June 30, 2003
Another day, another Anti-Israel story
This AP story in the Seattle Times irritates me greatly, mostly because of its anti-Israeli slant.
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Two young boys planted a Palestinian flag in the sand yesterday as Israeli tanks pulled out of this farming town in Gaza, leaving widespread devastation in their wake.
Widespread devastation? How widespread?
The withdrawal marked an end to the latest Israeli incursion in this northeast corner of the Gaza Strip.
This time the Israelis stayed for two months, trying to stop Palestinian militants from using the area to fire homemade rockets at a nearby Israeli town.
Remember, they aren't terrorists, they're "militants" or "activists".
Beit Hanoun, a quiet farming town of about 30,000, has been the target of several Israeli operations because of the bad luck of geography.
It's near the fence between Gaza and Israel, close enough to the Israeli town of Sderot for militants to use the town as a base to fire primitive Qassam rockets at Sderot.
The rockets have a range of one to two miles, and film has shown them zigzagging wildly through the air as they fly in the general direction of the town. Though dozens of rockets have hit Sderot, no one has been seriously hurt there.
And if dozens had been killed, what would the response have been? A tepid condemnation from the American State Department, a perfunctory denunciation from the Palestinian Authority, and nothing at all from the European press. Since there have been no deaths, there has been silence from the US as well, and of course no opprobrium from the PA.
Note how the article discusses the Israeli swath of destruction, but it totally ignores the consequences of the dozens of missile attacks upon the Israeli town. Also note that this town is in Israel proper, not in the Gaza Strip area. The article goes to great lengths to point out that there were "no serious injuries" in Sderot, while glossing over the fact that there were "no serious injuries" from the Israeli offensive in Beit Hanoun, either.
To remove cover used by the rocket squads, the Israelis uprooted orchards, leveled farmland and flattened buildings between the town and the border fence.
"I hope that this will be the last time we see them as invaders," said Rafet Jamal, 45, watching from a balcony with his 12-year-old son as a long line of Israeli armored vehicles, headlights shining, snaked out of Beit Hanoun after nightfall yesterday.
"It's time to rebuild our nation, our society, and replant the roots of peace," said Jamal, whose farm was bulldozed by Israeli troops when they moved in.
"We are sick from all that's happened. They have killed everything and they uprooted all trees, leaving behind them bad memories that we will never forget," he said, "but we are here with great hopes that Palestinians can actually achieve their rights."
What was Mr. Jamal's reaction when the "militants" started using his town as a base of actions against Israel?
Perhaps if the people in the area had made it clear to the terrorists that they did not want to provoke the predictable Israeli response, instead of welcoming the attacks, then their orchards and buildings would still be there.
Once the Palestinians stop acting like barbarians, they will be able to "achieve their rights". They need to start by reining in the bombers and missiles and other assorted butchers operating out of their towns. Only then will Israel stop intervening to protect their own citizens. *EVERY* incursion has been the direct result of massed attacks against Israel proper,and the deaths of Israeli citizens.