There is a back history to the present and worsening violence between Israel and Gaza that has not been covered at all in the US media, which began to cover events in Gaza only when the Israeli government assassinated the head of the "military wing" of Hamas. (He might also be described as the Minister of Defense of the government of Gaza.)
In this report to readers and members of The Shalom Center, I will be filling in that back story with reports from the Israeli and Palestinian press. Then I will include a brief and trenchant comment by Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli peace activist and former member of Knesset who has been committed to a two-state peace settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for four decades. And finally, I will be including a brief letter of my own, written to American officials of the Jewish National Fund. The JNF had written American Jews (including me) with an appeal to carry out certain Jewish values, which in their reading required strong support of the Israeli strikes against Gaza. I wrote to explore what the full meaning of those Jewish values might be.
In this report, to keep clear the distinction between my thoughts and the reports or comments of others, I am coloring my own comments blue and others maroon, and also using different type faces. (editors's note; on OpedNews, others comments are indented.)
1. On November 11, three days before the assassination, I read and forwarded to a number of rabbis a report of the Israeli press sent out by Americans for Peace Now (which has begun doing this daily). In each day's review, first there is a list of major articles in the major daily newspapers from Haaretz (moderately liberal) to Yisrael Hayom (fiercely right-wing; owned by Adelson). Each item has a URL for direct access. Then there is a news summary commenting on the coverage of major events.. To order the free daily review, click to: http://peacenow.org/nosh.html
The report for Nov 10 included the following comment:
The Israeli headlines read: Four IDF soldiers injured by an anti-tank missile. The Maan News Agency [a Palestinian news agency] headline was that four civilians were killed and 25 were injured when Israeli tank shells hit a funeral tent. Following the killing of four Palestinian civilians, more rockets were launched over the fence into Israel.
Reading the Israeli papers about the escalation between Gaza and Israel, one would never think that the Palestinians may be responding to Israeli killings as well as incursions into their territory. Maariv illustrates the escalation by listing four events between October 23 and November 8th in which Palestinian road mines and rockets injured Israeli soldiers. There is not a word about the killings of two civilians last week, one a 13-year-old boy, who was killed when IDF moved forces into Gaza sparking a firefight with local militants.
But, then again, on review of today's reports and those from last week,there is almost no mention that Israeli forces ever entered Gaza.In fact, it is usually not reported, except on Maan. It is not clear to this writer, who reviews the news daily, when the IDF started making such regular incursions into the Gaza Strip. Usually the Israeli papers [evasively or unprofessionally? -OH] write " The soldiers were operating near the security fence ...," when, in fact, they were operating from the Gazan side. Yedioth mentioned in today's story that the IDF jeep that was hit was indeed inside Gaza and showed it in an illustration. But there was no questioning of the issue.
Maariv made no mention of where the soldiers were when they were attacked and Israel Hayom's Hebrew edition actually wrongly wrote that they were "some 150 meters inside Israel." The English edition just writes that they were "patrolling the border." It also reported that Hamas took responsibility for the fire, but did not say why.
They all write that the recent round of violence began when Palestinians fired on the soldiers' jeepon Saturday. Only Haaretz quoted Hamas' military wing saying the attack on the jeep was in retaliation for the death on Thursday of a Palestinian child by IDF fire.
It was Maan that reported that the killing of 13-year-old Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa happened when four Israeli military vehicles briefly penetrated the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, leading to clashes with Palestinian militants. "Abu Daqqa was killed on Thursday after Israeli forces targeted houses and farms east of Khan Younis, according to Ashraf al-Qidra, a medical spokesman in Gaza," Maan wrote.
IDF forces also entered Gaza on Wednesday, Maan reported, noting that 'an army spokeswoman said the vehicles were conducting "routine activity" and she was not aware of the incident of tank fire. A Palestinian man was moderately injured by tank fire in central Gaza on Wednesday, a medical official said.'
There has been no examination or discussion in the Israeli media of this "routine activity."
2. Next I want to present a timeline of the violence from the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), an independent non-profit organization that provides journalists with quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources, both in the United States and in the Middle East.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Following a two-week lull in violence, Israeli soldiers invade Gaza. In the resulting exchange of gunfire with Palestinian fighters, a 12-year-old boy is killed by an Israeli bullet while he plays soccer.