23 September '14..
According to the New York Times, the conflict in Gaza came about when three Israelis “disappeared,” Jewish extremists “snatched” and killed an Arab youth, and Israel launched a military campaign that left thousands of Palestinians dead or homeless.
However, this reporting leaves out certain key events and uses questionable language to describe the way the conflict actually began.
The June 12 disappearance of Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, as they hitchhiked home from their West Bank yeshivas, and the subsequent Israeli campaign in Hebron and surrounding areas, helped set off an escalation of tension and violence that culminated in a seven-week battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Did Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach “disappear?” By the time the story first broke, it was clear that the boys had been kidnapped. It was later learned that they had been murdered and their bodies dumped in a field. They had not simply “disappeared” as if they had vanished into thin air. (Later on in the article more specifics are given, but that does not excuse the way the abductions are first described.)
Compare this with the language used to describe the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir:
Jewish extremists snatched a Palestinian 16-year-old old, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, in his East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, beat him and burned him alive as an act of revenge.
All four murders were despicable, criminal acts. But why the difference in language? Did the killing of the Jewish teens not merit the same journalistic treatment?
However, that error pales in comparison with the inaccuracy that comes next, as the Times continues its own take on how the conflict started. After referring to the murder of Abu Khdeir, the Times tells its readers:
The Israeli military operation that began less than a week later killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including about 500 children, and destroyed thousands of buildings in Gaza, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed before an agreement was reached on Aug. 26 to halt the hostilities.
Actually, during the time between the murder and the “military operation,” Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into civilians areas of Israel. The Israeli airstrikes and subsequent ground campaign were a direct result of these unprovoked rocket attacks. Yet the Times never bothers to mention Hamas rocket attacks a single time in the article.
Another question for the Times is why mention the impact on Gaza without also referring to the complete disruption in the lives of Israelis? Thousands of Israelis living in Southern Israel were forced to flee their homes from the threat of thousands of rocket and mortar attacks. All across Israel, millions were targeted by Hamas’ rockets. Yet these important facts did not deserve to be mentioned in the eyes of the Times.
Hamas and the Kidnapping
Take a look at this paragraph and try and figure out what the Times is trying to say:
Israel quickly blamed Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates Gaza, for the kidnappings; Mr. Qawasmeh and Mr. Aisha are affiliated with Hamas, though the Israeli authorities believe they acted without direction by, or perhaps even without the knowledge of, the movement’s leadership.
Did Israel blame Hamas or not? Were the murderers fully-fledged members of Hamas or were they simply “affiliated?” The Times seems to want to both blame Israel for hasty-actions while excusing Hamas for culpability. The truth is that Hamas members carried out the gruesome murders.
It is amazing how quickly the media can rewrite history.
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