Plenty to Like About NY Times Report on Gaza

I know, it is a post title you may be surprised to see from me. Heck, I am surprised I felt the need to write it. After all, the New York Times has long disgraced itself with its one-sided coverage of the Arab-Israel conflict. Long gone are the days when the New York Times actually reported truthfully on this region and land.

But fair’s fair, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by this report. And not just because I appreciate the perhaps deliberate, clever ambiguity of the title.

But let me start with what I didn’t like. There’s the usual aversion to the word “terrorist”, with the word “militant” being used. I also did not appreciate this speculation

Israel has blockaded Gaza for more than a decade, with severe restrictions on the flow of goods into the territory and people out of it, hoping to contain Hamas and also, perhaps, to pressure Gazans to eventually oust the group from power

There is no evidence this is Israel’s objective and I believe Israel has always tried to ensure the life of the average person in Gaza is not severely affected, while balancing our security needs.

But now to the good stuff.

Photo with An Accurate Caption

We are used to seeing misleading and staged photos of Gazans “caged up.” But here we have a photo with an accurate caption – an actual jail containing Gaza shopkeepers put there by Hamas.

Blaming Financial Hardships on Hamas and Fatah

We are used to seeing reports blaming any financial hardships in Gaza on Israel. So this is also a welcome change.

At the heart of the crisis — and its most immediate cause — is a crushing financial squeeze, the result of a tense standoff between Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, and Fatah, the secular party entrenched on the West Bank.

Although clearly the financial situation of people in Gaza is not this simple, and there are clearly plenty who are doing just fine.

Mentioning Main Hamas Goals in Attacking Israel

For a long time I have maintained one of the reasons for Hamas attacks on Israel is to generate international sympathy (not to mention, using men, women and children as human shields, so as to generate a backlash against Israel in the event they are maimed or killed). This report surprisingly mentions it.

For Hamas, the deteriorating situation is leaving it with few options. The one it has resorted to three times — going to war with Israel, in hopes of generating international sympathy and relief in the aftermath — suddenly seems least attractive.

As it does regarding another reason: to divert attention away from their own failings.

As moribund as the reconciliation process has become, General Fox said, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were keeping it alive because “no one wants to be blamed for destroying it.” If it does fail, Hamas will likely deflect Gazans’ anger: “They’ll say Israel is the problem — ‘Let’s go to jihad and start a war.’”

Accurately Referring to the Hamas Tunnels as ‘Attack Tunnels’

We are used to reports misleadingly referring to the tunnels built by Hamas and other terror groups as “smuggling tunnels”, considering their main purpose is to either attack Israel or smuggle through weapons with which to ultimately attack Israel.

Israel, in an underground-barrier project with a nearly $1 billion price tag, is steadily sealing its border to the attack tunnels that Gaza militants spent years digging.

So this was another refreshing truth – although as I mentioned, I am not happy with the euphemism “militant.”

Mentioning How The Tunnels Are Supplied With Valuable Resources

While this report mentions the general lack of electricity and fresh water in Gaza, it also mentions the important fact that the attack tunnels are supplied with both (I have made this point about the electricity before).

Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fox, who leads the army’s Gaza division, recently showed Hamas and Islamic Jihad tunnels discovered and destroyed in the past few months. The tunnels were supplied with air, electricity and water, and dug by an estimated 100 men working in shifts.

I would like to have seen this report make the point more explicitly, but this is still progress of sorts.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media