israel_press_freedom_by_latuff2

Hasbara: public relations efforts to disseminate abroad positive information or propaganda about the State of Israel. Many of the defensive arguments put forward for Israel can be found below:

“Hamas fire rockets and Israel is only exercising self-defence.”:
Israel is an occupying power. By the nature of war, it is the aggressor. A nation cannot simultaneously engage in proactive naval blockades, sieges, or no fly zones and claim to be engaging in self-defence  For example, during the January – March 2015 ceasefire Israel forces committed 67 shootings, 6 military incursions, 17 injuries and fatalities with 15 major incidents committed against fisherman and 19 against farmers according to Middle East Monitor. Further records of ceasefire violations committed by Israel can be found here and here showing repeatedly that rather than acting in self-defence, Israel is in fact acting as the aggressor.

Israel limits civilian casualties, Palestinians target civilians.”:
The numbers say otherwise. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada (September 2000) Israel has killed 2061 Palestinian children. Palestinians have killed 133 Israeli children. The numbers for adults civilians are just as lopsided. There is no evidence that Israel engages in even the most basic policies to limit civilian casualties.  A report by Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli combatants,  compiled witness testimonies from soldiers during operation “Protective Edge” showing the total disregard they had for Palestinian civilian lives.

“Israel is the only democracy in the region.”:
The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that there will be no “two state solution.” So, that means that Palestine is considered by Israelis to be a part of their nation. The Palestinians cannot vote. The disenfranchised Palestinian population is about 2.5 million. The population of the rest of Israel is about 8 million.  If a country denies the right to vote to a quarter of its population based on ethnicity, can it really be called a democracy?

“Israel only blows up schools, neighbourhoods, and  hospitals because the Palestinians hide weapons there or train fighters there.”:
There is some truth to the claim that weapons are hidden and training takes place in some of these facilities. However, this makes the assumption that presence of weapons or military training grants permission to target a non-military target. Those that advocate this talking point seem to miss the fact that if this standard was applied to Israel or the United States, almost every high school, college, and university is a legitimate military target. Imagine the headlines if an Israeli or US school was levelled and the children were called “collateral damage” because of the ROTC program.

“The Hamas Charter says the Arabs want to exterminate all Jews”:
The 1988 Charter was the work of “one individual and made public without appropriate Hamas consensus… The author was one of the ‘old guard’ “; the document is regarded as an embarrassment and never cited.
Hamas has repeatedly offered a 10-year truce with Israel and has long settled for a two-state solution.

“Arabs and Jews have been fighting for thousands for years it’s hopeless”:
Actually there is no historical enmity between the two with Muslims, Christians and Jews having lived alongside one another for centuries during the rule of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. There were growing calls for Palestinian independence during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from a population who, in 1914 were 84% Muslim, 11% Christian and 6% Jewish. It was Britain that promised the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” that was the catalyst to Palestinians becoming second class citizens.

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