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Israel's 'Ferocious Assault on Gaza' Damaged 'Relations With Egypt;' Hamas Merely 'Regarded' as Terrorist

Thursday's New York Times led with Israel pinpointing targets in Gaza, including a direct hit on a Hamas commander, after years of rockets fired into Israel. The report from Jerusalem by Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram blamed the victim of scores of rocket attacks for an effective retaliation (a "ferocious assault"): "Israeli Assault Into Gaza Kills A Hamas Leader – Wider Conflict Feared – Twenty Targets Are Hit After Rocket Strikes by Palestinians."

The paper's word-choice was slanted toward blaming Israel for inflaming the region, not the Palestinians for fomenting the retaliation in the first place. Ahmed al-Jabari is described as a "top military commander of Hamas," not a terrorist who plots attacks on Israeli soldiers and citizens.

Israel on Wednesday launched the most ferocious assault on Gaza in four years after persistent Palestinian rocket fire, hitting at least 20 targets in aerial attacks that killed the top military commander of Hamas, damaged Israel’s fragile relations with Egypt and escalated the risks of a new war in the Middle East.

The Israel Defense Forces coupled the intensity of the airstrikes with the threat of a ground invasion of Gaza, recalling its three-week operation in the winter of 2008-9, shifting infantry brigades and calling up some specialist reserves. The Israelis also warned all Hamas leaders in Gaza to stay out of sight or risk the same fate as the Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, who was killed in a pinpoint airstrike as he was riding in a car down a Gaza street.

The Times can't ever bring itself to admit Hamas is a "terrorist group" sworn to Israel's destruction, so instead it characterizes that as merely Israel's opinion, despite Hamas's clear intentions to destroy Israel and the Jews.

The escalation in hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the militant organization regarded by Israel as a terrorist group sworn to its destruction, prompted Egypt to recall its ambassador and demand meetings of the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League.

....

The ferocity of the airstrikes provoked rage in Gaza, where Hamas said the campaign amounted to war and promised a harsh response. It quickly launched dozens of rockets into southern Israel. Several barrages struck the city of Beersheba, shattering windows and damaging cars but causing no injuries.

Civil-defense authorities in Israel, anticipating retaliation, instructed residents within a 25-mile radius of Gaza not to go to school or work on Thursday. Many remained indoors or congregated in bomb shelters.

General Mordechai said the operation “would continue and grow.” The military said it was designed to “severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership.”

By targeting Mr. Jabari, 52, the Israelis said they had killed the mastermind of virtually every attack to come from Gaza in recent years, including the kidnapping in 2006 of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Mr. Jabari was involved in the negotiations to release Mr. Shalit, whose five years as a prisoner was a source of national anguish. When he was finally released through Egypt, Mr. Jabari made a rare public appearance alongside him.

Later the news story echoed the paper's own editorial:

Israeli forces went back into Gaza in the winter of 2008-9 after years of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants into Israel. The Israeli invasion killed as many as 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, and was widely condemned internationally.

That could have been clipped from the paper's hand-wringing editorial Thursday "Another Israel-Gaza War?"

No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza, most recently over the past four days. The question is how to stop them permanently....Engaging in a full-scale ground war is especially risky. Israel’s last major military campaign in Gaza was a three-week blitz in 2008-09 that killed as many as 1,400 Palestinians, and it was widely condemned internationally. It did not solve the problem. Hamas remains in control in Gaza and has amassed even more missiles.