Jan
16
2009

Still Getting the Simplest Gaza Facts Wrong

Two newspaper stories today provide a false account of the context of the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The Washington Post:

Hamas and its allies have fired thousands of rockets into Israel in the past eight years. The pace accelerated after the Islamist movement, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, routed forces loyal to the rival Fatah party in June 2007 and seized control of the narrow coastal strip. Since then, Israel has implemented a crushing economic blockade and carried out regular military raids that it has said were a response to rocket fire.

This is an extremely selective history. The Post's claim that Hamas "accelerated" its rocket attacks after 2007 ignores the fact thata cease-fireagreement for muchof the second half of 2008 drastically curtailed rocket fire into Israel (an agreement that largely fell apart after an Israeli attack in November).

Meanwhile, inUSA Today:

Israel wants to ensure that Hamas cannot rearm itself. Before the offensive, Hamas militants fired up to 80 mortar shells and rockets a day at Israel. The number of attacks has declined to less than 20 a day, the Israeli army says.

Well, that depends on what you mean by "before the offensive." During the cease-fire period last year, rocket fire into Israel was well below the 80 a day figure the paper cites. In fact, it was much lower than the 20 a day figure too; it was around a dozen a month. USA Today wants to advance the argument that Israel's violence has 'worked'– but to do so you must erase certain inconvenient facts.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.