Since we so often lambast Aftenposten for exclusively focusing on negative aspects of Israel, IDF, let us then be equally quick to applaud stories with a positive angle.
Today, Aftenposten ran a story, This is Israel’s new shield. The article outlines the exceptional features of the Iron Dome and how this now gives Israeli politicians much more flexibility in dealing with rockets.
The journalist even portrays the soldiers in a very positive light:
Historical! exclaims the military camps lively and smiling technician, before her sergeant mildly corrects her. He is the only one who is allowed to comment to the public and state his name. Ostrowsky seems to be a pretty liberal military leader and readily permits us to take photographs of the Iron Dome as well as soldiers. And aside from the sturdy, green uniforms, and the automatic weapon hanging from their shoulders, the group is more reminiscent of a group of happy, carefree school kids on a picnic. A guitar is left on a bench.
It feels good to be contributing to the safety of the civil population in such a direct way, says sergeant Ostrowsky.
This is of course a nice change from the usual complaints of Israeli ruthlessness.
But I am concerned that this article does not mention how many rockets fired, from Gaza, in fact, one would have to read a separate text box that mentions rockets come from Gaza, and there is no mention of the number of rockets (more than 12o during last weekend), or the fact that over 750 000 persons in Southern Israel had to spend the weekend confined in shelters.
It also requires advanced reading and comprehension skills to understand that rockets come from Gaza and that said rocket attacks are in fact in breach of international law and constitute a war crime as well as crimes against humanity (this does not feature anywhere in the text).
Further, the text makes a bizarre claim that rockets from Gaza do little physical harm, only frighten people.
Are they not aware at Aftenposten that one of the main reasons why human casualty is relatively low in Israel, is because the State of Israel enforces a very strict building code whereby every home in the state of Israel must have a safe room – in fact a built in shelter – in the house or apartment. Buildings built before the new rules came into force must have bomb shelters in basement or in the immediate vicinity of the building.
Imagine the protests if Norwegian home builders would have to provide security on a similar level, it caused a public outcry when new building codes tried to ensure that all homes in Norway adequately provide access to bathrooms, as well as bathroom design that facilitates for the needs of people with physical disabilities.
Walking down the side walks of Sderot and other towns or villages adjacent to Gaza also require special coordination skills – in order to not walk bang into one of the many bomb shelters that are placed as far apart as 200 meters during the most tense periods. In Oslo, all you have to mind is the garbage people happily throw about, or avoid stepping into squishy dog toffees.
It may well be that the journalist mentioned all this is the article he lodged with the desk, but maybe we just have to live with the fact that the person in charge of editing was a wee bit overwhelmed with allowing a story with a positive slant AND mention the full context that Israelis live in, in the same article?
Prof. M. McGonagall