Friday, January 31, 2014

31-Jan-14: Those overnight rockets fired into southern Israel, barely noticed from afar, reported with so little context

Netivot  [Image Source: Panoramio]
You would need to look long and hard to find any mention in any mainstream news channel anywhere of the fact that incoming-missile sirens wailed over much of southern Israel last night (Thursday). We posted a note on Twitter at the time (see below) before the outcome was known.

This morning, we know, according to a report via Times of Israel, that a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area just outside the southern city of Netivot (population: 27,000). They haven't heard those sirens in Netivot since November 2012 and Operation Pillar of Defense.
Ynet's report says two rocket landings were subsequently detected in open areas of southern Israel in last night's attack.
What's poorly understood by people far from here is that the terrorists who mount these lethal attacks have neither the capability nor the desire to point them at specific locations. Anywhere on the Israeli side of the fence, for them, is good enough, actually. And if their prayers are answered with deaths or injury, then their many failed attempts are justified.

In simple terms, this is the face of the terror faced by Israelis within firing range of the jihadists of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Fortunately there were neither injuries nor damage this time, but that is never the outcome sought by those who do the firing, nor of the long supply chain that stands behind them.

In the wake of the terrorist rocket fire, IDF planes overnight struck several known centers of terrorist logistics and weapons storage. Times of Israel quotes Palestinian Arab sources saying two strikes targeted training sites of the Hamas-controlled Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza. For most consumers of news, those Israeli post-attack strikes are the only thing they will know about the drama overnight. Arabs firing rockets at Israeli homes long ago ceased to interest most editors.

But while there is almost never any coverage of the scale or frequency of attacks on civilian populations like last night's, the reality - for those who care to take a close look - is serious and getting worse.

Israel's director of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, whom we quoted here in 2012 and 2013, outlined the key issues to the annual Institute for National Security Studies conference this past Wednesday:
  • 170,000 rockets and missiles threaten the State of Israel from all regions. 
  • "Up until recently, the number was much greater and it has decreased, but it will go up again."
  • Despite a drop in the number of missiles and rockets threatening Israel, their level of precision has drastically risen. 
  • "The enemy has the capability to land mass amounts of arms on Israeli cities..."
  • "For the first time the enemy now has the ability to hit Israeli cities hard..."
  • Neighboring countries "are busy with themselves. They have less funds to start a war [but] there is no question there is a decrease in threats, but they have not given up." [UPI]
Click for The Guardian's farewell to
sunny, plucky Gaza: Where 'hope is rare' and
the training of jihadist children to kill and die
for their leaders is simply invisible
Meanwhile, as if they were entirely oblivious of the phenomenal quantities of arms held by the Hamas regime, and studiously ignoring the incoming rocket attacks and the threat they pose to the lives of an entire society, reporters and editors from the agenda-driven parts of the news media continue to relate to Gaza as if it were some sort of innocent, impoverished step-child in a children's fairy tale. There's no better instance than this week's pathetically-funny-if-it-weren't-so-serious teary-eyed farewell to Gaza by the Guardian's Middle East correspondent Harriet Sherwood. She writes of the numerous factors that
have chipped away at the resilience and fortitude of Gazans, crushing their spirit 
but remains
fascinated by the place, its people, its history and its compelling complexity
Sadly her fascination does not move her to take a thoughtful professional look at one of Gaza's truly flourishing industries, unimpeded by shortage of raw materials or opportunity: the manufacture of children's lives, hopelessly crippled by a hatred so intense that they embrace with manifest adoration the possibility - the goal! - of their own self-destruction, just so long as they can bring death and pain to their despised Jewish enemy.

She touches very lightly on the issue, very much in passing, but places it into an appropriately-Guardian-style perspective by focusing on the stories of some of her many Gazan friends. She then sums them up with this:
These and others belie the demonic image of Gazans, often promoted by Israel. Rather, they are overwhelmingly decent people who simply want food on the table, a better life for their children, dignity, respect and freedom.
She might be right. From here, it's hard to tell. We're sincere in saying we wish the positive values she projects onto the Gazans were true or would become true in our lifetimes. But with rockets being routinely fired into the homes where the children on our side sleep or go to school, and no sign - not even the smallest one - of a desire by the people of Gaza or their jihadist leadership that they understand the depths of their own barbarism, we're left with a picture of a failed society seemingly bent on deepening its own depravity.

It's a theme we feel needs to be better understood, not by the Harriet Sherwoods - they know and choose to ignore - but by those who depend on The Guardian and its like for reportage and objective analysis and are systematically failed by them.

That's one of the reasons we write posts like these
For a far more penetrating critique of Sherwood/Guardian than anything we can manage, you can't do better than read CIFwatch's excellent "Goodbye, Harriet Sherwood: Three years covering Gaza and no lessons learned." It may help place the events of this morning, last night and the past several years into perspective.

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