If this is a “truce,” gimme war

Every now and then, I find myself thinking that certain people who decry an anti-Israel bias in the media are just being a little hysterical and whiny and paranoid. But just when I’m about to really believe it, I stumble across some evidence that they just might be dead right.

This morning’s Boston Globe carries a story from a Los Angeles Times reporter titled “Palestinians say attack broke cease-fire.” And the author, Richard Boudreaux, doesn’t even try very hard to hide it.

But reporters don’t always get to write their headlines. It’s the story that counts. So, what’s his lead? “An Israeli helicopter attack in the Gaza Strip yesterday that killed a member of a militant squad was one of the most serious breaches yet of the four-month-old cease-fire, Palestinian officials said.”

You know, I’m going to pull the lazy thing here. I’ll just quote the whole story.

GAZA CITY — An Israeli helicopter attack in the Gaza Strip yesterday that killed a member of a militant squad was one of the most serious breaches yet of the four-month-old cease-fire, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said the air attack was aimed at militants planting a bomb along the border fence and did not amount to a cease-fire violation.

Israel denied sending ground forces into the coastal territory. But Palestinian officials who monitor the border said fighting erupted before dawn when plainclothes Israeli special forces slipped past the fence and were discovered by a squad of fighters from two small militant groups that refuse to honor the Nov. 26 truce. (1)

The helicopter attack was apparently aimed at covering the retreat of the special forces. In the last two weeks, Israel has staged an airstrike and a brief ground incursion against Palestinian gunmen, killing one in each operation.(2)

Palestinian witnesses who described yesterday’s 90-minute battle said the Israeli helicopter fired at least four missiles between the border fence and the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, wounding three Palestinians.

One of them, Fuad Maruf, 22, of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was killed.

That group and Islamic Jihad said they had been firing rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at the Israeli special forces and setting off explosives along the fence (3).

Israeli officials say militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, which shares power in the Palestinian Authority government, have been exploiting the cease-fire to smuggle explosives, missiles, and other weapons into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt.

During the truce, Palestinians have continued to fire crude Kassam rockets into Israel, although at a slower rate.(4)

Israel withdrew its military bases and settlers from Gaza in September 2005. After militants seized an Israeli soldier from his post along the Gaza border, Israeli troops frequently reentered the territory.(5)

1) “Two small militant groups that refuse to honor the Nov. 26 truce.” Sounds to me like that the Palestinians aren’t that interested in the truce, if they’re willing to tolerate these groups violating it from their territory, in their names, on a regular basis.

2) “Gunmen” doesn’t mean “guys with guns.” It means “guys with guns shooting at Israelis.” Palestinians shooting at Israelis doesn’t violate a truce; Israelis shooting back does. Remember this principle.

3) Note that the DFLP and IJ are using military-grade weapons, and the Palestinian Authority has no problems with that. The Palestinian Authority unilaterally declared the “truce,” but doesn’t bother to even make a token gesture at enforcing it.

4) Here’s another interesting definition of “truce” — “you stop fighting, we’ll cut back a little.”

5) Note the slurring of facts here. Gilad Shalit was “seized,” not “captured” or “kidnapped.” That several of his comrades were killed in the same raid is not mentioned. And that Israeli troops might have “frequently reentered the territory” is couched as a tit-for-tat move, a retaliation, and not presented as possible rescue operations — because the Palestinians don’t have a great record of hospitality for Israeli soldiers.

Well done, Mr. Boudreaux.

Could Nancy Pelosi have been right?
W(h)ither Democracy?