Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Confusion over “Myths and Facts”

Several weeks ago HonestReporting issued an email alert to its subscribers, yet again offering guidance on what constitutes the apologist’s official narrative in Israels latest war in Lebanon. It’s in the form of a video called “Lebanon: Myths and Facts”.

Here are some of the perspectives that it would like its readers to appreciate;

“Myth: Israel is attacking Lebanese civilians”

Like the dead in Qana were a myth?

What do independent bodies like Human Rights Watch say?

Israeli forces have systematically failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes.

So Israel is attacking civilians. No myth.

“Fact: Hezbollah is using civilians as human shields”

HRW again,

Hezbollah fighters must not hide behind civilians – that’s an absolute – but the image that Israel has promoted of such shielding as the cause of so high a civilian death toll is wrong……In the many cases of civilian deaths examined by Human Rights Watch, the location of Hezbollah troops and arms had nothing to do with the deaths because there was no Hezbollah around.

So Hizballah is not using “human shields”. Not a fact, but a myth.

"Fact: Israel strives to minimize civilian casualties, dropping leaflets repeatedly asking them to leave for their own safety…..targetting only military objectives"

HRW again,

In some instances, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians.

And on the issue of leaflets HRW says,

Israeli warnings of imminent attacks do not turn civilians into military targets

Moreover, the logic of the leaflets undermines the very rationale they are meant to provide. They are an implicit recognition of the presence of civilians, to which the Israeli response is – we’re going to bomb there anyway.

And then there have been the attacks on civilians who have tried to flee as the leaflets urged.

HRW again,

Israeli forces have fired with warplanes and artillery on dozens of civilian vehicles, many flying white flags. …… the attacks have killed and wounded civilians who were fleeing their homes after the IDF issued instructions to evacuate.

And to finally completely destroy the logic of the “leaflets” there is this, from the BBC,

Since Monday, when Israeli jets dropped leaflets warning unequivocally that any vehicles daring to travel would be hit, there has been virtually no traffic on the roads. Not that there was much before. So in Tyre, the only way to move without that dire threat hanging over you, is to walk. And even that is hardly comfortable – (BBC August 10, 2006.)

Now the leaflets provide evidence of a direct admission that civilians will be targeted by Israeli forces.

It’s clear that HonestReporting has accidentally transposed the words “myth” and “fact” in its script.

Myth: Hezbollah has a justified grievence with Israel”, “This is not a border dispute”.

The ongoing occupation of the Shebaa Farms area might be considered a grievence. There is no doubt that Israel occupies the area, but says that it is Syrian, not Lebanese, territory. And Israel continues to hold Lebanese citizens in Israeli jails, taken from Lebanese territory during Israels occupation of southern Lebanon, in defiance of international law. Also in defiance of Israeli law, and despite the Israeli Government argeeing to release them in a prisoner swap and then reneging. Could it be that this constitutes some tiny basis for a justified grievence?

In its email, HR describes this video as part of the educational tools” in fighting the evil scourge of “media bias”. But then in it’s final sentence, all pretense is dropped and HonestReporting is, for a change, quite candid – “The film exposes …….the actual facts that the media should be reporting”.

Yes, the facts, as HonestReporting wishes they were, are what the media should report.