World Ignored Israel’s Restraint in Gaza – And the Larger Story
By Sean Durns
May 9, 2019
for the first time, many in the press and around the world have missed an
important story in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In dozens of reports about
Hamas and other terror groups’ most recent rocket barrage attacking the Jewish
state, the media largely omitted the extraordinary steps that the Israel Defense
Forces (IDF) undertook to minimize casualties.
Israel’s restraint should be a story in itself.
story begins with Gaza-based terrorist organizations yet again launching attacks
against Israeli civilians behind the cover of human shields.
May 3, snipers from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iranian-backed terror
group, attacked IDF soldiers and attempted to assassinate
IDF Col. Liron Batito. The attack was “deliberately planned,” according to
an analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
The PIJ terrorists did this under the guise of the Hamas-orchestrated “Return
March,” in which armed terrorists were interspersed among civilians attempting
to illegally cross the Israel-Gaza border. In response, the IDF targeted two
Hamas bases, killing two operatives.
next day, terrorists launched a massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire that
steadily expanded to include Israeli civilian targets more than 25 miles from
the Israel-Gaza border. Hamas and its terrorist allies launched 700 rockets —
each rocket a war crime.
in southern Israel, such as Ashkelon, Ashdod, Qiryat Gat, Qiryat Malachi, and
Beersheba, were hit. Schools, houses, factories, gas stations, railroad tracks,
and even an oncology ward were struck. Four Israelis were murdered, and more
than 100 civilians were injured — many of them critically.
IDF responded with surgical strikes from the air and sea, and limited ground
operations. More than 240 terrorist targets, “most of them,” the ITIC noted,
“belonging to Hamas and PIJ,” were hit. Among them, the IDF said, were
rocket launching squads, observation posts, military compounds, and training
its part, the media responded with incomplete and often deeply biased coverage.
such as The Wall Street Journal’s “Israel and Gaza Trade Blows,” gave
readers a false equivalency between the actions of terrorist groups and those of
a sovereign nation defending itself. The Washington Post, NBC, CNN, and others
treated Gaza’s Health Ministry — a Hamas-controlled entity — as a credible
source. Several outlets uncritically repeated claims that Israel killed a
pregnant Palestinian woman and her son — although PIJ itself later admitted
that it was responsible for their deaths.
New York Times — less than two weeks after the shooting at a San Diego
synagogue and uproar over the publication of a virulently antisemitic cartoon
— even blamed Jews for the violence perpetrated against them. The paper called
the PIJ sniper attack merely “a violent but localized expression of
Palestinian impatience with Israel’s failure to alleviate dire humanitarian
conditions in Gaza.” Dispensing with any pretense of impartiality, the
Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief, David Halbfinger, tweeted
that Israel’s decision to release footage of its strikes was “combat
Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), BDS leader Yousef Munayyer, and other anti-Israel
that Israel was using disproportionate force and intentionally harming
civilians. Tlaib accused Israel of unjustly oppressing and targeting
“Palestinian children and [their] families.”
the exact opposite is true. Israel’s targeting was highly selective.
the IDF’s targeting — and its intelligence — enabled the Jewish state to
take out huge swaths of the terrorists’ infrastructure, while largely avoiding
any civilian casualties.
May 7 analysis
by the ITIC found that of the 23 Palestinians killed before the May 6 cease-fire
was reached, at least 17 — about 74 percent — have been linked to terrorist
groups. This is a level of selective targeting that many — including the US
and its allies in their anti-ISIS
campaign — could only dream of.
many news reports failed to mention it, the IDF took drastic steps to prevent
civilian casualties. Israel not only carried out precision strikes against
high-value targets, but it frequently employed “roof knocking,” an IDF-developed
practice of dropping non-explosive devices on the roofs of buildings prior to a
strike. The IDF has used roof knocking for more than 10 years as a means of
warning civilians of imminent bombing attacks, and to give them time to flee
(even though this can also help terrorists and genuine targets escape).
other nation in the region — and indeed, few in the world — employ “roof
knocking.” The US itself didn’t adopt
the tactic until 2016, when fighting ISIS, which, like Hamas and PIJ, uses human
shields and stores its weaponry in the houses of civilians.
is certainly newsworthy that a small country surrounded by terrorists
ceaselessly seeking its destruction, expends the time, effort, money, and
innovation to prevent civilian casualties. This is particularly true when one
considers that Israel’s terrorist opponents have precisely the opposite
the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, then-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs
of Staff Martin Dempsey remarked that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths to
limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.” Dempsey cited “roof
knocking” and the IDF’s practice of dropping warning leaflets as proof. As
the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
documented, Dempsey’s comments were widely
ignored by major news outlets.
years later, Hamas’ tactics remain unchanged. Regrettably, so too does the
media’s inability — or perhaps unwillingness — to honestly cover them, or
to give Israel’s measured response the column space that it deserves.