The Washington Post Questions Israeli ‘Anger’ at Hamas Attack on Israeli Schoolchildren

A May 29, 2018 Washington Post report on a recent Hamas missile attack against Israel omitted key facts and context (“Tensions rise as Gaza militants fire more than 70 mortars, rockets into Israel”). The dispatch, by reporters Ruth Eglash and Hazem Balousha, also seemed to blame some Israelis for being upset that the U.S.-designated terrorist group was trying to murder them.

Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel. The group routinely launches rockets and wages war against the Jewish state. However, the group’s barrage on May 29, 2018 was “the largest amount of rockets and mortars fired at Israel” since the 2014 Israel-Hamas War, said Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus.

Armed with Iranian-made rockets and mortars, and assisted by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), another U.S.-listed terror group, Hamas purposefully launched missiles at Israeli schools, among other targets. As The Post bizarrely reported:

“One of the mortars in the first round of fire early Tuesday struck the yard of a kindergarten, drawing angry responses from Israeli leaders, although no children were in the preschool at the time [emphasis added].”

This description could be read as implying that the “angry response” from Israeli leaders was an overreaction. At the very least, it’s an odd way to describe a terror groups—referred to as “Palestinian militants” by The Post—failed attempt to murder Israeli schoolchildren.

The Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted most of the missiles. However, several Israelis, civilian and soldier alike, were injured during the attack. The IDF responded by taking out several weapons caches and terror-related targets in the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by Hamas since the terrorist organization seized power in 2007.

Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Strip in 2005. Hamas began launching attacks almost immediately thereafter, prompting both Israel and Egypt to create a security blockade to prevent weapons and material from reaching the terror group.

That blockade does not preclude medical and other essential supplies from reaching the Strip. Although Hamas-ruled Gaza is dependent on international assistance, its leaders have continued to use aid and supplies for terrorism. Cement meant for reconstruction, for example, is used instead to construct so-called terror tunnels into Israel.

However, The Post, while reporting that the IDF “destroyed” its 10th terror tunnel since October 2017, failed to fully note Hamas’s genocidal motivation for the attack. Instead, the paper resorted to uncritically repeating Hamas claims that “the blockade” was creating “a growing humanitarian crisis in what they describe as an open-air prison.” This, Hamas claimed, was the reason for the violence. That this “crisis” is entirely Hamas-made and could end any second should the terror group desist from attempting to destroy Israel was not mentioned. The perennial misuse of international aid by Hamas (some examples of which can be found here) was also omitted.

Nor did The Post inform readers that the security blockade allows for essential supplies. Instead, the paper stated, “Israel has not granted permits to all of the injured to cross into the other Palestinian territory in the West Bank for treatment.” The report failed to inform readers that the terror group has a long history of using ill Palestinians to smuggle weapons and explosives (see, for example “Palestinian Women Tried to Smuggle Explosives as Cancer Medicine, Media Shrugs,” CAMERA, April 26, 2017).

Indeed, any semblance of Palestinian independent agency and Hamas responsibility was completely missing from The Post’s dispatch. The same day as the newspaper’s report was filed, The Times of Israel noted:

“One of the rockets fired by terrorist groups from Gaza at southern Israel Tuesday struck equipment that provides electricity to the southern Gaza Strip, knocking out power to thousands, a spokesperson for Israel’s Electric Company said.”

That is, Hamas rockets were responsible for cutting off electricity “to three power lines leading to Gaza…preventing the flow of electricity to the the southern areas of the beleaguered coastal enclave…leaving tens of thousands of Gazans with no electricity.” Times of Israel reporter Judah Ari Gross noted that Gaza “depends almost entirely on Israel for the several hours of power it receives a day.” Yet, this important detail was omitted by The Post, which also failed to point out that Gazans had destroyed the Kerem Shalom border crossing recently—on three different occasions (“Gas, fuel supply to Gaza resumed after Palestinians sabotaged crossing,” Ynet News, May 17, 2018). This crossing is used to bring fuel and gas to the Strip—necessities not provided by the kleptocratic Hamas leadership. All are provided by Israel and will be rebuilt by Israel—in sharp contrast to the narrative undergirding The Post’s report.

Instead, the paper chose to uncritically repeat Hamas claims. For example, describing the recent Hamas-orchestrated “Great Return March” in which terrorists used human shields in an attempt to break into Israel and murder Jews, the paper reported, “Israeli forces killed more than 60 Gazans, local health officials said.” Yet, those “local health officials” are in fact the Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry and the overwhelming amount of Gazans killed has been identified as belonging to terror groups. Indeed, a May 28, 2018 report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) found that of the at least 112 Palestinians killed during the “march,” “93 were identified as terrorist operatives with the terrorist organizations, i.e., about 83% of those killed…” An earlier ITIC report that established that most of those killed were linked to terror groups was sent to The Post’s Jerusalem bureau on May 8, 2018 by CAMERA. Nonetheless, the paper, along with others, such as The New York Times and NPR, has continued to omit this pertinent information while referring to dead terrorists as “protesters.”

It’s much easier, it seems, to reprint Hamas claims while ignoring Hamas culpability. But as long as media outlets like The Washington Post ignore and omit key facts, any solution will remain out of sight. As The Post’s onetime owner, Katharine Graham, reportedly said: “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.” Hamas might appreciate the advertising, but Post readers shouldn’t.