Reporting in Gaza: Striving for fairness

January 15, 2009

dean-150Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

Let’s say it up front: Almost all of you will find something in this column to take issue with.

That’s because the subject is the conflict in Gaza and perceptions of bias in reporting on it. News consumers detect media bias on any number of subjects, but there is nothing like the continuing Mideast conflict to bring out the passions of partisans on all sides.

Here’s a small sample of some of the more restrained comments that have come in to the Reuters reader feedback line:

–“It seems like the whole world wants to condemn Israel for the war/actions it’s taking. Sorry Reuters but for me, I can see right through your pro Palestinian slant. Why don’t you investigate how a U.N. Camp was used as a staging area for Hamas rockets? …”

–“Your pro Israel reporting from Gaza makes one thing perfectly clear. Israel has some control over Reuters. You are in their pocket. Why else would you choose to slant information?”

­­–“Why does Reuters insist on letting someone such as Nidal al-Mughrabi cover the war on Gaza? His reporting is completely biased and filled with inflammatory rhetoric. Doesn’t Reuters have a reporter that understands both sides of the issue and that can JUST REPORT THE NEWS!! I consider such reporting on your part as an insult to my intelligence. Why must you participate in antisemitic propaganda?”

–“Your pro-Israel news coverage of Gaza is shockingly evil. Shame on you! I’ll get the real news elsewhere.”

All feedback is taken very seriously by the editorial leadership.

“A story as important to so many people globally always is scrutinised and criticised,” says Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger. “I take all the comments seriously, because getting it right and giving a true picture of the situation is fundamental to our mission and to the kind of news service I want to run.”

Reuters is not alone in catching flak on coverage. And we’re not alone in examining that coverage. The BBC and The New York Times have both looked at their coverage, concluding that, generally, it has been fair. But both organizations noted the difficulties of covering the conflict in Gaza, as does Reuters Jerusalem bureau chief Alastair Macdonald.

For the past two years, he says, it has been virtually impossible for Reuters staff in Gaza to leave the territory for training, rest or recuperation, as they are routinely denied exit permits by the Israeli army. The army has also prevented Reuters from sending Arabic-speaking staff based in Jerusalem or the West Bank to Gaza and more recently has banned foreign journalists from Gaza entirely. This means Reuters has been unable to send reinforcements or replacements to the Gaza bureau since the Israeli offensive began on Dec. 27. On Thursday, Reuters and other media were forced to evacuate their offices after an apparent Israeli rocket strike on the Gaza building that houses the bureau.

“Unlike many media organizations who complain that ‘there are no journalists in Gaza,’” says Macdonald, “we are very fortunate to have a team of up to 20 people working for us, led by professional journalists of long standing. Their resources, however, are greatly stretched and, aside from persistent fears for the safety of our colleagues and their families, we work in permanent anxiety that overworked equipment will fail and we will be unable to replace it.”

Within Gaza, says Macdonald, senior Hamas officials have generally accepted Reuters’ right to report independently.

“Hamas officials have largely disappeared from view since the offensive began, so they have not been in a position to restrict our reporting, even if they wanted to,” he says. Since Hamas took over, Reuters journalists “have occasionally faced problems with low-level Hamas police and other representatives who try to prevent us filming certain types of event. Such people are particularly reluctant that we should cover events that they see as evidence of challenges to their authority.”

However, Macdonald says: “We have had frank and open meetings with senior Hamas leaders when we have had concerns and are generally satisfied … We generally feel that (they) respect our independence and give us the freedom to do our jobs. We have reported incidents of official repression, including torture … and quoted people making serious allegations against the authorities.”

The Reuters team on the ground in the region is a mixture of Israelis, Palestinians and other nationalities. Reuters Politics & General News Editor Sean Maguire says most have worked for Reuters for many years. “All of them are well-versed in the need to be scrupulous in our use of language, attentive to our rules on rigorous sourcing and aware of our requirement to produce a balanced news file,” he says.

But in a story with so many different datelines, it’s up to the editing desk to pull the threads together, see though the “fog of war” and ensure that the coverage has balance and appropriate context. This team in London has decades of experience and includes several editors who have worked in the Middle East on assignment or have reinforced the Jerusalem bureau. Maguire and I agree that the editors are acutely aware of both the realities on the ground and the complex history of the region.

Several readers have written to say they see bias in Reuters coverage because they have seen stories, like this one, that don’t tell them directly why Israel launched its offensive on Dec. 27, after Hamas militants ended a six-month truce and started firing more rockets into southern Israel. A search of our stories on the Gaza conflict shows that, while there have been stories that have lacked that context, most have included it or similar explanations of the roots of the conflict.

“We are a real-time news service so we are continually tweaking and improving the news file, hour by hour,” Maguire says. “Some stories with new developments have to be moved very quickly to ensure our customers have the latest information. To do so they need to be short, so they will not contain all the background. However, such stories are quickly updated and lengthened to include the appropriate context.”

Other readers have suggested that stories focusing on the conditions in Gaza reflect a bias against Israel and call for more coverage of the hardships Israelis are suffering in the face of continuing rocket attacks. The focus of the coverage has certainly been within Gaza, because that’s where the story—and the bulk of casualties and destruction—has been.

Still, Reuters has made strong efforts to document the situation in Israel. Macdonald wrote movinglyabout how the shadows of history hang over Yad Mordechai, a kibbutz within sight of the smoke of the Gaza conflict. And Douglas Hamilton reportedon the strong resolve of residents of Sderot, a southern Israeli town that has borne the brunt of Hamas rocket attacks. The townspeople’s advice to the Israeli forces in Gaza: Keep it up. This coverage, in turn, has drawn criticism that it too readily accepts an Israeli view of the history of the region.

Even user-generated content is not immune to charges of bias. Reuters Your View, which solicits photographs from Reuters.com users, was accused of imbalance in publishing pictures of anti-Israel demonstrations, but none from the other side. In the Jan. 2 showcase of Your View pictures there were 10 images of anti-Israel protests from six locations and seven different photographers. No pro-Israel or anti-Hamas pictures were received that week. On Jan. 9, there were images of seven anti-Israel protests from four locations and six photographers. There was one image of a rocket attack on Israel, selected from three pictures that were sent. Again, no pro-Israel demonstration images were received that week, reports Leah Eichler, editor of the online newsroom.

Other readers have suggested that journalist Nidal al-Mughrabi’s first-person accounts from within Gaza, such as this onein which he describes the horrified reactions of his children during an Israeli raid, disqualify him from reporting on the conflict. Some readers have suggested that it’s impossible for a journalist to set aside his feelings and report objectively. However, I think a close reading of the article shows that while al-Mughrabi’s first reaction was to make sure his family was safe, he quickly set about the journalist’s work of filing a complete, accurate report of what was going on. “That is what you would expect from a seasoned and responsible reporter of Nidal’s high caliber,” says Maguire.

“I think first-person accounts bring to life the drama and the horror of this conflict,” says Maguire. “Journalists are human beings as well, and it is honest of our reporter Nidal to acknowledge his concern as a parent and the fear of his children when they found themselves under bombardment.”

Indeed, all journalists are called on almost daily to set aside their personal feelings or politics as we objectively cover wars, elections and other stories. Some partisans will never believe it’s possible for journalists to do that. Thankfully, I see it happen every day.

Editor-in-Chief Schlesinger puts it this way:

“Reuters News has journalists from 80 different nationalities working around the world, sometimes in their homes and often in other places. There are certainly times when events affect them and their families personally. But our professional ethics and our company’s Trust Principles mean they try their utmost to put their personal feelings aside in the interest of telling the story truthfully and without bias. As an organisation we have our standards and editing procedures in place to safeguard our report. As editor-in-chief, I take my responsibility for maintaining our standards extremely seriously, and will not tolerate willful breaches. ”

So—has Reuters News given people reason to believe we might be biased against Israel? Perhaps, if they believe a journalist can never separate his reporting of what he sees from what he may feel. And, yes, there have been stories—not many, but some—that have lacked context and have seemed imbalanced. We need to be more vigilant in making sure that all our stories carry appropriate context, as we can’t assume that every reader has read every one of our stories and thus can see our overall lack of bias.

And what seems to be pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli reporting to readers on one continent may not raise any eyebrows on another. It’s also fair to say that articles from different news organizations have differences in tone. That’s good. Who would want one big, bland news source for the world? Reuters News is produced for a global audience and there are bound to be different reactions in the United States, Europe and other regions.

But has there been systematic bias against either side? No. I believe Reuters journalists–-the text, photo and video journalists on the ground and the editors who pull it all together– have, by and large, produced journalism that is fair and as complete as possible under the most difficult circumstances. Can we do better? Surely. Will we satisfy the partisans on both sides? Probably not.

138 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

American mainstream media is so heavily proisraeli biased that it seems anti-israeli or “antisemetic” (a term which has been so overused that it’s essentially lost its meaning) to hear anything that sounds even remotely critical of israel. Reuters, of all the big news outlets, is the least biased by far – keep up the good work. There is a lot of nonsense being posted in this comments section, people use your brains and try to see through the propaganda.

Posted by NTY | Report as abusive

I correct myself: many have forgotten the lessons of the holocaust. Not all.

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/kaufman1 70109.html

Posted by Ghassan | Report as abusive

In the second world war people who were classed has traitors against thier own country were shot. I know things have changed dramaticly since then,worst luck in some respects. so how come people who suport terrorist groups and other eliagel organisations,are not prosecuted. after all I lost six members of my family during that war. Which in my opinion was a total waste of time, has this is still not a free country or of free speach due to the fact we are now threatend by the very people we helped to save and i dont mean the jewish i mean terrorist organisations. and a usless goverment that supports anyone but its own people. if the hamas people loved thier children as much as they hate the jews. perhaps the death toll would be much lower. and no children would have died cos they would have been with thier parents.bloody miles away

Hamas has fired over 2000 rockets at Israel, instigating the violence.
Israel has had constant rocket attacks and had to fight back.
No disbuting that.

Posted by Dottie Smith | Report as abusive

I once lived with an ex-Israeli soldier who told me that Americans are the stupidest people on Earth. He was reared by the Israeli government with war on this, war on that, war everywhere. He told me what he did in Lebanon and how the American press was right there and refused to report the truth…only in cases that were unhideable that is.
The American press is so under the control of Israeli agents. You can’t even post on these “free press” websites because you can’t EVER say anything that they construe as anti-Israel.
I try to point out that Madoff, that great Jewish man of virtue, has close friends and ivestors who were, and still are, in on the scam with him. They are pretending to have lost money, but they know exactly where there money is overseas…notice that close associates and friends of Madoff have already received, and will receive in the future these taxpayer funds. Notice that a lot of the people who were paid to perform fake work in Iraq are close friends and associates with Madoff.
Do you really think that America is NOT under control of Israeli agents and bankers? GET REAL! The corruption is so rife in America right now that it is sickening!

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

Reuters, Dean Wright, you have nothing to apologize for. There’s no big media outlet in the world that is as unbiased as you guys are. If it weren’t for you I’d be thinking Hamas has blown up half of Israel and the IDF’s response was to throw flowers at the Gaza Strip and adopt all the Palestinian orphans and raise them in loving warm Jewish homes.

Here in the U.S. we’ll always side with Israel whether it be through the government or through the media. It’s no coincidence that our best ally in the area happens to be the only white country who worships the same God most people in this country pray to. Objectivity and fairness will never trump political correctness in U.S.-based media.

Thank you for everything you do, there are people in the world who appreciate it.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Perhaps context in articles would help people understand.

Like for instance the fact that the rockets are being fired by people who used to live in the towns that they are firing rockets at.

But of course that would mean you would need to explain why the people firing the rockets don’t live in Sderot anymore.

And then you would have to explain why the names of the towns were different before too, and so on.

Much too complicated to get into really.

Posted by rob | Report as abusive

Dottie Smith,

Perhaps you should ask “why” Hamas fired these so many rockets. I’m sure it wasn’t for the love of firing rockets. We choose to only look at part of the picture, if you however took the interest of looking at the picture as a whole, you would find that Gaza citizens were being surrounded and trapped in their own city by Israel long before the war started. That they were denied any form of contact with the outside world; no one in and no one out. This includes basic life needs like food, water and medicine. They were already dying a slow painful death being kept locked like some infectious disease for 2 years. Resistance has to arise. There was bound to be a voice that demands Israel to give those citizins their BASIC human rights.
Unfortunately the only language Israel responds to is war. (not that Hamas didn’t try the normal way: ask). I don’t blame Hamas for launching rockets. I would do the same if I was living under persecution for so long and so would you.

And seriously, no one in this world believes the whole “Israel the right to defend itself” blah talk you Americans are bringing up every so often. That’s a pathetic excuse for saying “Israel is our little spoiled child, let it do what ever the hell it wants” Because if we ASSUMED that Israel intended to ‘defend’ itself from Hamas, It needed not use weapons so advanced that they’re even speculated to still be under testing, it needed not used these weapons on a nearly defend less population. If I throw a rock at you, you don’t shoot me with a mussel, you throw a rock back. Clearly that’s not the standard Israel is following. The truth when it comes to it, is that Israel wants to completely crush and terminate any form of resistance so it could freely take over what’s left of Palestine. And just like we always expect from Zionist, they don’t care how many have to die along the way.

You Americans will always side with Israel? well off course you will! they’ve brain washed you and had you hanging like a little toy on their hands. They’re using you right on your own country, just take a good look at your economy; the minute you go against almighty Israel, America is history.

The funniest thing, all this fuss about the war on Gaza and how Israel wants to terminate Hamas, and did they? Nop, Hamas is well and fine and more determined than ever. Israel thinks it ended the resistance? huh, they just pissed them off.

Posted by X | Report as abusive

X, you’re exactly right, I love it here in America and I love my country. However I hate my gov’t and more and more people are starting to think like I do. People here fear what they are ignorant of, muslims, gays, agnostics etc so what you see on this board is them acting and speaking on those fears.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I see no easy solution to the situation as it is right now and feel the past must be overcome by both sides.
However, it’s hard to see people trying to be equidistant when one party has all the power, including the power to change the situation, and another party can do no more than desperate moves.

It’s also shocking to see that most people ignore the history of the conflict. Perhaps the role of the news providing context should go beyond a week’s context, maybe ocasionally revealing the cease-fire violations by both sides in the last term.

One american referred to Israel as “the only white country who worships the same God most people in this country pray to”, ignoring that cristians had a role in Hamas once and that there are cristians among palestinian refugees.

Posted by Miguel | Report as abusive

Good question is why Israel has birth right to control citizens of another country. All the food, fuel, construction material, medical aid and even the money has to pass through Israel. If you think you can control all the above things and wonder why they hate you and do not want to have peace with you there is something wrong in your logic, thinking, rationale or all of them. Wake up and let other smell the roses like you do and then sit on the table to discuss the peace not the process.

Posted by vj | Report as abusive

Why has nobody picked up Ghassan on what he said?

Arab citizens of Israel have all the rights of Jewish citizens of Israel by law. There are 12 current Arab Israeli members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), and 47 previous ones (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_member s_of_the_Knesset).

There is nothing preventing an Arab Israeli from entering any profession he or she likes. The only difference under law concerns Army duty – unlike Jewish Israelis, who must serve in the Army, it is voluntary for Arab Israelis.

The Arab minority in Israel face their problems and challenges like many minorities in many countries, and Israel is something of a special case. But it does not even approach the level of discrimination you are talking about. It makes me sad that people can proclaim this sort of ill-informed hate-talk, and that no one knows enough to set them straight.

Apparently, this blog is the place to propogate ignorance and prejudice, not somewhere to learn and educate.

If you’re interested in learning more about Arab Israelis, you can read more on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citize ns_of_Israel

Posted by JMD | Report as abusive

I thank you for your unbiased news reporting. In the States, virtually no news nor pictures of Gaza were shown on TV. The war was taking place in Gaza, thus evidently pictures and comments ought to be about Gaza, its people and fighting forces of both sides in real time. Comments such as the tunnels were life line to Gaza because Gaza has been sealed off by sea, air and lands for the last 18 months by Israel are informative and essential. Israel controls every facets in the war. Well, even your news reporters were not allowed exit visas from Gaza. Israeli forces are superior , which clearly were demonstrated by rows and rows of tanks, airplane fighters, bombs and their resulting devastation are facts, aren’t they ? Thus I don’t see any justification in criticizing you being biased against Israel. People living in the US and Canada need your type of reporting to give a sense of proportion and balance which is strikingly lacking in US media. Thank you and all reporters “under siege” during the last three weeks !

Posted by Nina Ruby | Report as abusive

As asked by Mr. Fall, the U.N. Human rights advocate and Jewish member, Israel has committed “WAR CRIMES’ agianst 1.5 million civilians and there should be special inquiry to investigate the charges. I am glad that this news is reported by Reuter and should be commanded. It is open fact that Israel has not only barricaded 1.5 million civilians for their slaughter but with iron fist control, kept all the reporters out of the scene so they can do whatever they want without the civilized world to see it.
If Obama is not like Bush, he must be the first to ask the U.N Secretary General to appoint an enquiery committee as soon as possible and show to the world that he is compassionate, just and fair President. I do not think so.

Posted by ZEN DAHODI | Report as abusive

Miguel, obviously I’m talking about the majority of Israel. Of course every country is going to have pockets of people who don’t fall into the majority of thinking.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

there is an abundance of media bias when western media only presents livni, rice, or israeli snippets. Palestinians have been forced to suffer for the wrongs of europe.
the bottom line is:
do an google image search for “Palestinian loss of land” and try to understand how jews comprised 17% and now have taken all but 22% much by violence, racism, oppression and terrorism. would you be happy with the result? what of the 4 pictures represents an equal resolution that a blind justice can call fair? what would you reluctantly settle for and what would israel reluctantly settle for as an equal compromise?

Posted by jk | Report as abusive

Reading a Reuters “article” on the Middle East conflict is like watching a tennis match where the camera only focuses on one of the players. One would never know that the Arabs have fought four wars of annihilation against Israel (their own declaration) and still reject peace while they cynically employ the Palestinian Arabs in an ongoing proxy war.

There must be a contagious mental illness operating in London for it affects the entire staff at Reuters and the BBC.

Posted by FinanceDoc | Report as abusive

reuters, I have to commend you on your reporting of the news, not just in the israeli-palestine issue, but the news over all. for all the things that the readers fault you for, it is important to point out that most people unfortunatelly lack knowledge on some of the issues.pro-israeli readers, point out that you are being biased against israel and accuse you of being “anti-semetic”. pro-palestinain readers accuse you of being in the pockets of the israelis like CNN, FOX, sky news and the other “news” reporting agenices. people want to read what appeals to them, they want to see pictures of what appeals to them. pro-israeli supporters refuse to be rational and realize, that the killing of civilains is wrong. pro-palestinain readers refuse to acknowledge that as much as israel is at fault for the conditions in palestine, the other arab nations are just as guilty for letting it happen. i praise reuters for having the integrity to report the issues and not support the issues one way or another. for the readers who like to scold and tell reuters and its staff how to report and do their job, i suggest that some of you open up books and learn a lesson on history to realize why the world is the way it is right now, and realize that mistakes of the past are being repeated once again.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

I think we should all step back and think about this article carefully.

Can anyone honestly say that Reuters could be considered Pro-Israel? Seriously? Just look at their articles. They focus on suffering and condemnation, and hardly brush the issue of why it happened.

But let’s brush that aside for a moment, and look at something a bit more important.

This editorial is trying to justify what seems to be a serious Anti-Israel stance by Reuters, by trying to create the illusion that it is taking critisism from both sides.

In reality, Reuters is getting far more critisism from the Pro-Israel side, and far more support from the Anti-Israel side. Look at the all the previous posts if you don’t believe me.

I ask the Anti-Israel posters: Do you think that Reuters has done a fair job in reporting?

If you think yes, then this article is not very truthful. Because editor Dean Wright is implying you find fault with the way Reuters is reporting.

Do you believe that Reuters “pro-Israel news coverage of Gaza is shockingly evil”? That is what this article claims. I think that is very unlikely.

By creating the impression it is getting critisism from both sides, Reuters seems neutral. After all, if you anger both sides, you must be neutral, right?

But I think the majority of critisism is coming from the Pro-Israel side, not the Anti-Israel side. And that implies that perhaps Reuters is not as neutral as this article is trying to claim. I wonder if they see it?

Hope this makes it past the moderators.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

well if one is pro-israeli, I would seriously have to question your moral standing. does being pro-israeli mean that you are ok with the killing of innocent civilians and women and children?? you are ok with destruction of thousands of homes and crippling a population that is already facing some of the worst conditions in the world?? it seems that way because when reuters or any other news agency even makes an attempt to report the actual facts and what is going, they start getting labeled with the “anti-semetic” stigma. let’s be real here and say that is is impossible for most media to be “anti-semetic” because well we all know who controls them. so when an unbiased new reporting agency like reuters reports what is actually happening (like women and children getting killed and hospitals being bombed) then they are not supposed to report it. how about the same pro-israeli posters write to their government officals and tell them to help bring an end to the violence, so this doesn’t have to be reported on. it seems as if anytime any news about killing by the israelis is reported the pro-israeli group begins their wine and crying act and talks about the “media bias” against israel and how they are “anti-semetic”. perhaps if these atrocities weren’t taking place there wouldn’t be anything to report on, would there? how would you have felt if there was never any news reports on what the nazis did to the jews and nothing was ever written about that???

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

Sidney, do you believe that the Jewish people control the world media? I just noticed that you made the following comment:

-let’s be real here and say that is is impossible for most media to be “anti-semetic” because well we all know who controls them.-

Do you have some basis for this belief? A logical reason for why a small country in the middle east somehow controls the world media and the entire united states?

Please let us know. It would put your quotes in the proper context.

For that matter, “anti-sematic” and “anti-Israel” are two very different things. The second will never associate themselves with the first. The first will always try to associate with the second.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive

Hey Sid. Isreal abandoned their homes in gaza, gave the land to the arabs. Then Hamas starts lobbing rockets at Isreal (first) in volation of a peace treaty..duh. Should Isreal just go over and invite them over for coffee and talk it over. Liberals just never cease to amaze me with their lack of common sense.

Posted by CAL | Report as abusive

I just read an article on Egypt pushing the EU to provide more aid to the Palestines. What is Egypt or for that matter all the other Arab countries doing as far as providing aid. And finally, shouldn’t Isreal provide for the bulk of the aid. After all they did the damage in Gaza. Look back at WWII, and after the fighting ceased, didn’t the enemies of Germany rebuild much of what they had destroyed. To the victor comes the spoils. But I think in todays world, to the victor comes the responsibility of rebuilding. It might go a long way toward bringing peace to those involved.

Posted by John Magnusson | Report as abusive

cal, i can tell you are a conservative considering the so called “facts” you stated are based on lack of knowledge tha you have about what really goes on in that part of the world.maybe if israel wasn’t taking land that didn’t belong to them in the first place, no one would be launching rockets at them. maybe if they weren’t running the world’s biggest concentration camp, no one would launch rockets at them.the ignorance of the conservatives is never surprising. John, you bring up an excellent poing about what the arabs nations are doing out there. unfortunatelly, they could care less about their bretheren in palestine. you see, to them palestine is more of a burden and nucance.that is why 60 years from now, this conflict still haunts the world today. think about 60 years of americaa, european, arab leaders trying to present their ideas and yet, we are worse off then ever in terms of this conflict. very sad.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

Sydney, the Palastinians lost their land because they refused to accept the UN Partitian Plan. They decided to try and drive the Jewish people out of the land. They failed, and were in turn driven out.

The 1948 war was a war of survival. When nations must fight for their own survival, they must resort to serious measures. As the Palestinians were hostile to Israel, they were removed (though a large amount fled to escape the conflict).

In each war along history, the Palestinians have made the wrong choice. Backed by their fair-weather Arab allies, each defeat has resulted in more land being taken.

Land won through armed conflict is gained by whoever holds it, until dealt with in a peace treaty.

As for a concentration camp? Israel only controls the borders to the extent that they are safe. If Hamas sends suicide bombers and kidnappers? No people can pass the border. If Hamas uses building materials to make bunkers and rockets? No building materials can pass the border.

Soon the international community will help in the fight against Hamas, by assisting in preventing the supply of arms. It is about time, and took Israel’s attack on Gaza to bring it about.

Perhaps Israel should take control of Western Gaza? Then it can deal with the tunnels as they appear. After all, if Hamas is going to use that land for terror, Israel should take it from them.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive

john,u bring up some good points,biases as they may be.to say that palestine should have to accept a UN mandate telling them how land on which they lived on for thousands of years is ridiculos.why should they have to give up their land for a group of religious extremist who think they have a right to some land because of what someone told them over some camp fire story.n please,lets not talk about following UN mandates when izrael violates every UN human rights act ever created.n with israel controlling what goes in out of gaza,including medicine,food,n fuel,it is a concentration camp.alas,there is no point of trying to explain this situation to my fellow misinformed americans,we did the samething to the native americans here in america,izrael is just doing as they r told to do so by america.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

Pursuant to my previous post about how Reuters presents a one-sided and distorted view of events in the conflict, please note that Senior EU envoy Louis Michel touring Gaza today has definitively blamed Hamas for the war, destruction, and humanitarian crisis in the region. Yet at the time of this posting, Reuters has not seen fit to report it.

QED

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

hmm, there’s a surprise, a UN offical blamming hammas for the conflict. the same UN that is controlled by the U.S who by the way helped start this problem 60 years ago. the same UN that is incapable of prosecuting the israelis for war crimes, the same UN that allowed the US to invade iraq over the mythical WMDS.the same UN that is incapable of doing anything with out its strings being pulled by the U.S, yea, that really speaks volumes, it’s not worth reporting on because no one is surprised.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

Obama has opened his mouth to the Muslim World in general and Palestinians in particular but has not extended his heart. He still dictating in civilized way that America cannot dictate anything to Israel what is best for her but still telling Palestinians that he cannot talk with their elected Hamas, Hamas has to accept Isarel’s existance and boarders without having any existance or boarders for Palestinians and he may go on using Veto power is any resolution displeases Israel.Security of Israel is paramount for him but Palestinian’s security or even human rights has no priority.
Mr. President, since last 40 years all American Presidents have used the same unwise, unjust, unfair and WRONG policies to resolve Arab-Israel issue and all have failed miserably. If you want to change that history, You will have to change the POLICY not the Envoys and talks. Sweet or cowboy talks and dictates had invited hatred towards America and it will stop only if we stop our unjust policies.

Posted by john dahodi | Report as abusive

I always find worrying the suggestion that good journalism requires that a `balance’ be struck fair to both sides, where -for example WW11- one side clearly has illegal territorial ambitions and determined at whatever moral cost to achieve it’s aim is it either fair or sensible to endeavour to see the conflict in a manner such as to do `justice’ to their tyrannical ambitions? I’m satisfied that any genuinely disinterested person who honestly and fairly researches the background to this Middle East conflict must inevitably conclude that basic Right and Legality lies mostly with the Palestinians deprived of their homes and land without reparation, thrown onto Gaza no man’s land, and subject to appalling privations by Israel -aided and abetted by US- ever since. It is to the eternal shame of the wider world that we have done nothing to force the above two nations to redress this situation over the succeeding 60 years: and I am far from convinced that Obama will change that situation one iota – sadly the American Jewish lobby far too powerful.

Posted by terence kelly | Report as abusive

I wonder if Reuters website readers are aware that over 300 civilians were killed yesterday in Sri Lanka by the army fighting against the Tamil Tigers. No? What a surprise! Reuters doesn’t even cover it. You see, no Jews were involved in the killing.

Smashing job you’re doing with your unbiased news coverage, Mr. Wright. Carry on.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

HIS — You’ll find extensive coverage of the Sri Lanka conflict on Reuters.com via a simple search: http://search.us.reuters.com/rsearch/rco mSearch.do?blob=sri%20lanka&WTmodLoc=uss rch-top-quote

Here’s a story from today: http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/id INIndia-37704520090128

Posted by Richard Baum | Report as abusive

Richard Baum

Check the placement of those stories yesterday; they were BURIED. Now compare with the daily unremitting front-page hysteria over the conflict in Gaza — the profiles, interviews and emotive photos of injured Palestinian children. Note also Reuter’s one-sided treatment of claims of Israeli human rights violations in Gaza while their story on the conflict in Sri Lanka highlights human rights violations BY THE TERRORISTS:

Human rights watchdogs and the government accuse the LTTE — designated a terrorist group by India, the United States and the European Union — of keeping civilians in its territory to use them as fighters, battlefield labourers or human shields.

Hamas commits the same atrocities and Reuters self-censors the fact. Also, note the absence of sneer quotes around the word “terrorist” when referring to the Tamil Tigers while assiduously including them in any mention of Hamas as a terrorist group.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

HIS, your knowledge on the tamil tiger issue seems to be very high and correct but by you claiming that reuters or others don’t refer to hamas as “terrorist” organization clearly shows your lack on knowledge on the middle east issue. infact, you can’t read a report or watch a new report without hearing the term “terrorist group” associated with hamas. infact, hamas, went from “terrorist group” to a DEMOCRATICALLY elected political organization. whether we like or not, the people vote for them.Hamas is just as much a terrorist group as israel is, there is no difference between them. the tamil tiger issue is no where near smiliar to the middle east conflict.

Posted by james | Report as abusive

james, you’ve misread my comment. Reuters has no difficulty referring declaratively to a group like the Tamil Tigers as terrorists but specifically uses QUOTATION MARKS when referring to Hamas as terrorists, as in this article today:

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/i dUSLU64529020090130

We call these “sneer quotes” because they reflect Reuters’ editorial efforts to undermine and belittle the view of the international community. This is Reuters bias, pure and simple. All of Europe and the US consider Hamas a terrorist group; the fact that they were democratically elected does not change the facts.

Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians and uses their own civilians as human shields. They are responsible for the death and maiming of hundreds of civilians in suicide bombings, shootings, and rocket attacks. They also overthrew the democratically-elected president of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, in a violent coup in Gaza. These acts are the very definition of terrorism.

If you want to suggest that the Israeli defense forces are “terrorists”, you must also say the same for the Sri Lankan army, the Turkish army, the Egyptian army, the British army, etc. All are seeking to protect the lives and security of their citizens and all have, from time to time, caused civilian casualties in carrying out that mission but none — except perhaps the Egyptians — deliberately target civilians.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

As HIS notes, the cited story uses quotation marks around the word ‘terrorist’ in way that breaks a rule in the Reuters style guide. We’re reminding our editors and reporters of the rule.

Posted by Dean Wright | Report as abusive

someday the Jews will find themselves trading places with the Palestinian and they will eat their words they say today.

Posted by dan | Report as abusive

“War begets War”. Substituting military solutions for diplomatic has produced it’s harvest. It is now time to reap. Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India; the people of these nations will suffer death from the weapons provided by the western powers in order to gain influence over fossil fuels. The twentieth century has twice proved that war is a cancer that will consume the planet.

When will man rule his nature instead of man’s nature ruling him?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive