Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reuters reverts to "he said/she said" on border incident

For Reuters, facts are an inconvenient thing.  After initially falsely reporting that Israel had crossed the Blue Line with Lebanon to do its maintenance work, Reuters was forced to backpedal ("clarifying") and eventually admit that the IDF was in Israeli territory when the Lebanese army attacked and killed an officer.

Having lost the border propaganda battle, Reuters has since published a series of stories which attempt to mitigate Lebanese culpability by suggesting that the LAF merely fired "warning shots" at the Israeli maintenance crew leading to an Israeli escalation.  This version of events is not even being advanced by the Lebanese army.  Indeed, Major-General Abdul Rahman Chehaitly of the LAF has admitted to Israel and the UN that the lethal sniper attack was planned and authorized by senior Lebanese commanders:
"The sniper was aiming for the most senior IDF officers present, not the person operating the crane where the alleged border infringement took place," the source told the Herald.
"These were not warning shots fired towards the area of the crane. Someone took careful aim at the Israeli commanders who were standing several hundred metres away."
Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy is apparently still confused:
The clash -- in which Lebanon and Israel gave different accounts of what happened -- raised fears of wider conflict. Both countries have since worked to calm tension at the border...
By Israel's account of Tuesday's events, a Lebanese army sniper hit two Israeli officers as they watched a tree-pruning operation on the security fence below the U.N. "Blue Line." The Lebanese army said it first fired warning shots, then Israelis fired at their soldiers. Israeli artillery and tank fire followed.
First, note how Bayoumy takes a factual statement, one which neither side disputes, i.e., "a Lebanese army sniper hit two Israeli officers as they watched a tree-pruning operation on the security fence below the U.N. 'Blue Line'", and demotes it to merely an Israeli "account".

(It would probably be too much to ask for Bayoumy to have clearly written, "on the Israeli side of the U.N. 'Blue Line'" rather than the more opaque "below the U.N. 'Blue Line'").

Bayoumy then reverts to the canard that, "the Lebanese army said it first fired warning shots".  As noted above, the Lebanese army is not asserting this; it has admitted to premeditating the attack and taking aim directly at the Israeli officers as the attack commenced.

For Reuters however, even an open admission of culpability by Lebanon is not enough to distract the agency from its anti-Israel agenda.

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