Puzzled in Gaza… Not if you know about Pallywood

A devastating account of an eye-witness to the scene in Gaza which contradicts every impression the Western MSM gave, from the high civilian casualties, the infrastructure devastation, the intensification of support for Hamas, the humanitarian crisis. Yvonne Green, a poetess, may have been puzzled on viewing a largely intact Gaza Strip of inhabitants terrorized by rather than supportive of Hamas, but those who paid close attention, are not. (H/T: MHB)

Mar 2, 2009 20:58 | Updated Mar 2, 2009 21:10
Puzzled in Gaza

I’m a poet, an English Jew and a frequent visitor to Israel. Deeply disturbed by the reports of wanton slaughter and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, I felt I had to see for myself. I flew to Tel Aviv and on Wednesday, January 28, using my press card to cross the Erez checkpoint, I walked across the border into Gaza where I was met by my guide, a Palestinian journalist. He asked if I wanted to meet with Hamas officials. I explained that I’d come to bear witness to the damage and civilian suffering, not to talk politics.

A Palestinian man holds bags of rice before their distribution to Palestinians at a United Nations food distribution center in Sha’ati refugee camp in Gaza City.

What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas’ infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren’t mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.

THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren’t in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.

From the mansions of the Abu Ayida family at Jebala Rayes to Tallel Howa (Gaza City’s densest residential area), Gazans contradicted allegations that Israel had murderously attacked civilians. They told me again and again that both civilians and Hamas fighters had evacuated safely from areas of Hamas activity in response to Israeli telephone calls, leaflets and megaphone warnings.

Seeing Al-Fakhora made it impossible to understand how UN and press reports could ever have alleged that the UNWRA school had been hit by Israeli shells. The school, like most of Gaza, was visibly intact. I was shown where Hamas had been firing from nearby, and the Israeli missile’s marks on the road outside the school were unmistakeable. When I met Mona al-Ashkor, one of the 40 people injured running toward Al-Fakhora – rather than inside it as widely and persistently reported – I was told that Israel had warned people not to take shelter in the school because Hamas was operating in the area, and that some people had ignored the warning because UNWRA previously told them that the school would be safe. Press reports that fatalities numbered 40 were denied.

I WAS TOLD stories at Samouni Street which contradicted each other, what I saw and later media accounts. Examples of these inconsistencies are that 24, 31, 34 or more members of the Fatah Samouni family had died. That all the deaths occurred when Israel bombed the safe building it had told 160 family members to shelter in; the safe building was pointed out to me but looked externally intact and washing was still hanging on a line on one of its balconies. That some left the safe building and were shot in another house. That one was shot when outside collecting firewood. That there was no resistance – but the top right hand window of the safe building (which appears in a BBC Panorama film Out of the Ruins” aired February 8) has a black mark above it – a sign I was shown all day of weaponry having been fired from inside. That victims were left bleeding for two or three days.

Note that this incident is the one cited by Bill Moyers in defense of his anti-Semitic remarks about violence against the Palestinian- Canaanites being in the DNA of Judaism. Even at the time, it had the Pallywood signature. And of course, the folks on the “Palestinian side” eagerly believed it all.

I saw large scoured craters and a buckled container which appeared to have been damaged by an internal impact (its external surfaces were undamaged). Media accounts of Samouni Street don’t mention these possible indications of explosive caches (although the container is visible on media footage). The Samouni family’s elder told me during a taped interview that he had a CD film of the killings. As far as I’m aware, no such film has been made public. He also told me that there are members of his family who have still not been found.

The media have manufactured and examined allegations that Israel committed a war crime against the Samounis without mentioning that the family are Fatah and that some of its members are still missing. They have not considered what might flow from those facts: that Hamas might have been active not only in the Samouni killings but in the exertion of force on the Samounis to accuse Israel.

THE GAZA I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or underdressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce – the red radishes were bigger than grapefruits. Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they’d survived. Women graduates I met in Sajaya spoke of education as power as old men watched over them.

No one praised their government as they showed me the sites of tunnels where fighters had melted away. No one declared Hamas victorious for creating a forced civilian front line as they showed me the remains of booby trapped homes and schools.

From what I saw and was told in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead pinpointed a totalitarian regime’s power bases and largely neutralized Hamas’s plans to make Israel its tool for the sacrifice of civilian life.

Corroboration of my account may be found in tardy and piecemeal retractions of claims concerning the UNWRA school at Al-Fakhora; an isolated acknowledgment that Gaza is substantially intact by The New York Times; Internet media watch corrections; and the unresolved discrepancy between the alleged wounded and their unreported whereabouts.

The writer is a poet and freelance writer who lives in London. Her collection Boukhara was a 2008 Smith/Doorstop prize winner. She also translates the poetry of Semyon Lipkin, the Russian World War II poet.

Why isn’t this article in the Guardian, or the London Times?

28 Responses to Puzzled in Gaza… Not if you know about Pallywood

  1. Diane says:

    Can we do nothing to shame the MSM into showing this reality and acknowledging their complicity in peddling bald-faced lies???

    I feel like there is a complete disconnect between what the pro-Israel bloggers unearth and what the rest of the world “knows.” It’s so profoundly upsetting. How can we Americans, blessed with true freedom of expression and political dissent, endowed with the megaphone of the free Internet, with its many powerful tools for documenting facts and fallacies, be effectively silenced in the din of politically correct bias and outright lies?

  2. Robbins says:

    I tried accessing this article at the Jpost website but drew a blank.

    Do you have an alternate link to the article?

  3. Chaim says:

    I’m getting a blank at jpost too. Here’s what looks like the original uncut version:


  4. oao says:

    there is one sense in which israel is to blame for where we are. well, not israel, but its elite:


    as far as i am concerned the direction is clear and the process is neither stoppable nor reversible. israel has failed to protect itself. its existence is in jeopardy.

  5. Barry Meislin says:

    Ah, such, such are the joys of blood libel!!

    Perpetrated on a global level.

    By people absolutely convinced of the justice of their cause.

    And that they are actually actin in support of the Palestinians.

  6. E.G. says:

    Why isn’t this article in the Guardian, or the London Times?

    Because the author is Jewish, she “forgot” to state her political colour (is it the correct one?), and her testimony contradicts many other reports. Ergo her credibility is in doubt.

  7. sshender says:

    Has anyone here seen the recent propagandaries made about cast lead by the brits? There’s panorama’s “Out of the Ruins” and Dispatches’ “Unseen Gaza”, both of which are appalling and reek of typical colab. between Pallywood and sympathetic western jornalists.

    How about fisking them as well? I guess I could then incorporate it into the video and upload the whole thing on youtube.

    What say you?

  8. Cynic says:

    I just connected to the link in the title Puzzled in Gaza

    Puzzled in Gaza-JP

    Will Joanne accept Ms Green’s account?

  9. Solomonia says:

    Puzzled in Gaza…

    A reporter goes into Gaza, eschews the Hamas-approved tour and fixers, and manages to witness the truth — that what we’ve been told about the death and wanton destruction there is a lie. But that won’t stop billions more in……

  10. jonathan says:

    It is really sad how propagandized the Pallywood agenda has become. Israel really MUST wage better PR offensives in conjunction with their wholly just military actions–wait, that’s hard to do if 90% of global mainstream media are against you– how silly of me! This makes me really sad, though. And angry. And desirous of a hundred HAMAS flags, a can of gasoline, and another orgy of moonbat “we are all hamas now” rallies here in the USA. Oh, and matches. And a megaphone. And a posse of muscleheads. With guns. Big guns (just kidding about the guns)

  11. oao says:

    Big guns (just kidding about the guns)

    but this is the whole point: they have guns, we don’t.

  12. Lorenz Gude says:

    Richard Fernandez in a recent post said that when complex systems break down we don’t know how they will reconstitute themselves – only that they will. Put another way, it is what Rumsfeld called a known unknown. While Fernandez had the entire political economic system that has prevailed since WWII in mind, my main interest is in how a subsystem of that world order – the MSM – has been breaking down under the changes in the media environment. We are currently watching the oldest part of the MSM – the printed newspaper – go out of business undermined by the Internet and finished off by the economic collapse. Broadcast is in trouble too, but their demise is not so immanent. While it is an unknown unknown what will take their place and form the new institutions around which a new complex system will form, it has been clear for some time that the Internet provides extraordinary opportunities to provide alternative views.

    Augean stables is an excellent example arising as it did from RL seeing the al Durah outtakes and recognizing them for what they were. The MSM unsurprisingly wasn’t interested in Pallywood if for no other reason than it exposes their own betrayal of journalistic standards. I would argue the public is far more aware of that betrayal than the MSM realizes. Even their very own Newseum reports that over half of the American public does not trust the MSM. The rise of independent journalists is another important indicator of what might become a new institution – journalists we trust because we pay them directly. I don’t think it was a coincidence that at least two of them – Yon and Totten – were at the Herzilya conference in 2006. So part of the answer answer to Diane’s question what can we do about the MSM is that we can keep digging for accurate material on the Internet and keep commenting and blogging. We can support independent journalists who we come to trust and reduce our exposure to and support for the MSM. If we haven’t already we can stop accepting the MSM uncritically. The MSM still succeeds in passing off propaganda as journalism in large part because it is the only voice most people hear. We are learning that it is not easy to overthrow a mass media created delusion quickly with small audience media like blogs or podcasts, but we can puncture the delusion and make it leak. Rathergate, al Durah stand out for me as examples of the vulnerability. It is worth remembering that at the height of newspaper dominance during the Deyfuss case Zola was able to destroy a mass media illusion with a single blow (J’accuse) because he attacked using mass media. The MSM understands that it can be undone by scandal and keeps repairing the small punctures but I believe it is highly vulnerable because it no longer absolutely controls the narrative and because now it is going broke. Perhaps the Internet will degenerate into a cacophony of false voices or perhaps a new and better journalism will arise that will become a sounder basis for civil society than the current MSM.

  13. Diane says:

    Thanks, Lorenz, for addressing my cri de coeur. Of course you’re right, we must keep commenting and blogging (till the black boots come to take us away).

    You write: “we can puncture the delusion and make it leak. Rathergate, al Durah stand out for me as examples of the vulnerability.” Rathergate, yes, but Al Durah, I’m not so sure. How many people — other than folks like us who read RL, Commentary and the Jerusalem Post — have a clue that Karsenty was vindicated and France2 was shamed? Certainly none of the bien-pensant liberals I know are acquainted with this story. In France, yes, but here in America? Hardly anyone. The biggest journalism scandal of our age, and American journalists – indeed, American communications scholars – have no idea it happened.

    Lately I’ve been thinking that there’s a resemblance between the “demonic Zionists” we are told of regularly by our MSM and the Nazi-era propaganda about Jews being disease-carrying vermin. It seems insane in hindsight, that anyone bought into such nonsense, but millions of average people believed it back then. Endless repetition made it not only plausible but incontravertible. Is today’s Israel-demonizing drumbeat any different?

  14. oao says:

    While it is an unknown unknown what will take their place and form the new institutions around which a new complex system will form, it has been clear for some time that the Internet provides extraordinary opportunities to provide alternative views.

    ah, but the “system” realizes that which is why it is now preparing to get rid of equal access.

    Augean stables is an excellent example arising as it did from RL seeing the al Durah outtakes and recognizing them for what they were.

    for each AU there are tons of crappola which don’t make intellectual demands on readers, but rather make them feel good by regurgitating what they’re taught to think.

    the problem is that to comprehend and take advantage of sites such as this you must have a minimum of intellect and education. and the vast majority of the public does not.

    if the msm falls, then its equivalent will pop up on the net and it will manage to attract the masses just the same. and if equal access is eliminated, who do you think will win?

    the problem, you see, is not just the msm. it’s the audience too.

  15. E.G. says:

    What’s “equal access”?

  16. […] In fact the panel had virtually nothing to do with Gaza. No one talked about what happened there; no one discussed the implications of current situation at length; no one dealt with the legal issues. (For a good treatment of “Gaza behind the headlines, see Yvonne Greene’s piece.) […]

  17. Cynic says:


    How many people — other than folks like us who read RL, Commentary and the Jerusalem Post — have a clue that Karsenty was vindicated and France2 was shamed?

    Firstly how many people read this blog daily? Not just us regular commenters for sure.
    Secondly RL’s work got a lot of publicity on other blogs around the world so there are many more informed people about.
    Gosh if “Al Dura” even got attention in the Rio de Janeiro Jewish Community’s on line paper then it says something for the effort.

    As for the bien-pensant liberals not knowing, I doubt that. How about: they won’t admit knowing? Many are those who deny; just look at the defense the French b-p Ls dreamt up in the J’acuse type letter to save “watsisname’s face.

  18. Cynic says:


    What’s “equal access”?
    To my way of thinking:

    Having the money to run a blog that is independent of Google’s censorship of free speech on blogspot and You-tube (which they administer quite often in typical PC multiculti fashion)
    Not running afoul of forthcoming Democrat government control of talk radio extending to the internet – ISPs, and into the home when they get the children tattletailing.

  19. The Quintessential Post-Modern State…

    A perfect Post-Modern state would be a state that exists in multiple realities. In one reality, it would be a struggling, potentially viable state struggling under the burden of oppression. Such a state would feature plucky but out-gunned Resistance fi…

  20. Diane says:

    “Gosh if “Al Dura” even got attention in the Rio de Janeiro Jewish Community’s on line paper then it says something for the effort.”

    Cynic, you are not being true to your handle. On this topic I’m more cynical than you are.

    I just Googled “Philippe Karsenty” using the “News” button. I got 5 hits, only one of them (FrontPage magazine) in English!

    When I search Philippe Karsenty” in Nexis (major US and world publications), I get 42 articles. Of these, 30 are from the Jerusalem Post. The others are mostly from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, and some British and Australian papers.

    Mind you, this is just searching Karsenty’s name. If I narrow this search with the term “overturned” I get 5 hits, all in the JPost.

    Prove me wrong, I beg of you.

  21. E.G. says:


    Thanks a lot for explaining equal access. I wasn’t aware of some aspects.
    Diane’s search results are very interesting from this perspective too.

    Regarding your “controversy” with Diane, my impression is that the al-Durah being a hoax info went a little beyond world-wide Jewish news outlets. Each of us can consider it good enough or more or less.

  22. oao says:

    What’s “equal access”?

    what you have now. the corps who control access to the internet want to price corps and individuals differently for access. this will probably eliminate a lot of the blogs and will reinstate the MSM as rulers on the net.
    the dhimmicrats will finally do what the republicans almost did but were dissuaded from.

  23. Cynic says:


    I am also a gentleman I’m told, if that is not too outdated, and offer the lady the pleasure of being the faultfinding captious critic for this thread. :-)

    Please note that I do not hold with E.G.’s Oxfordian definition.

  24. Margie says:

    Try using ‘Al Dura the truth’ ‘Al Dura overturned’
    or ‘Karsenty vindicated’ for searches. I got multiple responses to all, including some from reuters.

    There’s a wider knowledge of the truth available than I realised.

  25. RfaelMoshe says:

    The anti_Israel types seem to have no difficulty holding two, mutually contradictory ideas at the same time. When Tony Blair’s sister Lauren, snuck into Gaza as a “peqace activist” presumably seeking to document “starving children”, the photos sent back included her buying candybars and soft drinks at a well stocked grocery, a bustling bazaar, etc rather than the photos from Africa of children with the swollen bellies of kwashikor. Gaza has 25 miles of beach on the Med, farms, businesses, internet cafes. Gaza is not quite Chechnya after the Russians, and to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto is libelous.

  26. yvonne Green says:

    I gave several interviews to The Bridges For Peace radio channel which can be accessed on the web. The broadsheets and BBC have shown no interest in publishing my report. Please continue to ask them to. Yvonne Green

  27. […] legal and military experts, they should summon witnesses that Goldstone either refused to hear – Yvonne Green and Richard Kemp – or ignored — Dr. Siderer and Noam Bedein — people who have worked […]

  28. […] legal and military experts, they should summon witnesses that Goldstone either refused to hear – Yvonne Green and Richard Kemp – or ignored — Dr. Siderer and Noam Bedein — people who have worked on the […]

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