A Thousand Die in Gaza, and the NY Times Calls Them Liars

Over a thousand residents of Gaza have died in the Israeli attack on their territory; Israeli missiles have destroyed ambulances, schools and hospitals; and The New York Times gives front-page prominence to the charge that Palestinians are liars.

The newspaper buried reports of Palestinian deaths (in West Bank protests as well as in Gaza) inside a Page 7 story about a temporary ceasefire, but it placed a favorable article about Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the United States, above the fold on Page 1. High in the story and conspicuously placed was his assertion that Palestinian claims are lies.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza at the time of publication had reached 880 persons, the large majority of them civilians, including 194 children and 101 women. Airstrikes and shelling had hit 18 health facilities, two buildings and a car containing journalists, 92 United Nations installations, six UNRWA schools and an unspecified number of ambulances. (See IMEU Fact Sheet July 26.)

A UN report expressed alarm over the targeting of ambulances and described one incident when a Ministry of Health ambulance was hit several times, injuring the staff. When civilians tried to help the wounded, Israelis shot “several missiles” next to the ambulance. Another strike on an ambulance killed one medic and wounded another.

Reports from the UN and other monitoring groups emphasize the psychological toll on children and the desperate need for medical supplies and personnel. The UN reports that 1.2 million people have “no or very limited access to water or sanitation services” because of damage to the electrical system or lack of fuel.

On July 25 Amnesty International released a report noted that Israel has killed hundreds of civilians “using precision weaponry” as well as artillery in “very densely populated residential areas.” It casts doubt on Israel’s claim that Hamas is using “human shields” and notes that Israel’s warning system in advance of strikes on homes is not consistent with international humanitarian law.

Times readers hear nothing about the UN and Amnesty reports. Instead, the newspaper prefers to promote the new Israeli ambassador (who says the Israeli army should win the Nobel Peace Prize) and the efforts of John Kerry to forge a ceasefire without talking directly to Hamas.

And today, for the second time, the paper has published a story about tunnels from Gaza into Israel, claiming that these pose a danger of terror attacks and ignoring the fact that they have so far been used solely against security forces. Moreover, the Times has yet to give any attention to the vast armaments and surveillance equipment deployed by Israel against the Palestinian population.

In the eyes of Israel and the Times, Palestinian life is cheap, a matter of numbers, briefly mentioned. It is Israel, its reputation and its “security,” that takes front and center.

Barbara Erickson







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