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Posts Tagged ‘misinformation

Facts, Fiction, and misinformation: Isreal vs Palestinians in Gaza

, Political director of The Huffington Post UK, Posted This July 28/2014

Debunking Israel’s 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes

You’ve got to hand it to Israeli spinners like Mark Regev. They are masters of PR.

In fact, as the Independent‘s Patrick Cockburn revealed over the weekend, “the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe”.

In recent days I’ve been debating supporters of Israel’s latest assault on Gaza on radio and on Twitter and I’ve been astonished not just by the sheer number of fact-free claims made by those supporters, but also by their confidence, slickness and sheer message discipline.

According to the pro-Israel, pro-IDF crowd, Hamas is to blame for everything.

This, of course, is utter nonsense. To quote the late US senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

So, in a Moynihanian spirit, here are fact-filled, evidence-based rebuttals to the 11 main myths, half-truths and self-serving ‘talking points’ that are repeatedly pushed by various Israeli spokespersons, both on the airwaves and on social media:

1) The Gaza Strip isn’t occupied by Israel?

Boston Globe:

“Israeli-imposed buffer zones.. now absorb nearly 14% of Gaza’s total land and at least 48% of total arable land. Similarly, the sea buffer zone covers 85% of the maritime area promised to Palestinians in the Oslo Accords, reducing 20 nautical miles to three.”

Human Rights Watch: “Israel also continues to control the population registry for residents of the Gaza Strip, years after it withdrew its ground forces and settlements there.”

B’Tselem, 2013: “Israel continues to maintain exclusive control of Gaza’s airspace and the territorial waters, just as it has since it occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967.”

2) Israel wants a ceasefire but Hamas doesn’t?

Al Jazeera:

“Meshaal said Hamas wants the ‘aggression to stop tomorrow, today, or even this minute. But [Israel must] lift the blockade with guarantees and not as a promise for future negotiations. We will not shut the door in the face of any humanitarian ceasefire backed by a real aid programme.”

Jerusalem Post: “One day after an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire accepted by Israel, but rejected by Hamas, fell through, the terrorist organization proposed a 10-year end to hostilities in return for its conditions being met by Israel, Channel 2 reported Wednesday…

Hamas’s conditions were the release of re-arrested Palestinian prisoners who were let go in the Schalit deal, the opening of Gaza-Israel border crossings in order to allow citizens and goods to pass through, and international supervision of the Gazan seaport in place of the current Israeli blockade.”

BBC: “Israel’s security cabinet has rejected a week-long Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerry ‘as it stands’.”

3) Israel, unlike Hamas, doesn’t deliberately target civilians?

The Guardian: “It was there that the second [Israeli] shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: ‘They are only children.’”

UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay: “A number of incidents, along with the high number of civilian deaths, belies the [Israeli] claim that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect civilian lives.”

United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 2009: “The tactics used by the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with previous practices, most recently during the Lebanon war in 2006.

A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine emerged then, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations. The Mission concludes from a review of the facts on the ground that it.. appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.”

4) Only Hamas is guilty of war crimes, not Israel?

Human Rights Watch: “Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians, such as young boys, and civilian structures, including a hospital – laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”

Amnesty International: “Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.”

5) Hamas use the civilians of Gaza as ‘human shields’?

Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor: “I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.”

The Guardian: “In the past week, the Guardian has seen large numbers of people fleeing different neighbourhoods.. and no evidence that Hamas had compelled them to stay.”

The Independent: “Some Gazans have admitted that they were afraid of criticizing Hamas, but none have said they had been forced by the organisation to stay in places of danger and become unwilling human-shields.”

Reuters, 2013: “A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.”

6) This current Gaza conflict began with Hamas rocket fire on 30 June 2014?

Times of Israel: “Hamas operatives were behind a large volley of rockets which slammed into Israel Monday morning, the first time in years the Islamist group has directly challenged the Jewish state, according to Israeli defense officials.. The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assessed that Hamas had probably launched the barrage in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier which killed one person and injured three more..

Hamas hasn’t fired rockets into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defense ended in November 2012.”

The Nation: “During 10 days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank [before the start of the Gaza conflict], Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed 9 civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings.

Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011.”

7) Hamas has never stopped firing rockets into Israel?

Jewish Daily Forward: “Hamas hadn’t fired a single rocket since [2012 Gaza conflict], and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. Rocket firings, averaging 240 per month in 2007, dropped to 5 per month in 2013.”

International Crisis Group: “Fewer rockets were fired from Gaza in 2013 than in any year since 2001, and nearly all those that were fired between the November 2012 ceasefire and the current crisis were launched by groups other than Hamas.

The Israeli security establishment testified to the aggressive anti-rocket efforts made by the new police force Hamas established specifically for that purpose.. As Israel (and Egypt) rolled back the 2012 understandings – some of which were implemented spottily at best – so too did Hamas roll back its anti rocket efforts.”

8) Hamas provoked Israel by kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers?

Jewish Daily Forward: “The [Israeli] government had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.. Nor was that the only fib. It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus. Hamas’ Hebron branch — more a crime family than a clandestine organization — had a history of acting without the leaders’ knowledge, sometimes against their interests.”

(It was later revealed that A Jewish adolescent did the kidnapping and killing of the three, and the Shin Beth knew all about this murder from the start)

BBC correspondent Jon Donnison: “Israeli police MickeyRosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership.. Seems to contradict the line from Netanyahu government.”

9) Hamas rule, not Israel’s blockade, is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip?

US State Department cable: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.. Israeli officials have confirmed.. on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”

The Guardian: “The Israeli military made precise calculations of Gaza’s daily calorie needs to avoid malnutrition during a blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010, according to files the defence ministry released on Wednesday under a court order..

The Israeli advocacy group Gisha.. waged a long court battle to release the document. Its members say Israel calculated the calorie needs for Gaza’s population so as to restrict the quantity of food it allowed in.”

10) The Israeli government, unlike Hamas, wants a two-state solution?

Times of Israel: “[Netanyahu] made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.. Amid the current conflict, he elaborated, ‘I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.’”

11) All serious analysts agree it was Hamas, and not Israel, that started this current conflict?

Nathan Thrall, senior Mid East analyst at the International Crisis Group, writing in the New York Times:

“The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

Henry Siegman, former national director, American Jewish Congress, writing for Politico: “Israel’s assault on Gaza.. was not triggered by Hamas’ rockets directed at Israel but by Israel’s determination to bring down the Palestinian unity government that was formed in early June, even though that government was committed to honoring all of the conditions imposed by the international community for recognition of its legitimacy.”

“Abduction field” or a priori “stealing” program; (Jan. 23, 2010)

I am coining the term “abduction field” to describe and explain how people manage to function in their daily routine. People move and act as if executing an “a priori program”: they seem to mentally “pick up” objects and event as they go about. People seem to know in advance what they want to do.  Hazards are just obstacles that the “abduction field” in the brain failed to adjust in a timely manner to redesign the plan.  It might be a good idea to explain what abduction reasoning means before I venture into this topic.

Human mind uses many reasoning methods such as deduction, induction, and abduction. Deductive reasoning is a process that starts from a set of basic propositions (proved or considered the kind of non provable truths) and then prove the next propositions based on the previous set.  In general, a law, natural or social, or a theorem in mathematics guides the demonstration.  Practically, it is like using a function to find the appropriate pieces of data or information that are available on a well drawn path or trend.

Inductive reasoning is a process of selecting samples from a phenomenon or a basket of items and then studying the samples.  If the items are the “same” in each sample then the individual is prone to recognize that a law is guiding that phenomenon. The sample taker is ready to form a law, though he knows that logically, if in the future one sample is wrong, then the law is logically invalid. In the mean time, the sample taker can resume his life as if the law is valid, as long as it is working (more frequently than not).

We call a “paradigm shift” the period when accumulated samples or observations are showing to be “false” and that the law has to be dropped for a better performing law.  The process needs time before the scientific community reaches a consensus for a change in venue, simply because it was comfortable using well-known mental structures.  The paradigm shift period is shortened if a valid alternative is demonstrated to work far better, not just slightly better, than the previous theory.

Abduction reasoning is an “intuitive” process such as having a few facts or data and we manage to find a connection among these facts.  In a way, we got an idea that the facts follow a definite trend.  For example, the astronomer and mathematician Kepler started with the notion that planets move in circles around the sun; his observations of Mars detected two positions that didn’t coincide with any circle. Kepler selected another trajectory among those mathematically described in geometry that might be appropriate.  The elliptical shape accounted for the two observed positions of Mars. Kepler got convinced that planet trajectories are elliptical, but he needed to convince the “scientific community”. Thus, Kepler worked for many years waiting for Mars to cross different positions that he knew would inevitably be on the ellipse anyway.

Most scientific discoveries are fundamentally of the abduction kind reasoning. Usually, in order to describe the discovery process, scientists prefer to introduce as many deductive or inductive reasoning in the explanation so as to avoid sounding that the discovery was a pure fluke of intuition and not hard mental work.

People use the abduction reasoning technique as routine behavior to decide, move, or act. People have implicitly a priori (idea, plan, concept, hypothesis, path, or line of actions) before they get moving.  People move as if they already know what will happen next; they adjust their plan as frequently as obstacles occur.  Thus, abduction reasoning is the rule instead of the exception in most commonly used strategies.

A good way to explaining the abduction field theory is by observing someone who is familiar with a particular supermarket.  The customer moves around and pick up items in a determined manner. A few times, the customer stops and study particular varieties of the “same” items for prices, weight and chemical contents.  The customer might look as if he just woke up or is disoriented, but his action is kind of planned: he behaves pretty “sober” in his decisions.

People move and act within abduction fields of reasoning, otherwise, how can we imagine extending a step forward without advanced planning? The initial schemas of abduction fields are not that well oiled, and many errors and pitfalls occur during the abduction plans.  By the by, the human brain gets adjusted and trained to secure better fit in forecasting next steps and moves.

Highly intelligent people differ from normal intelligence in that, more frequently than not, they consciously apply deductive and inductive reasoning on their initiated abduction fields.  The implicit purpose is to optimize the “abductive field” performance by supporting it with better formal or coded laws among the working laws.

With conscious training and application of the other two reasoning methods, the individual acquire higher intelligence reasoning choices or diversified perspectives to viewing and resolving a problem.

Brainwashing is an application phenomenon of abduction field distortion.  Brainwashing is not so much a process of feeding misinformation or disinformation as in ideologically and dogmatic State-controlled government.  Brainwashing is the process of altering the abduction field so that an individual lacks the objective flexibility to pick up the appropriate objects, tools, or events to place on his “abduction path”:  The individual is picking what is available on his path, including ready-made terminology and definitions, and not what his brain was more likely to select in normal conditions.

When we say “this guy is a one track mind or one-dimensional mind” then we basically means that his abduction field has been restricted by habit: his brain ended up lacking the potential flexibility and versatility to train and develop his abduction field reasoning.

Note: I am under the impression that Spinoza had the same philosophical theory when he wrote: “The movements of our investigative spirit obey real laws”.  If we think well then we are bound to think according to rules that link things one to another.  Kant adopted this reasoning and offered the “a priori” dispositions of the mind.  I think Einstein misinterpreted Kant’s “a priori proposal” because Einstein was engrossed with the deductive processes in resolving the restricted relativity theory.  Einstein was not concerned of how people behave in their daily routines.

Note 1: The abduction field explains the contradictory feeling we have that our actions are determined frequently or following a free-will course of action, occasionally.  For example, if we consciously start with a thief program that is pre-programmed to suit what we want today, we tend to steal objects, events, opportunities on our way.  Otherwise, the default value is the “habit thief program”, and we feel that the day is pretty much determined.

Note 2: The individual “I” is spread all over our organism, physical, genetics, and mental (brain). Decisions are delayed until all the different varieties of “I” reach a working consensus, or a particular I override the other I, depending on which thief program we launched at the start of the day.


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