Thursday, May 31, 2012

Final Note On New York Times Misleading Piece On Gaza Tunnels By Ruqaya Izzidien

I wrote yesterday that when she writes about the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, Ruqaya Izzidien omits that Gazan tunnels are used to bring in rockets to attack unarmed civilians in Israel.

Not an insignificant detail.

But special mention should be made that in addition to the omission, Izzidien misleads New York Times readers outright:
The Israeli government views the tunnels as an illegal smuggling route and often targets them in airstrikes, which usually trap and kill workers.
Since we have already seen that precision is not a concern of Izzidien, the reader is left with:
  • The implication that Israel opposes anything being smuggled in, including food and essentials
  • The implication that Israel bombs the tunnels on a regular basis
  • The implication that Israel bombs the tunnels indiscriminately
  • The implication that "workers" (as opposed to terrorists) are killed in the tunnels often
One only has to read the Palestinian paper Ma'an to get the facts and context Ruqaya Izzidien leaves out--that Israel bombs the tunnels because of the weapons smuggled in--and that Palestinians die in the tunnels independent of Israel:
(Hat tip: Challah Hu Akbar)

And since Izzidien did not see fit to get the Israeli side of the story, here is a response from Sacha Dratwa, an Israeli spokesperson, to an email:
I can't provide specifics regarding number of strikes. However, the claim that the IDF "often" targets these tunnels is patently false. IDF activity in the Gaza Strip is a method of actively preventing the indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians; 272 of these rockets landed in Israel this year alone and 627 landed in Israel last year.

In the limited instances when tunnels are targeted, it is because they are used for terror purposes, such as smuggling in the increasingly complex weapons that have expanded the rocket range to over one million Israel civilians. The tunnel "industry" facilitated this rapid expansion, increasing the range of the rockets ten-fold in under a decade.
Pity the poor reader who relies on The New York Times and Ruqaya Izzidien for the whole story.

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