times because the paper did show pictures of Hamas leaders, nor its tunnels and weaponry. Without the clear imagery of the three slain Israeli teenagers and Hamas terror tunnels which were the causes for the war, the reader was left with an impression that it was a war of choice for Israel.  Cover page pictures of injured Palestinians were coupled with articles under the headline “Confrontation in Gaza” as opposed to “War FROM Gaza,” left the reader with the incorrect conclusion that Israel as the big belligerent party.

The Times 2014 war coverage failed on all parts of the “3D Test” for anti-Semitism.

 

Now, in 2015, the Times photo editor has taken time off since Israel is not at war.

Attacks around the world continue to be buried inside the paper. Without images of Israel as the aggressor, more neutral and natural images cover the paper, such as shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, earthquakes and volcanoes.

 


The New York Times tried to defend its coverage of Israel as balanced. By going through the effort of explaining itself, it has at least realized that the accusation of double standards for Israel is indeed anti-Semitism, which is a better than many liberal pundits. It stil

It is time that everyone join the effort of pointing out to the Times its 3D failures, rather than just a handful of outlets like CAMERA, Honest Reporting, StandWithUs and FirstOneThrough.

Failing Negotiation 101: The United States

One Party that can deliver

US Secretary of State John Kerry invested heavily in Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks from July 2013 to March 2014. In the wake of the failure, many people looked to blame one of the two parties for the talks’ failure. A recent New York Times article quoted Israeli left-wing politician Tzipi Livni as blaming the Palestinians for the collapsed negotiations (a surprising statement, as in Israeli election season she only criticizes her political opponent Benjamin Netanyahu.)

In reality, it was the US that was to blame.

The US did not fail for lack of effort. It did not fail in trying to find creative solutions. It failed because the entire basis of having negotiations in the current format was a fool’s errand.

The process was doomed from the outset because Secretary Kerry deliberately ignored Negotiation Rule 101: negotiations between parties that can deliver. A negotiation between parties without authority is meaningless. A person without authority or control could theoretically promise anything – but deliver nothing. That was precisely what Secretary Kerry insisted upon when he pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with a straw man named Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas has no mandate. Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four year term as president of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held. He no longer has a mandate.

Abbas has no backing. The reason that no new elections for the PA have been held is that everyone knows that Abbas and his Fatah party would lose. One year after Abbas won the presidency, his Fatah party was trounced in legislative elections. Hamas won 58% of the parliament. Every poll taken since then has shown that Abbas would lose in a presidential election.

Abbas has no control. Gaza, with its population of 1.7 million people, is under complete control of Hamas. Hamas routed all PA forces in 2007 and Abbas has no ability to control any activities from the region. Hamas controls thousands of missiles which it fires at Israeli population centers with or without Abbas approval. Therefore, what “peace” can Abbas deliver?

Despite these enormous glaring flaws, the US pushed forward a peace process that was doomed from the start because of the very essence of one of the negotiating parties. Netanyahu was forced to sit across from a counter-party who could not deliver any compromise that he may have offered. As Netanyahu’s authority was clear, any negotiating point that he made was secure; Abbas could “bank” every concession. However, any compromise that Abbas would theoretically offer, could be negated by the Palestinians. Just as the Palestinians complained that they were never asked about the British Mandate in 1922, they could once again complain that the public was never consulted about the peace process, as a mothballed politician without backing negotiated the agreement.

Further, Abbas’ lack of control meant that he had no means of enforcing the agreement. Israel would be left (at best) with making peace with those parties that accepted the peace agreement, but still be at war with those that rejected the agreement. With Abbas unable to enforce the compromises and the peace, it would continue to fall on Israel to confront those Palestinians that were still at war with the country. Noting how the world reacted to Israel’s defensive operation against Gaza in 2014, could Israel have any sense of security that it could effectively counter-act Palestinian aggression post a mock peace deal?

Secretary Kerry compounded the mistake of the bogus negotiation by building up expectations. His earnest and persistent involvement aggravated the talk’s failure. By investing so heavily in the process, Kerry made the failure that much more pronounced. While there was no direct line linking the talk’s collapse to the July-August battles with Hamas, the environment was poisoned.

 

Abbas gets no R-E-S-P-E-C-T music video (music by Aretha Franklin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LipAKFsUNq8

 


Sources:

NY Times on Tzipi Livni impression on talks failure: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/opinion/roger-cohen-why-israeli-palestinian-peace-failed.html?_r=0

Related First One Through articles:

Abbas 10-year anniversary for a 4 year term: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-disappointing-46-anniversary/

 

 

The New York Times Picture of the Year, 2014

15yearold

The year 2014 was notable for the global escalation in terror and death compared to prior years.

  • Islamic State/ ISIS created killing fields in Iraq, executing and beheading hundreds of people which it recorded and aired on the Internet. The group massacred and destroyed entire villages that existed for centuries.
  • Boko Haram in Nigeria killed hundreds of Christians and abducted hundreds of girls.
  • The ongoing war in Syria had a death toll approaching 200,000 people including over 10,000 children.
  • Israel responded to attacks from Gaza for the third time in eight years as Hamas continued rocket fire into Israeli towns. An advanced Hamas terror tunnel network extending into Israel forced a ground invasion into Gaza which claimed over 2000 lives.
  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, as Ukraine turned to the world for support but received virtually nothing.
  • Wars in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries continued to claim thousands of lives.

The year also included near break-out race riots in the United States as several unarmed black men were killed by white police officers. In Africa, the deadly disease Ebola killed thousands.

Various news agencies highlighted the most significant news events which ranged from Ebola to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They selected new events that impacted thousands of people in 2014 which had potentially long-term consequences.

The New York Times year-end review posted dozens of pictures of conflicts around the world to encapsulate 2014.  In my opinion, the NYT picture that  summed up a dominant theme in its reporting for 2014 was the picture above, of a 15-year old Arab surrounded by Israeli policemen. For the New York Times, the stories on its cover pages in 2014 repeatedly told the story: that Israel attacks Arab youths.

The large color picture was displayed on its cover page on July 7, 2014. The bruised 15-year old Arab boy was being escorted out of a police station where he had been detained after throwing stones in a riot. There are several things that make the front-page treatment of the teenager note-worthy:

  • On that same day, over 100 people were killed in attacks in Kenya, Uganda and Yemen. Small stories appeared on the inside pages of the Times to discuss the scores murdered.
  • When Boko Haram killed hundreds, it also did not make the front page.
  • ISIS beheadings of journalists did not make the front page.

The beating of an Arab youth by Israeli forces was given more prominence and therefore deemed more important than those other world events.

This New York Times news story came shortly after three Israeli teenagers were abducted and murdered by Palestinians. The New York Times never placed even a small black-and-white photo of any of the three Jewish teenagers on the front page. Their plight was also not viewed as important by the Times.

Over the course of the next several weeks as Operation Protective Edge unfolded, the New York Times continued to put pictures of Palestinian children on the front page of the paper. Throughout July (July 11, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24 and 29th) the paper had pictures of Palestinians suffering on the front page. It took until July 29 – buried on page A6 – for the Times to write about and post a single picture of the Hamas terror tunnel network that was a main factor in launching the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza.

Further, Palestinian leadership, whether Hamas leaders such as Khaled Mashal or acting Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, never were pictured on the pages of the Times during Operation Protective Edge (the only leader to be pictured was Ismail Haniya on September 4 page A10, well after the fighting had stopped). The paper only showed pictures of Arab civilians. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s picture was shown often (July 7 twice; July 22; July 27; July 29; August 7), as were Israeli police and soldiers. The overall message of the New York Times was clear: the Israeli government was attacking Palestinian youths and civilians; it was not a war between opposing government authorities.

The Times news stories and editorials built additional narratives onto this theme, regardless of inaccuracies. In attempts to make the Israeli government seem callous to the conditions of Arab youth, an article and editorial on July 7 and July 8 stated that “days of near silence” passed before Israel Prime Minister spoke about the killing of an Arab teenager by Israeli radicals. This was completely untrue and it took days for the NYTimes to print a correction (below).

The NYT editorial board led with a piece on July 19 entitled “Israel’s War in Gaza”.  It was not called “Hamas’ War against Israel”, nor was it called the “War Between Hamas and Israel”.  The Times continued to paint the battle as an aggressive Israeli action against a populace.

In case there was any confusion in the New York Times message to its readership, it included another small picture of Netanyahu near its large picture of the year. (By way of comparison, did you ever see the NYT post a picture of US President Obama near an article about drone strikes or deaths in Afghanistan that he specifically ordered and oversaw?)


The New York Times tried to defend its coverage of the Gaza conflict by printing an editorial on November 23, 2014 entitled “The Conflict and the Coverage”.  Not surprisingly, it attempted to defend its poor media coverage and that it tried too hard to offer “symmetry” in the conflict. It claimed that the paper has “baseline beliefs that Israel has a right to exist and that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own.” The charitable Times board believing that “Israel has a right to exist,” clearly doesn’t extend to: believing that Israel has a right to defend itself; that it was reluctantly pulled into a battle in Gaza; that it sought to minimize Arab casualties; that Hamas is rabidly anti-Semitic; that Hamas leaders are intent on destroying Israel and killing Jews; and that Arab leadership was responsible for the war and deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians.


Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/jodi-rudoren-new-york-times-_n_5564067.html

Times moved picture down in online of story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-muhammad-abu-khdeir.html

Every Picture Tells a story: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/every-picture-tells-a-story-dont-it/

Bibi as a killing monster: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/every-picture-tells-a-story-part-ii/

The NYT buried pictures: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/the-new-york-times-buried-pictures/

 

NY Times Correction: July 9, 2014

An article on Monday about the arrest of six Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian teenager referred incorrectly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. On the day of the killing, Mr. Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying he had told his minister for internal security to quickly investigate the crime; it is not the case that “days of near silence” passed before he spoke about it. The error was repeated in an editorial on Tuesday.”

 

 

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

Abbas’ call to Jihad is to put Fatah into the mainstream.

According to the Webster dictionary, “mainstream” means “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence”. Dictionary.com defines it as “belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style”.

It is perhaps telling (or sad?) that mainstream media does not understand what “mainstream” actually means. Consider the New York Times usage regarding acting-Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. Time and again it refers to Fatah as “mainstream”:

  • November 6, 2014: “…the attacks on Fatah, the mainstream Palestinian party led by President Mahmoud Abbas…”
  • August 18, 2014: “Hamas and its main rival, the mainstream Fatah faction..”
  • June 2, 2014: “…which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival Hamas…”
  • May 29, 2014: “…which is dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, and its rival, …”

However, polls show that both a majority of Palestinians support Hamas and the direction of support is increasing. Consider the quote from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on October 10, 2014:

the public still favors Hamas’ “way” over negotiations, and Hamas and Haniyeh
are still more popular than Fatah and Mahmud Abbas”

Further, the trend of the polls shows Fatah continuing to lose support. In legislative elections, Fatah support declined from 43% (March) to 40% (June) to 36% (September). It is Hamas, not Fatah that represents the “current direction or influence” of the Palestinians.

September 25, 2014 poll:

  • Hamas and Haniyeh remain more popular than Fatah and Abbas”
  • “satisfaction with Abbas remains low”
  • “presidential elections if held today: Ismail Haniyeh would win a majority of 55% and Abbas 38%”
  • “If new legislative elections were held today with the participation of all factions… 39% say they would vote for Hamas and 36% say they would vote for Fatah, 5% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 21% are undecided.”

June 5, 2014 poll:

  • “If new presidential elections are held today and only two were nominated, Abbas would receive 53 % and Haniyeh 41%”
  • “If new legislative elections are held today, 32% say they would vote for Hamas and 40% say they would vote for Fatah, 9% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 19% are undecided”

March 20, 2014 poll:

  • “If presidential elections were between three: Mahmud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti would receive the largest percentage (36%) followed by Abbas (30%), and Haniyeh (29%)”
  • “If new legislative elections are held today…28% say they would vote for Hamas and 43% say they would vote for Fatah, 12% would vote for all other third parties combined, and 17% are undecided.”

The Palestinians still want a war against Israel. Post Operation Protective Edge, over 79% of Palestinians want rocket fire to continue from Gaza into Israeli cities. Over 25% of Palestinians – in every Palestinian poll taken throughout 2014 – want a complete destruction of Israel.

Abbas knows this, and has used his soapbox afforded by his phony presidential credentials to incite more anger and violence as the Palestinian masses desire. Abbas and Fatah may eventually find their way to the “mainstream” of the Arab public by waving the banner of Jihad, just as its rival Hamas proclaims in its charter.

Quotes of Abbas, October and November 2014:

  • “Keep the settlers and the extremists away from Al-Aqsa and our holy places. We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated. Keep them away from us and we will stay away from them, but if they enter Al-Aqsa, [we] will protect Al-Aqsa and the church and the entire country.”
  • Israel is “leading the region and the world to a destructive religious war,”
  • “It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa… and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it,”
  • “It is important for the Palestinians to be united in order to protect Jerusalem,”
  • “We have to prevent them, in any way whatsoever, from entering the Sanctuary. This is our Sanctuary, our Al-Aqsa and our Church [of the Holy Sepulchre]. They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. We must prevent them. Let us stand before them with chests bared to protect our holy places.” “

Sources:

FirstOneThrough on Extreme becoming Mainstream: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/extreme-and-mainstream-germany-1933-west-bank-gaza-2014/

Palestinian Survey: http://www.pcpsr.org/

Pick your Jihad, Choose your infidel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/pick-your-jihad-pick-your-infidel/

The banners of Jihad: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-banners-of-jihad/

Abbas’ new Jihad: http://rt.com/news/204583-palestine-abbas-al-aqsa-hamas/

http://news.yahoo.com/abbas-urges-palestinians-protect-al-aqsa-means-191742798.html

Fatah call to kill sellers of land to Jews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfVsLzfuVu0

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12915

European Narrative over Facts

Sweden and the United Kingdom took steps to recognize a Palestinian State in October 2014. The assumed reason stated by pundits was to pressure Israel to move forward with peace talks. The only issue is that facts and reason do not support pressuring Israel.

Palestinians were last polled at the end of September 2014 and Israelis in June.  Regarding a two state solution:

  • 53% of Palestinians support a two-state solution, 46% oppose it
  • 60% of Israelis support a two-state solution with only 32% opposed

That means that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis (who favor it by almost a 2-to-1 margin).

What about using negotiations versus force?

  • For the Palestinians, 63% believe Hamas’ armed approach should be used in West Bank
  • 55% of Palestinians would vote for the anti-Semitic Hamas party which wants to destroy Israel, if presidential elections were held now
  • (The use force is not about attacking the Israeli army but all Israelis: the same percentage – 54% – were in favor of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers who were hitchhiking home from school)
  • Among Israelis, 60% would return to the negotiating table today

So the Palestinians clearly prefer the use of force while the Israelis prefer negotiations.

So who actually needs pressure to advance in peace talks, Israelis or Palestinians?


Sources:

Palestinian poll: http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/496

Israeli poll: http://en.idi.org.il/tools-and-data/guttman-center-for-surveys/the-peace-index/

Israeli poll: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-peace-conference/1.601996

FirstOneThrough on UK’s blind spot: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/no-disappearing-in-the-land-of-blind/

 

The United Nations “Provocation”

On October 13 2014, the UN Secretary General parroted Palestinian propaganda perfectly with “provocations”.

Using the term “provocation” does many things: it puts all of the blame completely on the person doing the provocation, and it implies that everything would be peaceful if the initiating party were not being belligerent.

The Palestinians deliberately voted for war when they elected Hamas to 58% of the government in 2006. They have made their preference for war and Hamas clear in poll after poll since that time, the latest being August 2014 which showed Hamas winning 61% of the vote. Just because the world prevents new Palestinian elections from occurring and leaves a straw-man in Abbas to act as president for six years after his term ran out, does not change that fundamental reality. The Palestinian war is eight years running with Israel responding three times (Cast Lead; Pillar of Defense; Protective Edge).

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon described the Israeli “provocation” of Jews moving into homes in the eastern part of Jerusalem. As detailed in the FirstOneThrough article below, the idea that there should be Jew-free zones is: blatantly anti-Semitic; was only instituted by the Palestinians and Jordanians from 1949-1967; and is against international law (including from the prior incarnation of the UN itself, the League of Nations), in the Palestine Mandate which forbade barring anyone from living in Palestine solely due to their religion.

Palestinians (and Jordanians) have used the term “provocations” often regarding Israeli action in Jerusalem. Some of those “provocations” have included actions such as:

  • Rebuilding a synagogue that the Jordanians destroyed
  • Building an exit for tourists at an archaeological site
  • Visiting the holiest site for Jews during regular visiting hours (and not going near Muslim sites)

A political music video on “provocations” with music by The Clash (Rock the Cashbah):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3fKXyxKixE

The rebuilt Hurva Synagogue (the original dates back 250 years)

Sources:

UN Secretary on “provocation” (start at 10:10): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckX3Ut-r_Mw

Abbas, the straw man for 6 years: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-disappointing-46-anniversary/

The illegality and racism of suggesting a Jew-free region in Palestine: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/obama-supports-anti-semitic-palestinian-agenda-of-jew-free-state/