To Gaza with Love (But no Tears for Israelis)
On Friday, Nov. 23, after the Hamas-Israel cease-fire went into effect, hundreds of Palestinians stormed into a land strip inside Gaza's border which Israel had declared a no-go zone. In an effort to halt the breaching of the border, Israeli soldiers fired warning shots to get Gaza provocateurs to turn around. When that didn't do it, they fired shots at their legs. One Gazan was killed and several wounded. Hamas, apparently trying to keep the cease-fire from breaking down, sent its security forces to escort the demonstrators away from the no-go strip along the border.
But this isn't the way the New York Times reported this event in its Nov. 24 editions ("Tension and Confusion Linger in Gaza Strip After Cease-Fire"). With lots of pro-Palestinian spin, Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, filing her story from Khanis Yunis in the border area, decided to lead with Eyad Qudaih, who lived near Gaza's eastern border for the last 12 years and who had never ventured farther east because Israel had declared the area off-limits.
"But Friday morning, emboldened by the cease-fire, Qudaih took his four young daughters 300 yards east to the small plot of land where he dreams of growing wheat as his father once did," Rudoren, in high rhapsodizing gear, informs Times readers.
Empathizing with Qudaigh, she quotes him as remarking that "it was like someone who was hungry and had a big meal after touching the border fence for the first time." Very touching indeed, as it's intended to be.
But since all sweet, happy times don't last long in the Middle East, Rudoren then abandons this idyllic scene to report that, "around 11 AM, this moment was interrupted by the sound of gunfire, as Israeli troops fired warning shots and then at the feet of some Palestinians who tried to cross the border fence into Israeli territory."
Finally, and only after having conspicuously sighed over the untoward interruption of a Gaza family's outing, does she get around to reporting the sad news that Qudaih's cousin, Anwar Qudaih, was killed.
Another day, another martyr.
Actually, I wouldn't fault Rudoren for empathizing with the Qudaih family's loss and doing her best to get readers to sympathize with their plight, If and only if she showed equal up-front-and-personal solicitude for the suffering of Israelis under Palestinian rocket fire. But she doesn't and she hasn't and she won't. Heart-bleeding prose is reserved for Palestinian suffering. Israeli suffering is not high -- or even low -- on Rudoren's pro-Palestinian agenda.
The Times is not an equal-opportunity dispenser of misery, not when its Jerusalem bureau chief cries only for the Qudaihs of this world and turns her back on Jewish pain.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers