Thursday, November 09, 2006

Beit Hanun

Even though Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories have fallen off the front pages of the US's major newspapers since the war this summer, the region is still in tragic shape with horrible atrocities occuring on a regular basis. For example, Ha'aretz (an Israeli newspaper) columnist Gideon Levy reports on the "bloodbath" that occurred in Beit Hanun in the beginning of November. The details are quite disturbing, as is the fact that Western media outlets like CNN and the New York Times haven't seen fit to cover them even though some brave voices in the Israeli media have. Meanwhile, the UN has formed a mission to investigate the attacks in Gaza that led to the death of 18 Palestinian civilians--mostly women and children.

Levy notes that IDF forces have killed at least 37 people in four days, and Israeli public has "yawned with indifference". (Of course, at least the Israeli people are more likely to be informed as to what atrocities are being committed in their name than their American counterparts.)

He reports: "The IDF has been operating in the town of Beit Hanun for several days now. Operation Autumn Clouds is ostensibly intended to target Qassam launchers, but meanwhile it has only brought more Qassams on Sderot - besides the killing, destruction and terror it sows in the heart of the 30,000-resident town. I was at the Beit Hanun home of the Abu Ouda family twice recently. The first time was when a shell destroyed the family's home. The second time was when soldiers killed the father, his son and his daughter, who were innocent of any crime. And this was before Operation Autumn Clouds." He also notes that "In recent months, almost no day has gone by without Palestinians being killed in Gaza." and ponders the fact that Israeli PM Olmert openly brags about this.

To be sure, the editorial lambasts some members of Israel's mainstream media, notably Maariv, for glossing over details of the IDF's brutal treatment of Palestinians. But it really says something about Israel that an editorial such as this, written by an Israeli journalist (and former spokesman to Israeli PM Shimon Peres) can be published without much fanfare in a major Israeli newspaper, while US media is now busy pretending the Israel-Palestine conflict no longer exists.

More commentary on the tragedy in Gaza from The Guardian.

Update: Commentary from Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud.

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