The Jerusalem Post
Will every Israeli airstrike now be front-page news?
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza received widespread attention in western media. Normally a strike like this, in response to arson balloons launched from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, would not be major news, especially since it was not a major airstrike. However the Gaza war set new ground rules, it appears, for Israeli action.
The IDF said on Wednesday, early in the morning, that “over the past day, arson balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. In response, a short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military compounds belonging to the Hamas terror organization, which were used as facilities and meeting sites for terror operatives in its Khan Yunis and Gaza Brigades. The targets that were struck were used for terror activities.”
The airstrike received major coverage on CBS, NBC, CNN and other channels. CNN noted: “Why balloons strapped to explosives are the latest flashpoint in Israel-Hamas tensions.” The BBC put the airstrike at the top of its homepage for all of Wednesday and into Thursday morning. “Israel says it carried out air strikes in Gaza overnight after Palestinians launched incendiary balloons from the territory, in the first major flare-up since an 11-day conflict last month. The Israeli military said it targeted compounds belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza,” it reported. France24 also led with it in top news.
This appears to be a new pattern. The launching of arson balloons is not new, it has been going on for years. Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for these kinds of attacks and others, is also not new. Over the last several years Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have perpetrated many attacks, including firing rockets, using masses of people to attack the security fence around Gaza and launching incendiary balloons. This is in addition to the major attacks that began on May 10 and involved more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel.
In general Israeli retaliatory strikes did not get major attention. That all changed with the recent conflict. A variety of factors have played into that, not the least of which is an agenda by some groups to try to increase coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This has resulted in attacks on Israel accusing the country of practicing “apartheid” and also the circulation of a letter around media outlets calling for more pro-Palestinian coverage.
The airstrike coverage is disproportionate because similar airstrikes by Turkey on Iraq or even by the US-led Coalition partners against ISIS, receive no coverage. It’s not a comparison, of some coverage compared to less coverage. There is in fact no coverage of
Turkey’s widespread airstrikes on northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, which result in casualties and depopulation. The US-led coalition openly tweets about recent operations against ISIS, which get no coverage. Huge bombings and attacks by terrorist groups in Afghanistan and pitched battles with government forces get little to no coverage.
This speaks to a new kind of coverage of Israeli airstrikes and Gaza tensions. It is not clear if this is only the result of the recent war, or if this push for increased coverage will continue. For now, it is clear, that a new paradigm exists focusing on Israeli airstrikes, even if there are no casualties in the strikes. Over the last several years most Israeli strikes on Gaza, and claims of strikes in Syria by foreign reports, received relatively minor attention. Now that spotlight has shifted. It comes with a new Israeli government in office and may affect calculations regarding these strikes.