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The rockets never end

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Reports in major French newspapers say nothing of the situation in Israel.

French Press Round from 31 October to 2 November

By Judith Bat Or

What’s being said

The major French newspapers have a section entitled "Israel-Hamas war." They talk about the situation in Gaza and Israel's bombardments. They talk about the large number of Gazan civilian casualties and the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the Israeli army's ground offensive, which is beginning at a time when it is already "relentlessly pounding" the territory of Gaza. They explain that the Israeli army is preparing to attack a hospital sheltering 14,000 civilians, quoting Al-Jazeera by saying they cannot be evacuated. They mention Israel’s claims that Hamas is deliberately setting up schools and hospitals, and this hospital in particular, using civilians as human shields.

Citing Palestinian sources and local witnesses, Le Parisien reports that the IDF is cutting the Gaza Strip in two, "occupying" a main road, and firing on any vehicle traveling on it. It concludes that it has no way of verifying this information. Le Monde focuses additionally on Palestinian victims, denouncing in its editorial the information blockade organized by Israel, which claims to be the only democratic state in the region. Le Monde talks about the humanitarian disaster affecting the people of Gaza and the force of Israel's strikes, pointing out that over the last twenty years Hamas has built a system of tunnels sixty meters underground.

As for other events related to the conflict, a brief article appeared about the attack at an airport in Dagestan on a plane from Israel by a mob that had come to lynch Jews and Israelis shouting "Allah Hakbar." On November 2, French newspapers carried the headline "Two Palestinians and an Israeli killed in the West Bank." All of them claimed they had been shot by the Israeli army during "clashes" that had broken out during an army "incursion." As for the Israeli, his car "came under Palestinian fire." There is also mention of the Israeli army's bombardment of Jabaliya, and the heavy human toll of the war. The newspapers quote figures from the Hamas Ministry of Health. Finally, they all report that Egypt has agreed to receive dual national refugees from Gaza.

What’s not being said

Reports in major French newspapers appearing under "Israel-Hamas war" headlines say nothing of the situation in Israel—the 200,000 people evacuated from war zones in the south and north, the costs to the economy, including the closing of small businesses, or the families in which men and women are called up for reserve duty, abandon their jobs and leaving their families behind.

French newspapers also fail to mention the constant firing of missiles targeting civilians in the south and in the north toward Israeli towns from the Gaza border regions to Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem, sending millions of inhabitants into shelters every day. There are also no reports of attacks from Syria or missile strikes on Eilat from Yemen by the Houthis, who are supported by Iran in its fight against Israel. Thanks to the intervention of Israeli air defenses, these missiles have not caused any damage.

The background to the "clashes" that broke out on the West Bank on 2 November is not given either. During the "incursions" reported in all major French newspapers, the Israeli army stated that they dismantled Hamas cells and managed to thwart an imminent threat of attack. Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire when terrorists were arrested. In reports about an Israeli killed in the West Bank, there is no mention of his being killed while driving in his civilian car.

What we think

The image of the conflict given by the French press appears somewhat reductionist. This may be due to the fact that major media all refer to Agence France Presse dispatches as their main or perhaps sole source, which can be seen by the identical terms, sometimes word-for-word, used in these articles. This almost total identification with Palestinian suffering and almost total denial of Israeli suffering may be contributing to the threats now being faced by Jews across the world, and to the sudden rise in antisemitic acts around the world.

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