In the latest raid by the IDF into Jenin to arrest two wanted terrorists, the Israelis were confronted with withering fire from heavily armed Palestinian terrorists, well-fortified and able to hit the Israelis from every direction. In addition, they had planted IEDs, one of which had exploded and damaged an Israeli vehicle. In order to help extract the IDF soldiers – eight of whom were wounded — from a potentially deadly situation, the IDF finally called in an Apache helicopter to help provide cover by hovering above to scare off the shooters, allowing the Israelis to extract themselves from the scene and pull out of Jenin safely. That Apache helicopter has been given a lot of media attention, with misleading reports of how its “withering fire” was aimed directly at the Palestinians. There was no such “withering fire” from the helicopter; it fired exactly one missile, which had been aimed deliberately at the ground, meant to scare the terrorists nearby enough to stop them from attacking the IDF vehicles as they made their way out of Jenin. More on that falsely-labelled “killer copter” can be found here: “Media Can’t Resist ‘Killer Copter’ Narrative in Exaggerated Jenin Raid Reports,” byJune 20, 2023:
The Israeli arrest raid in Jenin this week was different from previous raids in one respect: the terrorists who fired on IDF soldiers were so heavily armed and well-fortified that Israel was forced to deploy a helicopter to aid the extraction of its military personnel.
Indeed, so infested with terrorists is the West Bank city that eight soldiers were injured in the operation after coming under sustained gunfire and as a result of a huge roadside bomb being detonated.
The chopper, according to the IDF fired a missile into an open area to provide much-needed cover for soldiers from Palestinian gunmen in the vicinity during the extraction. In the course of its operations, it also deployed flares, apparently due to concern that Palestinian terrorists on the ground may have deployed surface-to-air rockets in an attempt to bring the helicopter down.
Keep that in mind: the helicopter fired only a “single missile into an open area.” It did not fire at any Palestinians; it was intended not to harm, but only to confuse and scare the Palestinian gunmen, giving the five IDF vehicles the time and space they needed to safely withdraw from Jenin.
In total, six Palestinians — at least four of whom were claimed by terrorist organizations — were killed.
In the Jenin raid, the IDF killed six Palestinians, at least four of whom, as the terror groups themselves said, were members of either PIJ or Hamas. The other two may have been lone-wolf terrorists, or members of such new terror groups as the Lions’ Dean, or indeed, may have been civilians. At this point no one knows.
While initial news reports about the raid focused on the death toll, pieces published later centered on the use of the Apache gunship in the West Bank for the first time since the Second Intifada two decades ago.
The ‘Attacker Apache’
Several media outlets erroneously reported that the helicopter had been deployed as an offensive measure, rather than a purely defensive countermeasure.
The New York Times, for example, embedded video footage that clearly shows the chopper dropping flares, but incorrectly described it as “opening fire during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.”
The video showed only flares being dropped; apparently the Times’ reporters are unable to tell the difference between flares, intended to draw fire away from the helicopter, and missiles. The New York Times incorrectly described the flares as part of the “opening fire during clashes” between the IDF and Palestinians. Flares are not weapons.
This is despite the fact that the main body of the NYT piece correctly states that the chopper had targeted open areas as Israeli soldiers worked under fire.
The NYT later amended its caption in response to HonestReporting’s tweet.
The Associated Press similarly misreported that the IDF had used a helicopter in an attack, specifically by describing the Apache as having “fired missiles at Palestinian gunmen.”
The AP should have known that the helicopter was not used in an attack, and that it did not “fire missiles at Palestinian gunman.” It fired exactly one missile into the ground, designed to scare, but not to harm, anyone. it fired the flares so as to attract enemy fire away from the helicopter itself. How hard was that for the AP reporter on the ground to discover? And where did the plural “missiles” come from? Was the AP reporter relying not on his own observations, but on what Palestinians told him had happened, and he was too lazy, or too biased, to check with the IDF as to its version of events. The IDF has a well-earned reputation for telling the truth, and the Palestinians a similarly well-deserved reputation for lying. At the very least, the AP report should have reported both versions: “The Palestinians claim an Israeli helicopter fired repeatedly at its fighters and civilians,” while the “Israelis claim the helicopter fired exactly one missile into open ground, to scare and disrupt the Palestinians as the IDF vehicles tried to make their way out of Jenin. It also fired flares to draw enemy fire away from the helicopter itself.”
Missiles v. Flares
Meanwhile, several media outlets published videos of the helicopter deploying flares in the area, but misidentified the defensive salvo as “missiles.”
CNN was forced to correct this mistake after being called out by HonestReporting when it published a photo that clearly showed the helicopter shooting flares but included a caption that described them as missiles while the copy simply called them “four projectiles.”
CNN initially misidentified the flares from the helicopters as missiles, and corrected their mistake only after HonestReporting alerted them. Are their reporters really incapable of distinguishing flares from missiles? If so, then perhaps they should be replaced by those for whom such distinctions pose no difficulties. After all, reporters assigned to cover Israel and the Palestinians are, for much of the time, war reporters, given the situation in the region, and should be able to tell at a glance flares from missiles, missiles from drones, and drones from Iron Dome anti-missile missiles.
Some media outlets, including the BBC, apparently failed to note that flares were used by the helicopter. Why? Did they simply assume that anything fired by an Apache helicopter would be a missile aimed at Palestinians ? Couldn’t they see, with their naked eye, that those flares were purely defensive, being fired to draw enemy fire away from the helicopter?
The Killer Copter
The most egregious reporting about the Jenin raid was the number of news organizations that libelously claimed Israel had used the helicopter to shoot at Palestinians, and falsely suggested the Palestinian deaths were a result of missile fire.
In one of the more malicious and patently false headlines, The Daily Beast claimed Israel “attack[ed] a refugee camp.”
Israel did not attack a “refugee camp.” The IDF entered Jenin in five vehicles, but did not go into the Palestinian refugee camp. Its purpose was to arrest two terror suspects; the IDF encountered militants who, with withering firepower and roadside bombs, managed to keep the Israeli soldiers held down in those five vehicles. The fighting lasted eight hours and ended when, for the first time in two decades, a helicopter came, fired one shot into the ground, meant to scare the Palestinians nearby, and then shot off four flares to draw fire away from itself; this allowed the Israeli troops in their vehicles to escape from Jenin without further casualties.
The Daily Beast report makes it seem that the IDF was the aggressor, claiming that, seemingly out of the blue, it “attack[ed] a refugee camp.” It should have reported , but did not, that the raid into Jenin occurred after several terrorist murders of Israeli civilians. The IDF entered Jenin to seize the terrorist perpetrators. The aggressors were the Palestinian terrorists; the IDF was responding to their aggression.
NBC News was guilty of muddling the raid timeline to make it appear as though Israel deployed the chopper from the get-go and it was used to take out terrorists. The reality is that it was used well into the operation and only in response to gunfire — that is, the helicopter did not spark the gun battle.
The helicopter was called in only after the IDF soldiers in their five vehicles had been pinned down, and needed some help in distracting and scaring off the Palestinian gunmen. This was toward the end of the eight-hour gun battle. And again, no gunfire from the Apache helicopter was directed at the Palestinians: exactly one missile was fired into an open field near to where some of gunmen were hiding, so as to scare them. The rest were flares, meant to divert fire away from the Apache.
Both The Guardian and 7NEWS Australia called the ground-led operation a “helicopter raid,” while the Australian broadcaster also wrongly stated it was a “deadly” air raid and that five Palestinians were killed in a “missile strike.”
The IDF incursion into Jenin was not a “helicopter raid.” It was a ground incursion, with five armored vehicles. Only very late in the fight did a solitary helicopter appear; there was no “deadly” air raid. No Palestinians, much less five, were killed in a “missile strike” from the helicopter. They were killed by the IDF soldiers on the ground. The helicopter was there only at the very end, and there was nothing “deadly” about its appearance; the helicopter was there to disrupt, confuse, and scare the Palestinian gunman, not to kill them, thereby allowing the IDF soldiers to escape. And that’s exactly what it did.
However, as video evidence will attest, the Apache only fired on open areas close to where Palestinian terrorists had concealed themselves.
Most of the international media wanted this to be a story about the great unfair discrepancy in Israeli and Palestinian forces. Instead of focusing on the Palestinian murders of civilians that prompted the IDF’s incursion into Jenin to seize the terrorists responsible, their reports emphasized the appearance of the Apache helicopter, part of a non-existent “deadly helicopter raid” that supposedly rained down death, through “missile strikes,” on the outgunned Palestinians who, the implication was clear, should have our sympathy because they have no helicopters of their own. Not a word of this coverage was true.
To repeat: late in the ferocious gun battle inside Jenin, after eight of its soldiers had been wounded, by gunfire and an IED, the IDF called in a single helicopter, whose sole task was to help extricate the IDF soldiers from Jenin. This it did, by firing a single missile into the ground, near to where some gunmen were hiding, as a warning to stop firing, and let loose, as well, four flares, to draw fire away from the helicopter. These tactics worked, and the IDF vehicles managed to extract themselves from Jenin successfully. But how many, thanks to the reports in The Guardian, The BBC, The AP, NBC News, and many other media outlets, are convinced that a fleet of Apache helicopters arrived to rain down death on nearly defenseless Palestinians?