By Barry Rubin
Rockets from the Gaza Strip continue to pound Israel. And much of the Western media blames: Israel. I want to explain again how this system works.
What follows is a seven-point pattern that goes something like this: Someone shoots at your spouse, you punch the attacker, he yells, “Ceasefire!” then kicks you in the groin and takes some more shots at your spouse. You try to defend yourself. The police stand by doing nothing and then declare you to be the aggressor for breaking the ceasefire.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, I sincerely wish that it was! (Scholarly disclaimer: Of course many politicians and media outlets do see through this but the pattern discussed below is a very widespread one.)
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1. Terrorist group attacks Israeli civilians.
2. As Israel seeks to retaliate, the group declares a ceasefire.
3. Western media announce ceasefire.
4. But rockets continue to be fired into Israel against civilian targets. Responsibility is usually taken by smaller groups allied with Hamas, like Islamic Jihad. This allows Hamas–and Western media–to deny that Hamas has any responsibility and thus there is no need to take actions against it. Nobody notes that Hamas is now allied with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the latter does not condemn the attacks but only condemns Israel.
(Note: Western media only report it when the PA condemns a terrorist attack and that at times gets more coverage than the attack and the Israeli victims.)
(Additional note: In late 2008, Hamas launched a war of rockets, missiles, mortars, and attempted cross-border attacks on Israel, breaking an existing ceasefire. When Israel retaliated, many accused Israel of aggression.)
(Another additional note: It is generally forgotten that because of Israel’s self-defense against the Hamas attacks the PA broke off negotiations with Israel and three years later, despite constant missreporting that the lack of talks is Israel’s fault, that policy continues.)
5. Israel retaliates against rocket-firing teams, weapons’ workshops, arms-smuggling tunnels, rocket storage places, and leaders of groups firing rockets. Some civilians are killed and this becomes the main point of Western media stories. Since the numbers and identities come from Hamas, they maximize numbers and civilians, concealing terrorists’ being killed and at times reclassifying terrorists as civilians. Note that when civilians are killed by Western airstrikes, as in Afghanistan or Libya, it is emphasized that these are regrettable accidents. With Israel it is implied that such action is purposeful or at least careless.
6. Western media report that Israel “broke” the “ceasefire.”
7. Continued attacks on Israel are thus blamed on Israeli action.
Think that’s an exaggeration? Here’s the Washington Post:
“A tenuous cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was punctured Wednesday by a deadly Israeli airstrike that triggered rocket and mortar fire at Israel.”
Anti-Israel politicians, media, and experts blame Israel for being aggressive and using “disproportionate force,” a phrase that only seems to be applied to Israel in the world.
More moderate politicians, media, and experts decry the cycle of violence for which both sides are responsible.
Coming soon to a UN Near You: The September UN Scam! Here’s a wonderful indication of what’s going on:
A pro-Palestinian Oxford University law professor has warned the Palestinian leadership that it must do the unilateral independence declaration at the UN properly so it can claim all of Israel later.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and Middle East editor and featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). GLORIA Center site is http://www.gloria-center.org.His articles published originally outside of PajamasMedia are at http://www.gloria-center.org