The Wall Street Journal recently ran an in-depth article, full of devastating pictures, entitled The Ruined Landscape of Gaza After Nearly Three Months of Bombing (Dec. 30, 2023) by Jared Malsin and Saeed Shah, with contributors Abeer Ayyoub, Anas Baba, Joanna Sugden and Suha Ma’ayeh.
Unfortunately, of the journalistic 5W’s + H (Who, What, Where, Why, When & How), the “Why” was completely missing, resulting in a biased one-sided article. The question “Why did this devastation occur?” was never asked and answered. Allow me to do so now.
Why? This devastation occurred because the innocent Gazans elected this Hamas government, whose sole raison de etre is not the betterment of its people but the genocidal destruction of Jews and the State of Israel. The ‘why’ can be found in the Hamas charter and the decades of the UNRWA-run school curriculum. Have the author’s seen the video that WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan wrote about, or read the Hamas charter, or looked at the hate that children are being taught by UNRWA schools?
Why? This devastation occurred because the innocent Gazans are used as human shields and Hamas has embedded themselves in them (munitions, tunnels, launchers, etc.). Isn’t the first role of a government: protect your citizens? The complaint that the reporters are not allowed to freely roam around Gaza is a poor one. There are plenty of body cam and news videos, intercepted voice calls, and photos, as evidence. Including videos of Hamas preventing, even shooting at, Gazans from getting to safe areas, or getting aid-supplied food and stealing it for themselves.
Why? This devastation occurred because actually the innocent Gazans are not so “innocent.” One hostage was kept captive and poorly treaty by an UNRWA teacher. One hostage escapee was found and returned to Hamas captivity by locals. And many innocent Gazans were on the streets handing out candy and celebrating.
A number is worthless unless it is compared to another. It is a sad fact that in any war, civilian casualties, displacement, and infrastructure destruction takes place. However, Israel exceeds all other governments in its care for enemy civilians by providing advance warnings and time for civilians to get out of harm’s way. An uncommon practice among other militaries in the world. Let’s prove that.
The article states that “Israel…[has] killed more than 21,000 Palestinians, according to health officials in Gaza. The figure doesn’t distinguish between civilians and militants. Most of them are women and children, those officials said.” This is the same ‘reliable’ source that was able to say within an unrealistically short period of time that 500 people were killed in the Israeli bombing of the Al-Shifa hospital. When actually it was proven to be a Hamas rocket that killed 50 Gazans in the hospital parking lot. But let’s use that number anyway.
Israel has said they have killed 8,000 Hamas terrorists (they are not militants, as per the authors). Since the 21,000 (by their own admission) includes them, therefore 13,000 civilians have been killed. That is a ratio 1.6 civilian deaths per 1 Hamas terrorist. Unbelievably low in comparison any other country’s armed conflict in the world. And to the authors’ comment that “The destruction resembles that left by Allied bombing of German cities during World War II.” This is true, but they don’t also mention the large number of civilians killed in World War II by those indiscriminate bombings.
But let’s bring that analysis to a better point of comparison, “urban warfare.” For example, the Battle of Mosul, Iraq (October 16, 2016- July 20, 2017), where Iraqi, and US led coalition forces fought ISIS. The Associated Press reported over 9,600 civilians died. NPR, quoting from the U.S. Department of Defense, indicated there were 2,000 ISIS soldiers killed in Mosul. This equal 4.8 civilians killed for each combatant.
Compare that with the authors’ numbers where Israel has eliminated 1 combatant to the extremely low rate 1.625 civilians. Consider that this unprecedented low rate is maintained by the IDF despite that Hamas has purposely placed its military facilities in civilian areas and forcing their civilians to be human shields, which is clearly against international law. Hamas has the ultimate responsibility for all the civilian casualties and the scope of the devastation in Gaza. Period. Have the authors actually read the Geneva Conventions and/or researched the phrase “rules of war?”
By not including the “why” or doing this kind of reporting, the authors have missed the proper (dare I use the word) context to point to the true conclusion that all this suffering, destruction, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and more is on Hamas and Iran, not Israel.