Washington Post turns into Hamas Gazettte

In its July 23 edition, the Washington Post doesn’t spare printers’ ink in covering the Israel-Hamas war in and around Gaza.

There are no fewer than four articles spread from the top of the front page to two full pages on the inside (“Potential shift in Gaza Strip conflict -- Canceled airline flights, missing soldier could alter calculus of Hamas, Israel” by Sadarsan Raghavan, Anne Gearan and Ruth Eglash,” above the fold, page one) Bylines abound  -- six in all are credited for  four articles.

The lead story is a conjectural piece that suggests that Hamas may be getting the upper hand -- or maybe not.  On the inside pages, there’s a piece devoted to Israel responding to the killing of three Israeli teenagers by ordering the demolition of a two-story house in the West Bank that is home to a key suspect in the three murders. The article, however, doesn’t focus on the families of the Israeli victims and their personal pain, but instead sheds tears over the demolition of the suspected killer’s abode.

And that’s the general tenor of the entire July 23 edition -- its preoccupation with Palestinian victimhood and its neglect of Israeli suffering at the hands of Hamas terrorists

Readers are served up an abundance of sympathetic close-ups of Palestinians hurt or displaced by the fighting. One piece, for example, dwells entirely on consequences of Israel alerting Palestinians to get out of the way ahead of bombing raids. You might think that this is something that Israel should be praised for. But you would be wrong. The piece instead is primarily interested in focusing on Palestinian complaints that, when they get advance warnings of upcoming Israeli fire in Gaza, they have a hard time finding refuges. Even when Israel takes extra steps to keep them safe, Israel still gets pejorative treatment.

Where, one might ask, amidst all this coverage of Palestinian plight, is there some interest in  corresponding hurts and pains on the Israeli side? Because even with the overall success rate of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system, some rockets still penetrate into or near Israeli urban areas. Israeli soldiers and civilians have been killed. And there are long-lasting psychological wounds from having to guess whether the next rocket could be fatal.

But this aspect of the fight doesn’t interest the Washington Post.

While Hamas gets extensive and largely favorable coverage, especially via lengthy interviews with Palestinian victims, Israeli victims get short shrift in the pages of the Washington Post.

The sum total of Israel’s side of the fight gets a mere mention, buried in the ninth and 10th paragraphs of the main article on the A14 jump page, that two more Israeli soldiers were killed and that two Israeli civilians have also been killed by Hamas mortar and rocket attacks into Israel, as “Hamas sent a steady barrage of rockets into Israel.”

And that’s it. No personal interviews with Israeli victims.  No up-close and personal interest or empathy with how Israelis -- soldiers and civilians -- are coping with this “steady barrage of rockets.”

Reading the Post’s one-sided coverage, readers might get the distinct impression that Palestinian blood is more precious than Israeli blood.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers