HonestReporting has previously debunked the misleading charge that Gaza is 'under siege'. Yet, The Guardian's Seumus Milne headlines his op-ed "The siege of Gaza is going to lead to a violent escalation". Milne does not take long to reveal where his sympathies lie, referring to "rockets fired by Palestinian resistance groups". Since when is the firing of Qassams from Gaza schoolyards (see video here) against civilian targets in Sderot and the surrounding region an act of resistance and not terrorism?
The piece continues in the same vein, littered with bias. Here are some examples:
- Milne refuses to hold Hamas responsible for the situtation in Gaza. Instead, in a perverse inversion, an increase in Qassam attacks is blamed on Israel. Additionally, Milne notes an increase in the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli casualties without acknowledging that the majority of those Palestinians were directly involved in terrorist activities that Israel has every right to defend itself against.
- Milne also refuses to hold Egypt responsible for restricting access to its border, stating, incorrectly, that "Israel continues to control all access to the Gaza Strip". In any case, Israel, like any other state has every right to exercise border controls, particularly when its neighbor represents a serious security threat. The border crossings have come under regular Palestinian mortar fire, thus disrupting the movement of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians themselves. Qassams continue to rain down on Sderot and terrorists regularly target the border fence and the IDF patrols that are necessary to prevent terrorist infiltrations.
- Engaging in appalling moral equivalency, Milne states: "Unless Hamas recognised Israel, renounced violence and signed up to agreements it had always opposed, the western powers insisted, the Palestinian electorate would be ignored. No such demands, needless to say, have been made of Israel." Irrespective of Hamas's 'democratic' credentials, no state is under any obligation to cooperate with a hostile terrorist organization that has even brutalized its own people.
- Again, ignoring Palestinian responsibilities and obligations, Milne states that "the Israeli government is resistant to any timetable for statehood - let alone serious negotiation on Jerusalem, refugees and final borders". This, despite increasing controversy within Israel over the concessions that Israeli government ministers have suggested may be on the table at the forthcoming Annapolis conference, particularly relating to the status of Jerusalem.
As the Annapolis conference approaches, there will be many more analyses of the current situation and the potential outcome. Some may be optimistic, others dismissive. Seumus Milne's piece, however, is too one-sided to offer any meaningful contribution to the debate.
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