Timelines and ‘Trading Blows’ in Gaza

A headline in yesterday’s New York Times (4/10/11):

Violence Rises as Israel and Hamas Trade Blows

This “blow trading” has resulted in18 deaths, all in Gaza–roughly half civilians and half militants. On the Israeli side, one boy was seriously injured. The Times account tells us:

The Israeli military said that if civilians were hit, it was because militants shot from among them.

But the deaths on Friday of 19-year-old Nidal Qudeh, who was studying to be a medical secretary, and her mother, Najah, 40, outside the southeastern city of Khan Yunis did not fit that pattern, witnesses said.

It would be difficult to imagine how to present such fighting as somehow “balanced,” but the Times manages to pull it off.

In a story in today’s Times (4/11/11), Isabel Kershner presents the timeline of the current violence, which–as is often the case–we’re told began with an attack from the Palestinian side:

The most recent escalation began when the military wing of Hamas fired a Kornet antitank missile at the school bus from a distance of about two miles. It was the first time the group used an advanced, laser-guided weapon against a civilian target.

To make things more confusing, the very next paragraph would seem to undermine that:

Hamas said the attack was meant to avenge Israel’s killing of three of the group’s militants on April 2, an act that Hamas said violated an earlier cease-fire.

That would suggest that the “escalation” did not begin with a Hamas attack, but with an Israeli attack that broke a week-long cease-fire. But, as FAIR once pointed out, “In U.S. Media, Palestinians Attack, Israel Retaliates.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.