As I sat down to finish off the last of the Christmas fare I
switched on the evening news. It was not a pretty sight.
The lead item was the latest genocidal attack by Israel against
the civilians of the occupied Gaza strip. The first pictures
were of the bombing of the university in Gaza city followed by a
montage of shots of ambulances disgorging wounded civilians and
other pictures of injured children being carried into hospitals
by their distraught parents.
Then the cruncher. The reporter intoned that the 'continued
rocket attacks against Israel were creating a climate of fear'.
As he said this the picture that flashed on screen was of a burn
mark on a road. The point was missed.
The point is, the crude rockets fired by the so called
'terrorists' are virtually ineffective both in their accuracy
and their potency. Most fail to explode or fall in unoccupied
land. The few that do hit an Israeli town usually do not claim
lives. Only two Israeli civilians have been killed so far this
year. The low death toll can be attributed to the sophisticated
network of bomb shelters and early warning alarms that allow the
population, in most cases, to get to shelter long before the
While any civilian death in what is a full scale war is
regrettable, the fact that Israel continues to kill hundreds of
innocent Palestinian civilians each year is virtually ignored as
the real issue. Mark Regev, the current mouthpiece of the
occupiers, continues to run the line that they do all they can
to avoid such deaths. He, like many other defenders of the
occupation, continue to run the line that it is the Palestinians
who are the aggressors. However, with the increasing civilian
death toll in Gaza, I suggest that the Israeli army should get a
refund on their so called 'smart weapons'.
Meanwhile the extreme right wing in Israel continues it
relentless march back to power – if they ever abandoned it. At
the same time our mainstream media continues to ignore the
protests going on in Israel by its own citizens who are opposed
to their nation's ongoing occupation and aggression against the
I ask you, where is the response to this current outrage by the
Rudd government? Nowhere to be seen or heard. The current
foreign minister, Steven Smith, seems just as mute in this
instance as his predecessor, Alexander Downer. While quick to
condemn, and rightly so, tyrants such as Robert Mugabe, our
government's silence reveals their double standards.
It seems, once more, that the Palestinians are the meat in the
sandwich of Israeli and international politics. With an election
due on February 10th, the Israeli political scene
turns, like clockwork, to a show of force against one of the
most vulnerable civilian populations on the planet. Like
shooting fish in a barrel, the population density of Gaza means
it is impossible for them to shelter adequately or effectively
against the random bombing attacks on them.
In the shadowy world of propaganda – sorry, I mean public
relations – practitioners must take account of their various
audiences both internal and external and craft their messages to
suit. In the case of the current massacre of innocent civilians
in the Gaza strip, a very important external audience is the
incoming US president, Barack Obama and his coterie. As we now
know, Obama is reviving the Clinton legacy and this scares many
of the Israeli hard-liners because Clinton was the only US
President to even come close to a peace deal.
While that peace deal was flawed and very one sided, he was able
to, at the least, get the warring parties to agree to a photo
opportunity while shaking hands in the White House rose garden.
The symbolism was immense and the underlying message was clear …
“peace is possible”. Without an enemy, real or perceived, the
dynamics of the Israeli interactions with the world would be
So, as we sit to finish off the Christmas fare and prepare to
welcome in the New Year, it is important to remember that the
blood of innocents is on our hands just as much as it is on the
hands of those who ordered this latest round of genocidal
attacks. We cannot escape this fact because we live in a so
called democracy in which our leaders are elected, or so we are
led to believe, to represent our interests. If our interests are
not in protecting the most vulnerable, then the news coming out
of Gaza and other places will only continue to worsen.