May 24, 2004

Media Buys PA Line

Israel's action in Rafah appears to be "Jenin" all over again. In other words, another example of the world media uncritically accepting the version of events promoted by the Palestinians, without any reasonable examination of facts and circumstances. As in the case of the early reporting of the "massacre" at Jenin, the PA version is reported as fact, and some of the inconvenient details (such as the Palestinian "standard operating procedure" of using innocent women and children to shield armed fighters) are ignored by the press.

David Meir-Levi takes a look at the context of the IDF action in Rafah, much of which has gone unreported in major media accounts. We expect this from the Arab press, but we should hold the Western press to a higher standard of objectivity. Shouldn't we?

Media coverage depicts the civilians as an orderly "demonstration" upon which the IDF fired without provocation...

...nowhere in the media do we learn that the urgency of this operation was due to the fact that terrorists in Rafah were trying to smuggle in Strela anti-aircraft missiles capable of shooting down civilian airliners. Strela missiles from the Gaza strip could shoot down planes landing at Ben-Gurion airport...

...Our media also neglected to mention that a UN special envoy to the PA noted that "Palestinian gunmen (were) using a mob of civilians as cover". At least a dozen armed terrorists were scattered within this demonstration.

There were c. 3000 people about a mile from the IDF tanks. A group of c.100 unexplainably separated from the main body and advanced toward the tanks. The armed terrorists were in this group of 100. Some were armed with anti-tank RPGs. One hardly need wonder what their intent was...

...aerial video surveillance shows that an Israeli Apache gunship fired a warning missile into an EMPTY FIELD in order to deter the procession. When the mob continued to move on Israeli soldiers, field commanders, fearing a major assault on their troops by the RPG-bearing terrorists who were using the civilians as human shields, fired flares into the air. When the mob still advanced on the tanks, the IDF directed machine gun fire and four tank shells at an ABANDONED BUILDING near the marchers.

A total of 10 people were killed and many more wounded, but the IDF spokesman said, after reviewing the surveillance tapes, that it seemed highly unlikely the casualties were caused by Israeli fire.

The army did note that the path taken by the mob was an area "rigged with explosive charges planted by the Palestinians."

So it is quite possible that the carnage among the Palestinian civilians was caused by land mines planted by Palestinian terrorists to stop IDF advances.

Oh. I hadn't heard that.

UPDATE 5/24: Just when I'm making rash generalizations about media coverage, Andrew Sullivan links to a BBC slideshow that does give the IDF perspective on the search for smuggling tunnels in Gaza. As Andrew said, "Good for the Beeb. There's hope yet."

Posted by dan at May 24, 2004 10:11 PM