By: Phyllis Chesler
It’s erev Shabbat. I deserve a rest of some kind. We all do. But no. I sit down, open my hometown version of Pravda—and see that there’s no respite, no letting go, still no even-handedness, still no context, no expertise.
Today, May 28th, the front page, front and center, there are 66 photos of innocent, sweet, dead children’s faces, eight rows across and eight rows down all, in color. With one exception, they are all children who lived in Gaza. The photo-montage is titled “They Were Just Children.” Three brief sentences follow: “At least 67 people under age 18 in Gaza and 2 in Israel were killed during this month’s conflict, according to initial reports. They had wanted to be doctors, artists, and leaders. Read their stories, Pages A 10-11.” (One photo is missing).
Four of the male faces are described as being sixteen or seventeen years old. Many boys are between thirteen—sixteen years old. Three of the girls are wearing hijab and their ages range from 13-17. A Bedouin girl, age 17, is not pictured. Two photos display two faces. One child’s face is missing. Only one Israeli child, 5-year-old Ido Avigal of Sderot is mentioned.
The Times does not mention that Hamas rockets often fell short and killed their own civilian “human shields,” nor does it mention that Hamas trains children as young as five years old to hold and fire guns, throw rocks, carry daggers. Perhaps these photo depict the only children in Gaza who had no Hamas-style paramilitary training, no indoctrination into hatred.
No doubt, Hamas, pro-Palestinian human rights groups, and Gaza parents provided these photos.
The reporters at the Times are inciting riots by demanding our sympathy and outrage with their various headers: “Buried With Their Dreams and Nightmares,” and by showing us more photos of Gazan grief: A heavily hijabbed mother weeping over her dead son’s body; a scene of rubble in Gaza titled “Searching for victims of an Israeli air strike.” And: “The last drawing of Rafeef Abu Dayer, 10, before she was killed.”
The text: “An average 15-year-old in Gaza would have lived through four major Israeli offensives.” Not a word about Israel fighting back to defend its civilians from Hamas’s rockets. Israel is always, always, seen as the aggressor and on the “offensive.”
Then there’s this: “Many people in Gaza, however, say that whatever precautions Israel may be taking are tragically insufficient.” Not a word about Hamas’s use of children and civilians as human shields, not a phrase about Hamas’s failure to produce an Iron Dome of it’s own instead of terror tunnels and rockets with Iran’s support.
There’s more: Every child’s face is reproduced again on the two page spread together with their names, ages, and brief biographies. Further, the Times notes that mental health experts “who work with the children of Gaza say they commonly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fear and anxiety. Those feelings can produce debilitating nightmares and self-destructive or aggressive behavior.”
Not a single word about the children in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot who also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder given that they have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter after being warned; not a word about the children in Lod, Haifa, Ramle, the suburbs of Tel Aviv who experienced the sounds of rockets and rampaging Arab neighbor-mobs which burned down buildings and synagogues.
The fact that too few Jews were killed and that the Jewish state has the power to defend itself against terrorists is what has absolutely enraged the New York Times, the European Union, the United Nations, and the American government.
The Times has been issuing this same narrative day after day all during Hamas’s attack on Israel so that by now, those who’ve begun to attack Jews in the streets of America and Europe are all riled up.
And, in this same issue, Tzipi Livni is again calling for a two state solution—one that the Palestinian leadership, both on the West Bank and in Gaza, have continually rejected. Her piece is a “reasonable” one, it will appeal to “reasonable” people but not to terrorists who are determined to ethnically cleanse the Jews from the Holy Land.