Rocket attacks on Israel, and reporters without borders (of integrity)

A guest post by Geary

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report contains the tellingly typical sentence:

The weekend death and injury toll was the highest since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week military assault on Gaza just over three years ago. [emphasis added]

Note “assault” (that is “thuggish behaviour”) and “on Gaza”. Not on Hamas, mind, but on Gaza.

I say typical because this is the usual wording carefully selected by Guardian writers to describe Cast Lead. A glance through the newspaper archives for 2010 reveals the following (my italics):

Cast Lead Israel’s military offensive against Gaza

Israel’s Cast Lead offensive in which 1400 Palestinians were killed

Operation Cast Lead (the attack on Gaza)

… the anniversary of Cast Lead, the war on Gaza.

Not once is any context given, no reason, no mention of Hamas or rockets. Just a mindless war on Gaza.

 How did the other UK so-called quality report Operation Cast Lead in relation to Gaza? The Telegraph, not sharing the Guardian’s Israel obsession, mentions it just twice and in the most neutral of fashions:

Israel’s controversial military offensive in Gaza

have been fired by Islamist groups in Gaza [into Israel] since Israel’s offensive, known as Cast Lead, was concluded.

The Times* has five mentions, some neutral:

            Israel was conducting Operation Cast Lead into Gaza

But in others there appears at first sight to be a similar tone to the Guardian:

… Israel’s three-week Israeli assault on Gaza

… the devastation of Operation Cast Lead when Israel killed about 1400 Palestinians

But the impression is soon dispelled if one reads on. The Times, being a proper newspaper, gives context. The two extracts above are part of the following wider picture:

… a three-week Israeli assault on Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks

In Gaza, Iran’s other protégé, Hamas, is risking a new war with Israel, two years after the devastation of Operation Cast Lead when Israel killed about 1400 Palestinians in an attempt to end Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel and topple the Islamists who rule the country.

Would the likes of Sherwood write of “Britain’s assault on Libya” or “the UK’s war on Afghanistan”? Of course not. But with Israel anything goes. And the first thing to go is journalistic integrity.

(*Times’ pay wall prevents direct link to stories noted)


The Times has recently been caught using a blatantly false caption about Israel’s Iron Dome system – used to protect Israeli communities in the south from Gaza rocket barrages. See the Honest Reporting expose, here.

15 replies »

  1. Astonished to hear the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, say on the Today programme this morning that rocket attacks on Gaza started after Israel’s attack on Friday. No mention of the 90 or so rockets this year prior to Israel’s action.

    • What is shocking is that there is hardly a mention in details about the foiled terror attack on Israel southern border through Egypt by Al Qaisi and that one of the people in his car that was also killed was non other than one of the high profiled prisioners from the Shalit deal.

      Didn’t take long for them to go back to their old habbits of planning attacks on Israel…

  2. The Independent couldn’t make up their minds how neutral they wanted to be. Their headlines said one thing but the story said another:

    Toll from Israel Gaza strikes now 14 militants didn’t sound too bad, especially as the headline made note of the fact that the casualties were militants, er, I mean terrorists, rather than civilians. But in the first paragraph they too talked about “The worst exchange of strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip” as if Israel was attacking the entire territory. However the rest of the article was fairly factual.

    Another article played up the latest civilian casualties in Gaza, but did remember to make mention, if only in passing and in underestimation, of the rockets fired at Israel.

    Obviously there was no focus on Israel civilian casualties, damage and trauma but I’ve stopped expecting miracles.

    • “I’ve stopped expecting miracles.” It wouldn’t be a miracle, just good journalism. This is something that can happen through persistence, miracles can’t.

  3. In fact most of the reports from all over the place,don’t mention the Hamas missiles prior to Israels air attacks in Gaza,they make it sound like the Hamas missiles into Israel was in revenge for Israel killing one of their leaders.

    Israeli Hasbara stinks.

  4. According to Human Rights Watch between September 2005 and May 2007 in which Palestinian armed groups fired 2,700 rockets toward Israel killing four people, Israel fired 14,617 heavy artillery shells into Gaza killing 59 people, including at least 17 children and 12 women.

    Strange you never mention that.

    • Alex you didn’t mention a more recent report by Human Rights Watch, dated January 19th 2012 and titled “Gaza/ West Bank Investigate Attacks on Rights Defenders”.

      The penultimate paragraph is very interesting;
      “Human Rights Watch has documented repeated abuses by both Hamas and PA officials against each other’s members as well as against internal critics and demonstrators, including arbitrary detention and torture. In other cases, armed groups in Gaza have fired rockets that fell short of their intended targets in Israel, harming Palestinian civilians, and have placed civilians at risk of Israeli attacks by locating military objects near populated areas in Gaza.”

      Strange you didn’t mention any of that.

    • When the rockets stop, the shelling will stop.
      Israel wants peace on its borders. Hamas wants war.
      It’s extremely simple.

      • You’re right Geary. A child could see it (until it’s had Jew hatred stuffed into its brain by Hamas).

    • “…Israel fired…”
      Should say “Israel returned fire”. In fact, what you should have said, just to make things more truthful, is that Palestinian armed groups dedicated to the destruction of a U.N. member state (Israel) fired rockets trying to kill as many Jews as possible, inadvertently killing some civilians.
      Human Rights Watch is not very reliable. I would never trust them for the number of casualties nor for accuracy as to how they died. The name “HRW” sounds good, but in reality their humanitarian concern is colored by a political agenda. That’s one reason it’s founder, Robert Bernstein, went and now started a new human rights group.

      • Addendum. I’m afraid I typed a bit too fast and meant to say that the Israeli return fire inadvertently killed some civilians.
        We all make mistakes. Sometimes we type faster than we should. Other times we make the mistake of supporting irrational, religiously intolerant, racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, anti-gay, genocidal totalitarians like Hamas.

  5. Strange you never mention that.

    Why should he mention totally uinsubstantiated BS reported by an anti-Israeli organisation whose founder left it with deep disgust due to their anti-Israel bias?

  6. “Why should he mention totally unsubstantiated BS reported by an anti-Israeli organisation…” Answer: Because he’s anti-Israel.