Sderot, dubbed the bomb shelter capital of the world, is a working-class community located 2.5 km from Gaza, and has absorbed the largest percentage of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel since 2001. Such ubiquitous attacks have killed 13 Sderot residents, wounded dozens and profoundly disrupted daily life.
Naturally, they are not too fond of Hamas, the movement most responsible for the terror their community has suffered, and are pleased whenever the IDF attempts to reign in their rocket launching capacity.
Yet, a surreal report by Adam Winthall at the Independent on July 13th, which focuses on fifty Sderot residents who gathered to watch the conflict unfold at a lookout point northwest of the city last week, frames their pleasure at the periodic sight of Hamas terror sites being shelled as nothing short of sadistic.
Here’s the headline:
An image that appears to show a group of Israelis on a hilltop cheering and applauding as they watch the deadly aerial bombardment of Gaza has caused international outrage after it was shared by thousands on Twitter.
Taken by the Middle East correspondent for a Danish newspaper, the picture shows rows of people sitting on plastic chairs looking out over the Gaza Strip as rockets and explosions light up the night sky.
Allan Sørensen, who posted the image, wrote that it showed a kind of “cinema” on the hilltop outside the Israeli town of Sderot, and a caption added: “Clapping when blasts are heard.”
Sørensen’s newspaper, the Kristeligt Dagblad, reported that the gathering involved more than 50 people who had transformed the hill into something “most closely resembling the front row of a reality war theatre”.
It said that people were seen taking popcorn up onto the hill with their chairs, and that they sat cheerfully smoking hookahs.
Then the Indy shows the Tweet by the outraged Danish journalist:
Sderot cinema. Israelis bringing chairs 2 hilltop in sderot 2 watch latest from Gaza. Clapping when blasts are heard. pic.twitter.com/WYZquV62O7
— Allan Sørensen (@allansorensen72) July 9, 2014
Winthall then adds a few more ‘shocking details’ about the ‘cruel’ Israelis.
“We are here to see Israel destroy Hamas,” said Eli Chone, a 22-year-old American who lives in Israel.
Sørensen’s tweet was met with anger by fellow Twitter users. One user wrote: “If this is true then God help us all. What’s become of the human race?”
Where to begin?!
First, it’s quite telling that the Indy reporter doesn’t even note the rockets fired on Sderot in the months and years prior to the event he describes. Withnall completely erases this vital context from his report.
Additionally, do Winthall and the “shocked” Norwegian journalist really not know that Palestinians often celebrate the murder of Israeli civilians as the result of terror attacks?
As you no doubt recall, there were enthusiastic street celebrations when the news broke about the attacks on 9/11.
In 2011, there were celebrations in Gaza when they learned that five Israeli civilians – including three children, one a three months old baby -were literally butchered by Palestinian terrorists in Itamar.
More recently, upon hearing of the abduction of three Israeli teens last month, some Palestinians handed out candy in the streets and posted messages lauding the incident on social media sites and in the state-run media.
Also, a video recently surfaced showing “hundreds of Arabs” celebrating ‘the attack on occupied Palestine’ atop the Temple Mount after hearing bomb sirens in Jerusalem on the first day of the war.
Indeed, just yesterday, according to Times of Israel, Channel 2 showed footage of Palestinian youths dancing and cheering in Gaza “minutes after a heavy rocket barrage was launched at the greater Tel Aviv area”.
So, while Palestinians have often celebrated lethal attacks on innocent Jewish civilians, Indy readers are evidently supposed to be shocked when a few dozen Sderot residents celebrate IDF attacks on a terrorist group committed to their country’s destruction?
The UK media’s moral myopia, as with their seemingly unlimited capacity to impute malevolence to Israelis, is at times staggering.