Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians

Thanks to Dan’s vigorous comments on a recent thread, I’ve focussed on this report by James Reynolds on Israel’s recent air strike on a car in the Nusseirat refugee camp.

‘Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians’

This misrepresents the case: whether Israel struck regardless of a crowd of civilians. Few, including witness accounts, doubt that Israel attacked a car (containing terrorists, the Israelis say) rather than a crowd. Note though that “a group of terrorists” is ‘scare-quoted’.

Reynolds distorts the charge when he says that Israel ‘has come under great criticism for its attack on the Nusseirat camp’ (italics added). He recycles the allegation as though it were fact, without informing us who the “critics” are.

Israel ‘released footage of what it says is its air strike on Monday night into a refugee camp in the Gaza strip’ (italics added). Surely a correspondent’s reporting could confirm it by analysing the site (or explain why he couldn’t)? To suggest casually that Israel fabricated the film is somewhat absurd.

‘At this stage from Israel’s fuzzy pictures no bystanders are immediately visible…the road looks empty’ (italics added)- why cast such doubt (reiterating the ‘poor pictures’ jibe) when cars and buildings are clearly visible? BTW, if they are ‘bystanders’ how can they be ‘targets’?

Reynolds leaves us with the Palestinians’ challenge– why so many casualties if civilians weren’t the targets? Note that Reynolds uses no inverted commas for ‘witnesses’, who are presumed genuine unlike the footage or Israeli intentions.

Some ideas from a distance. In areas of low car ownership, passenger numbers are high. This might explain many deaths and many injuries, especially to children. Were people hit when the car veered off the road? What damage was caused by the blast force and could flying glass etc have caused casualties? Were all the claimed casualties clearly from that incident, or could there be some inflation by the Palestinians? Do people usually run instantly in the direction of a blast? James Reynolds doesn’t begin to ask those questions. That is where journalism should begin, not end.

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