By Stuart Littlewood
Stuart Littlewood shows how Israel's public relations strategy frames
and defines the situation in Israel's own terms regardless of the
truth and, using advanced propaganda skills and the elaborate Israel
lobby network, it seeks to persuade Western politicians and media to
accept Israel's version of events.
While the murderous assault on Gaza continues, I notice there's a
briefing document on the website of the Israeli Embassy in London
which has a lie in every line. The West's mainstream media repeat
them, and even the most senior TV and radio interviewers don't bother
to challenge them.
The document is a transcript of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's
statement to the Israeli press dated 27 December 2008 - a day that
will live in infamy. It is a perfect example of the falsehoods used to
dupe not only us Westerners but Israel's own people. The statement
shows how the regime's view of itself is constructed on a web of
dishonesty and self-delusion.
* "Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from
Gaza for years."
Palestinians have been under harsh Israeli occupation for 60 years.
* "Only this week hundreds of missiles and mortars shells were fired
at Israeli civilian communities."
Only one in 500 Qassam rockets causes a fatality. How many
thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, rockets, grenades and
tank-shells have been blasted into the crowded city and towns of the
Gaza Strip by Israel's high-tech weaponry??
* "Until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other
option than a military operation."
The only legitimate option for Israel is to end the occupation
and withdraw behind its 1967 border, as required under international
law and UN resolutions. Israel has been killing Palestinians at the
rate of 8 to 1 since 2000, and children at the rate of nearly 12 to 1
(B'Tselem figures). This is somebody's idea of restraint?
* "We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military
response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza."
Self-defence is not a right exclusive to Israel. Palestinians
have an equal right to protect their citizens from the terror tactics
* "Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace."
Israel never left Gaza. It still occupies Gaza's airspace and
coastal waters and controls all entrances and exits.
* "In return, the Hamas terror organization took control of Gaza
and is using its citizens as cover while it deliberately targets
Israeli communities and denies any chance for peace."
Hamas was voted into power as the legitimate government of
Palestine. Israel chose not to accept the people's choice, which
amounted to a denial of their human rights, and immediately set about
* "We have tried everything to reach calm without using force. We
agreed to a truce through Egypt that was violated by Hamas, which
continued to target Israel, hold Gilad Shalit and build up its arms."
Try talking. The Israelis' ongoing siege and economic blockade,
begun shortly after Hamas was elected early in 2006, was never going
to generate calm. And why is Shalit considered more important than the
9,000 Palestinians abducted and held prisoner by Israel? As soon as a
Hamas government was formed Israeli troops arrested eight Hamas
ministers and 20 other parliamentarians, making the work of government
* "Israel continues to act to prevent humanitarian crisis and to
minimize harm to Palestinian civilians."
Every agency operating in Gaza has warned of the deepening
humanitarian crisis and protested about the starvation and suffering,
especially of children many of whom show evidence of stunted growth.
* "The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas."
Not according to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
* "Hamas is a terrorist organization, supported by Iran, that
does not represent the legitimate national interests of the
Palestinian people but a radical Islamist agenda that seeks to deny
peace for the peoples of this region."
Hamas was the popular choice of Palestinians at the last
election. It is entitled under international law to take up arms
against an illegal occupier and invader. If it is supported by Iran,
so what? Israel receives mega-support from the US. When it comes to
terror, it is Israel's conduct which fits the US definition of
terrorism so perfectly
- see Bush's Executive Order 13224, Section 3.
* "While confronting Hamas, Israel continues to believe in the
two-state solution and remains committed to negotiations with the
legitimate Palestinian Authority in the context of the peace process,
launched at Annapolis."
Israel is busy establishing irreversible facts on the ground
that make a viable Palestinian state impossible. As everyone knows,
the regime has reneged on the peace process and carries on building
illegal settlements and the illegal Wall, and demolishing Palestinian
homes. Months ago Hamas accepted a Palestinian state based on
internationally recognized (pre-1967) borders, in accordance with UN
resolutions, with full sovereignty and its capital in Jerusalem, but
this has been ignored. Hamas also offered a 10-year truce, also
ignored. Earlier, Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation
Organization recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement but
what good did it do? Today's US-backed, Fatah-controlled Palestinian
Authority is not representative of the Palestinian people.
* "Israel expects the support and understanding of the
international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the
interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and co existence to
determine the agenda of this region."
Israel, next to the US, is the biggest purveyor of terror in the
region and only advances its own interests. It may get the support of
Israel lobby stooges in other Western governments but is rapidly
earning the contempt of everybody else.
From a statement dated 22 December 2008:
* "Hamas, backed by Iran, has regularly stated its desire to see
the complete destruction of Israel."
Israel is itself a leading destroyer and currently engaged in
trying to wipe out Hamas and the Gazans. Iran's President Ahmadinajad
quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying that "this regime
occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" - fair comment
considering that Jerusalem, with Bethlehem, was designated an
"international city" under the UN Partition Plan. Israeli propaganda
twisted the Iranian's words to read "Israel must be wiped off the
map". Zionist sources and the manifestos of Israeli political parties
have made it clear for a long time that Israel plans to wipe Palestine
off the map, and every act and lie is directed towards that end.
* "Our fight is not with the people of Gaza; it is with the
extremists of Hamas."
Then why does the Israeli navy harass and fire on peaceable
Gazan fishermen who are well within their own territorial waters? Why
does Israel prevent Palestinian students from taking up places at
foreign universities and block hospital spares, medicines, foodstuffs
and foreign medics from entering Gaza? Why has the Israeli navy just
rammed a mercy vessel in international waters taking doctors and
medicines to Gaza? Latest air strikes have hit the Islamic University
and the Ministry of Education. These are direct attacks on Gazan civil
society and its infrastructure.
* "Hamas started this conflict, and it bears responsibility for
any harm to civilians on either side."
The conflict, started by Jewish terrorists, has been going on
for 60 years, decades before Hamas came into being.
* "Israel's only responsibility is to protect Israeli citizens."
As the occupying power Israel has a duty to see that the people
of the occupied territories come to no harm.
* "Just as Israel seeks to defend its civilian population, Hamas
seeks to kill them."
This reads far better the other way round: "Just as Hamas seeks
to defend its civilian population, Israel seeks to kill them."
* "Rocket attacks have continued for years and are now a daily
occurrence. How long does the international community expect Israel
will wait before defending itself against them?"
The rocket attacks will end when Israel ends the occupation and
stops terrorizing its neighbours.
* "In the south of Israel, Israeli citizens live with air raid
sirens sounding every day - sometimes every hour. Their situation is
Not half as intolerable as it is for the Gazans, who live in
constant fear of air raids and re-invasion and are constantly under
surveillance by armed drones which can fire missiles under computer
control from an armchair in Israeli headquarters.
* "For years, the international community has turned a blind eye
to this onslaught. Only when Israel seeks to stop the rockets do they
For years the international community has turned a blind eye to
Israel's violations of international law and human rights, which is
why the problem remains unsolved.
* "Hamas is not only the enemy of Israel - it is the enemy of
every Palestinian who believes in peace."
Israelis just can't come to terms with the Palestinians'
democratic choice and are bent on obliterating it.
* "It is Hamas' attacks - not Israel's reactions - that destroy
every opportunity we have for peace."
The world has managed to work out by now that Israel doesn't
want peace until it has stolen all the land and water it needs to
expand its racist state into a "Greater Israel". It is well on the way
to achieving this and won't be thwarted.
* "Palestinian militants targeted by Israel are not just the
enemies of the Israeli people; they are criminals under international
law, and enemies of peace."
Israel is in no position to preach international law.
* "What is collective punishment? 'Collective punishment' is a
city - schools, hospitals, homes - civilians being bombarded every
single day by rockets and mortars."
Collective punishment is keeping a whole population bottled up
under siege and blocking supplies and exports, smashing their
infrastructure, wrecking their economy and starving their children.
Trying to equate Sderot with what's happening in the Gaza Strip is
* "Today's Middle East is divided between extremists and
pragmatists. Hamas, backed by Iran, belongs to the extremists, who
must be defeated for the sake of the future of the Middle East...
Israel's primary goal is peace."
Israel's primary goal is the expansion of Israel by making the
occupation of the West Bank permanent and bringing the Gazans to their
The core issue in this struggle is the illegality of Israel's brutal
occupation. Israel goes to great lengths to avoid and suppress all
mention of it and play-acts the pathetic victim. As the official
statements (above) show, the strategy is to frame and define the
situation in Israel's own terms regardless of the truth. It uses
advanced propaganda skills, and the elaborate Israel lobby network, to
persuade Western politicians and media to accept Israel's version of
events (and even use Israel's biased language) and not question its
In political public relations terms it works wonderfully well. The
loony leaders of my own government happily spread the poison and don't
seem interested in halting Israeli aggression and the vaporizing,
dismembering and crushing of Gaza's population. In human PR terms it
is a disaster.
I have been listening to the BBC's senior interviewers these last few
days. None has had the gumption to ask Israeli spokesmen the only
question that matters - the "killer" question on which hangs the key
to peace: WHEN IS ISRAEL GOING TO END ITS OCCUPATION AND RETURN TO THE
PALESTINIANS THEIR LANDS AND FREEDOM?
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which
tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further
information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk
www.tomatobubble.com www.ihr.org http://nationalvanguard.org