Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit – Deconstructed

 

Joint project of the Council for the National Interest and If Americans Knew, AP Deconstructed, 8 April 2011

First, let’s look at what has happened in Gaza in the past week:

Following is how AP reported on this. This story is on hundreds of newspaper websites around the country:

Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit

By MATTI FRIEDMAN

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli aircraft and ground forces struck Gaza on Friday, killing two Hamas gunmen and three civilians

No mention in either the headline or the lead paragraph that Israeli forces killed a total of 14 people in the past 24 hours, including a mother, her  daughter (injured another of her children), and an elderly man, and that they injured dozens of others.

in a surge of fighting sparked by a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli school bus the day before.

No mention that this rocket attack was sparked by Israeli forces killing five Gazans in the preceding few days.

Just over two years after rocket fire from Gaza triggered

Israel had already broken the cease fire three times, killing seven Palestinian, which is what triggered the rocket fire.

a devastating Israeli military offensive in the territory,

which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, at least 773 of them civilians – hundreds of them children.

Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers seemed on the brink of another round of intense violence.

AP still chooses not to mention the five Palestinians in Gaza that Israeli forces had killed in preceding days.

In Thursday’s attack, Gaza militants hit an Israeli school bus near the border with a guided anti-tank missile, injuring the driver and badly wounding a 16-year-old boy. Most of the schoolchildren on the bus got off shortly before the attack.

By Friday morning, Israel’s ongoing retaliation

AP calls the Israeli action retaliation (for two injured, one with minor injuries) but fails to note that the rocket attack was retaliation (for the killing of five people).

had killed 10 Gazans – five militants, a policeman and four civilians – and wounded 45. The dead Friday included three civilians killed by Israeli tank fire and two militants killed in an air strike, both near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

Still no mention of the mother and children.

Hamas, which had largely held its fire since Israel’s last major offensive, claimed responsibility for the bus attack.

Had the bus been full, broader Israeli retaliation would have been all but inevitable and the region – already destabilized by the popular revolts sweeping the Arab world – could have been drawn into another war.

It’s odd to put such speculation in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.

It is unclear if Hamas was trying to provoke a new conflagration, if it was not fully in control of all of its fighters, or if it believes Israel would pull back before invading Gaza again.

Again, it’s odd to put such speculation and commentary in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.

Israel was condemned internationally after the last incursion.

“Incursion” is an odd word for the massive invasion by Israeli forces that was condemned in detailed reports issued by numerous highly respected international organizations.

Hamas said the rocket attack was in retaliation for the killing of three fighters in an airstrike earlier in the week. At around midnight Thursday, with Gaza rocked by explosions, the organization announced a cease-fire.

This was actually announced earlier and included all sectors of the Gazan resistance. The announcements about this also spoke of the 21-year-old killed on Tuesday, whom AP never mentions in the report.

But the Israeli strikes continued, hitting Hamas facilities and smuggling tunnels.

And many other facilities. AP also fails to mention that the tunnels are a response to Israel’s suffocating siege of Gaza, noted by groups such asChristian Aid.

Electricity lines and transformers were damaged, causing power blackouts in some parts of the territory, according to Jamal Dardsawi, a spokesman for Gaza’s Electric Distribution Company.

While AP speculated about what would have happened if the nearly empty Israeli bus had been full, there is no mention here about what electricity blackouts are actually doing to Gazan patients on respirators, in hospital operating rooms, etc.

In Israel, studies at some schools near Gaza were canceled Friday because of concerns for the students’ safety.

No mention of schools in Gaza, whose students have been injured, one killed, and parents killed and injured.

Palestinian militants launched nine mortars and rockets into Israel, causing damage to at least one building, the military said. Israeli casualties have been kept low thanks to reinforced rooms and early warning systems.

and the fact that the Israeli military, thanks to Americans’ $8 million per day to Israel, is the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world.

Matan Vilnai, the Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of the home front, told Army Radio that Israel was acting to deter attacks. “We are acting as we see fit so that this type of fire will not continue, and so that the people behind the fire will regret it,” Vilnai said.

Israel’s education minister, Gideon Saar, said in a briefing with reporters that any civilian casualties in Gaza were unintentional and that Israel did not target “anyone except the terrorists.”

AP fails to report that numerous international investigations have found evidence indicating that Israel has often targeted civilians.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the bus attack and expressed concern over civilian casualties in Israel’s strikes. He called for “de-escalation and calm to prevent any further bloodshed.”

Thousands of rockets from Gaza have hit Israeli towns and cities since 2001.

AP fails to mention that these have killed a total of approximately 20 Israelis. AP also fails to mention that during the same period Israeli forces have killed thousands of Gazans, including numerous children.

Israel’s attempts to stop the rockets have included military incursions and covert operations abroad aimed at disrupting Hamas’ efforts to procure arms.

AP again gives the Israeli narrative. It fails to report that Israeli military incursions and covert operations preceded Gazan rockets.

In February, a Palestinian engineer was seized from a sleeper train in Ukraine and showed up several days later in Israel,

The normal way to report this would be to state that Israel kidnapped a Palestinian engineer in the Ukraine.

where he has been charged with masterminding Hamas’ rocket program.

Once again, AP emphasizes Israeli claims without including countering claims.

Last year a Hamas operative was assassinated in Dubai, and Israeli agents are widely assumed to have been responsible. Israel identified the man as a Hamas agent responsible for obtaining weaponry from Iran.

Again, we get the Israeli narrative, and only the Israeli narrative.

This week, Sudan accused Israel of being behind an explosion that killed two in Port Sudan. The blast was thought to be linked to arms smuggling to Gaza. Israel would not comment.

AP doesn’t bother supplying any information about the two human beings in Port Sudan who were just killed.

——

Ibrahim Barzak contributed reporting from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.

Yet, the story was written and edited in Israel by Matti Friedman, a journalist who may have family ties to the Israeli military.

#

In case anyone is curious about what occurred before this period, March had seenincreased Israeli hostilities, including tightening the siege and a gradual escalation of Israeli  military attacks that killed 15 Palestinians, including 5 children, while another 90 Palestinians, including 22 children and 6 women, were wounded.