Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hypocrisy Abounds

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

July 15,2006

The sound of a descending missile, the moment of impact, the explosion and destruction to buildings, individuals and a community’s life multiple times a day. Running to escape the inevitable, children laying on the ground, bleeding; adults crawling around in the dust kicked up by the missile and fearing for your life. All supplies cut off, your ability to communicate with anyone outside of your small ground where you lie, awaiting anyone’s help-this is the human experience of an attack. Civilians all, this morning you went on your way to your workplace, the local store or just for a coffee at your favorite café-you now find yourself bleeding, on the ground next to a young child who is dying-you can do nothing to help, prayer comes to your mind. This has been private citizens experience these last days on all sides of this war. It is not one of humanity’s prize moments. How any of this makes it to your newspaper or media vehicle does matter. The nature of the representation explains the writer’s perspective, viewpoint, bias and/or ability to distinguish between reporting and opinion. You, the news consumer assumes that what you are reading or watching is accurate and demonstrative of the truth. Regrettably this is not what is so. The unreported side of the current Israeli event demonstrates the hypocrisy witnessed in much of today’s media.

What do we know happened up to this moment in time? Israel’s northern border was quiet soldiers were on patrol. Hizbollah crossed-under via a tunnel-they invaded the border dividing Israel and Lebanon. With no provocation, Hizzbollah illegally entered Israel. Simultaneously, Hizzbollah began a barrage of rockets into Israel firing upon a dozen or more northern communities. Two Israeli soldiers are kidnapped, three soldiers killed, another killed trying to assist his fallen colleague. Please understand that our enemy was strategically firing upon civilians to divert our attention to the real military objective: to kill and kidnap our soldiers. They used the destruction of civilians as the basis for their attack. Homes, businesses and human beings were hit by the katusha rockets. At that moment, citizens’ safety and business were now placed in danger. Beginning with this invasion operation, Israeli citizens livelihoods were taken away from them. Citizens saw their entire lives uprooted and destroyed in the moment of the Hizbollah invasion and attack-two actions in any other part of the world would be called war. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis were about to begin a new phase in their lives.

The initial view across the international community was really a “wait and see” what happens action. Other than the factual reporting of events, you did not hear what others were thinking about this illegal activity, a clear violation of international law. This all changed in 24 hours. As Israel struck back (defending its sovereignty and her citizens) targeting military facilities, domestic infrastructure and Hizzbollah individuals and buildings, the world began to change its mind. Israel dared to standup to the terrorists, we were willing to do the proper thing and take military action against an enemy who had once again broken international law by invading our country, killing our soldiers and kidnapping two additional soldiers, our response was open for criticism. We heard once again the term proportionality and collective punishment.

Let me be clear that within 54 hours of being attacked, our enemy has fired over 700 rocket/missiles/mortar rounds into our sovereign state killing several citizens, destroying homes and businesses, trampled upon one third of our population’s right to live in quiet. The enemy has launched a rocket attack deep inside Israel as it sent two rockets into Haifa-our third largest city. I have not heard one media source proclaim Hizzbollah’s lack of proportionality upon the Israeli civilian population. When Israel did respond in kind and Hizzbollah once again fired barrages of rockets and mortar rounds into Israel, attacking only civilian sites, I did not hear any media, not one, who indicated Hizzobllah was out of line collectively punishing Israel.

I suggest that either the media and/or corresponding foreign governments critical of our response are either displaying hypocritical behavior or they are choosing to misrepresent the facts as they truly exist. Where is the outrage for the country and terrorist organization that, unprovoked, attacked its neighbor-Israel? Why are the standards of conduct that are used to describe Israel’s behavior not equally used with Hizzbollah? Please reconcile the fact that Hizzbollah continues to target civilians, we are their primary military offensive goal and not one word regarding collective punishment is issued. Tell me how the media and foreign governments use two eyes to see our military striking military targets and specific infrastructure designed to take away our enemy’s ability to fight, thus bringing this event to a faster conclusion and yet draw the conclusion we are “over fighting” this event. Surely this is a comparative description they are using to determine we are “out of line.” This being so, I suggest they are choosing to ignore facts-Israeli citizens in similar numbers to the Lebanese, are suffering as well. Lives are in ruin.

Finally I offer an observation. The use of the terms “collective punishment and proportionality” are corrupt concepts when it comes to war. I understand their meanings and their applications-I simply argue that they are used to homogenize one of human beings most grotesque behaviors: destruction and killing via war! Furthermore, they are code words for individuals and governments to use to sanitize and disguise their hatred for Israel. Using these terms allows you to “look good” in the eyes and minds of your biased colleagues and demonstrate your empathy for the underdog enemies of Israel. You thus set yourself apart from those of us who must therefore admire cruelty and suffering in human beings. You ride high upon your humanity pedestal looking down on those of us who dare challenge you. Hypocrisy we see you and we read you –every day. Watch out, we are onto you now!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hamas and Fatah-Equally Guilty

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

July 11, 2006

The headline read: Gaza family’s tragedy shows desperate plight of residents. The story began with “Pinned down by an Israeli military offensive, the Hajaj family was whiling away the time drinking tea and roasting corn in the backyard when disaster struck-a missile slammed into the group, killing 46 year old Amna Hajaj and two of her 15 children.” Inscription under the accompanying photo “relatives mourn at the funeral for three members of the Hajaj family in Gaza city on Sunday-photo has two older unidentified women holding the distraught, stunned face of an unidentified lady. The story that followed was predictable. (1)

The next paragraph indicated that the Palestinians blamed Israel for the latest casualties and accused Israel of firing at the innocents living in a house. The facts later demonstrated that once again the Palestinians misfired and killed their own people. It seems that a Palestinian anti-tank missile inadvertently hit the house. However, rest assured that these tragic deaths did go down on the tally sheet as deaths caused by Israel and will be used as “evidence” that Israel targets civilians. Furthermore, no correction will ever be provided the western media nor to the Palestinian people. They will go on thinking how savage are the Israelis!

As of this writing, nearly 60 Palestinians have been killed in the two-week plus military campaign. Only part of this story is making it to the homes in America. Once again Israel is being accused of everything from collectively punishing the Palestinian population, using disproportionate response and violating the Geneva Convention. The mantra continues and was predictable-the Palestinian strategy has not changed in years. It plays the victim card as soon as Israel responds to their terrorist behavior. The media is fed incomplete data, or data is with held intentionally or the data is fabricated. Context is invariably ignored and media consumers are left with a dishonest presentation of events and situations.

If one did not know better you might actually believe that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA leader is a moderate and that the evil ones are Hamas. This is not an accurate representation of facts. Clearly, the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is considered ruthless, dangerous and disingenuous when it comes to his vision of Israel and the Western world. He is a holocaust denier and a verified anti-semite to suggest two of his characteristics. The Western leaders have gone on the record indicting how dangerous this man is. Well, Mr. Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the holocaust, was Arafat’s second in command during the last intifada that saw thousands of Israeli citizens murdered and/or wounded; yet, some believe he is a moderate? A group belonging to PA Chairman Abbas’ Fatah Party announced July 10,2006 that it has created a female homicide hit group of some 100 women. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah additionally continues to attack Israel with homicide bombers during the last two weeks-all were caught before causing any death and destruction. There is no such thing as a moderate Palestinian leader in any position of authority at this time and it is well past time that this truth be understood. Hamas is simply the headline leader today; Fatah is nothing less than Hamas’ behavioral shadow.

Hamas and Fatah have been and are currently in violation of the Geneva Convention. Remember the following historical context of these conventions (2):

· The Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland that set the standards of international law for humanitarian concerns. The conventions were the results of efforts by Henri Dunant (1862), who was motivated by the horrors of war he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino (1859).

· The conventions, their agreements and two added protocols are as follows: First Geneva convention (1864) Treatment of battlefield casualties and creation of International Red Cross Second Geneva Convention (1906) Extended the principles from the first convention to apply also to war at sea.

· Third Geneva Convention (1929)): Treatment of Prisoners of War.

  • Fourth Geneva Convention (1949)): Treatment relating to the protection of civilians during times of war "in the hands" of an enemy and under any occupation by a foreign power.
  • Protocol I (1977)-Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts Protocol II (1977) -Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.
  • In summary, the first three conventions were revised, a fourth was added, and the entire set was ratified in 1949; the whole is referred to as the "Geneva Conventions of 1949" or simply the "Geneva Conventions". Later conferences (Protocols) added the provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of civil wars. (3)

The world now has a set of “guidelines” that are meant to make one of the ugliest human behaviors (war) appear somewhat civilized-rules of war were developed and meant to be followed. This unto itself is ludicrous. The world leaders representing democracies to despotic government claim to act in accordance with these rules and they, together with special interest groups call the same world attention to its violators. Hamas and Fatah are such violator groups!

For example, Article Three of the Fourth Geneva Convention has been consistently violated as innocent Israelis living in the territories have been targeted and murdered by these two terror groups. It has been successfully argued, that inside Israel proper, citizens, technically not protected persons, should be subject to the same interpretation accorded to those living in the territories. Both of these groups have consistently violated Article 44 of protocol I (1977) by placing themselves within civilian populations, using these citizens as human shields, placing armament and combatants inside private and centrally located public buildings thus placing their civilian population at risk. Currently Hamas is in violation of prisoner of war rights accorded to the kidnapped Israeli soldier-again a violation of the Geneva agreements it uses incorrectly against Israel.

These are just a few of the convention violations acted out every day, 24/7, by Hamas and Fatah. Both groups’ leaderships have not only as a strategy but also have as a policy actions that daily violate the Geneva agreements-yet the media and the West turn a blind eye to facts on the ground. The result is that the citizens of these countries and/or the readers/viewers of the reports have faulty information upon which to draw astute conclusions. Policy statements are written and actions are taken-all based upon incorrect data. We all know what happens with our personal computers when we enter incorrect data; the answers we want are simply incorrect and wrong. “Times, they are a’ changing”, there are people no longer willing to accept this misdirection of information-

accountability begins now!

End Notes

  1. Deeb el, Sarah “Gaza family’s tragedy Shows Desperate Plight of Residents”, Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2006.
  2. Morris, GS Don, “Understanding the Geneva Conventions,” posted Scholars for Peace website, 2005.
  3. From

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Disproportionate Response-Really?

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

July 10,2006

All the old familiar names are jumping on the ‘beat up Israel” bandwagon, once again. From the leader of the United Nations, Kopi Annan, to the Peace Now group, to the internationally acclaimed author Mario Vargas Llosa along with the rest of the usual suspects, all are upset with Israel’s response to the murder of an Israeli citizen, the kidnapping of a soldier and other murders of Israeli soldiers. Israel ‘s "out of proportion" operation in the Gaza Strip has come under fire-pun intended. Really now, what people think about a military action-is this really worthy of a news story? One questions why this even makes it to the newspaper pages?

Let’s examine the facts and then ask some questions:

  • Since the Fall of 2005 the Palestinians were given Gaza, the Jews are gone. Do they begin building the state they say they want, do they start developing the infrastructure like constructing schools and roads and hospitals?
  • Hamas wins an election and becomes the territory’s leadership. For the first time in modern history Gaza becomes an independent territory courtesy of Israel. None of the area’s prior rulers, the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, ever permitted this to happen. What do the Palestinians do? On the very first day of the pull out by Israel, they began firing Kassam rockets into the sovereign country of Israel.
  • Since the beginning of this year, over 300 rocket attacks have been fired into Israel proper, about two every day, 7 days a week, non-stop violence and terror. Dozens of Israeli citizens have been injured, many killed. Targets include power stations, family homes, schools and downtown streets citizens are walking along or sitting in a café. These are not military targets, they are all civilian targets.
  • Many Kassam rockets have been fired toward Ashkelon, Israel's 5th-largest city, over the past several months. In the past week two Kassams hit the heart of the city on consecutive nights. On Tuesday night (July 4), a rocket landed in a schoolyard just as parents and children were engaged in registration for next year. The next night (July 5), one of two Kassams fired northward sent eight Ashkelon residents into a state of shock and to the hospital.
  • On Friday (July 7), 17 Kassam rockets were launched falling near a number of kibbutzim, including Sa'ad, Nahal Oz, and Gevim, as well as near the town of Netivot.
  • Four people were wounded on Sunday morning (July 9), 1 moderately and 3 lightly, when a Kassam rocket, launched from the northern Gaza Strip, landed in a house in Sderot.
  • Hamas decried on Sunday (July 9) a recent call by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop Kassam rocket fire on Israel and release kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
  • This is Hamas in action--the group that was elected by the Palestinian people to lead them. This we now know for sure: it is a Palestinian government openly committed to terrorism and to the destruction of a member state of the U.N. openly using terrorism to carry on its war.

These are the facts. I even left some out in order to keep this brief. So I ask the “bandwaggoners” if you were under fire every day, your citizens you vowed to protect were being wounded and killed, what would you do? Talk? You actually believe that you can talk to a group of internationally defined terrorists to return the soldier they kidnapped? Remember, this is the same group who has as its policy the destruction of Israel, you really believe you can talk them into returning your soldier? Even today, as I write this piece, the Hamas leadership has become enraged with Mr. Mazen for even suggesting that Hamas return the soldier-you still think talk with such an ideology, such people bent upon destruction will work? I am not asking if you want the violence to stop, so do I. I am not asking you hope or want to believe that talk would work-so did I once. Behavior has demonstrated what the truth is with this regard.

I offer to you who criticize a government for protecting its people, a government who only targets enemy fighters, who operates out of the highest of ethical military “right to fire codes” in the world to reconcile your beliefs with on the ground behavior that is absolutely opposed to what you profess.

Hamas and other PA terror groups are each and every day in violation of the Geneva Convention code of behavior-they hide among civilians, they target civilians, they place tunnels in private homes, under baby cribs, they wear no uniform-all of these and so much more, Hamas is guilty of these violations. Where is your concern, your upset, your outrage with this behavior? Finally, I hear your condemnation of Israel’s reply to this ongoing action and I do not hear, not once, from any of you, what you think is proportional action! How easy and self-righteous you are to make such proclamations from the comfort of your home-some thousands of miles away! You are part of the problem and are actually reinforcing deviant behavior-time to face the reality and stop spinning tales of illusion.