Allan Wolman
Allan Wolman

The Responsibility of an Independent Media

With the Israeli – Palestinian ceasefire holding, the media are in need of headline grabbing news so the focus is now on the “devastation” of Gaza.

The BBC were accused of using images from a Syrian government operation in the city of Deraa in 2018 last week during their newscast on the fighting in Gaza. Given the current brouhaha with the Dianna interview and the BBC’s conduct, it’s not beyond reality that the BBC used false images to further their continuous biased anti-Israel reporting that has been the backbone of the BBC’s editorial policy for years.

Most media reports give the figure or 240 Palestinians killed in Gaza. Like every news report from Gaza no distinction has been made between civilian and combatants in that number. It’s a well-known fact, substantiated by independent press reports that prior to any attack targeted by Israel, both text messages, telephone calls as well as the “knock-on” alarm (a loud explosion that does no damage) as a warning to the civilian occupants to take cover. Given the 240 killed in Gaza one needs to try to differentiate between innocent civilians and combatants (including child soldiers). Does one therefore believe that only innocent civilians were casualties of the recent conflict?

Of the 3000 plus rockets fired from Gaza into Israel were these all fired by civilians or trained combatants? We must therefore assume the latter. The question therefore arises how many (new generation sophisticated) rockets can one combatant fire? Let’s therefore assume that each militant can fire off 100 rockets – that accounts for 30 combatants, again no distinction made between combatants and civilians – the figure therefore remains 240 killed. Another factor is that Palestinian militants do not were a distinctive uniform as do most other armies?

There was also the incident that the press were “duped” into believing that a ground invasion was imminent. As it turned out the Palestinian militants all took to their “metro” tunnels and that’s when the Israeli’s attacked and bombed (with the use of precision “smart” bombs) the tunnels taking out “many” (militants?) – that number was never identified as combatants. Again, the question arises or should one “question” the numbers of Palestinians killed which by all reports was 240 including of course children. The numbers of children killed were all reported by the Hamas minister of health and until now never corroborated by any other source. There were also reports of rickets fired from positions in Gaza fell short of target and estimates that at least 300 rockets fell in Gaza itself. No reports of anyone killed by those misfired rockets?

However, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the ministry of health, and let’s assume not a single militant was killed in the conflict, only innocent civilians, even those by “friendly fire (Palestinian rockets). Reliable sources including the famous “Goldstone commission” attested to the fact that the Israelis goes to extreme lengths to avoid civilian and especially children, and similar reports of attack missions being aborted by the Israeli forces when civilians are spotted close to targets. However the media’s chronicle remains at 240 killed – only civilians, which certainly goes uncontested by the press.

Children made up one-quarter of civilian casualties, estimated at more than 300,000 to date according to UNICEF over the last three years in Yemen’s war, the aid agency said the actual toll is likely to be much higher. Save the Children reported eighteen children killed and 33 wounded this month alone. Combining the total death count in the genocide of Syria, the war in Yemen and in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, as well as the killings of the Rohingya Muslim of Myanmar, account for well over half a million deaths of innocent civilians including  20% – 25% being children. Has there ever been reports of demonstrations in the worlds capitals or marches on the embassies of these countries (that South African maintain warm relations with)? NEVER! Yet well over half a million innocent civilians killed that has yet to touch the conscience of those protesters marching in worlds capitals today against Israel – Does the media even bother to question this? Does the media have the COURAGE to print such questions? Reports coming out of NATO sources about a recent attack by Turkish forces against their Kurdish minority killings substantial numbers of civilians. Was there ever a mention of this recently in the media? Seems the entire media were focused elsewhere.

Last week three cars bearing Palestinian flags driving along a busy Central London street shouting “obscenities” and calling for the rape of Jewish women trended all over social media. What would the reaction of the world been if that opprobrium was aimed at the Black community? Such an incident would have been headline news for months with the world “taking the knee” in disgust. Hardly any mention in the mainstream media of this event and no criticism of the perpetrators! Indeed Black Lives Matter and Jewish lives in the crosshairs of hate groups where anti-Semitic rhetoric is acceptable and encouraged.

Lastly crime in South Africa accounts for over 20,000 deaths a year – including women and children, that’s 384 people per week violently killed. (Far more than killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past 20 years) A staggering 42,289 rapes were reported to the police in 2020, and estimates that actual rapes could be more than double this figure. Other violent crime in South Africa decimates communities and lives at an unimaginable rate. Instead of addressing this problem President Ramaphose chose to pen his criticism of only Israel – as according to him there is not two side to the conflict, in his weekly news-letter – well balanced comment from the President!

About the Author
Allan is a member of the South African (SA) Israel Media Team - lobby group that challenges negative reporting about Israel. The SA mainstream press is amongst the most hostile and biased press concerning Israel and supports BDS as is the ANC government of that country. He has been a contributor to combatting the false and sometime fabricated reporting on Israel and has had many letters to the editors published.
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