Nixed Signals: When Hamas hinted at peace, U.S. media wouldn’t take the message
Posted by uscsjp on October 18, 2006
After the June 25 capture of one of its soldiers in a raid by Hamas militants, Israel responded with a massive invasion of Gaza. It destroyed the area’s electrical generators, blew up bridges and launched a barrage of artillery at Palestinian camps and settlements. Palestinian fighters vowed steadfast resistance. Whatever meager hopes remained for peace talks, cease-fires or an improvement in the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza seemed to have evaporated. Israel was demanding the unconditional release of the soldier, while leaders of Hamas—in control of the Palestinian government following the January 2006 elections—insisted he would be returned only in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
For the U.S. news-consuming public, hopes for a durable halt to Israeli/ Palestinian violence must have seemed even slimmer than the stand-off over the captured soldier might have led one to believe. For U.S. news outlets were informing their readers that Hamas was not merely an armed group holding a hostage as a bargaining chip. It was a terrorist faction “sworn to Israel’s destruction” (Boston Globe, 6/26/06) that “refuses to recognize Israel” (Baltimore Sun, 6/27/06). “Sworn to Israel’s destruction,” a New York Daily News editorial explained (6/29/06), “Hamas has made a pariah of the Palestinian government.” “The group, sworn to Israel’s destruction, has refused international calls to renounce violence or recognize Israel’s right to exist,” wrote the Associated Press (6/29/06). (continued)