Friday, July 28, 2006

More on the coverage of the Khiam deaths

Further to yesterday's links, here's a bit more on the reporting of the four UNIFIL officers killed at Khiam.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has taken the New York Times to task for omitting "crucial context about Hezbollah firing from or near UNIFIL positions" in its account of the incident. The very same criticism can be levelled at the BBC which, like the Times, has completely ignored UNIFIL reports of Hezbollah misconduct.

CAMERA quotes an email from Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, one of the officers killed at the outpost:
Team Sierra is currently observing both IDF/IAF and Hezbollah military clashes from our vantage point which has a commanding view of the IDF positions on the Golan mountains to our east and the IDF positions along the Blue Line to our south, as well as, most of the Hezbollah static positions in and around our patrol Base... the closest artillery has landed within 2 meters of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but has rather been due to tactical necessity...
CAMERA then gives examples of UNIFIL press releases which detail Hezbollah attacks on observers and its use of UN positions as cover:
From July 20: "Hezbollah firing was also reported from the immediate vicinity of the UN positions in Naqoura and Maroun Al Ras areas at the time of the incidents (Israeli firing)."

From July 24: "One unarmed UN military observer, a member of the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), was seriously wounded by small arms fire in the patrol base in the Marun Al Ras area yesterday afternoon. According to preliminary reports, the fire originated from the Hezbollah side during an exchange with the IDF."(*)

From July 25: "This morning, Hezbollah opened small arms fire at a UNIFIL convoy consisting of two armored personnel carriers (APC) on the road between Kunin and Bint Jubayl. There was some damage to the APCs, but no casualties, and the convoy was obliged to return to Kunin."

From July 26: "Another UN position of the Ghanaian battalion in the area of Marwahin in the western sector was also directly hit by one mortar round from the Hezbollah side last night. The round did not explode, and there were no casualties or material damage. Another 5 incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side were reported yesterday. It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri."

[(*) This report goes on to mention that the injured man "was evacuated by the UN to the Israeli side, from where he was taken by an IDF ambulance helicopter to a hospital in Haifa. He was operated on, and his condition is now reported as stable." (via LGF)]


CAMERA asks, "Why then does the New York Times ignore this crucial context?" I’d like to know the same thing from the BBC. This morning its World News front page still had the UNIFIL deaths as its main headline -



- but as with all of the other BBC reports on this incident, there’s no reference to Hezbollah tactics.

In a video report, World Affairs editor John Simpson decided that the strike on the UN outpost “was as inexplicable as it was savage”. Clearly there are explanations - it was a tragic accident brought on by Hezbollah's use of UN posts as cover, for one - but the BBC appears to be sticking to Simpson's editorial line.

Let's see if the Beeb, or for that matter Kofi Annan, ever get round to mentioning Hezbollah's wilful endangerment of UN officials. In the meantime here's some tumbleweed...

10 Comments:

Anonymous Clematis Fraud said...

“was as inexplicable as it was savage”

Yes, but it would be less "inexplicable" if the BBC actually bothered to explain some context.

If Hezbollah personnel were "in and around our [the UNIFIL] patrol Base" then that changes the story somewhat.

PS: Don't forget to watch John Ware on Interpal - Panorama, Sunday night.

11:51 am  
Blogger DFH said...

Thank goodness for John Ware.

I notice MPAC hasn't drawn attetnion to last night's documentary showing Sharia law in action.

12:28 pm  
Blogger Benedict White said...

Sorry, it is still inexplicable to use a very accurate guided bunker buster type weapon on that position. The attack was not near it, nor on the Hzboulah, which obviously would have been justified, and would have put the observers at understandable risk, but a direct hit.

1:47 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

dont forget that Unifil itself has reported that Hezbollah attacked them twice this week..

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21801_Hizballah_Attacked_UNIFIL_Twice_This_Week&only

not a peep from Kofi about that.

2:45 pm  
Anonymous alison said...

Just spotted this in The Times relating to Hez tactics of using UN aid convoys as cover...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2289900,00.html

(and yes we need more John Wares but its good to have him...)

5:33 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraud said...

"Sorry, it is still inexplicable"

No, Benedict, it is not "inexplicable"

This attack was either (a) deliberate or (b) a catastrophic error by the IDF. It can be explained.

The BBC has - via the words of Kofi Annan - floated the possibility that it was (a) but has omitted to mention any of the evidence that could support (b).

That is irresponsible.

Even if this was a deliberate act, the BBC does have a duty to inform us of some of the incidents that occurred prior to the attack.

This information might well shed some light on the behaviour of Hezbollah in recent months and years. It would not exonerate the IDF if (a) were indeed true, but it would hardly show Hezbollah in a favourable light either.

5:53 pm  
Blogger DFH said...

What is inexplicable to me is why UN observers are in the middle of this war zone. They are magnets for trouble and cannot defend themselves. It is insane.

7:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made CNN Situation Room tonight--August 9. Sorry I can't provide the clip

5:05 am  
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7:31 am  
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What is unusual if you ask me is the reason why Not experts will be in the centre of this specific battleground. These are heat regarding problems and cannot defend on their own. It's crazy.


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6:55 am  

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