Terrorism from thin air.

After today’s bus bombing in Tel Aviv many people were quick out of the blocks to (rightly) denounce it and discussion soon began as to whether this attack would precipitate an Israeli incursion into Gaza. As news broke of the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, journalist Joseph Dana tweeted this. I don’t think Dana is incorrect to link the bomb attack in Tel Aviv to this weeks Israeli destruction in Gaza. However his tweet elicited this response from middle east analyst Meir Javedanfar.

Now Mr Javedanfar is a chap I respect and value his analysis, even though I don’t always agree with him. We can debate the snarky and crude nature of Mr Dana’s tweet, but  it does contain a truth, which is that the bus bombing in Tel Aviv is obviously linked to Netanyahu’s decision to launch an aerial assault on Gaza. I wasn’t sure if Mr Javedanfar took exception to the intemperate nature of Dana’s tweet or disagreed entirely with the idea of linkage between events in Gaza and the  Tel Aviv bombing. So I asked him a question about whether or not he thought there was any link between the slaughter in Gaza and the bombing in Tel Aviv. Instead of answering in the affirmative or the negative he shot back with his own , question. After a bit of back and forth, my initial question to Mr Javedanfar remains unanswered.

I didn’t think I would encounter a similar hesitance to admit to what is a very simple truth again today. But then an editor at Foreign Policy Magazine posted a story entitled Will The Tel Aviv Bus Bombing Trigger A Gaza Invasion?  I highlighted on Twitter how I thought the author unwittingly demonstrated a common problem in Western media coverage of the Palestine/Israel conflict.

In his piece Mr Kenner does quote Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum saying the bus bombing was a  “natural result of Israel’s aggression on the people of Gaza.” However the tone of the piece is about whether violence from Palestinians will cause Israel to react. The title and particularly the first sentence illustrate the point. In response to my tweet Mr Kenner replied “No excuse for targeting civilians, period.” I agree and replied that was not what I said.

I believe this piece is symptomatic of a wider problem, which is that Palestinian violence is routinely depicted as initiating an Israeli response, but rarely do we see the reverse. Even though its very often the case. It seems Palestinian violence erupts from thin air, to which Israel must respond. Related to this, watching the news channels this morning which were all saturated with the bus bombing, in which nobody was killed (at the time of writing) the level of coverage stood in stark contrast to the killing of the Al Dalou family.  It seems what’s newsworthy is not dictated by the loss of life but the ethnicity of the victims.

In asking what seems on the face of it, a very simple question – is it wrong to see a link between Israeli violence in Gaza and subsequent violence inflicted on Israel? It seems some analysts/journalists find it difficult to admit such a thing. Why is that?

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