Posted by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein
One usually turns to National Geographic to look at the world and marvel at the planet. It covers issues critical to human and animal survival. I love National Geographic and so do my kids.
So imagine my surprise when the Gaza Tunnels article popped up. This lengthy article on the Gaza strip is a whitewashing of a vicious terror group and their means of obtaining weapons. The author is James Verini who last year in ForeignPolicy.com wrote on the de facto existence of a Palestinian State, forgot to mention that it was Palestinians who rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan. He also jumped on the anti-Israel bandwagon "Indeed, no country has been censured as many times by the Security Council (none come close)."
So from the start one would expect that Verini, who might have the best of intentions, has a particularly biased position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the article fails on so many accounts. The most egregious places include willful and misleading information.
The fact that weapons, including bombs, guns, and missile parts are smuggled through these tunnels is <strong>completely ignored.</strong> Israel is the constant bogey man accused of every problem, and Hamas, a dictatorship that terrorizes its own citizens, looks relatively benign. The fact that Israel trucks in hundreds of tons of aid daily is completely ignored.<!--more-->
There are claims that Israel and Egypt have conspired to gas Palestinians: "According to some Palestinians, when Egypt has been pressed by Israel to cut down on smuggling, its troops have occasionally poisoned the air in tunnels by pumping in gas. Egypt has denied this."
There are causal references like, "Passing a jammed intersection overlooked by a Hamas billboard showing a masked militant wielding a bazooka." Is this normal for such billboards to appear? He has no comment on these billboards, the glorification of terror, martyrdom, or the Jew-hatred filled propaganda.
The author makes an historical references that equates Israel with one of the region's most notorious expansionist rulers, King Thutmose III of Egypt, "The economy of destruction takes on permutations that might have pleased Thutmose III:"
Verini reports,"Tunnel revenue is estimated to provide Hamas with as much as $750 million a year. Hamas has also smuggled in cash from exiled leaders and patrons in Syria, Iran, and Qatar that helps keep it afloat." However this elicits no mention of what Hamas does with the money. The money builds missiles, bunkers, mansions, and fills the coffers of the elite who run Gaza.
Additionally this following passage totally ignores the reason that Israel left Gaza and the reason Israel was in Gaza in the first place and some other things: "there is disagreement about whether Gaza would have been considered part of the land the Bible says God promised the Jews.This is partly why expansionist-minded Israelis have focused more intensely on the West Bank than on Gaza; the last Israeli settlement in Gaza was vacated in 2005."
Then the kicker which finally the author gets around to telling the world that Hamas is not a nice guy, it places it the the context of a "resistance" against Israel. Yet there is no mention that Hamas is committed to destroying Israel, "But Gaza is the heart of Palestinian resistance. It’s been the launching area for a campaign, now in its third decade, of kidnappings, suicide bombings, and rocket and mortar assaults on Israel by Gazan militants—much of this sanctioned, if not expressly carried out, by Hamas."
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://href=" href="http://href=" http:="" ngm.nationalgeographic.com="" contact-us"="">National Geographic should be taken to task for this piece of "pseudo-journalism". The entire plight of Gazans is not Israel's fault. The fact that Gazan's need tunnels for transportation of basic goods cannot be blamed entirely on Israel. The fact that these tunnels are conduits for weapons is such an blatant omission that one has to wonder what is the real agenda is behind "The Tunnels of Gaza".
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