News the world over is propagandized and served to us as psy-ops, designed to manipulate opinion on behalf of one wealthy, powerful group or another. But nowhere is objective reporting harder to find than in the area of Israel's relations with its neighbors. Still, people believe what they read in the New York Times.
Gaza is a tiny strip of land between the Sinai and Israel, the same land area as Philadelphia. 2 million people whose parents or grandparents once lived in the multi-cultural state of Palestine live in Gaza now, walled off from Israel, from Palestine, and from Egypt by Israeli troops, tanks and barbed wire. The Israelis restrict flow of people and materials in and out of Gaza, not quite enough to starve them to death, but to isolate them in a state of desperate passivity, year upon year, decade upon decade.
Last week, 30,000 residents of Gaza staged a nonviolent demonstration that turned very violent, as Israeli troops opened fire into the crowd. At least 15 were killed and thousands were injured. Did it begin with Palestinians throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails over the barbed wire? Were the people who threw the rocks "agents provocateurs," Israeli agents dressed as Palestinians? Or were they Palestians driven to desperation by the isolation and deprivation imposed on them? Did they respond to Israeli fire, or did they act first? With sufficient research, it may be possible to answer these questions. It is probably not possible to change someone's mind who comes in having been schooled in the history of the crisis by one side or the other.
Here's are some excerpts from the press. The Jerusalem Post represents the mainstream Israeli press. This is from an op-ed from last summer:
Are Zionists really worse than Islamists? One could reach that conclusion based on reports in "mainstream media" as well as actions and rhetoric from the United Nations, the European Union, much of academia and a slew of non-governmental organizations including the innocuous-sounding Jewish Voice for Peace. [A more comprehensive list of such NGOs can be found at http://www.ngo-monitor.org/ ] Aided and abetted by Muslim and Arab propaganda, they all claim -- falsely -- that Israel is "occupying" "Palestine"
Here they are preparing their readers several days in advance for an impending (conflict, massacre - choose the word you prefer):
The Palestinian Way of War (article in the Jerusalem Post Saturday, 3/24 )
At the most basic level Palestinians and others are urged by all Palestinian entities and organizations from the PLO and Palestinian Authority to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Salafi organizations to kill or maim Israeli Jews and damage or destroy their property.
Days later, the picture was more ominous:
Thousands Flood Toward the Eastern Border of Gaza (article in the Jerusalem Post Friday, 3/30 )
Gazans are amassing in camps along the border for "Land Day"and the "March of Return," an annual occurrence. While the IDF has stated their intention to use live fire on any who attempt to cross the security fence, Gaza residents continue to congregate and set up camp".
The same day, this analysis appeared:
Gaza Deaths Intensify Bitterness (Jerusalem Post, Friday 3/30 )
"It's clear to us the army is targeting Palestinian protesters, and this continued bloodshed against civilians and peaceful protesters is a war crime against the Palestinian people," [Yousef] Jabareen said.