The Gaza Flotilla unravels, but does the Age care?

Yesterday’s Age carried an Editorial entitled ‘Inquiry sails into troubled waters’ (this flotilla incident has certainly been a dream for sub-editors in terms of how many play-on-words one can write about the sea) shows exactly where the Age officially sits on the issue but this was fairly obvious from their placement of Paul McGeough’s not-so-eyewitness rant on the front page of last Friday’s paper anyway. This week on the topic of an internal inquiry about what happened, they declare, “this may be convenient for Israel, but the inconvenient truth, as the rest of the world knows, is that it is a matter of global concern, an incident on international waters, involving the deaths and woundings of many foreigners”.

 I find it interesting that the Age talks about inconvenient truths considering they routinely ignore so many themselves. Here are just a few “inconvenient truths” I have not read too extensively about in the Age over the last week and a half, in no particular order:

 That Hamas, which controls Gaza, has a deadly covenant that calls for the annihilation of Jews by Jihad (see more).  

  • That over 10,000 rockets have been fired at Israel in recent years from Gaza, giving Israel reason enough to want to check what goes into the area.
  • That Gilad Shalit has been held for almost 4 years against his will by Hamas, being denied even the most basic human rights.
  • That the IHH, the group responsible for the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara, is a terrorist organisation who specifically boarded the ship with the intention of a confrontation with Israeli soldiers
  • That members of the IHH declared their intentions for martyrdom before boarding the ship.
  •  That 15,000 tons of aid is transferred weekly into Gaza and even during the week of the flotilla incident 484 truckloads of aid were transferred from Israel the Gaza Strip.

 And there is plenty more, though I do not have the time or the space to mention them all now.

 The National Times section of the Age online also featured an opinion piece by Paul McGeough entitled ‘A shift in Arab streets dynamics as Turkey and Israel fall out’ which shows us that McGeough can hardly even bear to write about the reasons why Israel might be wary of Hamas. In writing about Operation Cast Lead he states, “Israel says almost 3000 rockets had been fired at southern Israel in the year before the war”. What does he mean “Israel says”? By putting it in that way, and I do not think I am nitpicking here, he is suggesting that there is the possibility that these 3000 rockets were just a figment of the Israelis collective imagination. Just before this he mentions that 1300 Palestinians were “killed” while 13 Israelis “died”.

McGeough also states, “an international chorus is clamouring to ease or lift the blockade – under which Israel trickles what it deems to be appropriate quantities of supplies into the impoverished Palestinian enclave”. My concern here is that writing an opinion piece, McGeough is entitled to write what he really thinks. But with his track record in reporting about Israel, and documented evidence of his opinion, is he really the most appropriate person to be reporting from the region?

Today’s Age and Australian have both reported on US President Obama’s pledge to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to deliver more aid to the Palestinians. Please read ‘Obama sends aid and urges easing of blockade’ from the Australian and ‘Gaza blockade is unsustainable, Obama tells Israel’. It is definitely important that the Palestinians receive aid and the world must do what it can to ensure that the aid is actually delivered to those who need it, and that the cause is not hijacked by Hamas.

What has not been reported in our press is Abbas’ pledge to Obama where he declared, “I say in front of you, Mr President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and we’re not doing that.” Please click here to read a report by Palestinian Media Watch which shows many instances of PA incitement.

 Today’s Australian also carries a story entitled ‘Israel points finger at Turkish PM’ about a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, which asserts that the Turkish government supported the militants recruited by the IHH. Another inconvenient truth for the Age, which did not pick up on this story. We have been referring to material provided by the Intelligence and Terrorism for a long time and it is great to see their findings being reported in at least one of our local media sources. Please click here and here to read about the IHH’s preparations for violence, based on evidence from interviews with the Mavi Marmara crew.

By now most of you would have read about the latest Reuter’s photo scandal, where Reuters came under fire for “cropping” weapons and blood out of pictures taken by the IHH. Please read all about it and see the photos here.

Finally on the issue of the humanitarian aid, as mentioned before, 484 truckloads (12,413 tons) of aid was transferred to the Gaza Strip between 30 May and 5 June.  Of the seven flotilla ships, only four were freight ships. The Mavi Marmara did not carry any humanitarian aid. No wonder they had no interest in docking in Ashdod.

 The equipment from the flotilla was loaded on 26 trucks for transfer into Gaza.

 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which published all of this information makes a few interesting points:

 The equipment does not constitute humanitarian aid in the accepted sense (basic foodstuffs, new and functional equipment, fresh medicines)

  • The humanitarian aid on all the ships was scattered in the ships’ holds and thrown onto piles and not packed properly for transport.
  • The medicines and sensitive equipment (operating theatre equipment, new clothing etc) are being kept in cool storage at the Defence Ministry base. Some of the medicines have already expired, and some will expire soon. The operating theatre equipment, which should be kept sterile, care carelessly wrapped.

 To read more, please click here.

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2 thoughts on “The Gaza Flotilla unravels, but does the Age care?

  1. Russell - Fitzroy June 12, 2010 at 12:12 am -

    As you point out, the Reuters cropping of photos is appalling, and the Age bias is no better.
    I long for Alexander Downer who criticised the press to their faces for their anti-Israel bias, and their rush to believed doctored photos in Lebanon.
    Steven Smith, you’re AWOL on this when you’re not riding the bandwagon yourself.

  2. The Gaza Love Boat is about to fall off the radar, much to the chagrin of the Israel haters; but the World Cup is starting, British Petroleum is hemorraging oil and stock value, and K Rudd was last seen arguing with a miner somewhere up North.