No place to run, no place to hide by William Bowles

By William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
30 December 2008

So much has been written about the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and by people with a far greater understanding of the reality of it than I, nevertheless I feel impelled to put pen to paper not only about our collective indifference to the wholesale slaughter being carried out in the name of the ‘chosen people’ but to the media’s ‘coverage’ that has been nothing short of scandalous and especially the BBC’s.

Here is part of the BBC’s latest ‘account’ of the slaughter unleashed on the prison that is the Gaza Strip,

“Israeli air raids have pounded the Gaza Strip for a third day, hitting key sites linked to militant group Hamas.

“Gaza’s interior ministry and Islamic University were the latest targets.

“Hamas says 312 Palestinians have died since Saturday, of which the UN says 57 were civilians. In Israel, a second person was killed by a militant rocket.

“Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was not fighting the people of Gaza but was in “a war to the bitter end” with Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.” — ‘Israel strikes key Hamas offices’, BBC Website, 29 December, 2008.

It’s worth unpacking this travesty of ‘news’ reporting starting with the opening sentence. As the BBC knows only too well the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated area on the planet, thus “hitting key sites linked to Hamas’ is not only impossible but as Hamas is the democratically elected government of (what’s left of) Palestine, any and all public buildings are per se “key sites’ as the destruction of the Islamic University demonstrates.

But note that the BBC also refers to the democratically elected government as one “which has ruled Gaza since 2007”.

Later in the piece we read,

“Analysts said Saturday was the single deadliest day in Gaza since Israel’s occupation of the territory in 1967, although no independent confirmation is available of the numbers killed.”

How the BBC squares this with what it opened the piece with is a mystery “Hamas says 312 Palestinians have died since Saturday, of which the UN says 57 were civilians.”

Not trusting a word the BBC utters, I looked up the source and in actuality the UN report says,

At least 57 of the 313 Palestinians killed in Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip were civilians, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Monday. Spokesman Christopher Gunness said the figure was a conservative tally and was liable to rise. It was based on information garnered from visits to hospitals and medical centres th[r]ough the Gaza Strip, he said.” — ‘The Earth Times’. [my emph. Ed]

So the BBC even feels compelled to not only reduce the numbers but infer that most are not civilians even as it admits that it has no independent confirmation, but the damage is done.

This is from the Jewish Voice for Peace that I received today (29 December, 2008),

“U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters have fired missiles and dropped over 100 tons of bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.  Over 300 people are dead and at least 1,400 more are injured. Many if not most of them are civilians.  Food and medicine were already in short supply in Gaza and all medical facilities have been completely overwhelmed by this onslaught. Access to Gaza has been cut off by Israel.” — ’Heartbreaking tragedy’, 29 December, 2008

The BBC article continues,

“From 1967, Israel’s military occupied the Gaza Strip and Jewish settlers built communities within the territory. Israel withdrew in 2005 but has kept tight control over access in and out of Gaza and its airspace.”

Note the term “tight control over access”, not the reality which is a complete lockdown on the Gaza Strip including a blockade against every necessity of life including fuel, food, medicines and the denial of medical treatment to Palestinians outside the Strip.

And the BBC further compounds its lies about the reality on the ground when it (once more) describes the illegal settlements merely as “communities” when it know only too well that each and every “community” (not settlement) is in contravention of UN resolutions.

Is it any wonder therefore that the public fed a diet of ‘objective’ journalism such as the BBC dishes out equates F-16s and ‘bunker buster’ bombs with home-made (unguided) missiles which have so far managed to kill one Israeli.

And of course, no mention in the article by the BBC of the use of these so-called Bunker Buster Bombs recently supplied to Israel by the US.

“The Pentagon’s announcement, which came on Friday, said the U.S. will provide Israel with 1,000 units of Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) – a special weapon developed for penetrating fortified facilities located deep underground.

“The $77 million shipment, which includes launchers and appurtenances, will allow the IAF to hit many more bunkers than currently possible. Although each bomb weighs 113 kilograms, its penetration capabilities equal those of a one ton bomb, according to professional literature.” — ‘U.S. to sell IAF smart bombs for heavily fortified targets’, Ha’aretz, 14 September, 2008

I simply can’t imagine the effect these horrific weapons have on densely packed communities where dwellings are crammed one on top of the other, but the BBC promulgates the lie about ‘precision’ targeting knowing full well that a bomb dropped from 10,000 feet regardless of where it lands will kill indiscriminately.

The right to resist

“Palestinians are a people under occupation who has the right to self-determination under the UN Charter.

“The use of force as part of resisting occupation in the Palestinian case is therefore derived from the international legitimacy to recourse to armed struggle in order to obtain the right to self-determination.”

In another piece, ‘Israelis look for knockout blow’ this time by Jeremy Bowen, who the BBC likes to describe as its Middle East editor, we read what amounts to an Israeli government press release,

“It wants, according to one official, “to neutralise the Hamas militia men” so they can no longer fire into Israel.

“In the last day, the way Israel believes it can do that has become a little clearer.

“The air strikes have tried to kill as many Hamas fighters as possible and to destroy the infrastructure of power and governance that Hamas has been trying to build since it took over in Gaza.

“The first wave of attacks went very well from Israel’s point of view.”

But clearly not from the thousand and more dead and injured, who don’t get a mention in Bowen’s PR piece on behalf of Israel.

Bowen’s puff piece for Israel continues,

“An Israeli intelligence briefing this morning argued that many Palestinians in Gaza were fed up with Hamas”, and no doubt supplied to a grateful Bowen.

Israel seems to believe it can work on the divisions that already exist between Palestinians until it is possible to detach Hamas from all but its core support, and force it to accept its terms.

“But Israel might not get it all its own way. Hamas is unlikely to surrender. It has an ideology of resistance and martyrdom.”

“Ideology of resistance and martyrdom”? So resisting an occupier is now an ideology according to Bowen and of course he manages to sneak in the emotive word “martyrdom”. I wonder if Bowen would describe those who sacrificed their lives fighting Fascism during WWII as ideological martyrs? I think not.

But surely you get the idea, Bowen’s piece fairly reeks of it. Palestinians are fanatical martyrs, who fight because they are ideologically driven, whereas the Israelis are just ‘like us’, civilized and ‘defending their homes’ against irrational animals, who wish to drive them into the sea.

It is directly because of ‘journalism’ like Bowen’s that we have no understanding of our Palestinian brothers and sisters’ situation, where, according to Bowen resistance to Israeli slaughter comes not from a proud people defending what’s left of their homeland but from religious fanatics. In fact, Bowen’s piece mentions only Muslims and fanatical ones at that, no matter where they are. So in Egypt it’s the Muslim Brotherhood and in Lebanon it’s those other ‘fanatics’ Hezbollah who oppose Israel.

Bowen’s article ends,

“The United States is already providing its usual diplomatic cover for Israel at the UN,” so no surprises here from Bowen, indeed, he doesn’t even bother to qualify the statement.


Israel has already killed civilians, as well as children. International pressure on it to stop the attacks will increase with the numbers of deaths.”

No doubt Mr Bowen has a number he can supply us with but clearly we haven’t reached it yet, at least not as far as the BBC is concerned. Doesn’t this kind of ‘reporting’ disgust you, when the barbaric actions of a now avowedly Fascist state, are reduced to numbers killed as a measure of ‘acceptability’?


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