IT’S the decapitated Israeli kids from October 7th that still get Squinter the most as the slaughter in Gaza continues, with the latest scenes of Biblical devastation and suffering being played out in a ‘safe zone’ tent town in Rafah.

Oh, and the Israeli babies that were torn from their Israeli mothers’ wombs in chilling scenes of barbarity witnessed by Israeli first-responders; that gets me too.

And the mass rapes of Israeli women – the routine and widespread use of grotesque sexual violence, cynically planned by Hamas to strike terror into the entire state of Israel.
And the reason that these unprecedented acts of savagery continue to resonate with Squinter 35,000 Palestinian deaths later is that none of these things happened. Not a single child was decapitated; no babies were ripped from their mothers’ wombs; sexual violence was not routinely used by Hamas during its incursion into Israel.

Seven months on we know that what we were told about the above acts was flagrant lies. Lord knows, Hamas inflicted enough cruelty and suffering on innocent people that day to keep make even the hardest-hearted opponent of the Zionist project shake their head in disgust. But ‘routine’ killing – the death of innocent adults in chaotic conflict scenarios – was never going to be enough to prepare the world for what the Tel Aviv regime had planned for Gaza. What the world needed to hear (but not see) were acts of brutality so unimaginable to the ordinary human beings that those who committed them and their supporters could be so devalued and degraded that subsequent acts of brutality committed upon them could be seen as necessary, forgivable, unfortunate, or whatever yer havin’ yerself.

The lies were bad enough, but the total failure of those who spread them – the pantingly receptive journalist stenographers and politicians – to acknowledge, much less apologise for, for their part in laying the ground for genocide is as sickening as their original mendacity. The October 7th lies are now covered and accused by another, arguably bigger lie: that the first lies didn’t happen.

It is not possible to see the stories and statements churned out in the hours and days and weeks after October 7th through the famed Overton Window – it is possible, of course, only to see only those matters considered acceptable to the powers-that-be. And powers-that-be are not renowned for their enthusiasm for informed reflection. And when there’s nothing in the media that lied to tell us they lied, then the lie lives on – that reality being evident in the fact that baby-beheadings and mass rape have become the historical record for a large swathe of the population.

Of course, others – outsiders, if you like –  can rather embarrassingly do us all a favour by pointing out during live broadcasts that that this didn’t happen and that did happen; that this was a lie and this wasn’t. But so comprehensive and automatic are the responses to these correctives that the viewer or listener can get lost in a torrent of he-said-she-said presenter interruptions.

Squinter well remembers the time when the columnist Jude Collins appeared on BBC Loyal Ulster and pointed out during a discussion that the Shankill Bomb was not a planned sectarian slaughter but an early detonation. It was a simple statement of fact, but it is a statement of fact which for some reason seems beyond the Pale for most journalists here. Of course, everything that happened after the IRA set out to place a bomb in or above a shop on a busy Saturday afternoon was the IRA’s fault: the death of innocents; the maiming of others; the death and maiming of its two members, even. The truth about the explosion – that it didn’t go as planned – makes no difference to that. But Jude, a regular Radio Ulster contributor at the time, never appeared on the station again.

The same assiduous guarding of accepted narratives is to be seen all around us. Over three-quarters of the population of the UK wants to see an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but the most cursory glance at the coverage of the conflict reveals a slavish adherence to the London/Washington view of the violence: Israel assailed on all sides by bloodthirsty medieval fanatics, occasionally getting it wrong, but with their heart in the right place. Too early for a ceasefire; no reason to stop selling weapons.

Of course, in the years to come that view will be shaped and moulded retrospectively to fit the exigencies of whatever judicial, political and/or moral reckoning arrives – and a reckoning will arrive. Just as the journalists and politicians pretend now that they never said the babies were beheaded, they will pretend that everything they did was not in fact done through ruthless and lethal loyalty to a key ally, but in tactical pursuance of whatever turns out to have ended the violence.

Israel and its allies won’t win. Hamas cannot be defeated; special forces and prayers won’t release the hostages; a piece of Gaza is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in waiting.

But sometimes losers do, in fact, get to write the history books.