Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hider: Rockets Are Minor Annoyance

Just Journalism look at the Times' latest editorial, that is "the first since the start of the peace talks to focus on Hamas’ refusal to accept either the legitimacy of the peace talks, or the existence of the Jewish state." (Which the Times, unlike the other papers, have acknowledged previously). The editorial refers to Hamas' recent murder of four innocent Israelis and states that although some settlers and ultra-Orthodox Jews might oppose Israel giving away land (for religious and security reasons), "any equation between such groups and Hamas is crass, mistaken and grossly offensive." It is in its editorials that the Times shows its journalistic integrity, in stark contrast to papers like the Guardian and Independent, who seem to view the settlers as a bigger obstacle to peace than Hamas terrorists.
In it's reporting though, The Times often demonstrates an anti-Israel slant that is common in the rest of the media. The culprit is their Middle East correspondent, James Hider. Last week he wrote an opinion piece that gives more of an insight into his anti-Israel attitudes than is already evident in his news reporting. To be fair - as I always am! - Hider does not seem to be an extremist left-wing Hamas and terror supporter. He occasionally acknowledges Hamas' murderous intent, but does tend to follow the rest of the media in focusing more on the settlers.
The op-ed opens with a ridiculous exchange with a Tel Aviv waiter, who learns that Hider lives in Jerusalem: "'Jerusalem?' he gasped. 'It's full of violence and police checkpoints. I never go there. What's it like now?'" I know people say Tel Aviv is a bubble, but I don't believe a typical citizen there is that ignorant. This must be the only Tel Aviv-ian who is, and trust Hider to find him. There are violence and checkpoints in and around both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - but neither city is "full of" them. Jerusalem is not what you'd call a war zone, and nor is it the hole that Hider tries to imply it is. It is a thriving, bustling, modern town, with residents of all religions and backgrounds - and richer and poorer areas, just like every city in the world has.
Hider describes the divisions and differences between on the one hand Fatah in the West bank and Hamas in Gaza, and on the other hand the secular Israelis and the "rising influence of the ultra-Orthodox" in Jerusalem. But he claims that "what unites most Israelis is a sense of indifference":
"Most Israelis don't think about the millions of Palestinians on the other side of the walls and fences, unless Hamas is firing its rockets into the communities in the south. But since Israel's devastating offensive into Gaza in late 2008, even those have slowed to a minor annoyance."
10,000 rockets is a "minor annoyance"? Bomb shelters, trauma, damages, injuries, deaths, a minor annoyance? Is that what Hider would call it if a kassam fell on him?

Following that article, Hider was back to news reporting on Tuesday, with a piece on, yes, the settlers, and the "Countdown to construction that could doom peace".

Meanwhile, there have been more Palestinian terror incidents that didn't make the news. On Monday Palestinians shot at two plain-clothed Israeli policemen, lightly wounding them. A two year old baby was hospitalised after Palestinians threw rocks at the car her family was driving. In another Palestinian rock-throwing incident, an Israeli vehicle was damaged but no one was injured.

Hamas continue to fire rockets into Southern Israel on an almost daily basis, including two today, miraculously causing no injuries. An eight year old Israeli boy was injured when Palestinians threw rocks at his face. Also today, Palestinians armed with guns and a rocket launcher were killed by the IDF after approaching the Gaza fence despite warning shots from the IDF.

The twelve year old girl wounded by Palestinians last Thursday is in intensive care following head surgery - her family request that people pray for Herut bat Timor.

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