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Hospital Bombing Lie

Palestinians carry injured person twoard Al-Ahli
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By: Noah Rothman – nationalreview.com

The mainstream-media outlets that raced to affirm Hamas’s version of events in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon now appear to be complicit in an unmitigated debacle.

The New York Times, Reuters, the Associated Press, PBS, the BBC, and many others raced to repeat with utterly undue credulity the claim that Israeli forces wantonly attacked a hospital, producing upwards of 500 fatalities. The allegation alone shook the world. European and Middle Eastern streets erupted with anti-Israel demonstrations. Diplomatic facilities belonging to Israel and the United States alike were besieged by sometimes violent demonstrators. Jewish — not Israeli — sites were attacked. Meetings between Joe Biden and his counterparts in Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority were canceled in protest. And now, not 24 hours later, the story that they ran with looks to have been a lie. Worse, it was a lie that anyone with an elementary background understanding of the decades-old conflict in the Palestinian territories knew was likely to be a lie at the time.

A survey of the evidence the Israeli government has presented to the public and submitted to the United States for its own independent review presents an uncomplicated version of events. Footage from multiple angles of the Gaza Strip shows at least one missile in an outgoing barrage directed toward Israel failing and descending back onto Gazan territory — hardly an uncommon occurrencegiven the unreliability of the artillery rockets deployed by terrorist outfits in the Strip. Israel Defense Forces have since released intercepted communications between Hamas terrorists confirming that one of Islamic Jihad’s errant rockets landed “on the right side of the al-Ma’amadani hospital.” Images of the site of the blast show no suggestions that high-power munitions were detonated there. Rather, they reveal a parking lot with various damaged vehicles but no cratering, no rubble, and no evidence of the hundreds of casualties the notoriously unreliable Gaza Health Ministry breathlessly retailed within just minutes of the blast.

On the ground in Israel, Joe Biden has confirmed that the hospital attack was committed “by the other team,” a predictable short-round episode that happens when Hamas and Islamic Jihad take up firing positions deep inside civilian territory and use civilian infrastructure as shields. Nor have we seen much equivocation about Israel’s relative complicity in the deaths of average Gazans more generally. “We have seen them, I think, be very deliberate about where they are striking, continuing to target Hamas locations and away from civilians,” said Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh on Tuesday, when asked by reporters if Israel has thus far “upheld the laws of war.” It took administration officials a few tense hours to issue statements of this deservedly unequivocal nature, but that’s only because they took the time to review the evidence before rendering a potentially history-altering verdict.

This episode represents a black mark upon the media outlets that bent over backward to fill in the obvious gaps in Hamas’s narrative with conjecture presented as absolute fact. According to the most-read story in the Irish Timesthis morning, “Hundreds [are] still trapped in the rubble.” But what rubble? “It is hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes,” said one BBC presenter on Tuesday, for example. Yes, if Hamas and its terrorist allies were being honest, that’s a likely conclusion to draw. But why on earth would you assume that Hamas and its allies were being honest? Moreover, what other conclusions might we draw about the veracity of the exquisitely precise casualty figures the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza produces, all of which purport to tally civilian death tolls, when infinitely more transparent Israel spent the better part of a week totaling the dead from the October 7 attack?

This was no harmless mistake. It was not an accident. This calumny wasn’t attributable to the fog of war or a misstep by the citizen journalists on social media whom professional reporters look upon with contempt. Had the press responded to Hamas’s claims with some incredulity, cautioned patience, and waited mere hours to confirm events as they occurred, this could have been avoided. But every basic journalistic best practice was thrown out the window in pursuit of nothing more than a sordid little narrative.

This was a deliberate effort by members of the press — the commanding heights of international journalism — to establish the moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas they appear to need. The psychology that produces acts of unscrupulous malpractice like these is for others to judge. What can be said without hesitation is that it won’t be the first of its kind.

Israel’s just war of regime change in the Gaza Strip has not yet even begun, and already we’re privy to libel and slander. There have been and will be more episodes of tragic violence that typify all wars of this sort, but it would be foolish now to assume the media outlets reporting on this conflict are engaged in a dispassionate effort to chronicle events. Rather, they seek to shape events. In the process, they appear invested in undermining not only Israel’s geostrategic position but America’s as well.

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Source: Gaza Hospital Blast: The Hospital Bombing Lie Is a Terrible Sign of Things to Come | National Review