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Posted by on Jul 20, 2006 in At TMV | 26 comments

Israeli Military Ops in Lebanon : Two Versions

Here are two views on the Israeli military action at Lebanon. The first appeared in a leading newspaper of India, The Hindustan Times, and the other in the Beirut-based newspaper, The Daily Star.

David Danieli, the author of the article in the Hindustan Times, is Ambassador of Israel to India. This is what he wrote: “Since Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 1,500 rockets have landed in Israel across its entire northern sector, killing and wounding many civilians in towns and villages, including the port city of Haifa.

“The Hamas and Hezbollah terror organisations have repeatedly challenged the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the safety of its residents — first in the southern sector of Israel, then on the northern border with Lebanon and deeper into Israeli townships and villages. These attacks are carried out across the internationally recognised border of the State of Israel.

“These U.N. resolutions provided the Lebanese government with a perfect chance to assert its authority in southern Lebanon and along the border with Israel and turn it to a peaceful border between the two States. By doing so, the Lebanese government would’ve been acting in the best interest of the people of Lebanon. Unfortunately, the Lebanese government failed to carry out its obligations.

“Hezbollah’s weapons cache is estimated at about 10,000 rockets, supplied by Iran via Syria and directed at Israel’s heartland. In the face of this immediate threat, Israel has reacted within its right, and obligation, to defend its territory and citizens.

“Although military operations by Israel are now necessary to defend its citizens by neutralising the threat posed by the Hezbollah, the eventual solution is indeed diplomatic. Israel expects the family of nations to enforce the international consensus already accepted by the UNSC resolutions concerning the disarming of the Hezbollah and the Lebanese government’s assertion of national sovereignty along its border with Israel.

“There is no substantive difference between the Israeli position and that of the international community as expressed, for instance, in the statement issued by the G-8 leaders in Moscow on July 16.”

Now the other side of this sad story. In a lengthy and detailed article, Marc J. Sirois, managing editor of the Beirut-based newspaper, The Daily Star, today delivered a full-frontal assault on the western media for its supposed failings in covering the current conflict, says a columnist in The Guardian.

“Hizbullah’s decision to snatch two Israeli soldiers evinced poor judgment and even worse timing, but the Israeli response has been out of all proportion to the original incident. The numbers speak for themselves. As of Wednesday evening, Israeli attacks had killed at least 292 civilians in Lebanon, while Hizbullah rockets had killed 13 noncombatants in the Jewish state.

“Lebanon has approximately 3.5m people. On a per-capita basis, that means that as of Wednesday, the rough equivalent of 9/11 has happened every day here for eight days.

“The vast majority of western media reports do not accurately portray the fact that the vast majority of the dead are civilians, most of them women and children. A Reuters dispatch this week described Israel’s choice of targets as ‘puzzling,’ but for the most part western TV viewers, newspaper readers and web surfers are reading highly sanitised versions of the news, spun in such a way as to dilute the brutality of the Israeli onslaught and especially to ensure that blame is placed squarely on Lebanon in general and Hizbullah in particular.

“Of course there are brave and honourable western journalists working here, and many of them are determined to tell the truth about what is happening. One has to assume, therefore, that what the decent ones report is being heavily edited somewhere along the line before it gets to the consumer.

“This is presumably intended as a prophylactic against the inevitable charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ and resultant drops in advertising revenues that will follow unvarnished coverage of Israeli brutality. The product of this regime of fear has been a generation of biased reporting that portrays the Jewish state as weak when it is very strong, moderate when it is frequently extremist, democratic when it is often theocratic, liberal when it is commonly draconian – in short, ‘western’ when it is anything but.”

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