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August 18, 2022 10:10 am
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Vox Hit Piece Obscures Gaza Terrorist Groups’ War Crimes, Lambasts Israel for Defending Itself

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants gather at a mourning house for Palestinians who were killed during Israel-Gaza fighting, as a ceasefire holds, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 8, 2022. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Vox, a politically progressive publication with over four million followers on social media, prides itself on its “explanatory journalism.” According to the website’s mission statement, “millions turn to Vox to understand what’s happening in the news.”

Yet its latest article on the conflict between Israel and Gaza Strip-based Palestinian terror groups, titled “After the latest clash with Israel, Gazans’ struggle continues,” and written by the outlet’s weekend reporter, Ellen Ioanes, leaves readers badly misinformed as to the threats facing the Jewish state.

Specifically, Ioanes’ piece downplays war crimes against millions of Israeli civilians, while falsely accusing Jerusalem of starting last year’s 11-day war with Hamas.

The August 14 story, which purports to portray life in Gaza after the recent three-day war between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the US-designated Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization, includes the following paragraph:

While attacks and retaliation from Gaza certainly affect Israeli civilians — forcing them into shelter, destroying property, and sometimes killing innocent people — there is a notable asymmetry not only in the kinds of weapons both sides use, but also in the effect they have on civilian areas, for a number of reasons.

As the saying goes: Nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts.

Ioanes is strongly suggesting here that the IDF’s defensive operations against terrorist infrastructure are more harmful to civilians than Hamas’ and PIJ’s documented war crimes, which include deliberately targeting millions of innocents and using Palestinians as human shields.

HonestReporting has repeatedly detailed how the Israeli military adheres to an exceptionally high moral standard of conduct. As Defense Minister Benny Gantz put it in 2019: “Our battle orders include the rules of engagement and the [biblical] Ten Commandments. The computer code of the F-35 and the moral code of the prophets of Israel.”

Consequently, Israeli troops go to great lengths to avoid harming noncombatants, often going beyond the nation’s obligations under international law. During the August 5-7, 2022 military confrontation with PIJ, Jerusalem called off many airstrikes at the 11th hour, even when they provided the IDF with a “concrete and direct military advantage.”

In stark contrast, Gaza-based terror groups are known to use residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, and even UNRWA schools as launching pads for attacks against the Jewish state, thus putting Israeli and Palestinian lives at risk.

Notably, in recent conflicts, Palestinian terrorists targeted the central Israeli cities of Bnei Brak and Givatayim — two of the world’s most densely populated areas.

This modus operandi amounts to a double war crime: PIJ and Hamas deliberately fire rockets at Israeli population centers, while using Gazans as shields to fend off IDF retaliatory actions.

However, Vox’s 1,900-word hit piece does not once mention that even Israel’s worst critics have called out Hamas’ “flagrant violations” of the laws of armed conflict.

Ellen Ioanes moreover fails to note that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad possess Iranian-supplied weapons like the long-range Fajr-5 and M-302 missiles, capable of killing and maiming a great mass of people. The London-based NGO Action on Armed Violence estimates that these projectiles can carry a payload of between 100 and 200 kilograms.

With regards to Israel, a single 10kg Qassam rocket injured 76 ID soldiers in 2007, with five requiring life-saving interventions.

So much for the “notable asymmetry.”

Vox also gets the basic facts and chronology wrong, particularly as they relate to the May 2021 Gaza war.

“In April 2021, Israeli police interrupted Ramadan services at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and then attempted to evict Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” Ioanes asserts, adding: “By May 10, that escalated into bombing campaigns on the part of the Israeli military and rocket attacks by Hamas and the PIJ that killed at least 250 Palestinians, including approximately 128 civilians, and 12 Israeli civilians.” [Emphasis added].

In reality, the catalyst for the escalation in hostilities in May was not the property dispute in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon Hatzadik. The actual sequence of events began with a wave of Palestinian attacks on Jews, which were recorded on video and spread on TikTok and other social media.

Shortly thereafter, the dual tensions of Israeli policing of Palestinian rioters at the peak of Ramadan and an annual Israeli flag march occurred at the same time as a court case related to the property dispute.

Then, on May 10, Hamas struck Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, knowing full well that the unprovoked attack would compel the IDF to react. In the 11 days that followed, the terror group launched over 4,000 rockets at Israel, forcing Israel to respond with an anti-terror campaign dubbed “Guardian of the Walls.”

Criticizing “crushing restrictions imposed by the Israeli state,” Vox finally calls for the replacement of Israel with a bi-national state. “In addition to the blockade, the only Palestinians [sic] allowed to vote in Israeli elections are those that live within Israel’s borders as they were defined between 1948 and June 1967,” Ioanes laments.

By insinuating that Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza should have the right to vote in the Israeli elections, she is essentially espousing support for a one-state solution. That proposal entails incorporating into Israel some 4.5 million Palestinians and extending to them voting rights.

In practice, this formula would end Jewish sovereignty.

Ellen Ioanes’ anti-Israel slant comes as little surprise. Responding to then-NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s condemnation of the Palestinian rocket attacks that prompted Operation Guardian of the Walls, Ioanes on May 12, 2021, stated: “Absolutely not.” At the time of her anti-Israel Twitter post, the Hamas-initiated bloodshed had already claimed the lives of two civilians in the country, in addition to wounding scores more.

But Vox should do better.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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