LA Times: More Unverified "War Crimes"

Many allegations and accusations, including “war crimes”, have been leveled at Israel as a result of its Gaza operation. The LA Times publishes a report from Gaza that is symptomatic of some of the skewed and potentially faulty information being fed to the foreign media as part of widespread efforts to have Israel condemned in the court of public opinion.

Ashraf Khalil writes about “charges of indiscriminate firing on civilians and ambulances and what one international weapons expert called the heaviest use of controversial white phosphorus munitions in the 22-day offensive.”

Importantly, he also states that “It is impossible to fully confirm many of the details of what happened here.” Indeed, many of the most egregious charges against Israel, subsequently proven to be false, have come from so-called Palestinian “eyewitnesses” or officials with a vested interest in attacking Israel. (See HR’s Big Lies interactive feature for some of the worst cases.)

So is it any wonder that Khalil’s report is not necessarily an open and shut case?

Khalil states that “Under cover of darkness and phosphorus smoke, ground forces took up positions throughout the neighborhood”. At the same time as implying that Israel has deployed phosphorus shells against Gaza’s civilian population, Khalil, whether intentionally or not, makes it clear that the phosphorus has been used in the way in which the IDF intended – providing a smokescreen to protect its troops. Khalil cannot have it both ways by accusing Israel of a “war crime” at the same time as describing its use in a perfectly lawful way.

Khalil writes about the alleged shooting of Palestinian Rawhiya Najar:

When it grew light outside, Rawhiya Najar urged her neighbors to crowd onto the roofs of their homes, hoping the sight of civilians would deter the barrage, neighbors said.

The 47-year-old, who had returned from the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca just days before the Israeli offensive began, was known as a forceful and generous personality. She was also a staunch supporter of the local militant groups, and would often leave tea and cakes on her windowsill at night for the fighters who operated in the area.

Using civilians as human shields, including gathering on rooftops, is a well-rehearsed Hamas tactic. Did Rawhiya Najar’s support for terror extend beyond tea and cakes on her windowsill? In any case, it is clear that terrorists were present in the area during the alleged incident.

In addition, Khalil describes the efforts of a Palestinian ambulanceman to retreive Najar’s body:

before he could approach Rawhiya’s body, gunfire from a nearby home forced him to abandon the ambulance and take shelter with residents.

Having established that terrorists regularly operated from that particular area, Khalil fails to establish the source of the gunfire leaving more unanswered questions.

So Israel continues to be villified in the media, based on uncorraborated or unreliable accounts. The IDF’s supposed bombing of a UN school has already been proven to be false. How many other stories will also be proven untrue or exaggerated?

Send your considered comments to the LA Times – remembering to provide full contact details to get your letter published.


HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker appears on PJTV discussing media coverage of Gaza, the Dishonest Reporter Awards and the disputed Gaza casualty figures emerging from an IDF investigation which contradicts “official Palestinian sources”.

See the interview here.


Negative attitudes towards Israel in the media and beyond have soared in many European countries in the wake of the Gaza conflict. This has been particularly pronounced in states such as Norway and Sweden. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s book “Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews” is now available to download for free and includes a chapter on Norwegian media coverage of Israel.

Meanwhile, Dutch organization Israel Facts has examined anti-Israel media bias in Dutch state-funded media NOS during the Gaza conflict. Analysis of primetime news show “NOS Journal” found that it omitted and distorted facts and manipulated Dutch public opinion against Israel.


HonestReporting’s Gary Kenzer continues to tour the USA giving presentations on media bias. Gary will be in the following locations in Florida and California in the coming weeks:

  • Feb 19: West Palm Beach, FL
  • Feb 22: Orlando Rollins University, FL
  • Feb 23: Sarasota, FL
  • Feb 27-28: Fresno, CA
  • March 1: Davis, CA
  • March 2: Carmichael, CA and Modesto, CA
  • March 3: Sacramento, CA
For details on all events, call Gary Kenzer toll free 1 866 50 TRUTH (87884).
If you don’t see your community listed and want to bring HonestReporting to your community, call Gary.