Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Israeli blogs back Gaza operation

Israeli tank at the border with Gaza
An Israeli tank at the boundary with the Gaza Strip

Israeli bloggers are in general agreement in backing the Israeli armed forces' offensive in the Gaza Strip, with most giving prominence to the continuing threat to Israeli civilians from Hamas rocket attacks.

Some bloggers are sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza, but most say that Israel had no choice but to launch its air and ground assault on the Strip.

'Fear of the sirens'

"I stand in the cellar alone, listening to the sirens in total silence, waiting for the boom," wrote a 17-year-old female blogger, calling herself "Naive", in a Hebrew-language post from 4 January. "I hear the voices of the rescuers... How can one cope with this?" (

A blogger calling herself "Anat", a mother-of-four from Ashkelon, highlighted the fear of many Israelis.

"Israeli armed forces have begun the ground operation and we had to contend with another rocket falling within the city and the fear of the sirens triggered by other rockets that flew over the city... The rocket hit a shelter and shrapnel from it hit a palm tree and set it on fire," she said. (

Similar sentiments were expressed by a Hebrew blogger from Ashdod.

"Yesterday in the morning the siren was heard in Ashdod, signifying that in 45 seconds one should be in a protected place... Shortly afterwards, however, we heard a huge explosion. It was very near," wrote Mikhail. (

Sympathy for the Palestinians of Gaza was expressed by 15-year-old "Yily", but he added that some targets in Gaza were legitimate.

"Yesterday we had a conversation about the attitude of the media to what is happening. The sentence '384 [dead] to them [Palestinians], four for us' in [the satirical programme] 'What a Wonderful Country' angered me. The 384 are human beings. Some of them are the [legitimate] target of the bombing but we must not forget the civilians," he wrote. (

Israeli Arabs' concerns

An Israeli Arab blogger, calling himself "Amile and company" and blogging in Hebrew, took issue with the attitude of Israel's Jewish majority towards their Arab compatriots.

"I heard many claims that Israel's Arabs are not demonstrating loyalty to the state and that measures should be taken against them. It is impossible to punish a person for criticising the state and for calling its ministers and soldiers murderers, war criminals and so forth," he said. (

Bloggers responded to Amile.

"The thing that angers people about the demonstrations of the [Israeli] Arabs is that the Arabs demonstrate against the bombardment of Gaza but they do not protest at the Qassam rockets that have been falling on the south for several years," said blogger Yoval Bar-On, 17 years old.

"Listen chap, you claim all the time that the Israeli media is distorted. But the Arab media is not better. Six million people will not go away from here. The only thing that can be implemented here is co-existence and this does not work when they are bombing us," said "Incognito", replying to Amile.

Mainstream media 'hypocrisy'

The prevalent attitude among right-wing and pro-settler bloggers is one of resentment towards the mainstream foreign and domestic media, which are accused of bias and of ignoring Hamas rockets falling on Israeli civilian centres.

The well-known academic and commentator Steve Plaut, writing in his English-language blog, reacted with a large degree of irony.

"The jets bombed the bejeebers out of them. The ground forces invaded. They at long last suppressed the terrorists, who had conducted a long campaign of suicide bombing and planting bombs, and put an end to any notion that the terrorists and their sponsors would be granted their own state," he wrote on 4 January.

"Many civilians were killed and wounded, yet not a single protest was made against the invasion anywhere. I am of course referring to the conquest by the army of Sri Lanka."

He accused Jewish "leftists" and mainstream commentators of hypocrisy.

"[Israeli newspaper] Ha'aretz columnists have not turned out column after column explaining that the suicide bombings by the Tamils are all because they are under an inhumane siege and hungry... Virtually no-one knows that 65,000 civilians have died in the fighting and the media have no interest in covering the story. But then again, Sri Lanka is just not as advanced a country as is Israel." (

Another English-language blogger attacked the Western media.

"How come the world is so hypocritical? Isn't a nation allowed to protect its citizens?" asked "Netivotgirl", also on 4 January.

"Apparently not. A short flip through websites such as the NY Times [New York Times], CNN, BBC and of course we see the poor child crying at her aunt's funeral in Gaza and read about the family in Gaza City living in the hallway of their apartment eating cold food." (

The media also came in for flak from left-wing, secular bloggers.

Blogger "Gabriel" in a post in the English-language "Jews sans frontieres" on 2 January quoted a report written by Ha'aretz correspondent Amos Harel. The post was entitled: "Children [in Gaza] burn, [while] Israel's journalists cheer." This was not the headline of the Ha'aretz report; it was the headline of Gabriel's post. Jews sans frontieres describes itself as "an anti-Zionist blog - browsing the media". (

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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