Asher Zeiger

Trucks and tweets; Truths and tall tales

I wasn’t going to blog about the recent flare-up between Israel and Gaza. I wasn’t. Really! What would be the point? With so many blogs already all over the web, including here on the Times of Israel, what could I possibly have to share that hasn’t already been said – over and over and over….

But alas, the writer’s bug bit me when two items that I saw online today caught my eye – for both their individual content as well as the juxtaposition between them.

First I saw an IDF blog, showing two Twitter posts that have gone viral in the last day – both out of Gaza, and both depicting how devastating Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza have been.

The first of these tweets shows a father looking very sad as he carries a bloodied little girl. The text of the tweet reads “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by Israel. Another father carrying his child to a grave in Gaza.” It was posted on Saturday afternoon by a man claiming that the picture was from the previous night’s air strikes.

The second tweet, posted on Sunday, shows a building in Gaza being destroyed by an Israeli aerial attack. The tweet caption says “This photo shows one of the strongest explosions in Gaza today.”

Both pictures offer very damning evidence of the destruction caused by Israel’s terrible attacks on Gaza. Destruction of property and, more importantly, of children. Fortunately for us, the IDF blog also shows that both are complete lies intended to make Israel look like monsters by people who apparently have nothing real to use against us.

The picture of the building being bombed was taken in January 2009, during Operation Cast Lead. The picture of the dead child was first run by Reuters on August 9, 2006, and then again the following day with the correction “The three-year-old girl who had been reported killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Wednesday actually died of an accident, Palestinian medical workers said on Thursday.” Can you believe that?  Not only is the picture not from this week’s Israeli air strikes, it is not even a picture of a child killed by any Israeli action!

Two pictures, two very cheap and sleazy attempts to swing the PR war against Israel.

But why? Doesn’t the Palestinian leadership feel that their cause is just and that Israel is truly in the wrong? They tell the world that Israel is mercilessly pounding Gaza, killing innocent children, yet the best proof they can offer is a building destroyed three years ago, and a child who fell from a swing six years ago? Seriously?

In sports and games, there is a rule in which I honestly believe. A person who thinks that to win he must cheat, is probably right – he does in fact need to. By the same token, if the Palestinians feel that without old irrelevant photos they cannot show the horror of what is happening in Gaza, then they’re probably right about that.

And they probably know it.

Yet while the world is being spoon fed lies from Gaza, from Israel the news is a bit different. Israel’s Ministry of Defense put out a press release this morning regarding three mortars that were launched by Palestinians from their side of the Kerem Shalom crossing (on the border of Israel, Egypt and Gaza). A truck and van delivering goods to the Gaza Strip were hit, causing activity at the crossing to be briefly suspended. After evaluating the situation, it was decided to continue operations at the crossing, transferring goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip. The press release also noted that in spite of the constant threats at the border, on Sunday more than 180 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.

Can you imagine that? On Sunday, the third day of the current situation, 180 trucks entered Gaza from Israel to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. This is the same humanitarian aid that “activists” have claimed the Palestinian people sorely lack, which is why they have been trying to break Israel’s naval blockade and bring the aid into Gaza. But the aid is going in, and has been going in consistently. According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, between April 2010 and September 2011 the daily average number of trucks delivering goods to the Gaza Strip increased from 120 to 247.

And when the trucks bringing aid to the Palestinian people were threatened by missiles launched by Palestinian terrorists, the decision made by Israel was to continue allowing the aid in.  You can bet that no pictures of that were tweeted ’round the world.

I am not one of those who claim that Israel is always in the right and that the Palestinians (and Palestinian supporters around the world) are always in the wrong, but I will offer this thought:

Israel did not ask for this war or the latest flare-up. You can argue whether going after the known terrorist Zuhair al-Qaissi was the right decision or not, and whether or not the response of hundreds of rockets launched into Israel paralyzing the south was a price worth paying for targeting individuals bent on our destruction. I believe that both sides can (and do) make good, solid arguments on these questions. But there is no question that all of Israel’s decisions and actions, right or wrong, have been driven by the desire to protect our citizens as much as possible, for as long as possible. Our military has targeted the Palestinian leadership and those whose lives are dedicated to killing Israelis – with no concern who those Israelis are – men, women, children, soldiers, civilians – it’s all the same to these rockets being lobbed at our cities in the south.

But Israel has also managed to differentiate between those who are the real enemies and those who may simply be in the wrong place (Gaza) at the wrong time (this century). And our leaders have not lumped the militant terror leaders together with the general Palestinian populace – because if they did, the question could not have arisen on Monday whether or not to allow the aid trucks to continue into Gaza.

Those trucks wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

About the Author
Asher Zeiger grew up (well, sort of) in North Carolina and moved to Israel in 1988. He lives in Modi'in with his wife and two daughters, and works as freelance writer, editor and translator. In his spare time, he tries hard at not taking himself or life too seriously (successfully) and at unwrapping himself from around his daughters' little fingers (not so successfully).