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Friday, May 21, 2004

Big Media: Israel withdrawing from Gaza under international pressure

NOT SO, SAY ISRAELI SOURCES
Led, as far as I can tell, by al Reuters, Big Media (over 2,000 articles, according to Newsmap) is proclaiming a victory: international pressure has caused Israel to withdraw from Rafah. Whether it's true or not, the story benefits those who have written it. It strengthens - and appears to legitimize - the view that Israel is always in the wrong.

DEBKAfile's special correspondent in Rafah says these reports are incorrect, and come from two sources: 1) Israeli political circles trying to stop anti-Israel media and diplomatic campaigns around the world, and 2) from the Palestinians! According to DEBKA, the Palestinians (this is very cynical, but I'm inclined to believe it) want to draw their own civilians out of hiding with the belief that Israeli forces are withdrawing --knowing all the while that the troops will return (to "booby-trapped alleys where ambush squads await").

DEBKA doesn't spell it out, but it's obvious to me that when Israeli troops encounter terrorists hiding among Palestinian civilians, no matter how much care is taken to avoid hurting civilians, they're in the way! And the terrorists score, big time, in the war of world opinion anytime a Palestinian woman or child is accidentally (and unavoidably) injured or killed. It seems the Palestinians are waging their terror war on two fronts -on the ground (which is literally booby-trapped) and in the media, where the "ground" is also laden with hidden "explosives" - while Israel is responding on only one front.

Arutz Sheva, the Jerusalem Post, Maariv and Haaretz are all reporting that Operation Rainbow will continue; the IDF is merely cutting down its presence in some areas and expanding it in others. MiddleEastOnline quotes Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz as saying that the operation, designed to destroy tunnels used to smuggle in weapons from under the border with Egypt,would "last for as long as it takes." Army chief of staff General Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Gaza that "We are not demolishing houses either systematically or proactively . . . We took pains before the operation and are taking pains now as well so that the civilians receive everything they need."

Par for the course, everyone and their brother is condemning Israel for destroying the terrorist capability and infrastructure in Gaza, something the Palestinian Authority was supposed to do (and agreed to do) under the Performance-Based Road Map.
WaPo: "In rare public criticism of Israel, the White House rebuked the Jewish state yesterday for its deadly incursion into Gaza, saying it did not 'serve the purposes of peace and security' and had 'worsened the humanitarian situation.'"

IsraelInsider: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: "We know that Israel has a right for self-defense, but the kind of actions that they are taking in Rafiah -- the destruction of Palestinian homes -- we oppose."

AP: Tony Blair: "We entirely understand the concerns of Israel about acts of terrorism . . But what happened yesterday was unacceptable and wrong."

In Madrid, Spain, [Spanish Prime Minister] Zapatero met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia. "Every day that we live in this climate of violence we lose a year in the search for peace," Zapatero said. "Peace requires a cease-fire. Peace requires immediate dialogue." (One must assume he means the kind of dialogue Spain had with al Qaeda.)

NTV/MSNBC: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: ". . . Israel’s following such a policy is unacceptable. We harshly condemn yesterday’s events in Gaza. Israel’s actions could affect the whole region."

The Toronto Globe and Mail has the chutzpah to ask, "Is there method behind Israel's madness?"
Enough of this tangent; I can't bear it.