It seems that the Israelis are fed up with allowing foreign news agencies to filter their message. There is much at stake with coverage of the retaliatory air strikes the IAF and army gunships are mounting in Gaza. The informed will recall the many hundreds of faked images and staged videos the Palestinians and their foreign supporters (some Canadian) created during the last go-round. This combat season we find something innovative. IDF public affairs stories and even gun camera video are being posted on a new IDF created YOUTUBE page. http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadeskAn Aljeezera photo distributed to Western news bureaus on December 17, 2008 shows an example of what provoked the current Israeli counter-strike. This NOT a rocket launcher. It is an improvised 3inch mortar, very crude but no doubt very lethal. This lemon grove must be very close to the border fence if this hooded mortar team had any hope of hitting a Jewish settlement.
The current IDF mission is code named Operation Cast Lead. Israeli drones are orbiting Gaza 24/7 and doing a superlative job targeting Hamas militia and their Kazzam and Grad rocket launching sites. Israeli suppression of launching positions and resupply squads has been amazing.
Black clad HAMAS militiamen were caught in the open on the first day of IDF strikes on Gaza. In photos from the Aljeezera news agency, December 27/08 we see a HAMAS compound strewn with dead. Note that first arrivals have stripped the bodies of weapons but nobody ministers to the fallen, or puts on any display of mourning.
Possibly at the request of the Aljeezeera photographer, a bystander volunteered to add some drama to this next image. Note that he can't quite bring himself to let go of his cellphone.
And a needed reminder of events in 2006, when Israel went sniffing for HAMAS tunnel networks - this from an Israeli cartoonist at DryBonesBlog. Since the famous "Land for Peace" agreement the IDF has had to renter Gaza several times. The Palestinians don't hide the existence of a massive tunnel network (they've published photos of the "humanitarian" variety) but they dispute that tunnels are ever used to bring in explosives and light infantry weapons. Here we see a former Israeli greenhouse complex fallen into mixed usage... there does appear to be something growing, just not as lush as the Israeli crop.
Update January 1st : World Media goes Ape when I.A.F. takes out Terrorist Muslim cleric Nizar Rayyan with an F16 strike.
Nizar Rayyan was very high on the Israeli "Most Wanted" list, for his role in the planning and financing of terror missions which killed Jews. Today their air force took him out with an air dropped bomb. Judging by the instantaneous impulse of the world media to describe the attack as the "assasination" of a "respected" leader (over 35,000 news articles)
Nazim Rayyam, the spiritual leader of the Hamas militia, who gave his holy "blessing" to Hamas female suicide bombers, was killed in an air strike today in Gaza. Initial news reports indicate that all four of his wives and nine of his children died with him. While it is bitterly unfair that innocent children die with the militant father, no doubt he made a conscious decision to keep them very close for his own protection.