In 1996, I was visiting my son in Israel and traveling in the north of the country when Hezbollah began launching rockets from its bases in Lebanon. For neither the first nor the last time, the city of Kiryat Shmona was evacuated. Since I was about 20 miles away and rockets were hitting everything within range, I thought my then partner back in the US would be frantic with worry. It turns out he never knew it had happened.
An attack on Israel from terrorists in Lebanon and the evacuation of at least 20,000 Israeli civilians just wasn’t a story as far as US news media was concerned. After all, no one had died. They had all just fled. But when Israel responded by bombing Hezbollah bases, the US media decided it was a banner headline event. Israel had attacked a sovereign country for reasons that just weren’t clear. Some “experts” speculated that the attack might have been part of a land grab.
Back in the States and now tuning into Israeli media, I realized that the same news blackout was happening with 16 years of Hamas attacks on Israeli cities close to the Gaza border. Another case of nothing to report. After all, Israel’s Iron Dome took out most of the rockets before they could land and only one or two people died with each attack. The fact that children in places like Sderot ran screaming for the bomb shelters at least once a month wasn’t news.
Had the international community gotten the message, no one would have been surprised by the ferocity and deadliness of the 10/7 Hamas invasion and air strikes. The common interpretation of the events: that the poor Gazans just couldn’t take mistreatment by Israel any longer, might have been replaced by a dispassionate look at the history of Hamas attacks.
Thanks to Iranian sponsorship, Hamas has been steadily increasing its military technology and and rocket delivery system and can now knock out security fence monitors and bomb Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. That understanding might have made it harder for such respected news outlets as “The New York Times” to paint Israel’s war on Hamas as a frenzy of revenge in return for a single act of terrorism. The Times might have realized that as long as Hamas exists, the existence of Israel is in jeopardy.
Claudia Miriam Reed