Donald Johnson writes:
A Gaza story is on the front page of the cellulose edition of the New York Times, with the provocative title, “As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too,” by Diaa Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi.
People living on the edges of Gaza border towns, like the Israelis a few miles away, complain of hearing surreptitious digging in the wee hours, and voice a parallel anxiety [to Israelis] about the tunnels being rapidly rebuilt near their homes becoming targets for Israeli strikes. They are raising unusually harsh — albeit anonymous, for fear of reprisal — criticism of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, for putting people at risk. . . .
“Dear God — we will be torn apart,” said a 42-year-old woman in Khuzaa, a village near the fence.
Not that I approve of Hamas, but the New York Times has absolutely no hesitation writing a story that justifies Israel bombing civilian neighborhoods. They go out of their way to find Palestinians willing to risk Hamas’s wrath criticizing the tunnels. How hard did these reporters work to find Palestinians and Israelis criticizing Israeli atrocities? Remember that countless homes were destroyed in the last war and 500 children killed.
Ordinarily they never put stories on the front page about the conflict when no war is going on, but here they have an opportunity to give their blessing to past and future Israeli bombings of civilians, so — it goes on the front page.
I look at the headline again, and it makes me livid. “As Hamas Tunnels Back Into Israel, Palestinians Are Afraid, Too.” This is exactly what the Clintons said. Every single civilian that Israel kills is blamed on Hamas using civilians as human shields by the hasbara crowd. And again, to the extent that Hamas is responsible for such behavior, it should be written about, but the NYT should also point out all the cases where Israel clearly killed civilians with no excusable reason at all. When what the paper of record does is, write about individual incidents during the war, rarely taking a clear stand, and then bury or ignore the human rights reports showing countless civilian deaths when those are published, and as time passes write crap like this, where the very clear message is that civilians die solely because of Hamas. It makes me too angry to write about calmly.
The Times might as well write Clinton’s speeches on this subject. Clinton piping hasbara on April 14:
Even the most independent analyst will say the way that Hamas places its weapons, the way that it often has its fighters in civilian garb, it is terrible. . . Remember, Israel left Gaza. They took out all the Israelis. They turned the keys over to the Palestinian people. And what happened? Hamas took over Gaza.So instead of having a thriving economy with the kind of opportunities that the children of the Palestinians deserve, we have a terrorist haven that is getting more and more rockets shipped in from Iran and elsewhere.
I wouldn’t mind this if they were genuinely fair and wrote also hard hitting pieces about Israeli brutality, but they are incapable of doing that.
James North adds:
Consider the Times’s agenda in this article; the reporters looked for Palestinians who are living right near the tunnels. These people might be anxious, and understandably, but did the Times even attempt to talk to any of the other 1.8 million people in the Gaza open-air prison and ask what they think of resistance? The implication is that a small minority of people are putting Palestinians at risk. If so, go out and find out if it’s true.
But Palestinians voted for Hamas, the last time they voted; and if you read Max Blumenthal’s excellent book, The 51-Day War, it is obvious that there is broad support for armed resistance across Gaza. Or look at this video of an old man in the occupied West Bank fearlessly confronting Israeli gunfire at a demonstration during the Gaza war with a cardboard model of a rocket attached to his arm, the rocket painted green with Hamas’s colors. He clearly approves of resistance.
The Times front-pager is 2 percent of what the reporting should be. Even readers who support Israel are being ill-served by this distorted article. Pro Israelis should want to know what the opposition is in Gaza to the occupation. The Times’s implied narrative is that the opposition is restricted to a minority of militants who most of the public shuns or is afraid of. But what if the armed resistance has the overwhelming support of the Gazans?
Why did the Times place this misleading article right on the front page? The rest of the world’s press is concentrating on former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and his strong warnings about worsening Israeli “extremism.” The Times today puts Ya’alon on page 5, and “extremism” isn’t in the headline.
The article has been happily tweeted by the Israeli army spokesperson:
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) May 21, 2016