The astonishing rescue of four Israeli hostages in central Gaza taught us something about the courage and camaraderie still extant in the Jewish state. The reaction to it taught us a lesson in the moral blindness and cruelty in vast sectors of the enlightened West. And the whole episode taught us how to exit the distorted looking-glass world and see the entire conflict with fresh eyes.

The key realization is that the biases and mistakes made by the media and the corrupted so-called humanitarian NGOs are not a collection of errors but the scaffolding of a narrative. And once you take apart that scaffolding you can see that their entire narrative of the war was a lie.

Take the revelation that a Palestinian “journalist” was holding three of the four hostages rescued in Nuseirat over the weekend. After the operation, a Palestinian activist mentioned that the Israeli rescuers had entered the home of, and killed, Abdullah al-Jamal, a writer with the Palestine Chronicle  who has also contributed to Al Jazeera. (The Palestine Chronicle is a nonprofit based in the U.S.) The IDF confirmed Jamal’s identity. Journalist Eitan Fischberger also noted that Jamal has seemingly worked as a spokesman for the Hamas Ministry of Labor.

That is, a Palestinian journalist was writing about the Gaza war while holding three Israeli hostages in his home.

Earlier in the conflict, we learned that photojournalists with bylines at major American newspapers and global wire services were with Hamas in the early hours of the Oct. 7 attacks and had been photographed with Hamas leaders. The IDF produced evidence that an Al Jazeera employee “filmed himself participating in the bloody massacre in Nir Oz on October 7 and posted it on social media.” That “journalist” was also a deputy Hamas commander in Khan Younis. A Hamas tank commander had a log of clips and articles at Al Jazeera before Israel discovered his Hamas affiliation in a database kept in Gaza.

Put all that together with the infamous record of Western journalists bowing to Hamas censors and what we’re talking about is a war whose reporting is being done—not simply shaped or influenced—by one party in the conflict which happens to be a terrorist organization holding American hostages.

The war many people are reading about is a figment.

After the hostage rescue, plenty of Palestinian partisans lodged specious complaints about the death toll caused when Hamas tried to execute the hostages and their rescuers on their way out of Nuseirat. But so did a few figures who represent institutions on which mainstream media confer a special legitimacy. One was Ben Saul—the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism and a professor of international law in Australia.

Professor Saul had this to say: “Israel’s rescue of four hostages in Gaza: (1) may have been illegally launched in anticipation that civilian casualties would be excessive, and (2) reportedly involved the additional war crime of perfidy — disguising some forces as protected civilians.”

Ah yes, the war crime of perfidy. If the Israelis aren’t stopped soon, we may see an escalation to chicanery. There’s no telling what skullduggery awaits the people of Gaza.

This is one of my favorite rules of international conflict. The full rule is defined thus: “Rule 65. Killing, injuring or capturing an adversary by resort to perfidy is prohibited.” In case that isn’t clear enough for you, the International Criminal Court explains that the crime, specifically, involves “killing or wounding treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army.”

The idea seems to be that Israel committed treacherously perfidious wounding in its mission. And there’s a compelling case against them: Instead of shooting their way in to the apartments holding hostages, they lied about being locals.

Of course, the silliness of “you can’t trick the enemy in war” aside, the Israelis were not on a kill mission but a rescue mission. And, yes, they fired back when Hamas terrorists tried to kill the civilians they were rescuing.

Lesson: The global class of “UN international law experts” is a figment.

And what do we know about Nuseirat, anyway? Well, we know it’s a refugee camp. But what do most people see when they picture a refugee camp? Tents? Ration lines? Not in Nuseirat, which is a refugee camp nestled inside and blended nicely with the larger town of Nuseirat. The Israeli rescuers climbed multi-story apartment buildings to get to the hostages. They then departed through a busy marketplace to get to their waiting helicopters.

Nuseirat has developed a lot since its establishment in 1948. Which is to be expected. So have other places established in 1948.

I once read an Israeli journalist describe Israel pre-1967 as a glorified refugee camp, and while that’s a bit of an exaggeration the point is taken. The Jews who’d been expelled from Arab lands were usually stripped of their possessions before leaving; that was often the case in Europe as well. The young state had to absorb these refugees and maintain them on rations of “Ben-Gurion’s rice”—the knockoff couscous product that could be made cheaply and in bulk.

Nuseirat could exist for a thousand more years and for every second of that time it will be called a refugee camp. This is true of countless other “refugee camps” that have grown into towns indistinguishable from their neighbors. And now they are used to house high-level hostages taken or controlled by their government.

Whatever the building there was, it wasn’t “civilian.” And whatever its resident was, he wasn’t a “journalist.” And big bad Israel didn’t come storming in to flatten a few tents in a desert. That, too, is a figment.

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