You can count on the New York Times for the latest in conventional wisdom’s preferred narrative.  But this attitude typically reaches its apotheosis when Times reporters do their best to be evenhanded about fighting in the Mideast.

Israel and Hamas widened their deadly conflict over Gaza on Thursday, as militants fired dozens of rockets — including one that killed three civilians in an apartment block in this small southern Israeli town — and two longer-range rockets aimed at Tel Aviv, causing no harm but triggering the first air raid warning there set off by incoming fire from Gaza. The death toll in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes rose to at least 19, including five children and a pregnant teenager.

There was no sign that either side was prepared to dial back the confrontation that has threatened a new war in the Middle East, despite entreaties for restraint by world leaders including President Obama and Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, who planned a visit there in coming days. If anything, the Israelis intensified their attacks on Gaza after the Tel Aviv scare and made new moves toward a possible ground invasion.

The Israeli deaths were the first since Israel’s military launched ferocious aerial assaults on Wednesday to stop the chronic rocket fire from Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave controlled by Hamas, the militant Palestinian group.

Why is this egregious?  Because Israel takes elaborate precautions to avoid civilian deaths, while Hamas intentionally targets Israeli civilians with its indiscriminate rockets —hence the targeting of Tel Aviv, Israel’s most populous city.

As Professor Jacobson posted yesterday afternoon, Palestinians intentionally put children in harm’s way, knowing that the press will report the preferred narrative.  They hide both militants and materiel among the civilian population (who would surely be murdered if they complained about being possible collateral damage).

One must never forget that, in 2005, Israel turned Gaza into a Jew-free zone in the hope of appeasing militant Palestinians—yet hasn’t had more than a few minutes peace since from the Qassam rockets falling on its civilian population in greater numbers ever since.  It’s clear that, by their words and by their deeds, Hamas will settle only for the extinction of Israel as a Jewish state and the death of as many Jews as possible.

Sort of puts the huh? in “no sign that either side was prepared to dial back the confrontation,” doesn’t it?

UPDATE: “A missile launch site in the Gaza Strip was set up by Hamas just half a block from a mosque and children’s playground, according to aerial photographs provided to KleinOnline by the Israel Defense Forces today….”