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UNRWA School Déjà Vu – Again, the Media Uncritically Reports Lies

August 3, 2014 11:54 am 15 comments

Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

On January 6, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the BBC (and every other news outlet) reported:

At least 40 people were killed and 55 injured when Israeli artillery shells landed outside a United Nations-run school in Gaza, UN officials have said.

A number of children were among those who died when the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp was hit, doctors at nearby hospitals said.

Some media said at the time that as many as 46 were killed. The UN was in the forefront of telling those number to the media.

By the time the Goldstone Report came around to the issue, the claims were downsized a bit to 24 people killed, and he admitted that the school wasn’t hit, but that Israeli fire hit outside the school. And Goldstone even admitted that he didn’t verify the figure of 24, but just accepted it from testimonies – testimonies that included known Hamas members.

Of course, at this point, people only remembered the initial lurid headlines.

The Goldstone report wasn’t accurate either. From combing through the casualties listed by PCHR, the dates and locations, double checking the names of the victims with known terrorists, and reports from witnesses who Goldstone didn’t bother to find, it is certain that there was serious mortar fire originating from the street outside the school and that at least three and possibly as many as 10 terrorists were killed in the Israeli retaliation.

That is much different from the initial, lurid, and utterly false headlines. But the truth didn’t get reported by any major media outlet.

Now, fast forward to today:

Ten Palestinians were killed on Sunday after Israeli shells hit a UN school in Rafah where thousands of people were sheltering from the ongoing Israeli offensive.

At least 30 were injured in the strike, according to Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra.

The Washington Post agrees:

United Nations school was attacked in southern Gaza on Sunday, killing at least 10 and injuring more than 30, as Israeli shells continued to bombard southern Gaza, hours after President Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would pay “an intolerable price” for its assaults.

Was a school hit?

As Israel Matzav reports, some media are mentioning a slightly different story. From ITV:

A deadly air strike near a United Nations-run school in Gaza was targeting a vehicle outside the front gate of the school, a witness has told ITV News.

Well, that’s a little different, isn’t it?

Most of the most recent reports are already walking back from the charge that the school was hit, since it wasn’t. It remains to be seen if the reporters at the scene will actually try to ferret out the truth. Given the false initial reports, the chances for that are pretty small.

It will take some time to find out the facts, but as usual, reporters are rushing into quote known liars like UNRWA spokespeople and the Gaza Ministry of Health without any mention of their unreliable record – just as they did in 2009.

If the IDF targeted a car, and knowing that the IDF usually uses fairly small missiles to hit cars, it seems quite possible that the car was carrying explosives or rockets that went off and ended up hurting and killing people outside the school.

This doesn’t stop UNRWA officials from saying that Israel is targeting UN facilities deliberately.

The media laps it up, knowing that the IDF takes hours to investigate and make a statement because of the complexity of researching real facts rather than the ease of parroting ridiculous charges from known liars.

15 Comments

  • Predictably, although Israel is winning the battles, she is suffering unfair condemnation—not only in Europe, but here in America, especially with the likes of the NY Times and CNN. It was quite refreshing for me to hear Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in an interview with Erin Burnett, call out CNN’s coverage of the conflict in Gaza as irresponsible and one-sided, citing its coverage of a UN run school wherein 16 children were killed. As Dermer pointed out, CNN failed to mention that there were missiles stored in UN schools and that Israel warned them to vacate! Dermer castigated CNN’s one-sided reporting as a “disservice to its viewers.”

    It’s unbelievable to note that when the UN discovered missiles in their schools—what did they do with them?—they handed them over to Hamas! Hamas, who targets school children with their missiles and terrorist attacks! We don’t know exactly what happened at that school, but it is entirely possible that the missile that hit it was fired by Hamas, landing short of its target as other rockets had.

    It seems that no matter the provocation, Israel is condemned. Hamas launches over 2,000 missiles and Obama and the EU demand restraint! Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out that there was not a single condemnation of the killing of 3,000 Palestinians in the Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria. And very little was said about the Christians of Mosul in northern Iraq that were given 24 hours by ISIS to convert, leave, or die. A church dating back 1800 years, before the advent of Islam, was then burned to the ground. The Western media were too busy decrying the “massacre” in Gaza.

    I would suggest to place modern video cameras on each IDF tank and rocket and keep continues surveillance of UN facilities, hospitals, etc. sensitive places using satellites, air support and drones. This could make IDF info about Hamas provocateurs operating at UN facility’s vicinities much more substantial. Cameras are widely used by aircrafts since WWII and their application could be broaden to support truth. E.g., IDF radar’s photos with corresponding interpretation showing that Hamas (rather than IDF) rockets hit hospital and beach camp should be broadcast each hour .

    Another holocaust is possible. If it happened once it can happen again. Thank G-d we have Israel. We need to do everything possible to keep Israel militarily strong. Jews get out of Europe. There can be no compromise regarding Israel nor can we depend on the good will of others. This unfortunately is a lesson that many Jews have never learned. Never forget, never forgive never again.

    RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    HILLARY = OBAM 3, and 4

    . Where is our President Obama as our foreign policy has turned into a complete disaster.

    Video of Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg SAYS: President Obama, You Have Some Nerve:.

    Video is on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig8c795KymA

  • People are still expecting a solution to ‘the Conflict’. Like it was a puzzle to be solved with one line answer. There is no solution this time. Not in man’s terms of reference You will have to wait and see what God , who rules in man’s kingdom will do to you. Or if you are blessed,,for you. There is no other way.

  • I don’t trust any anti-Israel reports because I love and trust Israel. I know the IDF is moral and tries hard to not kill innocent children. I also know Hamas is evil. We have been fighting the media battle for a long time. Those who wish to think badly of the IDF believe the lies. There are more people anti-Israel than pro-Israel. Journalism and newspapers are big business. Horror stories sell papers.

  • This month Gaza has seen the death of 1800 Arabs at least half of whom were bearing arms against Israel yet by concentrating on the minority of child casualties the press at Hamas instigation has shifted blame from all its own notoriety. Three years the Syrians have killed 180 000 ie 100x times as many of their own reckoned by the same international do gooders to be 3/4 civvies. Can somebody explain why 1800 Arabs killed by Jews collect as much and more scandal and sympathy as 180 000 Arabs killed by Arabs while ignoring tha tit is Egypt and the Arab World that keeps these unfortunates in Gaza instead of allowing them to find jobs in the Gulf states that finance Hamas – especially Qatar?

  • Israel has no other option than putting the individuals responsible for this deliberate propaganda of lies on trial. If it includes foreigners they must be either expelled or charged for damaging the Jewish state.
    Broadcasting companies, known for their notoriously incorrect reporting should be banned from entering the country.

  • since we know of this heavy bias in media against israel why havent we put the journalism colleges on the spot to monitor professionalism of journalists.

    also what about the professional societies standards of ethics,
    can you imagine if doctors did malpractice on this scale what the medical societies would do?
    so we should be filing claims of malpractice to journalism schools and societies.
    as well as contacting advertisers on CNN and biased papers.
    seems like we complain but other than canera.org and honest reporting little is done
    where are the orgs like ADL, A J C who should be pressing advertisers and prof societies.

  • Mickey Oberman

    If reporters are intimidated by Hamas they should keep quiet rather than file lies and half truths. But they would rather damage Israel than retain any semblance of honour.

    Their lack of morality will catch up with them some day.

    Perhaps when they flee Gaza for their lives and try to enter Israel where they will find their way blocked.

    That is called “Just Deserts”.

    I could lie and say I hope that never happens.
    In truth I sincerely hope it does
    I would celebrate and eat sweets like the Arabs..

    Mickey Oberman

    • Fredric M. London

      The trouble with that is that most reporters in the region are predisposed to accept everything and anything the terrorists report. Some have been intimidated, but many have an agenda, and never allow the facts to get in the way of their predisposed narrative. I have no doubt that many have witnessed terrorist atrocities, and some fear for their safety. But the whole idea of on the spot journalism is that it provides on the ground reporting of the truth. Today’s lame stream press would not report the truth if the combined leaders of Europe, and Obama, were in personal attendance. Their motives are not journalistic, but editorial to the unrelenting hatred towards Israel and Jews.

  • there is a u.n. official in gaza who makes himself available to the press. that official carries a palpable, aggressive, and unapologetic bias. this official is paid by the u.n. but he actually works for hamas. if there is an explosion, anywhere, his working assumption, always conveyed as indisputable fact, is that it was caused by Israel. (of course, this cretin, like his u.n., ngo, and media colleagues, is indifferent to what happens to Israel and Israelis, irrespective of whether the rockets, mortars, tunnels originate in or near u.n. facilities or not. in their view: not their problem.)

    this disgusting accomplice to terrorism has made statements to the effect that “Israelis know where the school is” or “we told the Israelis the coordinates of the school,” etc. as if that settles the matter. even if it were true, and this official’s statements do not deserve the presumption of truth, belligerent terrorists do not enjoy immunity because they enjoy the hospitality of the u.n. and the cooperation of its officials.

  • The UN has long been the worlds’ foremost bastion of anti Israel and anti Jewish hatred. WE know the massive list of un resolutions. against Israel. UNWRA is a milk cow for hamas and starting with the definition of refugee and the list of refugees has NEVER been honest. The UN never apologizes and has lomg lied. Shame on most media for believing them and for the medias moral cowardice. UNHRC has already convicted Israel for crimes. The UN guarantees that there will be NO Peace in the ME

  • As Jews we need to remember that they hate us even if they want us to think they don’t and I am talking about some of the reporters. After all, did anyone think that its new they report? Of course not, its what they want to report and make everyone believe.

  • It doesn’t matter to the media what the ‘truth’ is. Either way everything is presented as if Israel deliberately and with malice aforethought targets ‘innocent civilians.’ Why the media laps it up so completely baffles me. Is it simply the real culprit of anti-Semitism or are journalists being threatened by Hamas or are they just too lazy to investigate? Whatever the answer is the social media websites are reeking with Jew hatred and the consequences are frightening to think about.

    • Oh please! Israel has always targeted the innocent, because it has a policy of collective punishment, and it easier to kill women and children. Their policy is “if you are a Palestinian, you are a legitimate target regardless of whether you are women or children”. How can anyone with any sense of decency defend Israel in what they have done? Shame on you.

    • Ros,
      Disingenuous, dishonest reporting has primarily three reasons. Sloppiness, a political agenda and most importantly to the news organizations – an unambiguous need for ratings and career advancement. I don’t remember who said it, but to paraphrase – “In war, truth is the first victim”.

      CNN has been losing viewership constantly in the USA. It sees this opportunity for sensational reporting as a way to bring back viewers. With few exceptions, the entire staff at CNN has become the “op ed” department for Hamas.

      Hopefully, once the war is ended, they will be too…..

    • Sadly, I think you are quite right in terms of the reliability of the reporting. I also think reporters are thoroughly intimidated by the ruthless Hamas operatives “minding” them.

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