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Media Blackout

The American media isn't reporting the important information on Israel's war on terror. To get it, you have to turn to the web.

12:00 AM, Apr 12, 2002 • By DAVID BROOKS
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IF YOU RELY on the American press, it is simply impossible to figure out what is going on in the West Bank. For example, in Thursday's New York Times there was an inept front page story entitled, Attacks turn Palestinian Dream Into Bent Metal and Piles of Dust. Then inside there was another story, The Assault Is Over, the Casbah Is in Ruins.

Both stories, like most of the rest of the American media, leave the impression that Israeli troops are ransacking civilian areas, destroying homes, and shooting defenseless civilians.

But if that image is true, how is it that dozens of Israeli soldiers have been killed in combat? How is it that after Palestinians surrender, the ground is littered with bombs and guns? It seems as if there are real battles going on, which are not being reported. If there are real battles, what are they like? Are terrorists being killed or captured?

To get answers to these questions, you have to go web surfing.

For example, when the United States invaded Afghanistan, all the major papers ran charts of the terrorist leaders, indicating who had been captured or killed. None of the papers are doing that this time because to do so would be to allow that perhaps the Israeli action is justified. Nonetheless, information is available on the Israeli Defense Forces site. Granted this is a government site, but the information on the Afghan terrorists came from our military.

While you're at the IDF site, check out this page. It provides links to the documents the Israelis captured during their raids on Arafat's compounds. Scroll down to appendix A and B to see how closely Arafat supervised the terror attacks.

The Israeli press is doing a much better job of reporting what is going on in the West Bank. Ha'aretz is Israel's best newspaper, a bit left of center, but with high-quality journalists. For example, here's a story, relying on both Israeli and Palestinian sources, on the surrenders at the Jenin refugee camp.

Ze'ev Schiff is the dean of Israeli journalists. Here's a piece which gives another picture of how the fighting is going.

On the other hand, if you don't feel like hunting and pecking every day, just go to Opinion Journal's Best of the Web where webmaster James Taranto and his friends do a masterful job of pulling together actual information--the sort that is apparently not fit to print.

David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.