I try to stay out of any discussion about stuff that happens in the Gulf region. It’s just way too complicated and scary, there’s too much that I don’t understand. But sometimes I do get riled up enough about some aspect of the news from that part of the world to comment – albeit trepidatiously, given my general ignorance about the whole situation.

Today’s “incursion” by Israel into the Gaza Strip is one of those occasions.

I just don’t see how getting together a bunch of tanks and soldiers and rolling over into somebody else’s territory can reasonably be described as an incursion. It’s not an incursion. It’s an invasion.

I know that technically they mean more or less the same thing.

invasion n. 1. The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer. 2. A large-scale onset of something injurious or harmful, such as a disease. 3. An intrusion or encroachment.incursion n. 1. An aggressive entrance into foreign territory; a raid or invasion. 2. The act of entering another’s territory or domain. 3. The act of entering or running into.

But calling it an incursion does make it sounds like one more of those things that happen, nothing too serious, something like an excursion perhaps. Call it an invasion and we all know what it means.

In the approximately 10,000 times that I have heard these events discussed on the news while I have lain sick in my bed today, I have heard the word “incursion” a gazillion times, but not once have I heard the word “invasion”. It’s as though the BBC are deliberately trying to play it down.


(And then the White House are telling us that they support what Israel is doing on the ground that they have a right to “defend” themselves. I have heard it said that attack is the best form of defence, and I guess that is after all the basis of the war on terror. But to invade a whole country to rescue a single abducted soldier seems to me to be stretching the concept of self-defence a bit too far. Even America wouldn’t do that, I hope.)

It’s stuff like this that makes me really cross. We are supposed to have a balanced media, yet so often (this is just one example) it comes across to me as indefensibly biased in Israel’s favour.