Gaza: clichéd, warmongering journalism

Jabari shadowy figure targeted by israeli precision bombing

‘Shadowy Hamas figure’ hit by ‘clinical air strike’.

The death toll in Gaza has now passed the 100 mark, including women and children. Israeli’s civilian casualties total three.

Both sides are mumbling about a ceasefire: Hamas’ exiled leader, Khaled Meshaal, insists that “whoever started the war must end it,” meaning, of course, the Israelis.

They, however, demand an immediate and full ending to rocket attacks from Gaza as “a prerequisite” to any ceasefire.

It’s an awful case of chicken and egg – which came first? The trouble is, that chickens on both sides are dead, and the eggs already crushed, yet again (remember 2008-9?).

Grim reality of war rendered acceptable

I’ve noted during the past 6 days of concerted military action, while watching international TV news reports or reading the online press, that certain clichéd phrases kept popping up. Their effect is, simply, to numb the audience, and add some spurious justification to otherwise abhorrent ideas and actions.

I feel vindicated in this observation by an article I read today by – yes, you guessed, Robert Fisk. Once again, he’s done it better, and faster, than I could.[1]

Terms of abuse and obfuscation

The trite terms and phrases are spun out, yet again: we’ll all always remember Bush’s contribution to world lexicology: “the war on terror”.

Here are some examples being used (deployed?) in this newest, most dangerous Middle East conflict:

  • “opening up the gates of hell” (used even by the now-exhumed Arafat)
  • “root out Palestinian terror”
  • “targeted attack”
  • “surgical air-strike”
  • “the No.1 shadowy leader” of Hamas, (Jabari), who was so shadowy that (image above) he was “clinically targeted” in his car
  • “Israel’s right to defend itself” with well over 1,000 air strikes (all “surgical”, of course) on Gaza, so effective that they managed to slaughter 10 civilians, including 4 young children on Friday (a holy day for both faiths), then on Sunday severely injured international journalists while trying to take out a “Hamas communication complex”. Gaza has apparently launched almost 900 rockets into Israel in the same period. To be fair, I haven’t yet noticed “collateral damage” mentioned, yet
  • “cyber-terrorism”

Computer war games

That last one – cyber-terrorism – marks an extension to this revolting vocabulary.

ReadWrite.web has run a couple of good articles on the Israeli Defence (?) Force’s efforts online:

“The Israeli Defense Force spokespeople behind the IDF Blog, the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter feed, and the rest of the Operation Pillar of Defense social media campaign were quick and forthcoming in response to my inquiries about the light-hearted game that took over the gravely serious blog yesterday.”

The IDF has been using Twitter and its own, normally deadly (yes) serious website:

“…as part of our efforts to create an interactive community to encourage social interaction generated by the IDF social networks online.”[2]

So, we can all play at online war, safe in our houses, while real civilians die, needlessly and hopelessly?

And, I also note, silence from Mr. Tony Bliar, the Quartet envoy to the Middle East process. Strange – he’s usually so vocal in his universal recipes for assuaging “impowtant” [sic] problems. Perhaps he’s too preoccupied with his plotting to become the next boss of the EU.

I leave you with this quote from Robert Fisk’s latest item:

“There are only good guys and bad guys in this outrageous conflict in which the Israelis claim to be the good guys to the applause of Western countries (who then wonder why a lot of Muslims don’t like Westerners very much).”[1]

I recommend you take the few minutes needed to read his article. As he concludes, the Israeli codename “Pillar of Defence” is in itself, complete Orwellian Doublespeak.

[1]: The Independent

[2]: readwrite.com:

Image: YouTube

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