Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats

Last Wednesday night, as he stood on a hilltop outside the Israeli town of Sderot and watched the bombardment of Gaza on the plain below, a Danish newspaper reporter snapped an iPhone photo of about a dozen locals who cheered on their military from plastic chairs while eating popcorn.

Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza
Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza
Allan Sørensen, a veteran Middle East correspondent for Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad, then uploaded the image to Twitter with a sardonic caption that described the macabre scene as “Sderot cinema.”

The image of the Israeli spectators was taken after 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday night, the reporter said, which was about the same time that what was intended to be a “precision strike,” from Israel’s military killed at least eight of their Palestinian neighbors, seated in similar plastic chairs at a beachside cafe in Gaza, waiting to watch the World Cup semifinal between Argentina and the Netherlands.

As his image reverberated around the social network, where it was shared more than 10,000 times, the reporter was surprised by the response. It was, he said in a telephone interview from Israel, “nothing new.” Similar scenes, of Israeli spectators gathered on the high ground above Gaza to view the destruction below, were documented in a Times of London article and a video report from Denmark’s TV2 during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.


A Danish television news report from January, 2009 showed Israelis watching the bombing of Gaza from a nearby hill. TV2 Denmark.
Explaining that he has also previously witnessed Palestinians cheering news of bombings that killed Israelis, Mr. Sørensen said that, in a war, “this is what happens.” Civilians and fighters on both sides, he said, “go through a process of dehumanizing the enemy.”

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