Barry Rubin reports on Today's Example of Ridiculous Media Bias Against Israel
Along the border with Lebanon, east of Metulla, some bushes were pushing in on the border fence. The fence is set in slightly from the border precisely so that Israeli soldiers can work on it. The IDF called UNIFIL and informed the UN that this work was going to be done today so that they could tell the Lebanese army that there was no aggression going on but just routine maintenance. Soldiers from UNIFIL came to observe and can be seen standing next to Israeli soldiers in the photos. Photographers were also standing by to film the operation.
But Lebanese soldiers opened fire on the Israelis who were working and in no way acting aggressively. The fact that journalists were standing next to the Lebanese soldiers shows that they knew Israel was going to do this maintenance and were observing. After the Israeli soldiers were ambushed, they returned fire. Reportedly, one Israeli officer, three Lebanese soldiers, and a Lebanese (?) journalist were killed.
So how did Reuters and Yahoo using an AP photo report this? By captions on photos saying that Israeli soldiers had crossed into Lebanon and been fired on! Other news agencies merely reported: Israel says the soldiers were inside Israel; Lebanon says they were on Lebanese territory.
Reuters: "An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers."
Yahoo: "A Lebanese officer spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said the clash occurred as Israeli troops tried to remove a tree from the Lebanese side of the border." No Israeli is quoted.
AP also missed explaining the story properly: "The violence apparently erupted over a move by Israeli soldiers to cut down a tree along the border, a sign of the high level of tensions at the frontier where Israel fought in 2006 with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah....There was no sign of any extensive Israeli preparations
for a large-scale operation - an early inddication the clash might not trigger a wider conflict."
The truth is easy to ascertain--did Israel announce the maintenance, permit the photographers and UN people to watch and then cross deliberately into Lebanon?--but Israel is being portrayed as an aggressor that caused the outbreak of fighting. So millions of people will either believe that Israel was at fault or that the event is in question.
The narrative, however, is simple: In an unprovoked attack, Lebanese soldiers fired on Israelis and murdered one soldier.
If the mass media cannot get this right how can it report accurately on other situations like the following:
2000: Israel offers to return the entire Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for full peace. Syria refuses.
2000: Israel offers to accept an independent Palestinian state in all of the Gaza Strip, almost all of the West Bank, and most of east Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority refuses.
2008: Hamas tears up a ceasefire, begins massive mortar and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, Israel defends itself.
2010: A Turkish pro-terrorist organization trying to help Hamas, a genocidal and antisemitic terrorist group, sends self-described jihadis on a ship who chant slogans about killing Jews and being Jihadi martyrs. When Israeli soldiers land, the Jihad warriors attack them with weapons and kidnap several. Israeli forces rescue the
soldiers, killing nine attackers in the operation.
But if the media cannot even get right a previously announced, UN-approved, maintenance activity on Israeli territory then what hope is their getting right anything more complex?
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).