How a “Determination to Prove Israel’s Inhumanity” Leads to Bad War Reporting on Gaza

In the past two weeks, the Biden administration has approved the transfer of important shipments of weapons to Israel, which include F-35 jets and large numbers of 500lb and 2,000lb bombs. Recent reports by several U.S. media outlets have alleged or insinuated that the last of these are being used recklessly by the IDF, causing massive and unnecessary civilian casualties. These claims, David Adesnik and Mark Montgomery explain, are based on wildly misleading, and sometimes false, characterizations of how these weapons work:

The indictments . . . tend to brush aside that Hamas has spent a decade constructing a tunnel network that is more extensive, built tougher, and buried deeper than those of other insurgent forces, such as Islamic State. Ignoring this key fact, the critics ask why Israel needs to use 2,000-pound bombs if the United States and its allies used them infrequently in urban environments when fighting IS.

Detonated in an open space, a 2,000-pound bomb can reportedly kill individuals standing within a radius of 1,200 feet, or almost a quarter mile. Yet detonated inside a building or under the ground, the same munition may harm people and structures in a much more restricted area. . . . In fact, the U.S. and Israeli air forces can drop 2,000-pound bombs close to their own troops in battle without hurting them. . . . U.S. Air Force officers have also recounted the precise ways they used 2,000-pound bombs to destroy select parts of buildings in Raqqa without bringing down their entire structure or endangering nearby troops.

Put simply, in the absence of appropriate weapons forensics, CNN is accusing Israel of extensive war crimes . . . based on misleading assumptions about the impact of 2,000-pound bombs.

To Adesnik and Montgomery, the root of these journalists’ poor reporting lies in “their determination to prove that Israel’s inhumanity is a principal cause of the devastation” in Gaza.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Laws of war, Media


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security