Consider this recent article from The Telegraph entitled “Revealed: the Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces”:
More children than Palestinian fighters are being killed in the offensive on Gaza, according to the UN. The name, age, sex and location of 132 of the 155 Palestinian children killed have been collected by the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.
The Telegraph is allegedly conservative, yet the above text is indistinguishable from the “narrative” dispensed by The Guardian and other lefty news outlets. The media line on what is happening in Gaza and Israel right now is all but uniform across the political spectrum: reports by stringers from Gaza about bombed schools and hospitals, photos of dead children and weeping mothers on the nightly news, calls by world leaders for an immediate ceasefire, and condemnation in the UN of Israeli “war crimes”.
Occasionally a newscaster will venture off the main path to mention that Hamas terrorists have fired thousands of rockets from Gaza at civilians in Israel. And there are occasional articles about the terror tunnels used by Hamas to infiltrate Israel and murder more civilians.
Almost all major news outlets neglect to look beneath the surface to look at Hamas’ strategy of war, which the terror organization openly declares in Arabic-language media, especially those in Gaza itself. An unusual exception may be found in this opinion piece by Michael Oren at CNN, of all places:
More than a military strategy, Hamas has a media strategy. Calculatingly, Hamas employs primitive military tactics to mount a sophisticated media campaign that can threaten Israel’s basic security. And in conducting that offensive, Hamas can count on one of the world’s most powerful weapons: the international media.
In a war with Hamas, though, Israel’s strength and morality can become vulnerability and guilt. By investing nothing in air raid sirens and bomb shelters, by hiding deep beneath neighborhoods and shooting near hospitals and mosques, Hamas ensures that Israel will invariably wound and kill civilians.
Hamas gunmen carry out attacks disguised as women and old men, fight from UN and Red Cross vehicles, store rockets in schools, and physically prevent Palestinian civilians from fleeing combat zones. This context, though, is rarely mentioned by the media when covering the civilian cost of the fighting.
As the Israeli cabinet member Naftali Bennett told Wolf Blitzer on CNN, “Hamas is committing massive self-genocide to its woman and children.”
This is the deliberate use of the civilian population of Gaza as raw material for a “humanitarian” crisis for which Israel will be blamed. Yet the international media seem unable — or unwilling — to recognize what Hamas is doing.
As Carl in Jerusalem pointed out, this is the reason why Prime Minister Netanyahu did not order a ground offensive sooner. As long as there are more dead Palestinians than dead Israelis, any effective Israeli response will be seen as a “disproportionate” use of force and “indiscriminate slaughter”. In other words, Mr. Netanyahu would have to fail in his primary duty to protect his own citizens before the United Nations, foreign political leaders, and the international media would view any Israeli military action as justified.
In summary: rather than attempt to defeat Israel in any meaningful military sense, Hamas forces the Israelis to impale themselves on the spears of relentless media body-counters. The more dead Palestinian children there are, the more opprobrium is heaped upon the Jewish state for its “disproportionate response”. The more photos of collapsed schools and clinics, the more strident the calls for ceasefire.
When the ceasefire comes — which it inevitably will, brokered by John Kerry this time — its terms will be unfavorable towards Israel. Afterwards money will pour in for the reconstruction of Gaza, and then will be diverted to replenish the stocks of missiles and replace terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF. Palestinian children will continue to be indoctrinated from their earliest years to see death as a shahid (martyr) while killing Jews as the greatest honor and highest aspiration of any Muslim. Then, in a couple of years, the rockets will once again rain down on Sderot, Ashdod, Beersheba, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. The subsequent response of the IDF will be monitored closely by the media and the UN, with every civilian casualty denounced.
And so the whole dreary charade will start all over again.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the wave of rocket attacks from Gaza by Hamas began in June after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank (and later found dead). The missiles were generally seen by the media as a response to Israeli arrests after the abductions:
The conflict was largely triggered by the killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank last month and the death on July 2 of a Palestinian youth in a suspected revenge murder.
However, when I went to look up the details, I realized my mistake: the three boys were abducted on June 12, but the current wave of missile attacks from Gaza began on June 11. That is, the rain of rockets was not a reaction to Israel’s arrest of Hamas operatives after the kidnappings. And, since both operations were carried out by the same terror group, it is safe to conclude that they were part of a concerted strategic effort on the part of Hamas.
So what is that larger strategic plan? A clue may be found in this report from Fox News:
Before the outbreak of the latest round of fighting, the militant group found itself in a serious financial crisis because a particularly tight closure by Egypt had prevented cash and goods from coming into the strip through hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.
Now the picture becomes clearer: Hamas was being squeezed between Egypt and Israel, and needed to take drastic action to force Israel to ease up.
It seems likely that Hamas intended to begin missile attacks and take one or two Israelis hostage at about the same time. The pressure of all those rockets, combined with internationally brokered negotiations to free the hostages, would give the terrorists new leverage over their adversary.
However, as Israel Matzav learned back in June, the hostage-taking in the West Bank didn’t go as planned. Hamas ended up with too many hostages, one of whom was able to use his cell phone immediately after he was captured. As a result, all three had to be killed.
Hamas was left with nothing but rockets, so it stepped up its use of them, meanwhile readying its human shields.
The rest you know.
When Hamas rejected the ceasefire proposed by Egypt, it issued a statement saying that “our battle with the enemy will intensify.”
As far as I can tell, the intensification of the battle went something like this:
“Put more babies on the roof, Walid! That’ll show ’em.”
“We’re running low on babies!”
“Well, use the women, then.”
Yes, it’s a sick joke. But these are sick times.
Besides, it’s close enough to the truth.
Hat tips: JP, MC, and Vlad Tepes.