Why aren’t we seeing images of Hamas rocket launchings?

Like many of us in Israel, I have spent nearly every non-working, non-sleeping hour over the last month in front of the TV or computer/smartphone/tablet screen (sometimes all simultaneously), devouring inhuman quantities of commentary, opinion and analysis.

And like everyone else, I have been consuming an endless stream of visual images – photos and video.

And so it suddenly occurred to me that after a nearly a month in which thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars have been launched by Hamas terrorists, I have not seen a SINGLE photo or video of an actual launch. Have you?

This is pretty amazing, if you think about it. Consider: 1) how many missiles and rockets and mortars have been launched by Hamas; 2) the fact that these launchings have to take place outdoors; 3) that some of them, especially the longer-range missiles, require fairly large and complex launch setups.

Now, as we have been reminded repeatedly, Gaza is a very small, crowded place. How can they be firing hundreds of rockets at Israel every day and not a single journalist or even an honest human being with a smartphone, not see and photograph even one?

We should not underestimate the importance of this: yes, most people know that Hamas is launching rockets; but as we are well aware, the difference between “knowing” and “seeing” is huge when it comes to shaping the narrative and people’s perception of, and response to it.

What can be the explanation for this wondrous phenomenon? How much of it is self-censorship of biased journalists and their editors at mainly (but not exclusively) European media channels? How much of it is the result of Hamas’ terrorizing of foreign journalists, using threats, bullying and intimidation to shape the reporting that has been coming out of Gaza – the documentation of which is growing by the day?

I do not know. All I know is that these are images that no one is seeing.

About the Author
Danny Shapiro is the director of public affairs of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
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