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

April 2, 2024 | David Adesnik and Mark Montgomery
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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.

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