Yesterday afternoon I turned on the Israeli television to see the news of three rockets that had been fired into northern Israel from Lebanon. This is in violation of UN Resolution 1701, which was put in place after the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and, inter alia, forbids armed groups, foreign or domestic in Lebanon and establishes an embargo of weapons to Lebanese groups other than the government (and enforced by the 15,000 UNIFIL troops). It also bans Hezbollah from returning to southern Lebanon.
The early reports in the Australian press, focused heavily on Israel’s response; the headlines shrill that ‘Israel fires into Lebanon after rocket attack’ (news.com.au) and ‘Israeli army fires into Lebanon after rockets fall’ (The Age) placing the spotlight on Israel, as opposed to the source of the initial fire. Hezbollah is now denying any involvement and the Lebanese government has officially condemned the attacks, stating than an investigation has been launched and that it “remains committed to stability and Resolution 1701”. Meanwhile it is being reported that Israel will present an official complaint to the UN over the violation. (see more)
The incident was reported on the front page of both The Australian and The Age with the latter quoting a Lebanese spokesman who said “between two and three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon. Israel retaliated with five or six rockets.” Surprisingly, the word “disproportionate” was not mentioned. While Hezbollah has denied involvement, its chief, Hassan Nasrallah declared via video link-up that “Your 2006 war will be a walk in the park compared to what we have prepared for in the event of a new offensive. We are ready to sacrifice our souls, our brothers and sisters, our children… for what we believe in.” Nasrallah has come right out and said this, while apologists for Hezbollah and Hamas still do not seem to get the point that civilians are merely pawns in a much bigger game.
Our local papers are still full of stories regarding the conflict, with The Australian continuing to show balance with a wide range of articles aimed at showing at sides of the conflict including today’s offerings: ‘Vatican calls Gaza a concentration camp’, ‘Three-hour lull too little, too late’ and ‘Foreign ministers haggles over wording of truce’. Also published was a very thoughtful editorial, ‘Diplomacy can stop the shooting in Gaza’, about Israel’s reluctance to trust Hamas in any sort of ceasefire. And finally, in response to Assa Doron’s Op-Ed on 7 January entitled ‘Case of with us or against us’ there is a very reasoned response by Niv Horesh, a self-proclaimed refusenik and a critic of Israeli settlements, entitled ‘Propaganda does nothing for peace’.
On the other side of the spectrum, you will not see an article in The Age such as this one in The Australian, entitled ‘Network of tunnels and traps’ about the plethora of underground tunnels that have been built in Gaza for the purpose of abducting soldiers and smuggling weapons (see more). The Israeli army reports that an entire underground city has been created (see more). Others stories you will not hear about in The Age include reports that Hamas is stealing aid supplies to sell to residents (see more) and this ongoing story I mentioned earlier this week about Hamas executing scores of Palestinians classified as collaborators (see more). This has been gaining widespread coverage across the Israeli press, but I have still yet to see even a whiff of it here in Australia.
Meanwhile, the Age is still reporting on the incident at the United Nations school with this story: ‘Defiant Gazans mourn school dead’. There has been no consistency in the Age reportage of this matter since it first emerged a couple of days ago when this newspaper published a one sided report so sympathetic to Hamas that one would have thought the terrorist group wasn’t involved at all in the incident.
The only saving grace in the paper was an Op-Ed by Barry Rubin, entitled ‘Removing Hams is the only solution’.
Leading the news from the conflict online is ‘Israeli strike kills UN worker’ involving fire on a truck that was bringing humanitarian aide into Gaza. A UN spokesman has now declared “Operations will remain suspended until Israeli authorities can guarantee the safety and security of our staff.” The Jerusalem Post reports that there is uncertainty surrounding the UN driver’s death, after unconfirmed reports that the truck may have been hit by Hamas fire (see more). I will keep you updated on this story as it unfolds.
I would also like to draw your attention to today’s editorial from the Herald Sun entitled ‘Peace now a distant hope’. The piece is incredibly simplistic and seems to have been written by someone with a very limited knowledge of the conflict. For example, the conclusion boils down to this: “The Palestinians, who were disposed when the state of Israel was declared after World War II, are as determined to regain their lands as the Jewish settlers are to stay there.”
Please see these two very important videos: 15 seconds about the time Israeli children have to run for cover after hearing a “Code Red” and Children of Hamas, which exposes the ideology inflicted on Palestinian children from a young age.
Finally, the President of the Zionist Council of Victoria, Dr. Danny Lamm, has written an Op-Ed for ABC’s Unleashed, which was titled ‘Stop the Missiles on Israel, Stop the War’ but that has been named ‘Hamas missiles = war’ online. There are already over 150 comments on the article, so please feel free to add your responses.
I will be back in the office on Monday and will be able to send out more regular updates.
Zionist Council of Victoria