The Times’ Toy Airplane

In an egregious distortion of Palestinian terrorist activity, The New York Times’ James Bennet filed a report entitled, “Hamas Says Israel Killed at Least 6 in Gaza Blast” (Feb. 17, 2003)

Straight from the headline, The Times gives the Hamas side of the story, and it only gets worse from there. The article states:

“Hamas blamed Israel for the blast today, suggesting that the men were killed by a booby-trapped toy plane.”

The clear implication is that Israel sent a booby-trapped plane into Gaza.

Yet as it turns out, this was not an Israeli plane that exploded, but rather — as Hamas admitted — “the men had been working on a small remote-controlled plane, which they evidently planned to use in an attack.”

Shockingly, the reader must travel 400 words into this article to reach this crucial fact!

So let us understand: Either a) the Hamas men were killed in the act of preparing a new and deadly deployment method for the ongoing terrorist assault upon Israeli citizens, or b) IDF intelligence learned of this effort, and successfully thwarted it by booby-trapping the plane, thereby striking only those directly involved in its assembly. In either case, known terrorists were eliminated red-handed.

The absurdity of the Times’ headline is matched only by its audacity: Israel is blamed for killing terrorists in the act of preparing an airborne terrorist bomb! This makes as much sense as a homeowner accused of inflicting ear damage upon the burglar who trips his alarm.

Further, Bennet is quick to mention (in the first paragraph) that the explosion occurred “hours after Israel’s defense minister vowed retaliation for a Hamas bombing in Gaza.” In other words, The Times twists this latest scheme in Hamas’ gruesome campaign of terror to portray the dead — not as terrorists, but rather as victims of a tit-for-tat cycle of violence.

The article ends with Bennet’s parting shot, framing Israel’s anti-terror actions as “a dangerous violation of all signed agreements and an attack on Palestinian legitimacy.”

Incredibly, through the lens of The Times, Israel’s attempts to reign in the grandfathers of terror — following two years of massacres, lynchings, bombings and shootings — is protested as a “violation of agreements,” as if the Oslo Accords were still being faithfully adhered to by the Palestinians!? (Never mind that the Accords grant Israel the right to pursue its security needs.)

Finally, Bennet’s last line also highlights “Palestinian legitimacy,” as if the legitimacy of this violent movement who was never an independent national entity, somehow supercedes the legitimacy of the world’s oldest surviving people whose New Jersey-sized homeland was legitimized by the U.N., and which was forced to win territory in successful wars of self-defense.

In this article, we observe several of the classic maneuvers that have characterized biased reporting of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including:

1) The moral equivalence assigned to anti-terrorist efforts and terrorist attacks. Israeli strikes against terrorist targets are presented as brute, knee-jerk reactions lacking strategic significance in the larger Western struggle to quell terrorism.

2) The acceptance of Hamas statements as the lone source of facts, as if this terrorist group — whose spokesmen have been thoroughly repudiated — still maintains some modicum of credibility.

3) Creating a false impression in the headline and lead paragraphs, while burying the most relevant information — that exonerates Israel — far down in the text.

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