Monday, June 07, 2010

7-Jun-10: Just diving

We haven't checked but the Melbourne Age is almost certainly not the only news medium that keeps spinning the report of Israel eliminating several Palestinian terrorists this morning as if it were about some innocent recreational skindivers getting unfairly caught up in the uncontrolled rage of a badly behaved neighourhood bully.

The Age article itself, written by Jerusalem-based Jason Koutsoukis, is basically accurate:
"THE naval commando unit involved in last week's bloody showdown with a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last night shot dead four Gaza militants it claimed were trying to slip into Israel by sea to mount a terror attack... An Israel Defence Forces statement said the latest attack occurred before dawn in waters near the centre of the Gaza Strip. "An Israel Navy force in the area of Nuseirat identified a squad of terrorists wearing diving suits on their way to perpetrate a terrorist attack,'' the statement said. ''The force fired and hit the terrorists.'' Israeli military sources said it was unclear what the men were planning to do, but intelligence indicated that the men had been working on an attack from the sea ''for quite a while''. An unnamed military official later told Israel Army radio that the attack was a morale boost for the elite Shayetet (Flotilla) 13 unit involved in last week's disastrous interception of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara. 'This will be a shot in the arm for the commandos after the hard week they have been through,'' the official said. Palestinian news agencies reported that the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an armed wing of the Fatah movement, had confirmed that four members had been killed, with a fifth person missing. Al-Aqsa Brigades spokesman Abu al-Walid Jabri said the gunmen were on a training exercise near the Gaza coast when Israeli navy boats opened fire without warning."
As we said, Jason seems to have it down pretty right.

So then why does the Age's headlines editor describe the former-Martyrs-and-now-actual-martyrs as "divers"? That's the headline that appears on the cover of the paper as well [you can see it on the left of this column]. As editors and most other people know, lots of readers skim; it's headlines that they take away with them.

Given the sensitivities and tensions of the situation on Israel's coast, with Iranian vessels now threatening to raise the stakes by mounting another attack on Israel's defensive blockade of the Gaza port, and with huge crowds of whipped-up Moslems, Arabs and other aggrieved parties throughout the world accusing Israelis of being a "genocidal", "cursed terrorist and murderous state" and of other unspeakable crimes and atrocities, why would a responsible publication want to unnecessarily raise the temperature?

Why sow confusion on something as crucial as terrorism? Do the Age's editors know something they're not telling? Were the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade members shot while practising their breaststroke? What exactly is it that intending martyrs do when they're training?

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