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In their reporting on the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, international media outlets increasingly demonstrate a strong and consistent bias against Israel. Sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, this bias has now become a matter of discussion and analysis. A case in point is the media coverage surrounding Operation Cast Lead, a military operation in which Israel attempted to degrade the war-making capacities of Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that for years had been launching rocket and mortar attacks into southern Israel.

During Operation Cast Lead, many American and European media outlets accused Israel of committing “war crimes” in its “assault” on Gaza, and of targeting indiscriminately the region's civilian population and its schools, hospitals, ambulances, and mosques. But a deeper examination of the matter -- based on the eyewitness testimony of Gaza civilians who agreed to talk with journalists (anonymously or from behind pseudonyms, for fear of reprisals by Hamas) – suggests that Israel in fact took extraordinary measures to avoid harming Palestinian noncombatants, even when such measures increased the likelihood of casualties to its own troops.

For example, before the start of Israel's military assault against Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) made at least 250,000 phone calls (calling nearly every household in Gaza), sent countless text messages, dropped thousands of leaflets from the air, and broadcast a steady sream of television and radio messages to get civilians to leave the battle zone.

Hamas, on the other hand, dliberately tried -- for propaganda purposes -- to cause as many casualties as possible among the Gazan people. The organization used civilians as hostages and “human shields,” behind which the terrorists conducted their military maneuvers. Hamas regularly dispatched troops to occupy schools, hospitals, mosques, office buildings, and private Palestinian homes and businesses, and used these sites as bases from which to fire at Israeli soldiers and to launch rockets against Israeli civilians. As one Gaza resident later told reporters, Hamas "wanted the [Israelis] to shoot at [the civilians'] houses so they could accuse them of more war crimes.”

Adapted from "'War Crimes' Propaganda against Israel," by Rachel Neuwirth (February 16, 2009).



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“War Crimes” Propaganda against Israel
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February 16, 2009


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