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Thursday, December 07, 2006

A little selective reporting from Reuters

Reuters just blasted out a dispatch to its hundreds of newspapers and other media subscribers, where it is being reproduced on hundreds of websites, with the headline:
Israeli forces wound 2 Palestinians on Gaza border
The story goes on to say:
GAZA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot and wounded two Palestinians on the Gaza border on Thursday, medical officials said, the second time Israeli forces have opened fire since a truce took effect along the strip last month.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a number of Palestinians approached the Israeli-built border fence near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya and began to sabotage it. Soldiers fired warning shots that were ignored, she said. "The force fired at one Palestinian and hit him in the leg," the spokeswoman said. The army said it was unaware of a second man being hit.

Palestinian hospital officials said two brothers had been wounded, although it was unclear if it was from the same shooting.

Residents said the men were collecting scrap metal.

One gets the impression of poor, helpless unarmed Palestinian Arabs just scavenging for scrap metal (seemingly on the ground or from another structure) near the border, heartlessly shot by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers, with the lame excuse of "sabotage" concocted afterwards.

You need to go to The Jerusalem Post to learn a bit more:
IDF troops shot and wounded a Palestinian man Thursday morning he and nine others tried to cut the Gaza Strip security fence near the community of Netiv Ha'asara.

According to the army, it was unclear whether the Palestinians were planning on infiltrating Israel, or if they were just stealing the metal from the fence. An IDF patrol that arrived on the scene called on the group to disperse, and after they refused, opened fire at their legs.

Nine people cutting a border fence, for whatever reason, is a bit more serious.

And clearly Reuters knew this because they mentioned the "collecting scrap metal" idea but didn't bother to say that it was metal from a fully functioning security fence, not "scrap." Also, the JPost story above was written when only one was known to be injured while the Reuters update mentions two, so Reuters knows quite well it isn't "scrap metal" and what they were doing.

But in the Reuters Bizarro world where Kassam rockets are "home-made" even while Israel used to target "metal workshops" in Gaza, and somehow the reporters at Reuters were never able to put those two pieces of information together, it is not surprising that "collecting scrap metal" and "sabotaging a fence" can seem to be unrelated as well.

I wouldn't be surprised to see al-Reuters starting to refer to PalArab tunnel-diggers as "miners."

It would be completely beyond the intrepid Reuters reporters to even consider the slightly wider context that those nine scavengers may have been sent to draw fire as a pretext to say that Israel is violating the "cease fire." After all, the fence has been there for years now and we have not seen any scrap metal collectors show up before, as far as I can recall.

(I'm surprised that Reuters didn't highlight how the PalArab media is describing this - that Israel took potshots at farmers who were working their farmland. )