Alarm from the Council for the National Interest Foundation president, Alison Weir. More slanted Israeli-centric news from a major new organization, the Associated Press, and an understanding why Israel consistently is cast as a victim, in spite of its occupation of the Palestinian people and the continuing theft of their lands and country.
The Associated Press is the oldest and largest wire service in the world and is the primary source of international news for newspapers all over the country.
As we expect you’re acutely aware, its reports are consistently Israeli-centric. Therefore, we are providing an analysis of today’s report on Gaza, telling what actually occurred over the past week, what AP chose to report, and what it chose not to report.
This kind of highly distorted reporting misleads Americans on Israel-Palestine, resulting in the disastrous Middle East policies we see today. We feel that exposing this situation and educating the general public — as well as editors here in America — on the actual situation in the region will help to bring the change so urgently needed.
First, How AP works
Since most newspapers don’t have their own reporters in Israel or the Palestinian Territories, they obtain their news on this region from wire services. AP is usually the only global wire service taken by U.S. newspapers.
Although AP is a cooperative, which means that it is “owned” by all the news organizations that use its news, in reality there is almost no oversight of its work. Editors around the country simply accept its reporting at face value.
The trouble is, however, that its reporting is consistently Israeli-centric.
The “control bureau” for the region, through which all news reports are funneled, is located in Israel. Its editors are living in Israel, their families are frequently Israeli, and quite often they themselves are Israeli citizens.
Even when an AP report carries a Palestinian dateline and even a Palestinian byline, in the large majority of cases the article was actually written in Israel, frequently by an Israeli editor.
A study of AP’s reporting found that it had reported on Israeli children’s deaths at a rate seven times greater than they reported on Palestinian children’s deaths – even though Palestinian children were killed first and in far greater numbers.
This blog will deconstruct AP’s daily reporting on Israel-Palestine: it will discuss its editors’ word choices, editorial decisions, and headlines. It will especially explore which “context” AP’s editors on this beat have chosen to include and which to ignore.
Alison Weir continues
First, let’s look at what has happened in Gaza in the past week:
On Friday, April 1, Israeli forces assassinated a 24-year-old member of a Palestinian resistance group in Gaza.
On Saturday, April 2, the Israeli air force assassinated three members of the group.
On Tuesday, April 5, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in northern Gaza, reportedly unarmed and not part of any resistance groups.
On Wednesday, April 6, at dawn Israeli forces bombarded Gaza in three air strikes, injuring four people, including two women (one of them pregnant) and a child.
On Wednesday afternoon hundreds of children in Gaza participated in a march asking the international community to protect them against ongoing Israeli raids and attacks.
On Wednesday night the Israeli Air Force bombarded several areas of Gaza, causing extensive damage; at least one resident was injured.
On Thursday morning, April 7, the resistance group that had suffered four assassinations fired mortars at a nearby Israeli town, which injured two people on an almost empty school bus, the bus driver and the one student (16) who hadn’t already been dropped off.
Thursday at noon Israeli forces bombarded Gaza, killing five people and injuring over 40.
Thusday evening Palestinian resistance forces all agreed to a ceasefire to try to prevent the violence from increasing.
Israel ignored this and continued its air strikes against Gaza, killing still more Gazans.
In all, Israeli forces killed 14 people within 24 hours and injured dozens.
Among those killed were a mother, her young daughter, and an elderly man.
Following is how AP reported on this news. This story is on hundreds of newspaper websites around the country:
Israeli army strikes Gaza after school bus hit
By MATTI FRIEDMAN
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli aircraft and ground forces struck Gaza on Friday, killing two Hamas gunmen and three civilians
No mention in either the headline or the lead paragraph that Israeli forces killed a total of 14 people in the past 24 hours, including a mother, her young daughter (injured another of her children), and an elderly man, and that they injured dozens of others.
in a surge of fighting sparked by a Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli school bus the day before.
No mention that this rocket attack was sparked by Israeli forces killing five Gazans in the preceding few days.
Just over two years after rocket fire from Gaza triggered
Israel had already broken the cease fire three times, killing seven Palestinian, which is what triggered the rock fire.
a devastating Israeli military offensive in the territory, which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, at least 773 of them civilians – hundreds of them children.
Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers seemed on the brink of another round of intense violence.
AP still chooses not to mention the five Palestinians in Gaza that Israeli forces had killed in preceding days.
In Thursday’s attack, Gaza militants hit an Israeli school bus near the border with a guided anti-tank missile, injuring the driver and badly wounding a 16-year-old boy. Most of the schoolchildren on the bus got off shortly before the attack.
By Friday morning, Israel’s ongoing retaliation
AP calls the Israeli action retaliation (for two injured, one with minor injuries) but fails to calls that the rocket attack retaliation (for the killing of five people).
had killed 10 Gazans – five militants, a policeman and four civilians – and wounded 45. The dead Friday included three civilians killed by Israeli tank fire and two militants killed in an air strike, both near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.
Still no mention of the mother and children.
Hamas, which had largely held its fire since Israel’s last major offensive, claimed responsibility for the bus attack.
Had the bus been full, broader Israeli retaliation would have been all but inevitable and the region – already destabilized by the popular revolts sweeping the Arab world – could have been drawn into another war.
It’s odd to put such speculation in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.
It is unclear if Hamas was trying to provoke a new conflagration, if it was not fully in control of all of its fighters, or if it believes Israel would pull back before invading Gaza again.
Again, it’s odd to put such speculation and commentary in a news article, especially when AP left out so many newsworthy facts.
Israel was condemned internationally after the last incursion.
“Incursion” is an odd word for the massive invasion by Israeli forces that was condemned in detailed reports issued by numerous highly respected international organizations.
Hamas said the rocket attack was in retaliation for the killing of three fighters in an airstrike earlier in the week. At around midnight Thursday, with Gaza rocked by explosions, the organization announced a cease-fire.
This was actually announced earlier and included all sectors of the Gazan resistance. The announcement about this also spoke of the 21-year-old killed on Tuesday, whom AP never mentions in the report.
But the Israeli strikes continued, hitting Hamas facilities and smuggling tunnels.
And many other facilities. AP also fails to mention that the tunnels are a response to Israel’s suffocating siege of Gaza, noted by groups such as Christian Aid.
Electricity lines and transformers were damaged, causing power blackouts in some parts of the territory, according to Jamal Dardsawi, a spokesman for Gaza’s Electric Distribution Company.
While AP speculated about what would have happened if the nearly empty Israeli bus had been full, there is no mention here about what electricity blackouts are actually doing to Gazan patients on respirators, in hospital operating rooms, etc.
In Israel, studies at some schools near Gaza were canceled Friday because of concerns for the students’ safety.
No mention of schools in Gaza, whose students have been injured, one killed, and parents killed and injured.
Palestinian militants launched nine mortars and rockets into Israel, causing damage to at least one building, the military said. Israeli casualties have been kept low thanks to reinforced rooms and early warning systems.
and the fact that the Israeli military, thanks to Americans’ $8 million per day to Israel, is the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world.
Matan Vilnai, the Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of the home front, told Army Radio that Israel was acting to deter attacks. “We are acting as we see fit so that this type of fire will not continue, and so that the people behind the fire will regret it,” Vilnai said.
Israel’s education minister, Gideon Saar, said in a briefing with reporters that any civilian casualties in Gaza were unintentional and that Israel did not target “anyone except the terrorists.”
AP fails to report that numerous international investigations have found evidence indicating that Israel has often targeted civilians.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the bus attack and expressed concern over civilian casualties in Israel’s strikes. He called for “de-escalation and calm to prevent any further bloodshed.”
Thousands of rockets from Gaza have hit Israeli towns and cities since 2001.
AP fails to mention that these have killed a total of approximately 20 Israelis. AP also fails to mention that during the same period Israeli forces have killed thousands of Gazans, including numerous children.
Israel’s attempts to stop the rockets have included military incursions and covert operations abroad aimed at disrupting Hamas’ efforts to procure arms.
AP again gives the Israeli narrative. It fails to report that Israeli military incursions and covert operations preceded Gazan rockets.
In February, a Palestinian engineer was seized from a sleeper train in Ukraine and showed up several days later in Israel,
The normal way to report this would be to state that Israel kidnapped a Palestinian engineer in the Ukraine.
where he has been charged with masterminding Hamas’ rocket program.
Once again, AP emphasizes Israeli claims without including countering claims.
Last year a Hamas operative was assassinated in Dubai, and Israeli agents are widely assumed to have been responsible. Israel identified the man as a Hamas agent responsible for obtaining weaponry from Iran.
Again, we get the Israeli narrative, and only the Israeli narrative.
This week, Sudan accused Israel of being behind an explosion that killed two in Port Sudan. The blast was thought to be linked to arms smuggling to Gaza. Israel would not comment.
AP doesn’t bother supplying any information about the two human beings in Port Sudan who were
Ibrahim Barzak contributed reporting from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.
Yet, the story was written and edited in Israel by Matti Friedman, a journalist who may have family ties to the Israeli military.
In case anyone is curious about what occurred before this period, March had seen increased Israeli hostilities, including tightening the siege and a gradual escalation of Israeli military attacks that killed at least 11 Palestinians and injured over 40.
If you have had the patience to read through this long piece, you will have come to understand that Israeli propaganda services have a long arm into US and European news services and is capable of slanting any news in Israel-Palestine into a Palestinian terrorist paradigm casting Israel as a victim, in spite of….well, the reality.