All Israel

Why IDF military operation received little attention in the US compared to previous rounds of fighting

The White House, U.S. lawmakers and media were occupied over the weekend with a legislative drama on Capitol Hill, giving less focus to a conflict in Gaza which did not involve Hamas

Members of Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement at a gathering for PIJ commander Khaled Mansour, who was killed on the first day of Operation Breaking Dawn, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 8, 2022. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

New York—Three days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza, with more than 1,100 rockets fired at Israeli cities, did not receive as much attention in the United States as previous rounds of violence between the two sides. 

Many Americans were not aware that tensions had ratcheted up again and spilled over during the weekend. And media outlets did not immediately dedicate their front pages to the conflict and even Washington seemed quieter than usual. 

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire on Sunday, saying that his administration worked with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and others throughout the region to “encourage a swift resolution to the conflict.”

As of Tuesday, the ceasefire is still holding after a weekend that left dozens of Palestinians dead and several homes and other structures in Israel damaged as a result of direct hits.

A statement from the White House read that Biden’s “support for Israel’s security is long-standing and unwavering – including its right to defend itself against attacks.”

The president called reports of civilian casualties in Gaza a “tragedy,” whether by Israeli strikes against Islamic Jihad positions or from the more than 200 Islamic Jihad rockets that reportedly misfired and fell inside Gaza. 

Biden also commended Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid for his “steady leadership” throughout the crisis and highlighted the U.S. support for the Iron Dome system that “saved countless lives.”

That statement was the loudest signal that the White House has made on the issue during the 50 hours of fighting between Israel and Gaza. 

Meanwhile, the president’s official Twitter account made mentions of the Inflation Reduction Act, shared a fact sheet on the administration’s strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa and expressed sadness over the “horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque.” 

At the same time, the Israel Defense Forces crackdown on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – named Operation Breaking Dawn – did not draw extensive coverage by the U.S. media. Nor did it resonate greatly in the American political and public discourse, unlike Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021. This might be explained by different reasons – the timing of the operation, the manner in which it began, its target: PIJ and not Hamas.

The Iran-backed group has proven once again that it has long-range capabilities to attack Israel’s deep center. This follows their recent involvement in terror operations as part of a deadly terror wave in Israeli towns earlier this summer. 

Hamas, which American audiences usually hear about in Israel’s conflicts with Gaza, have so far kept away from this latest round of violence. 

Whereas Operation Guardian of the Walls lasted 11 days and trickled into mixed Jewish-Arab towns and the Temple Mount, Operation Breaking Dawn lasted only three days over a weekend. In the U.S., weekend news programming and ratings are considered to be slower than weekdays. 

Former Israeli prime minister and current leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave an interview to Fox News on Sunday. His main message had more to do with the country’s internal politics than the military operation. 

“In times of crisis like this, there’s no opposition, there’s no coalition,” Netanyahu said. “We, Israelis – at least I do – unite behind the current effort to step out the terrorism.”  

The drama dominating the news cycle over the weekend took place in the U.S. Senate, where the Democrats passed their $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill. 

Only a few U.S. lawmakers, like Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, N.Y. Governor Kathy Hochul, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL and several others, dedicated time to post their support for the Jewish state’s defensive actions and the U.S. funding of the Iron Dome. 

Notably, near-absent from the pro-versus-anti-Israel debate online were the progressive U.S. House members of the so-called Squad, who spent the weekend in Minnesota helping Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, in the final lag of her primary race. 

Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-MI, was less vocal than usual this time around, writing on social media that “the lives of the Palestinian people are not disposable.”

“The fact that our country continues to ignore and fund the aggressive violence and killing of Palestinian lives, especially children, just enables more death. It is not okay to keep looking away. It’s actually sickening,” Tlaib wrote. 

Another reason for the relative lack of notice to the fighting in Gaza might have to do with the circumstances that led to its eruption. This time, there were no abducted soldiers or civilians, violence on the Temple Mount, Palestinian protests at the border, incendiary balloons or an impressive barrage of missiles. It all started following an IDF arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank – is a good story for a local news channel by American standards.

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

Popular Articles
A message from All Israel News
Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
Latest Stories