Misreporting Israel/Gaza Cease-Fire

Wreckage from Israeli bombing of Gaza, November 2012 (cc photo: Norsk Folkehjelp)

Wreckage from Israeli bombing of Gaza, November 2012 (cc photo: Norsk Folkehjelp)

An Israeli airstrike on Gaza yesterday is being reported as a breach of the cease-fire agreement that was reached after violence last November between the Israeli military and Hamas forces  killed six Israelis and at least 160 Palestinians. But the new accounts are misleading, in that they give the impression that Israel hasn’t regularly violated the agreement already.

 In the New York Times (4/3/13), Isabel Kershner writes:

In response to rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel, apparently in support of the Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli military said it carried out an airstrike in Gaza late Tuesday night, its first since a cease-fire that ended eight days of fierce cross-border fighting in November. Warplanes struck two open areas in northern Gaza, causing no damage or casualties, the military said.

She added:

The rocket fire from Gaza was the third such violation of the cease-fire brokered by Egypt in November, evidence of its fragility.

As the Palestine Center’s Yousef Munayyer pointed out, this is true only in a very narrow sense–this would be the first Israeli airstrike. But Israel has violated the cease fire a number of times, as his organization has documented in a very helpful timeline–tacks that appear to have killed four Palestinians. In fact, the first incident occurred within 24 hours of the “cease fire.”

The Times seems less interested in this history than in keeping track of precisely how many rockets have been fired at Israel. 

And it’s not just a Times problem. This morning, the Associated Press (4/3/13) reported:

There were no casualties reported, but the violence nonetheless threatened to shatter the calm that has prevailed for more than four months.

 Of course, “calm” here means, as is often the case, the feeling that might prevail among Israelis.  Palestinians dying is just part of the “calm.”



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.