An act of despair? The Bat Yam bus, after the bomb exploded. Luckily, all passengers managed to escape before it was too late.
December 22, 2013, photo by Reuters/Nir Elias
Three terror attacks were added in the past 48 hours to a record number of over 170 attacks since the beginning of November. Israeli civilians and soldiers were killed by Palestinians with vengeance in their hearts as day after day Israeli newspapers were colored in black.
Unlike past events of escalation from Gaza, this wave of terror was given a new type of narrative by the media, in and out of Israel. In the past few weeks, terror attacks were bluntly titled as “an act of despair.” The story that the media chose to tell was of young Palestinians who are tired of the dead-end “Peace Talks” and out of despair, act in the only way they know in order to get the world’s attention.
This narrative spares nothing on its way of becoming the Greek of the year. Suffering Palestinians have no chance of ever being free. After asking nicely for independence and being ignored, they decided to act in the name of justice, and blow up a bus. For people in their right minds, this story makes no sense, but for those who are clueless about the actual situation in this area, this is a beautiful, touching story.
This continues the media’s tale of David and Goliath, which is used often in describing the conflict. It is disturbing every single time, for it presents the Palestinians as heroes and Israel as a villain at all costs. This time, however, a line was crossed. When placing a bomb on a bus or stabbing a police officer who did nothing but be in the wrong place at the wrong time, is being presented as “an act of despair,” this narrative becomes dangerous.
These events must be called for what they are: acts of terror. It is the media’s responsibility to report the reality. At times, it transgresses in telling the story from a certain, narrow, perspective, but not calling “terror” by its name is almost a crime. It is an approval for more attacks. It opens a window of opportunities for terrorists to strike again and next time, there may not be an alert citizen on the bus to clear everyone out before the bomb explodes.
The press must recognize its responsibilities in this matter. Legitimizing terror in any way causes more terror. It may be an act of despair on their behalf, the “Peace Talks” may be at a dead end and the Palestinians do want their independence, but this in no way justifies killing innocent civilians. We are also a part of this everlasting negotiation. Some Israelis are also frustrated and tired of living under an existential threat. But what would happen if an Israeli would place a bomb on a Palestinian bus? Would it be also referred to as “an act of despair?” It most likely won’t, for even now, when the IDF responds to attacks on Israel, foreign media presents it as a one-sided attack.
In the name of the David and Goliath narrative, where Palestinians are good and weak and the IDF is strong and evil, the media constantly title acts by the IDF as “offense” and acts by Palestinians as “defense.” As terror escalates, this must come to an end. Terror must be called for what it is, even at the risk of destroying the house of cards on which foreign media built their story.