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February 07, 2003

Fair and balanced reporting from the NYT...

Our friends at the "newspaper of record" [sic] demonstrated their anti-Israeli bias yet again this morning.   Consider this update from the Gaza Strip in today's Times:

February 6, 2003 Demolishing Gaza Home, Israelis Kill Militant's Stepmother By JAMES BENNET JERUSALEM, Feb. 5 — While demolishing the home of a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip today, Israeli forces crushed to death his 65-year-old stepmother, who apparently did not hear their warnings to leave, the woman's family said...

...The Israeli Army said that it was checking the incident in Gaza, but that its soldiers had followed established procedure to create what the armed forces call a sterile zone before blowing up the two-story home in the Maghazi refugee camp.

Abla Said, the former wife of the militant, Baha Said, said soldiers had ordered her and her children to leave the house, but prevented her from returning to warn the stepmother, Kamla Said. "I told the Israelis I have to go and ask her to come, but they didn't let me go and wake her up," she said.

Kamla Said lived in a one-room building behind the house targeted for demolition, her family said.

The army said that over 90 minutes, soldiers evacuated the building and searched it, and then evacuated surrounding buildings.   "We are checking the claims, but the procedure was fully conducted for an hour and a half," a spokesman said.

In recent months, the army has demolished dozens of houses of Palestinian militants, saying the tactic discourages terrorist attacks.

Palestinians said Baha Said was killed two years ago while attacking soldiers guarding the Gaza settlement of Kfar Darom.   He and another gunman had killed two soldiers.

The army said it believed Mr. Said to have survived the Kfar Darom attack and to be on the loose.

The house was occupied by Mr. Said's four children and Abla Said, who, after Mr. Said's death, married his brother.  Four brothers of Mr. Said were arrested at the house today, the family said...

Here is YeshaNews' account of the events:

The IDF destroyed a home of a terrorist in the El-Muazi refugee camp The IDF destroyed the home of Bahaa Said, who was involved in a terror attack near Kfar Darom in November 2000. 2 soldiers were murdered in the attack.

During the destruction of the home, the IDF soldiers were fired upon. One of the terrorists was hit.

Here is the Israeli Defense Forces public announcement regarding the incident:

February 5th, 2003 IDF Demolishes Terrorist's House in the Central Gaza Strip As part of the ongoing war against terror and its infrastructure, IDF forces demolished last night (4 Feb.) in the Muassi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, the house Baha Said.   Said, a member of the Popular Resistance, was involved in the terror attack where terrorists infiltrated an IDF post near Kfar Darom, in the Gaza Strip on 18 November 2000, killing two IDF soldiers and injuring another.

During the IDF activity, shots were fired toward the IDF forces.   The IDF soldiers returned fire toward the source of the shooting and hit one of the terrorists.   Once their operation was over, the IDF forces left the Muassi area.

The demolition of terrorists' houses sends a message to suicide bombers and their terrorist accomplices that their actions have a price, which will be paid by all those who take part in terrorist activities.

The IDF will continue to use every legal means within its power to strike at terrorists, their dispatchers, and those who aid them.

It seems that Timesman James Bennett writes what his Palestinian sources tell him and then (for balance, since of course, he is objective) what his Israeli sources tell him.   And here I'd thought that journalists were supposed to do some independent verification of the facts!   (Silly me.)   For example, if this woman was crushed to death, where is the body?   Surely the actual facts surrounding this incident could be quickly determined.   But it would require getting off of your butt and actually doing some reporting.

Meanwhile, back on 43rd street, the editors preparing the headline for the story display their inclinations by dropping all qualifiers about the event, boldly asserting that the "Israelis Kill Militant's Stepmother".   Note that the man whose home was destroyed (Baha Said) was characterized as a militant: not a terrorist, or even a Palestinian soldier or guerilla or (gasp) freedom fighter.

Now I don't know what actually happened in the Muassi refugee camp last Tuesday, but it would appear that neither does Mr. Bennett. What is clear is that if a woman was crushed to death in the destruction of a combatant's house, it was an accident, and that Israeli forces had procedures in place to prevent events like that from occurring. Perhaps because the IDF forces were under fire at the time, they were not sufficiently careful in their search to be sure the houses were unoccupied. The IDF spokesman appeared to suggest that they were investigating to determine what did happen. Maybe the Times should either do its own investigating or wait until some credible sources have done so before asserting that an innocent woman had been killed by the Israelis. But perhaps that is asking too much from the would-be "newspaper of record".


February 7, 2003 at 09:46 AM | Permalink


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