By Hal Lindsey
As of this writing, the violence in Israel continues to rage. Hamas has rained thousands of missiles on Israel. They don’t just fire those missiles at military targets, but at civilian population centers. Their indiscriminate missile barrage is not a tactic of modern war, but of old-fashioned terrorism.
Meanwhile, they condemn Israel because it responds with precision attacks on military targets. The Israeli Defense Forces warn occupants of buildings before the attacks begin. The Israeli military has made mistakes, and civilians have been killed as a result. But the intent on both sides is obvious. Hamas wants to kill all Jews. Israel wants to degrade Hamas’s ability to kill.
Most of the world’s nations have made statements in support of Israel’s right to defend itself. But most of the world’s media seems to be siding with the terrorists.
On May 15th, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a building in Gaza known to be a center of operations for the Hamas military. They gave everyone in the building a heads up about an hour before the airstrike. The building was taken down with extreme precision, as if done by a demolition crew taking it straight down to minimize collateral damage. No one was killed. No one was even injured. But because the building also housed the Gaza offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, the world’s media elites were incensed.
Reporters working in conflict zones have a dangerous and difficult job. It is also an important job. To the extent that they stay fair, they give us eyes and ears in places few of us would want to be in person. But if one of their buildings is used to shelter the enemy, that building ceases to be neutral and becomes fair game.
On May 17th, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he asked Israel for evidence that the AP building housed Hamas. Maybe he should talk to US intelligence sources. Better yet, maybe he should read an article written for The Atlantic by former AP reporter Matti Friedman.
After Hamas and Israel fought in 2014, Friedman wrote, “Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation... The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby — and the AP wouldn't report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas.”
The Associated Press has been in that building for 15 years. In 2014, their own reporter wrote that Hamas launched missiles from “right beside” it. But AP refused to report it. Their own reporter said that Hamas used intimidation to affect AP’s coverage. The Associated Press knew that bias through intimidation had been introduced in their Hamas coverage, but they would not allow their reporters to say so.
Secretary Blinken is right when he says that we need independent journalists reporting from conflict zones. But we do not need news organizations that allow intimidation to bias their reporters’ coverage. If the AP altered its stories because their reporters were being intimidated, that reporting was worse than no reporting at all.
War is horrible. But on those rare occasions when Palestinian leaders allow their citizens to vote, they vote for terrorists. They choose the kind of men who put military installations in schools, hospitals, mosques, and in the center of civilian residential areas. They do this knowing that Israel will be held accountable for civilian deaths, and that they — the men who put those civilians at risk — will not be held to account, except by the Israeli military.
A few weeks ago, as all this was starting, I encouraged Christians to heed Psalm 122:6, and “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Don’t stop now. These are crucial hours and days.