AP: Hamas Rocket Aimed at Israel Kills Gaza Schoolgirls Instead

I'm annoyed that in the print edition our local Bergen Record sub-titled its AP article today, "Punishing strike on Hamas: 230 killed as Israel retaliates for rocket attacks."

I will take the use of the term "Punishing" in the title in a neutral way. Not that Israel was executing a punishment on Hamas, but rather that the attacks were "harsh" which indeed they seem to have been.

However I cannot allow the use of the term "retaliates" to go unchallenged. The story below that headline makes clear that retaliation was not the motive for the Israeli attacks. Israeli policy is governed by modern and rational military and diplomatic principles. Hamas has an articulated policy in place to bombard Israeli civilian targets with rockets. The Israeli strikes were intended to inflict damage on Hamas to prevent future Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. No primitive notion of retaliation, no ancient notion of eye for an eye, was even hinted at in the AP report. The Bergen Record ought to know better than to use headlines to turn international AP reporting into a platform for a local paper to impute false motives to Israel's leadership.

I do make note that the sub-title is absent from the web version of the story.

Ironically, given the tragic events of last Friday, the efforts by Israel to halt Hamas rocket barrages, designed to help protect the safety of civilian Israeli citizens, will also protect the civilian children of Gaza from death by Hamas terrorist rocket.
Palestinian rocket misfires, kills 2 girls in Gaza
By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer Ibrahim Barzak

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – A crude rocket fired by Palestinian militants fell short of its target in Israel on Friday, striking a house in the northern Gaza Strip and killing two schoolgirls.

The attack came as Israel sent mixed signals over its plans to respond to continuing Palestinian rocket fire. Israeli defense officials say politicians have approved a large-scale incursion into the territory once rainy conditions clear. But at the same time, Israel appeared receptive to international pressure against an invasion, opening the Gaza border Friday to allow in deliveries of humanitarian aid.

None of Gaza's militant factions claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the house in Beit Lahiya. Gaza Health Ministry official Dr. Moiaya Hassanain said the two victims, ages 5 and 12, were cousins. Three other children were wounded, he said.

The girls were the first Palestinian civilians inadvertently killed by militants since their truce with Israel began collapsing six weeks ago. Family members and medics said they were killed by rocket fire...more

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