Let the Palestinians Eat Potato Chips

By Ahmad Amr

At first glance, I thought I was reading a parody mocking the absurd list of the products that are banned from reaching Gaza. The Associated Press just published an article titled “Israel Eases Gaza Blockade on Some Banned Foods.” That seemed like a promising headline. It now appears that the Israelis will permit the Gazans to import soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy. That’s it. No steel – no cement – nothing that can be used for rebuilding the thousands of homes, hospitals, schools, sewage plants and mosques that were reduced to rubble in last year’s carpet bombing of Gaza. What the AP failed to report is the long list of food products that still remain on the black list. Another thing that didn’t make past the AP censors is the fact that the Israelis continue to enforce the ban on textiles, office equipment, paper products, school equipment and even medical equipment.

Meanwhile over at Reuters, another Israeli media colony, the editors splashed another promising headline – “Netanyahu says ready to testify in flotilla inquiry.” Was that a sign that Israel was responding to international demands for an independent inquiry? Once again, the Reuters article was little more than unabashed propaganda. As it turns out, Netanyahu was volunteering to give testimony on “who was behind the extremist group on the ship’s deck? Who sponsored its members?" The subliminal message is “they deserved to die.”

Israel’s ‘impartial’ investigation will not be an International inquiry and will not take any testimony from the soldiers involved in the slaughter. That means we’ll never know the exact nature of the orders Ehud Barak handed to the Israeli Navy’s death squads. And neither will any of the victims on the flotilla get to testify because they’ve already been deported but not before the Israelis confiscated their cameras and videos.

While the Associated Press was lauding Israel’s magnanimity and Reuters was busy burying the calls for an international inquiry, the Guardian was reporting that “Flotilla activists were shot in the head at close range.” What’s going on here?

What we’re witnessing at Reuters and AP is not just another display of the influence of Zionists in the mass media – it’s a coordinated frontal assault by Israel’s propaganda machine with its guys at Reuters, AP and other mass media outlets. And if you think I’m exaggerating the extent of the collaboration – do yourself a favor and find out more about Israel’s Hasbara operation. Just today, the IDF released a mock musical parody of the assault that included derogatory language. The IDF is now dispensing that professionally produced video online along with doctored videos that for some unknown reason fail to record the crucial first minutes of the night attack on the humanitarian convoy. How long did it take to produce the video which was released by the IDF? Ask the folks at the Jerusalem Post – it was their handiwork.
Reporters Without Borders has confirmed that at least 60 of 700 passengers on board the FG flotilla were journalists and slammed the treatment of the media. Reporters and photographers were attacked, and journalists had their video, audio, and other communications equipment confiscated. Conveniently, the Israelis arrived fully armed with their own cameras. These aren’t allegations – they are well documented facts that just never found their way past Reuters or AP censors.

Over and beyond the skewed coverage, a question arises. Why did the Israelis have such a well coordinated ‘ready to launch’ media campaign before the assault? A plausible answer is that the Israeli Navy had instructions from the political leadership to use deadly force. That also helps explain why the sneak attack was carried out under the cover of darkness and why the Israelis cut satellite communication and confiscated the evidence in the hands of the reporters on board. It’s sort of curious why no AP or Reuters reporters were on board the flotilla.

All evidence indicates that some Reuters and AP reporters and editors were recruited as willing participants in Israel’s campaign to blame the victims. Either that or they simply failed to notice that the Israelis confiscated and tampered with evidence, held sixty of their colleagues incommunicado for two days after the assault on the flotilla and wouldn’t even allow incarcerated reporters access to their consulates. While professional journalists with first-hand accounts were locked up, Reuters and AP was disseminating Netanyahu’s crazy accusations that the flotilla had associations with Al Qaeda. Because of the absurdity of that charge, the Israelis government later toned their defamation campaign, withdrew the Al Qaeda canard and accused the Turks who were murdered of having associations with terrorists.

Over at Ha’aretz, there was another little report that the AP and Reuters crowd missed. “Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a meeting of Labor ministers that there should be no hurry in establishing a panel to probe the affair. According to a person present at a closed meeting with the defense minister, Barak said he thought the committee should wait "another two-three weeks and everyone will forget and the pressure on us will dissipate." (Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz, June 7, 2010.) I can guarantee that the first people who will forget about it are the folks who own and operate the well oiled mind warping machinery at Reuters and the AP.

Lest we forget, Barak is a serial war criminal. The AP and Reuters omitted mentioning that the Israeli Minister of Defense who gave the orders for this criminal assault on the flotilla has already been investigated for war crimes by an internationally sanctioned inquiry which found compelling evidence that he was guilty as charged.

It seems to me that we’re not just witnessing willful misreporting and deliberate distortion by one AP reporter here or another Reuters’ correspondent there. It’s one thing to have this kind of blatant propaganda spewing from the foaming mouths of the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes or other deranged card carrying members of the Israel First Press Association. But we’re talking about international news agencies that are tasked with gathering and dispensing verifiable well sourced information before handing it over to the cabal of pro-Israeli spin meisters at CNN and the Washington Post.

So far, the damage control is probably a bit more work than what the Israelis and their mass media operatives bargained for. They obviously expected a less vocal reaction. Regardless, the campaign to white wash this wanton slaughter goes on full steam. Who needs cement, steel, medical equipment and stationary. Let the Palestinians eat cake and potato chips. Now that they have junk food on the shelves – what more can they possibly ask for? Call me an agitator but I think the Palestinians would gladly give up potato chips for balanced news coverage.

– Ahmed Amr is the former editor of NileMedia.com and the author of “The Sheep and the Guardians – Diary of a SEC Sanctioned Swindle.” He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. 

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