The Washington Post is distressed that Israelis approve of the way the war in Gaza is going. Its correspondent Griff Witte writes:
After 15 days of war that have left more than 800 Palestinians dead — as many as half of them civilians, medical officials say — Israelis are sure of two things: They are the victims, and they are also the victors. . . .
In newspapers and on television, commentators approvingly note that the Israeli military has sown devastation in Gaza without a high toll in Israeli lives. If Palestinians are dying, they say, it is Hamas’s fault.
Witte cites no examples of commentators who write or speak approvingly of “devastation in Gaza.” Most likely, Witte is conflating such approval with approval of the devastation of Hamas in Gaza, perhaps due to sympathy with Hamas, animus towards Israel, or both.
In any event, Witte finds that the Israeli media is at least in part to blame for Israel’s allegedly callous view of events in Gaza. He states that “images from Gaza are relatively scarce, while the plight of Israelis injured or killed during the war is covered around the clock.”
Notice that Witte is unable to claim that images from Gaza are actually scarce, only that they are “relatively scarce.” This probably means that they don’t dominate the coverage as they do in the rest of the world, including the pages of the Washington Post. But then the rest of the world isn’t at war with Hamas, nor has it experienced a steady stream of rockets attacks from Gaza over the past few years.
Witte seems offended that “each death [of an Israeli] has received blanket media coverage, complete with family interviews and anguished funeral scenes.” He must think it improper for Israelis to grieve the deaths of their citizens or for the media to “pander” to lack of sophistication.
Witte also takes note of the fact that “even rockets that cause no injuries, as is usually the case, get extensive play on television.” Apparently, Israelis must die or be injured before a rocket attack merits serious (but not “overdone”) attention. Yet Witte himself wants to judge the success of the war by whether rockets are falling, without regard to their toll. He claims (or perhaps gloats) that the “military campaign has not achieved its objective of halting Hamas rocket fire.”
In its own anti-Israel way, the Post has stumbled upon the most important fact about this war — Israel still has a survival instinct. That instinct, though probably diminished, remains sufficient for the impudent Israelis to place their interest in not being attacked ahead of concern about world opinion; to focus primarily on how their people are faring in the war; and to support a war against its sworn, aggressor enemy, at least when that war is going reasonably well.
No wonder Witte and his paper are unhappy.
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