Monday, November 9, 2009

Reuters warns of "grim Gaza winter". You know who gets the blame

In an appeal to pity, Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi interviews Maxwell Gaylard, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories. Al-Mughrabi cites UN figures on the number of Palestinian homes destroyed or damaged during the Gaza war in January and then paraphrases Gaylard as urging Israel to allow in to the territory steel, cement and other raw materials earmarked for various UN building projects. As a response to Israeli concerns that these materials will be used for military purposes by Hamas, Gaylard is quoted as saying:

We can account for all the materials that can go into those projects.

Reuters fails to provide readers with any context for Israeli concerns by, for example, reporting on documented cases of Hamas stealing food and blankets and cement and other construction materials from the UN in the past.

We have little doubt that Palestinians are facing hardship as a result of property damage sustained during the Gaza war. A genuine and unbiased news story however, would balance an interview with a UN official sympathetic to the Palestinians with countervailing testimony from the Israeli perspective so as to fully inform its readers and enable them to draw their own conclusions as to who ultimately, is accountable for that hardship.

The alternative, manufactured by Reuters, is simply propaganda intended to play on emotions and lead the reader to a preordained verdict -- with Israel the guilty party.

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