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Monday, February 25, 2008

Even when Israel does hasbara, it stinks

I saw this article in the Arabic Palestine Press Agency: (autotranslated)
In light of the presence of dozens of foreign journalists near the crossing "Sufa" which is scheduled to be launched from smooth human blockade to protest the Gaza invitation of the People's Committee to meet the siege, the occupation authorities this morning, cargo trucks entering into the sector.

The Hebrew radio Assembly to the Israeli army located at the Sufa crossing allowed sixty truck packed goods pass to the Gaza Strip.
At first, I thought, "Finally! Israel is actually being pro-active!" It is high time that Israel gets journalists to see trucks filled with goods being shipped into Gaza, showing that the "siege" is not a siege. Why can Hamas and Hezbollah bring journalists to handpicked news events and not Israel? While it is hardly a huge story, it should deserve some exposure, right?

It was covered by Infolive TV and Arutz-7 , both Israeli news outlets. Indirectly, EuropeNews picked up on the InfoLive TV story.

And that's it. Even though there were journalists there, practically none converted it into a story.

Now, I don't know if PalPress is accurate in describing "dozens" of journalists there, but clearly there was a disconnect between what Israel tried to show and what the journalists saw. Palestinian Arabs can always find a "hook" that intrigues journalists - children holding candles or other made-for-the-camera staged events or protests. Every two-bit masked terrorist can call a press conference and guarantee a turnout of lazy journalists willing to take notes and photos.

Here, a real event occurred - not earthshaking, but certainly newsworthy - and it was ignored.

Is anyone in the Israeli government noticing things like this and following up?

The EuropeNews article points out indirectly part of the problem. It mentions:
Since June 16, 2007, when partial restrictions were imposed after the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, 16,778 trucks have passed through the border crossings delivering 385,361 tons of goods and more than 29.3 million gallons (112 million liters) of fuel. [7]

Israel facilitates the transfer of supplies into Gaza, including food, medicine and fuel via five crossing terminals into the Gaza Strip: Erez, Karni, Nahal-Oz, Sufa and Kerem Shalom (see map below).

The crossings continued to operate on Feb. 21. During that time 3,649 tons were transferred through the crossings into Gaza including:

* 164 tons of rice;
* 293 tons of fruit and vegetables;
* 106 tons of flour and yeast;
* 1,872 tons of wheat;
* 504 tons of animal feed;
* 16 tons of medical supplies;
* 160,088 gallons (606.000 liters) of fuel;
* 306 tons of heating gas.[8]

The following goods have been transferred through the various crossings into Gaza since June 16, 2007 (information correct as of Feb. 21):[9]

Karni Crossing (goods): 132,786 tons, principally wheat and animal feed and also other raw commodities such as barley, corn and soya beans.

Sufa Crossing (goods): 155,539 tons, including general food products such as flour, rice, milk powder, fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy products, sugar and medicines.

Kerem Shalom Crossing (goods): 97,037 tons

Nahal Oz Crossing (fuel): 3,449 tankers with 32,429 tons of heating gas; more than 2.4 million gallons (9 million liters) of benzine (gasoline); more than 13.2 million gallons (50.1 million liters) of diesel for automobiles; and 16.7 million gallons (63.2 million liters) of diesel for the Gaza power station.

From Nov. 2007 - Jan. 18, 2008, 71 truckloads of flowers were exported from Gaza into Israel.
The reference it gives is to this website - in Hebrew only, hard to navigate, and one has to really dig to find out this information.

Why does the Government of Israel make good information so hard to find? This is a hasbara failure of massive proportions. As we have seen countless times when looking at media bias inthe Middle East, reporters will report news that is handed to them; most of them will not work hard for stories when they can be drinking instead.