Give us the truth, not ‘balance’

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The latest deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed in army strikes on Thursday to 18, according to Gaza medical officials.

Thursday’s dead included members of rocket squads, but also five children, ranging in age from eight to 12, who their relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in a missile strike…

Palestinians said Wednesday’s air strikes killed a 6-month-old baby, children ages 10 and 11, and heavily damaged the offices of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a local humanitarian group.

The Post at least includes the phrase “according to Gaza [Hamas — ed.] medical officials” and “Palestinians said”. But other news agencies often do not. For example, the AP story by the intrepid Ibrahim Barzak and Karin Laub simply says:

The dead Thursday included members of rocket squads, as well as five children, ranging in age from 8 to 12, who their relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in a missile strike…

Since Wednesday, 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missile strikes, including 14 civilians, among them eight children, according to Palestinian officials. The youngest was a 6-month-old boy, Mohammed al-Borai, whose funeral was held Thursday.

The touch about the funeral is very nice, but how do we know that any of this is true?

The Palestinians have time and again fabricated entire incidents, like the ‘killing’ of Mohammed al-Dura. Why should they tell the truth now?

The news services depend on ‘official’ spokesmen, who are Hamas functionaries, and local Palestinian reporters — who won’t last 10 minutes if they deviate from the Hamas line — to report from Gaza. I mean, after what happened to Alan Johnston (who was pro-Palestinian) wouldn’t you? Yet their reports are treated as if they are as reliable as those of the latest killed and maimed in Sderot.

I am not saying that the IDF never accidentally kills or injures civilians. But great effort is expended to prevent it, and the true number of such cases is nowhere near what is reported.

It seems that the news services feel that it would be biased, racist or un-multicultural to treat Palestinian statements with a little bit more skepticism than those that come from a democratic state like Israel. But given the precedents, they should.

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