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The Forgotten War

Michael Totten reports on Israel's other rocket war - the one with Gaza. I thought this piece of dialogue between Totten and his guide was interesting:

"How many rockets are hitting the city right now?" I said.

"Not as many today," he said. "Because of the war in Lebanon."

"What does Lebanon have to do with it?" I said.

"All the journalists forgot about us during the Lebanon war. So the terrorists are waiting for the media to come back before firing rockets again. They don't want to waste those they have."

"That can't be the only reason," I said. "The IDF has been active in Gaza this entire time. Surely that has something to do with it."

"Yes," he said. "Also because of the IDF."

Later two more Israelis repeated what Shika said about Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooling their rocket launchers while the media's attention was elsewhere. I haven't heard any official confirmation from either side that it's true.

On one hand, this makes no sense. Why would Hamas and Islamic Jihad want the world media to focus on them launching rockets into Israel and killing innocent civilians? You'd think that would hurt their cause and that it would be more beneficial to them to be able to get away with attacking Israel without the media paying any attention.

But then it occurred to me why it might make sense after all: Hamas and Islamic Jihad may be waiting for the media, not to report on their attacks but to catalogue the inevitable carnage generated by Israel's response. They need the cameras to focus on the burned out car hit by an IDF missile strike, the chanting of the angry Palestinian mob, and the howls of grief of family members - images we've all grown so accustomed to now they're as predictable as clockwork. In other words, Hamas's missiles don't serve a military purpose so much as they serve as part of the public relations war against Israel.