NY Times sanitizes Gaza rocket attacks on Israel in report on Toulouse massacre

It takes some doing and some stretching but leave it to the New York Times to find a way to use the killing of three children in the Jewish school massacre in France as a peg to blame Israel for Palestinian children casualties in its response to Gaza rocket barrages.

And, in the process, also to find a way to cast rockets launched by Palestinian terrorist groups as somehow more moral than Israel's counter-terrorism operations.

So bear with me to see how Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner manages this upside-down trick in the March 21 edition of the Times ("Fury in Israel at Remarks Linking Gaza to Toulouse" page A5).

Kershner starts by reporting the furious reaction of Israeli political leaders, from Prime Minister Netanyahu on down, to remarks made in Brussels at a conference on Palestinian refugees by Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief of the European Union.

Casting her eyes beyond the killings of three Jewish children in Toulouse, Ashton linked this atrocity to the tragic killings of children in recent times elsewhere in the world --  in Belgium, in Norway, in Syria "and when we see what is happening in Gaza."

The Toulouse-equals-Gaza remark drew a torrent of protests in Israel, with officials denouncing Ashton for equating the deliberate murder of Jewish children in Toulouse with the loss of Gaza children in Israeli defensive operations against terrorist groups using children as human shields.

Ashton said her comments had been misinterpreted, but the damage, of course, has been done, although Kershner does her best to rescue Ashton from her hurtful remarks.

But Kershner doesn't leave it at that.  Instead, she ends her piece with a paragraph that strays from Toulouse to Gaza - and what's happened to children in both places.  Here's that paragraph in full:

"In the latest cross-border violence between Israel and militant groups in Gaza, 26 Palestinians were killed over four days, according to the Israeli military.  Most were militants, but four were civilians.  A 12-year-old boy was among those killed in Israeli airstrikes; another boy, 14, was killed by explosives in disputed circumstances.  In the same period, Palestinians fired over 150 rockets into southern Israel, none of which claimed a life."

So here you have Kershner's upside-down view of who is more blameworthy.  Evidently, it's Israel because the recent outbreak of hostilities across the Gaza border claimed the lives of one or two Palestinian kids, while the terrorist groups get ethically sanitized because none of their rockets "claimed a life."

Never mind that the four-day cross-border violence was started by Gaza terrorists and Israel was responding under its internationally recognized right of self-defense - a point neatly hidden from Kershner's copy.   If Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committee had desisted from launching volleys of rockets, there would have been no violence, and Gaza kids would have been spared.


Never mind also that the 14-year-old Gaza boy wasn't killed "in disputed circumstances," as Kershner puts it.  A reporter of the French news service, Agence France Presse, investigated the scene of the boy's death and reported there was no evidence whatsoever that he was killed by an airstrike.  Everything instead pointed to youngsters playing with live ammunition.  Kershner, however, obfuscates the circumstances so as not to exonerate the Israeli military.

But it's Kershner's final words that place her alongside Ashton in the camp of those who go the extre mile to soften terrorist atrocities - "Palestinian militants fired over 150 rockets into southern Israel, none of which claimed a life."

So, in Kershner's moral calculus, as long as blood was shed only on the Palestinian side and none on the Israeli side, it's obvious that the guiltier party is Israel.

Never mind that when 150 rockets rain down on civilian communities in southern Israel, tens of thousands of Israeli children are traumatized by sirens that alert them to take cover within a matter of seconds.  Many of these children develop lasting psychological pain and suffering.  But widespread cases of post-traumatic stress don't enter into Kershner's equation.

The only link between the Toulouse massacre and the four-day Gaza cross-border violence is that innocents have been targeted by Jew-hating terrorists.  But don't expect to read that in the New York Times.