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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NYT reports fairly on yesterday's accident

The New York Times' coverage of yesterday's accidental deaths of four Gaza civilians, writeen by Fares Akram, is actually fair to Israel:
An Israeli attempt to hit Palestinian militants who had fired rockets at Israel went horribly wrong on Tuesday, with mortar shells killing three youths playing soccer and a 60-year-old grandfather leaving his house.

After rockets were fired from a citrus grove behind houses in eastern Gaza City on Tuesday afternoon, the Israelis fired mortar rounds at the source. Three shells landed on a sandy street in front of a home about half a mile from the border, killing three members of the Helou family and a neighbor.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed regret at the deaths of civilians, adding, “It is regrettable that Hamas continues to intentionally rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians even as it uses civilians as human shields.”

The Israeli military also said it regretted the loss of civilian life and placed the blame on Hamas. “We do not target civilians,” Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman, said by telephone. “This was not our initiative. It was reactive.”

Relatives and neighbors were unusually open about the fact that the Israeli mortar attack was an attempt to hit militants firing rockets from the nearby grove.

We heard the sound of four mortars being fired by militants from a grove just beyond our house,” said Hassan, the older brother of Mohammed Harrara. “A few minutes later, the Israeli shells landed in the area.”

But the Washington Post simply repeats Hamas lies:
Tahar al-Nounou, a spokesman for Hamas's government in Gaza, said that no one had fired rockets from the area targeted by Israel on Tuesday. "The Palestinian government condemns strongly the awful crime that was committed by the Zionist occupation this afternoon,'' he said in Gaza.
See also Meryl Yourish's excellent comparison of AP's reporting of this incident versus the Fogel massacre.

(h/t David G)