The US media accounts are absurdly pro-Israel, as one would expect. Fortunately there are reliable alternatives.
Consult first this article by Sara Roy, who is really the Western expert on Gaza, from the London Review of Books. Penned before today's assault, it provides excellent background. Here's one nugget:
According to the World Health Organisation, the political divisions between Gaza and the West Bank are also having a serious impact on drug stocks in Gaza. The West Bank Ministry of Health (MOH) is responsible for procuring and delivering most of the pharmaceuticals and medical disposables used in Gaza. But stocks are at dangerously low levels. Throughout November the MOH West Bank was turning shipments away because it had no warehouse space, yet it wasn’t sending supplies on to Gaza in adequate quantities. During the week of 30 November, one truck carrying drugs and medical supplies from the MOH in Ramallah entered Gaza, the first delivery since early September.
Makes you wonder how Gaza's hospitals can cope at all with all the wounded.
Helena Cobban (Just World News) has a fine commentary that, among other things, demolishes one typical trope used by the US media, the cycle of violence. It's no "cycle" but a vastly uneven contest, as the rightwing British paper, the Daily Telegraph, tells us in a report today from Tim Butcher:
Nine Israeli civilians have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza since it withdrew all settlers and soldiers from the territory in September 2005.
Over the same period, at least 1,400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in Gaza, according to figures compiled by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.
Ali Abunimeh of Electronic Intifada penned a response almost immediately. Here's an excerpt:
What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.
As John Ging, the head of operations of the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told The Electronic Intifada in November: "there was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."
Electronic Intifada continues to post invaluable first-hand accounts of what is going on in Gaza by people who are actually on the ground. Western media accounts meanwhile will mostly repeat what Israeli government officials tell them. Here's an excerpt from an account by Safa Joudeh, who is getting an MA in Public Policy from SUNY Stony Brook, and is currently living in Gaza and working as a freelance journalist.
Outside my home which is close to the two largest universities in Gaza, a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students. They'd been warned not to stand in groups as it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. Seven were killed, four students and three of our neighbors' kids, young men who were from the Rayes family and were best friends. As I'm writing this I can hear a funeral procession go by outside; I looked out the window a moment ago and it was the three Rayes boys. They spent all their time together when they were alive, they died together and now they are sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14-year-old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn't spoken a word since.
The AFSC blog, End the Siege on Gaza, is another very good source for regular updates.
Another source is the Free Gaza Movement, which to date has organized four boat convoys into Gaza, breaking the international blockade. (Kufiya wearer Aki Nawaz of Fun-Da-Mental was on the first mission.)
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has initiated an emergency alert--urging letters to the White House, State Department, Congress and the media, and the organizing of demos and rallies.
Here's a cultural angle. I only discovered this song today--"Hamas Rule," a dubstep track that is somewhat in the Muslimgauze vein, by Shackleton from the Skull Disco release Soundboy Punishments. I recommend it highly. Listen to a segment here. Available to purchase from emusic or itunes. And there is also the great Muslimgauze track, "Curfew, Gaza" from the album Zul'm. Listen here. You can buy a download from emusic or itunes.