You can turn to Haaretz, the distinguished Israeli newspaper, to see how the New York Times slanted today’s article about the increase in violence inside Gaza and across the border in Israel. Haaretz quotes Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, who blames Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the escalation:
The Israeli government is being pushed into a corner by the non-violent demonstrations in Gaza and is initiating a military confrontation to stop them.
The timeline proves that Israeli is provoking the latest violence. On Sunday, Israeli tanks killed 3 members of the small Islamic Jihad group who were inside Gaza. (The Israeli military said it killed the 3 because a bomb had been planted overnight near the border; it offered no proof the dead had anything to do with the alleged bomb.)
In response, Islamic Jihad, and the much larger Hamas, supposedly fired 70 mortars or rockets into Israel, killing no one but allegedly injuring 3 soldiers and one civilian. Israel knows full well that Hamas fears losing support if it makes no answer to the most extreme Israeli provocations. The Times article fails to report that during months of murderous Israeli aggression against Gazan civilians, the Palestinians until now have not launched a single rocket.
The Times breathlessly and at length recounts Israeli anxiety over the limited attacks from Gaza: “Sirens blared again;” “cellphones were buzzing with alerts of incoming rockets.” (The headline in the online report calls it a “barrage,” surely an exaggeration.)
The Times also alleges that over the months of protest, “incendiary kites and balloons” have caused “hundreds of fires in the fields and forest on the Israeli side.” Hundreds! Where are the photos of these conflagrations?
Israel predictably “retaliated” — with air strikes on 35 targets inside Gaza. A Haaretz reporter, Asaf Ronel, had already forecasted Israel’s actions, but the Times did not make the same cause and effect connection — even though Ronel writes in English. What’s more, the Times has a reporter in Gaza, Iyad Abuheweila, but the paper had nothing to say whatsoever about how Gazans were reacting to being under assault. Maybe their cellphones were also buzzing, and their children were also afraid?
In fact, you have to wait until paragraph 32 in the Times to even learn that Israel since March 30 has killed 120 Palestinians, and the paper left out the fact that thousands more have been injured. The BBC report of the same events notes right away in the sixth paragraph that “UN and human rights officials have accused Israel of using disproportionate force” — the Times cites no human rights organizations.
Finally, the Times article nowhere explains that many in Israel believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is deliberately increasing tensions, in Gaza and elsewhere in the region, to distract attention from the multiple corruption probes zeroing in on him and his wife. The paper doesn’t have to agree (or disagree) with this interpretation. Just tell us about it.