The media’s true failure in Gaza

Earlier this week, the United Nations confirmed that the tragic death of 11-month-old Omar al-Mishrawi, previously blamed on Israel, was actually the result of a Hamas missile. The missile, it seems, fell short of its target. Instead of hitting the innocent Israeli civilians it was aimed at, it landed in Gaza and killed innocent Palestinian civilians.

Most of the media outlets which rushed to blame this death on Israel have been far more cautious about their retractions. And some have shunned retractions altogether. Here’s how the Washington Post’s Max Fisher explained away his rush to implicate Israel in this death:

It’s difficult to see how knowing whose rocket or missile killed Mishrawi would resolve the larger questions for which that debate is a proxy. … These are notoriously thorny debates. As with so many protracted geopolitical conflicts, neither side comes out looking as angelic or demonic as its partisans might wish.

Fisher is wrong. The conflict between Hamas and Israel is not a “thorny debate.” Hamas is a terrorist organization, and is recognized as such by both the United States and the European Union. Just as responsible journalists reject a moral equivalence between the United States and the al Qaeda terrorists who seek to kill Americans, they should likewise shun such equivalence between Israel and the Hamas terrorists determined to kill Israelis.

Mr. Fisher and his colleagues would do well to remember that Hamas isn’t interested in a two-state solution. In fact when Israel and the Palestinian Authority were close to reaching peace, Hamas began blowing up Israeli buses, restaurants and cafes in a desperate effort to derail the peace process. Nor does Hamas simply want the Israelis out of Gaza. The Israelis — all of them — left Gaza in 2005. Hamas wants to destroy Israel and kill Jews. They say so in their charter. And they say so with their intentional mass murders.

Here’s what Hamas does to protect innocent human lives: nothing. They are terrorists. Their goal is to kill civilians, not to protect them. Hamas aims its missiles at Israeli civilians. And it fires these missiles from behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas wins if they kill Israelis — because they are able to terrorize the Israeli population. And Hamas wins if the Israelis kill Palestinians in their effort to stop the missiles — because they know that Israel alone will be blamed for these deaths. Hamas even wins if they kill Palestinians — because Israel will so often get blamed for these deaths as well.

Here’s what Israel does to protect innocent human lives. First, it waits. Israel does not respond to Hamas rocket fire after one or even one hundred missiles have hit her southern cities. Israel responds after thousands of such missiles have been fired. No other democracy waits so long to perform its fundamental duty to protect its citizens.