Whilst Mark Steel’s article yesterday deeply saddened me, it didn’t shock me. That’s because despite what his article insinuates, when it comes to the media the battle between Israel and Hamas has never been an equal one.
To me, and to everyone else who stands with Israel, the media portrayal of Israel-as-the-bad-guy has become an expected by-product of the on-going conflict. And by penning the aforementioned article, he has only served to perpetuate the myth.
Yet as can so often be done afterwards, reviewing the actual facts leaves the article in pieces. Much like the smashed glass of a windscreen, wouldn’t you say?
Mr Steel suggests claims that “Rockets have continued to be fired from both sides” are incorrect. After all, “we saw a demolished building in Gaza in which 11 people had perished, and a woman in Israel standing next to her car with a smashed windscreen.” Seeing as since its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 more than 8,000 rockets have been fired into Israel, it couldn’t possibly be that he is claiming Israel is not victim to the incessant raining of these weapons. No, what he must be referring to is the unbalanced loss of life.
But this is, once again, an improper analysis of the situation which the media fails to correct. There are less Israeli casualties quite simply because they have a greater emphasis on the value of life. Mr Steel is, I am sure, being facetious when he claims that “it’s the duty of anyone who gets assassinated to make sure they’re in a clear open space at all times so the cruise missile aimed at them doesn’t bump into anyone else.”
But the ‘anyone else’ he is referring to, invariably Palestinian children, are often deliberately used as human shields. Not to mention the constant warnings the IDF give the Palestinians in advance, this time in the form of leaflets which were dropped from warplanes, urging the people to evacuate their homes immediately and which Palestinian militants subsequently told them to ignore.
The reason Israeli cars are likely to have been the focus of Mr Steel’s article, on the other hand, is because the people who would usually be driving them are running for their lives into a bomb shelter every few minutes. Even as I write this, two hours after the supposed ceasefire, friends of mine are running as the sirens which alert them to rockets sound once again.
Do not kid yourself, Mr Steel. Cars are not all that important to Israelis. But with the fear of suicide attacks, freshly renewed just yesterday when a bus exploded in Tel Aviv to the cheers of Hamas, perhaps they should be.