Fog of war hides the truth

By Chris Northover

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Chris Northover PHOTO/FILE
Chris Northover PHOTO/FILE

We have become used to a daily diet of violence and destruction from around the world. It is probably impossible to follow all of the various strands of global brutality - but if we accept that evil triumphs because good people stand by and do nothing, then it becomes even more important that the information we receive is accurate and unbiased. The world revolves on information.

The better the information, the better the decisions we can make.

The first casualty in any war is the truth. There has been a nasty war going on in Israel since before 1948, where "truth" now appears to belong in some parallel universe. Most of the international news services paint the Israelis as bloodthirsty thugs while the radical Hamas militants as saintly concerned citizens endearingly intent on their quest for peace.

I remember seeing a BBC presenter stridently questioning why Israel was so enraged at Hamas attacks when they had only killed three (innocent) civilians.

For this type of viewpoint the BBC, who should be trusted to give balanced and fair coverage of any conflict, has been roundly criticised - in my view fairly - for the anti-Israel bias in its reporting.

The Palestinians do not lack cunning and have used the bias in the reporting of their "struggle" by the world media to their advantage. For example, we now have international outrage when the Israelis stop an ambulance - racing to hospital red lights flashing - for a search. "How brutal and how just like them," say the media. But there is good reason to search ambulances. The PLO were found to be using ambulances on "emergency runs" to ferry fighters from one place to another, loaded with weapons, bombs and hostages.

It gets worse, much worse. When the Israelis pulled out of Gaza in 2007, the Palestinians could have used their position between two large neighbours to build a healthy economy. Instead, they went underground and began to build rockets and spent much of their aid money from the US and Europe on these and more sophisticated weaponry.

While their people starve, they are now aiming these rockets at the civilian population of Israel and Israeli nuclear facilities. They have fired 1000 or so in the past month or two. Miraculously, only one Israeli has been killed, due both to the unguided nature of the rockets and to the "Iron Dome" defence system.

The Israelis' intelligence machine is effective and locates where the Palestinians are building and storing their rockets.

And herein lies a fiendish plan. The weapons are often stored under schools, hospitals and houses.

They then warn the people in those places to flee - twice - not too much warning or the weapons will disappear. Then they destroy the buildings.

This is intended to destroy the weapons plus ensure the safety of the people.

However, Hamas has been seen stopping the civilians from leaving the targeted sites, then publishes film of the grieving relatives, cynically called "Pallywood" by commentators.

But videos show people crowding on to the roofs of targeted buildings as human shields.

Chris Northover is a Wanganui-based former corporate lawyer who has worked in the fields of aviation, tourism, health and the environment.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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