Thursday, April 14, 2011

Libel by omission

The last we visited with Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan, they were serving as apologists for Hamas' attempted murder of Israeli school children and groping for words to conceal the fact that over six hundred Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since the end of the Gaza war in 2009.

In another story published on Tuesday, al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan take Israel to task for closing the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza:
(Reuters) - Israel kept a commercial crossing with Hamas-ruled Gaza shut for a seventh day Tuesday although a truce had stopped cross-border fighting, and a UN official said he was "extremely worried" essential supplies may run out.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides aid to more than two thirds of Gaza's population of 1.5 million, said 172 truckloads of oil, sugar and flour were waiting to cross into the impoverished coastal territory.
Israel said it shut the crossings a week ago during a violent flare-up when Hamas militants fired an anti-tank rocket at a school bus, critically wounding an Israeli teen-ager, and Israel retaliated with air raids, killing 19 Palestinians.
The violence has subsided since Egyptian and UN mediators achieved an informal truce Sunday.
Israel has not yet reopened the terminal because of concern about security, an Israeli official said, adding that individual humanitarian cases were allowed into Israel at a separate crossing.
Christopher Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said he was "extremely worried" the commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom might not reopen before the Jewish Passover holiday begins on Monday evening, a time when Israel often shuts its crossings with Palestinian territories, citing security concerns.
The relief agency generally aims to send about 20 truckloads of sugar, flour, oil and school lunches into Gaza daily, and has only enough of these supplies stored in the territory to last until the end of the month, Gunness said.
Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan are attempting to suggest here that Israel is putting the population in Gaza at risk by keeping the border closed and doing so unreasonably since "a truce had stopped cross-border fighting" and "the violence has subsided since Egyptian and UN mediators achieved an informal truce Sunday".  Going unreported however, is this tidbit:
At 6 o'clock Sunday morning 4/10/2011, the artillery unit of the Al-Quds Brigades shot 4 80 mm mortar shells toward the site "Karm Abu Salem," [Kerem Shalom] located east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where shells hit their targets precisely, leading to the interruption of electricity to most parts of the site and spreading a state of confusion the soldiers present inside.
Which might explain why Israel has prudently maintained the closure.

Following another suggestion by al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan that "sugar, flour, oil and school lunches" will run out at the end of the month unless the Kerem Shalom crossing is opened, the two Reuters correspondents tell us:
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said 150 types of basic medicines were lacking in the territory and that a cooking gas shortage also loomed.
The suggestion here of course, that Israel is also responsible for the lack of medicines in Gaza.

But the chronic shortages in Gaza are actually due to the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is negotiating with the two Palestinian health authorities to reach a long-term agreement that would end chronic drug shortages, which affect patients first.
The lack of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and authorities in the Gaza Strip harms the Gaza health system. For example, a strike was called in 2008 in the Gaza public hospital system. The health facilities estimated that 50 – 80% of health workers -- trapped in the conflict of interests between the two "competing" health authorities – observed the strike.

Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan show us it's much easier to libel Israelis than to report the facts.

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