Once again, the New York Times has turned over its coverage of the ongoing Gaza protests to Hasbara Central, Israel’s propaganda apparatus. Today’s article, on the fifth Friday of the Great March of Return, ran on the print edition’s front page, and should be regarded not as a “report,” but as a prior justification for the full-scale massacre Israel is surely planning as the Gaza marches lead toward the May 15 culmination on Land Day.
The Times article misses the central truth — that Israel is deliberately trying to provoke violence among the Gaza protesters so it can stop losing the war for world public opinion, which is appalled as its snipers have already killed more than 40 of the demonstrators, including another 3 yesterday, and wounded more than 1000.
The view that Israel wants violence is not only held by Palestinians and their supporters. Asaf Ronel is the Israeli world news editor of the distinguished newspaper, Haaretz, and he tweeted yesterday that Israel’s air attacks on Gazan “naval targets,” (buried in the Times story), “can also be an attempt to draw Hamas to fire back rockets.” Ronel went on to note that “Not a single rocket was launched since #GreatReturnMarch started & no Israeli was hurt” — facts missing in the Times.
The Times article nowhere mentions that not a single Israeli, soldier or civilian, has gotten as much as a scratch during the ongoing protests. Instead, the paper today recites the Israeli military’s view: that masses of Gazan protesters “swarmed” toward the border with Israel, that some of them were armed, that they fired at Israeli soldiers, and that some of them nearly breached the fence. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli army spokesman, is given so much space in the article that the Times should have added his name to the byline.
On closer inspection, the article’s claims are suspect. The allegation that some Gazans fired into Israel are vague, based on mysterious, unnamed “witnesses.”
The “fence” that the protesters “breached” turns out not to be on the border at all, but a barbed wire barrier that Israel had placed inside Gazan territory.
Yet again, the Times also failed to contact any human rights organizations. The BBC report quoted Amnesty International’s call for a global arms embargo against Israel, which Amnesty said was “carrying out a murderous assault against the protesters.”
If the Times thinks Amnesty is too risqué, why not at least visit the website for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group? Their site includes a banner headline repeating its call to Israeli soldiers to stop firing at Gazans.
SOLDIERS, HOLD YOUR FIRE If the heart be not callous: on the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza.