Independent

Independent tries to ‘balance’ report blaming Hamas for July 28 attack on Palestinian kids


A rocket attack that killed 11 Gazan children and hit a hospital during the summer war was the work of Palestinian terrorists, not an IDF strike, according to a report by Amnesty International, an NGO extremely hostile to Israel. Amnesty reported, consistent with conclusions of the IDF (and others who fisked the attack), that the explosion at the Al-Shati refugee camp on July 28 “which killed the children buying sweets on the first day of Eid ul Fitr” was the result of Hamas rockets.

Times of London today (March 26) reported the following:

The explosion at the Al-Shati refugee camp on July 28…was the result of misfired rockets by Hamas, Amnesty International concluded.

Hamas blamed Israel for the bombing at the time, but a relation of one of dead child said that Palestinian militants went to the scene and tried to hide the evidence of their involvement.

“I saw the body of the rocket [and] I knew it was a local one,” the family member told The Times. “Some people came and hid it on the spot — however, it was really hot.”

He said that he held Hamas, as governors of Gaza, responsible but that no one from the group had ever visited the family or apologised. Two adults also died and another 19 were injured.

The piecing together of one of the worst incidents of the war was done by independent ballistics experts working for Amnesty. They concluded from photos of blast damage and surviving parts of the missile that the strike was by a Palestinian rocket which fell short. Another rocket from the same salvo struck the Shifa hospital.

The Independent, as with other British news sites, filed a story on the Amnesty report this morning. However, unlike other new sites, it evidently felt the need to balance news on the misfired Hamas rocket with another story imputing Israeli guilt.

Here’s a snapshot of the two reports, one above the other, on their Middle East page, where you can see the “he said, she said” angle.

balance

The March 26 report seen above, A father who still blames Israel for the death of his son amid the conflicting accusations, by Kim Sengupta, cites the Amnesty report blaming Hamas, but also quotes at length the wheelchair bound victim, Mahmoud Abu-Shaqfa, who lost a child in the attack, about the injuries he sustained.

However, the headline chosen by Indy editors is quite curious, as most of the article is simply a human interest story about the suffering of the victims. Only one line in the entire piece focuses on Abu-Shaqfa’s claim that Israel was to blame.

That’s what I think about all the time, not who was responsible. I have heard that it might have been Hamas, but I don’t think they have rockets that big. I think it was the Israelis.”

Though the opinion of the victim may indeed be relevant, the Indy journalist could have informed readers of the strong possibility that Mr. Abu-Shaqfa was constrained in what he felt he could say due to fears of Hamas retaliation. If he did believe the rocket which severely injured him was indeed fired by Palestinian terrorists, there’s quite obviously – due to the thuggish nature of the Islamist regime – a very good chance he didn’t feel free to say so. 

If even foreign journalists admitted to being intimidated by Hamas during the war, just imagine the pressures ordinary Gazan civilians must face when confronted with the decision of whether to criticize the regime.

Finally, we were struck by this remarkable admission by the Indy journalist midway through her article, presumably commenting on the failure of news outlets at the time to determine Hamas’s guilt in the attack.

indy admission

Sorry, but we’ve always operated under the evidently quaint assumption that it is the primary job of foreign journalists in conflict zones to “examine the evidence” before filing reports. 

7 replies »

  1. Shockeroo–international media incorrectly and loudly blamed Israel for this rocket attack, demonstrating yet again that their “reporting’ is much more about getting their political rocks off than what the facts are.

    Reminiscent of what even the NY Times’ own ombudsman said when he retired in protest couple yrs. ago, about the Times’ loss of objectivity: “Many of our articles now sound more like someone’s cause than the facts.”

    Amen.

  2. We reporters…had little time for examining the evidence
    Really? The Independent never and nowhere needed any evidence using blood libels against Jews.

  3. “We reporters…had little time for examining the evidence” – so the default option, of course, was to blame the shitty Jews.

    I have no hesitation in saying (and I have told them so repeatedly) that Amnesty is not ‘hostile to Israel’ but just as thoroughly antisemitic as the Independent, Guardian, NYT, BBC and C4.

  4. He doesn’t think Hamas has rockets that big? They have rockets with nearly twice the explosives of the largest Israeli artillery.

  5. to be fair and moderate [ as we are on this site ] the statement that the journos didn’t have time to examine evidence is astounding .

    How many journos were there in Gaza in summer of 2014 ? The hotels were full !

    some of that evidence was being fired underneath their hotel windows , other evidence was the military command centres at the hospitals , the weapons in schools ,
    It was wilful look away and deny the evidence . Matti Freidman said it all .