The New York Times reports (my emphasis added):

An Israeli drone strike killed at least five Palestinian militants at an Islamic Jihad training site in southern Gaza on Saturday, according to witnesses and the militant group.
The Israeli military said it had hit a terrorist squad that was preparing to fire long-range rockets into Israel, and that the same squad had been responsible for firing a rocket that struck late Wednesday near the port city of Ashdod, in southern Israel.

Wednesday’s rocket fire interrupted weeks of relative quiet along the Israel-Gaza border and set off incoming rocket alarms as far north as Rishon LeZion, a Tel Aviv suburb. That rocket fell in an open area and caused no casualties or damage.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, has made efforts to enforce a cease-fire since the last round of cross-border airstrikes and rocket attacks in August that claimed casualties on both sides. The August confrontation was precipitated by a deadly attack north of Eilat in which eight Israelis died. The attackers in that episode crossed the border into Israel from Egypt, but Israel said the attack was orchestrated by another militant group in Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees, and immediately killed its senior commanders in an airstrike

The Times doesn’t tell us what sort of “militant” group Hamas is. Is it militant about nuclear non-proliferation? Militant about gun control? No, it’s militant about killing Jews. In fact, it’s a designated terror group. The action described — preparing to launch missiles into a civilian population — is a war crime.

This sentence is bizarrely configured to conceal the nature of the event: “The August confrontation was precipitated by a deadly attack north of Eilat in which eight Israelis died.” The deadly attack by whom? Ah, the militants. Actually that would be the terrorists who entered Israel from Gaza and killed eight unarmed Israelis, including two children, aged 4 and 6 years old. So to be more precise, this group is militant about killing Jews and their children.

This is emblematic of the bastardization of language that has gone on in recent years. Writers and editors cowed by the legion of anti-Israel voices, use kid gloves to describe murderers. But this Goldstone-like perversion of the truth — in which terrorists become just militants and the enormity of their evil is ignored — has become all too pervasive in seemingly respectable publications.

We should call people and actions by their accurate names. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), while celebrating the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, said, “The Jewish State of Israel remains surrounded by murderous terrorists who seek to kill Israelis. From Hamas and Hezbollah, to Syria and Iran, Israel’s and America’s enemies continue their evil obsession to slaughter the Israeli people and drive the Jewish State into the sea. Even if it means using their own men, women and children as shields from behind which they launch thousands of rockets at innocent Israelis — these barbarians are still locked into their genocidal course.” In refusing to mince words about describing the terrorists (“Not all Palestinians, mind you. Just the ‘murderous terrorists,’ ” as Adam Kredo of Washington Jewish Week put it) he does a service to the truth. And in doing so he draws a line between murderous terrorists and nonviolent Palestinians.

Ironically, it is the New York Times that fuzzed up this important distinction by the use of the term “militant.” There are thousands of Palestinians “militant” about wanting their own state who eschew and condemn violence. But in Times vernacular they get lumped in with “militants” who fire rockets at children.

It’s really not that complicated to anyone following the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The urge to smother reality in a cloud of ambiguous verbiage should be resisted. Let’s call a terrorist a terrorist, an innocent an innocent and a war crime, a war crime.