On Nov. 10, an antitank missile fired by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza at an Israeli army vehicle wounded four IDF soldiers. Retaliatory fire by Israel killed four Gazans, while dozens of rockets and mortar shells rained on civilian targets in southern Israel.
This was but the latest incident in a recent escalation of rocket attacks from Hamas-ruled Gaza against towns, cities, and kibbutzim in southern Israel. Israel's human toll and pain has been considerable. One million Israelis are having to dart toward bomb shelters at a moment's notice when red alert sirens sound. Israeli children succumb to post-traumatic stress. Authorities order schools to close as a precaution against a massive catastrophe if a school were hit with hundreds of kids inside.
But when it comes to press coverage, don't expect the Washington Post to make clear to its readers who exactly is stoking the escalating violence or the extent of the pain and suffering inflicted on Israeli civilian populations. Just the opposite. In an inversion of what's actually taking place, Washington Post Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg and his editors are mum about Israeli suffering but go out of their way to spotlight Palestinian pain. And terrorist culpability goes out the window. If anything, Israel is the villain.
A classic example of such pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel bias can be found in the Post's Nov. 11 edition. Greenberg's article, "Four Palestinians killed in Israeli shelling after border attack," is illustrated by a single, three-column, color photograph depicting a sobbing relative of a Palestinian killed by Israeli shelling. There is no corresponding photo of suffering on the Israeli side.
The headline explicitly targets only Israel for the violence -- "Israeli shelling" -- while it erases the terrorist identity of the aggressor side -- "After border attack..."
Greenberg's article is typical of such distortions and omissions: "The Israeli shelling hit a densely populated neighborhood." No mention that Hamas and other terrorist groups are deeply embedded in populated neighborhoods, using them to store ammunition and rocket launchers. Use of human shields by these groups is nowhere to be found in Greenberg's copy.
Harking back to Israel's antiterrorist incursion into Gaza four years ago, Greenberg writes that it "killed hundreds of Palestinians." Again, not a word that most of the fatalities were combatants -- not civilians.
As for human pain and suffering, Greenberg provides Post readers with up-close-and-personal cameos of Palestinian personal grief, but omits any mention of the traumatic shocks inflicted on a million Israeli men, women and children in such places as Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod.
As to who is responsible for the escalating violence... well, it came "after an uptick in incidents near the border fence." Don't look to Greenberg to let you in on the secret that these were Palestinian-generated incidents. Even worse: Greenberg sums up by giving Hamas a clean bill of health, while putting the onus for the violence on Israel -- "Although Hamas has sought to rein in smaller militant factions, those groups have often fired at Israel in response to drone attacks targeting their members."
The bad guy predictably is Israel, while Hamas qualifies for a Nobel peace prize -- all in a day's work for Greenberg.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers