Covering (up) a military practice run
No sooner than Palestinians erupted in celebration of the news that a cease-fire had been negotiated with Israel the New York Times front page head line read: Gaza Conflict as Trial Run. Speaking of the eight-day Firefight, U.S. Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren stated, “Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran.” Earlier this week an Israeli Defense Force spokesmen referred to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip as a “forward Iran base” placing the recent conflict in a broader context.
The conflict in Gaza that has raged over the past eight days has not been only as Israeli officials declared about deterring Palestinian rocket fire into Israel but more about testing Israel’s military capabilities. A live stress-test on its anti-missile defense system Iron Dome was performed as missiles launched from Gaza. The accuracy of Israel’s Air Force was measured by the destruction fighter jet pilots wrought on over 1,500 targets. And by engaging Gazans in a firefight, Israel minimized the cache of munitions that could be used against it by suspected ally of Iran, Hamas, in the case of war with Iran.
Of course the Times article does not once question how the use of a densely populated city as a military laboratory affects the lives of residents, hundreds who have been injured and blown to pieces. Instead the article focuses “the three tiers of threat” Israel would face in a conflict with Iran: “the short range missiles that have been lobbed in this campaign, medium range missiles fielded by Hezbollah in Lebanon and long range missiles from Iran”.
In my last post I spoke of how the pro-Israeli media shapes the perception of the Israeli-Palestine conflict as one where both sides suffer equally. The numerical reality that Palestinians endure disproportionate loss of lives is reflexively swept under the rug. This latest Times article is a testament to the pro-Israeli biases that permeate mainstream media. That Israel can not only conduct a live military “practice run” on a peopled territory but do so without scrutiny from one of the most prominent newspapers in the world reflects the complicity of the press in advancing Israel’s violent goals.
Reading the New York Times today makes one realize you don’t have to sit-a-top a hill outside Sderot in southern Israel, watching F-16s level entire neighborhoods while you picnic to be a spectator of “justified” aggression against the Palestinian people, all you have to do is read an article like David Sanger’s and Thom Shanker’s uncritically.