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NY Times reports source of UNRWA school attack is unclear even though Israel said they did it

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Blood and and discarded belongings are left behind at a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Blood and and discarded belongings are left behind at a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

The New York Times‘ Ben Hubbard and Jodi Rudoren report on yesterday’s attack on an UNRWA school in Gaza that killed at least 15 people. They write:

The source of the blasts was unclear, setting off recriminations between Israelis and Palestinians over which side was responsible. People in the school reported three to five blasts and accused Israel of shelling them. Israel suggested that rockets fired by militants might have fallen short of their targets or that the school might have been hit with errant shells from either side in fighting nearby. The United Nations said it could not confirm the source of the blasts.

Oddly enough however the Israeli military had already taken responsibility for the attack:

Huh? The Guardian is on the story:

The Israeli military first claimed, in a text sent to journalists, that the school could have been hit by Hamas missiles that fell short. Later, a series of tweets from the Israel Defence Forces appeared to confirm the deaths were the result of an Israeli strike. “Today Hamas continued firing from Beit Hanoun. The IDF responded by targeting the source of the fire.”

NBC’s Richard Engel tweeted that Israel’s original narrative that Hamas missiles struck the school just didn’t make sense:

And yet Hubbard and Rudoren repeated the Israeli account verbatim.  Media critic Greg Mitchell calls it “a disgraceful day for the ‘Paper Of Record’.”

Even odder, New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren seems to think that readers should pay less attention to what is happening in Gaza – which is her beat! Yesterday she tweeted out this Atlantic article by Jeffrey Goldberg titled “Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (and Most Everything Else)”:

(h/t Nancy Kricorian)

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43 Responses

  1. just on July 25, 2014, 9:53 am

    Jodi, Queen of Hasbara and Whataboutery!

    I want to thank MW for watching the NYT so I don’t have to.

    • Krauss on July 25, 2014, 2:23 pm

      Whenever Zionism is exposed for what it is, its apologist only have two recourses:

      1. Scream anti-Semitism.
      2. Scream about Syria(nothing to see here!)

      When they go for #2, you know that even they understand there is nothing to defend, which is why Goldberg whines about how everyone should talk about Syria instead.

      Rudoren’s coverage of this conflict is now so bad even mainstream institutions like NBC are looking balanced, which of course they are not.

      • on July 25, 2014, 7:20 pm

        Well. Not really talk about Syria because that would mean discussing the extremely Israeli influenced US actions that help lead to this disaster. Just as in Iraq. And in the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Egypt and Ukraine.

  2. Justpassingby on July 25, 2014, 10:00 am

    Jodi rudoren get a job, defending war crimes doesnt fit you.
    And get a haircut.

  3. geofgray on July 25, 2014, 10:02 am

    take a look at the times editorial suggesting that the source of the attacks on the UN school have not been determined yet. it has been over 24 hour hours and the facts of the attack have been reported widely in media around the world. the times has decided to cover up a blatant war crime.

    • seafoid on July 25, 2014, 3:13 pm

      That is the role of the nyt. I read kershner’s piece in print. A tragic accident. What a despicable excuse for a journalist. Compare to jon snow.

      • just on July 25, 2014, 3:16 pm

        No comparison possible. One lies with gleeful abandon, the other reports the truth.

      • seafoid on July 25, 2014, 5:37 pm

        Snow humanises the people of gaza. Kershner can’t. To do that would be to admit that Israel, hatikva of Frank and Bloomberg, has become a monster. And she’d be cut like rula jebreal.

        Israel’s spokespeople have been reduced to spinning massacres.

      • Bumblebye on July 25, 2014, 7:28 pm

        I found a good analysis of media bias by Davids Cornwall and Edwards (of medialens) here:

        The sub head:

        “The hidden backstory is that Israel’s land grab cannot be conducted under conditions of peace. It requires Perpetual War; a phoney, one-sided ‘war’ dominated by Israel.”

        The final para:

        “For in truth, biased US-UK journalism is empowering the Israeli government’s effort to terrorise the Palestinian people into accepting gradual genocide as their land and resources are stolen. As we have discussed here (see also Gideon Levy here), the hidden backstory is that this land grab can not be conducted under conditions of peace. It requires Perpetual War; a phoney, one-sided ‘war’ dominated by Israel’s perennial trump card: high-tech military power supplied by that eternal ‘peace broker’, the United States.”

        And plenty in between, the first subject being the bbc.

      • just on July 25, 2014, 7:35 pm

        all true.

      • seafoid on July 26, 2014, 3:27 am

        Bad news from Israel by Greg Philo analyses the modus operandi.

  4. lysias on July 25, 2014, 10:04 am

    Headlines on front-page lead story in today’s print Washington Post: 16 killed in strike on U.N.-run school in Gaza: MASSIVE PROTESTS FOLLOW IN WEST BANK: Israelis suggest Hamas could be responsible:

    Not until the second and third paragraphs of the story is any doubt cast on the Israeli blaming of Hamas:

    The question now is who did it.

    A senior Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said Thursday night that “there was a possibility” shells from Israeli forces­ struck the U.N.-run school in the Gaza Strip. But he also suggested that Hamas mortars or rockets could have been responsible. The Israeli army was investigating the incident “to see what exactly caused the deaths and injuries,” he said.

    The misleading subheadline is missing from the story on line.

  5. annie on July 25, 2014, 10:11 am

    i saw that tweet of hers yesterday so i checked out the link. that has got to be one of the all time worst goldberg articles i have ever read (and that’s saying a lot). the sheer desperation in the messaging is beyond pale. seriously, if this is all they’ve got, the publishers need to rethink having people like goldberg provide coverage. and for her to be tweeting it, i started to respond to her…and then just didn’t. i mean what is there to say to someone tweeting such inane links. it’s really mindboggling.

    • Sycamores on July 25, 2014, 10:46 am

      i mean what is there to say to someone tweeting such inane links

      here’s few good attempts from other tweeters


      My tax dollars aren’t going to Assad


      rudoren fiddling while Gaza burns

    • seafoid on July 25, 2014, 3:18 pm

      Goldberg is treated as a joke on twitter. He’s like the village idiot.

  6. Kay24 on July 25, 2014, 10:29 am

    Despite accusing Faux News of misleading titles, its seems the rest who want to keep the zio loyalty going, resort to it too.

    The IDF spokesman, Lerner, also mentioned it might be an accident.

    Really, when found out how quickly the accusations becomes oops it was an accident.
    Human animals at it’s worst.

    • ziggymar on July 25, 2014, 8:24 pm

      Yeah. That accusation did come quickly. Well ahead of any established facts. Doesn’t stop you though!

  7. DaveS on July 25, 2014, 10:30 am

    It seemed to me that Israel was unsure which lie it should use to explain this atrocity – Hamas rockets falling short of Israel; or we returned fire from the vicinity, accidentally striking the school. In conformance with its nature, the Times gave conditional credit to the Hamas rocket story put out by Israel, a story so implausible that it would have been ignored, or perhaps mentioned but shredded, by the same reporters had a similar excuse been put forth by less “worthy” party. But since Israel said it, the Times concludes that there is doubt and uncertainty over the origin of the shelling.

  8. marc b. on July 25, 2014, 10:30 am

    for [email protected] sake. what a pair, Rudoren and Goldberg. does she sincerely believe that she is practicing journalism?

  9. marc b. on July 25, 2014, 10:37 am

    from today’s ha’aretz:

    Ross Belfer, a 28-year-old public relations executive from New York, is considered by many in the international community to be a leading connoisseur of Tel Aviv nightlife. Last night, he reports, he attended a party with a live DJ at Kuli Alma, a new popular club in town, which was still packed when he left at 1:30.

    “To be frank, it’s difficult to go out and party after you hear that soldiers have died,” he says, “but on the other hand, people are looking for ways to escape the reality of the situation.”

    He did notice, he says, that last night for the first time, there were fewer people out and about in town. “That might be because there aren’t the usual number of tourists around this time of year. And that could explain why about 75 percent of the people at the club last night were Israelis, whereas usually it’s half Israeli and half internationals.”

    Because he has no family in Israel, Belfer says he is especially inclined these days to seek out the company of other internationals. “We find respite together,” he notes.

    Fruchter concurs. “Because many of us don’t have family here, we kind of feel lost and are trying to figure things out,” he says. “While going out and partying doesn’t quite feel like the right thing to do, on the flip side, it’s important for the economy that we get out, and it also gives people like us a sense of community.”

    Karp believes that Americans like her who have a wide network of Israeli connections cope better with the situation. “There’s very little fear among the Israelis, and I find their resilience almost inspiring,” she says.

    what a sacrifice to make for the ‘economy’.

    • a blah chick on July 25, 2014, 11:42 am

      “Because he has no family in Israel, Belfer says he is especially inclined these days to seek out the company of other internationals. “We find respite together,” he notes”

      Respite from what? Having to go and stand in a stairwell for a couple of hours? Having to loose money on the concert you bought tickets for because the guy’s not coming? Give me a break.

      Cue the tiny violin.

    • just on July 25, 2014, 12:06 pm

      ‘Israelis’, ‘resilience’, and ‘inspiring’ don’t belong in the same sentence.

      Quite the opposite, in fact. And don’t get me started on ‘very little fear’…

      • edwards on July 25, 2014, 12:40 pm

        I liked the way the resilience was “almost inspiring”. As in “not inspiring”. Even sympathetic outsiders can find nothing to support here.

  10. ckg on July 25, 2014, 10:49 am

    Ambassador Power’s official statement on the school attack also gives no indication that the IDF was responsible for firing the rounds. Indeed, her only ‘condemnation’ in the statement is directed at Palestinians.

  11. chinese box on July 25, 2014, 11:02 am


    Thank you for covering this…I noticed the same thing this morning. I was hoping that it really was still undetermined, but, no, NYT really decided to go there with a bald faced lie.

  12. Donald on July 25, 2014, 11:16 am

    Good post. I hadn’t followed this latest killing closely and so wasn’t sure what to believe and didn’t know about the conflicting Israeli statements. It isn’t out of the question that a Hamas rocket could fall short. But that point about five rockets all falling short in the same small area is a good one.

    • lysias on July 25, 2014, 11:22 am

      The head of UNWRA was on Democracy Now! this morning, and made precisely that point about the five rockets landing together and the unreliability of Hamas’s rockets.

      • lysias on July 25, 2014, 11:36 am

        Correction: The person on Democracy Now! was a spokesman for UNWRA, not its head.

    • ziggymar on July 25, 2014, 8:28 pm

      Nobody says it was rockets anymore. It was mortars. Hamas uses a variety of weapons even guns and knives sometimes.

      Ruling one one of MANY types of munitions they fire isn’t proof. Now a Hamas rocket did kill a 3 year old child named Jood al-Danaf in the same area a month ago but it was hushed up just like this will be.

  13. RexBrynen on July 25, 2014, 11:19 am

    That’s a bit of a stretch–absolutely nothing in the IDF tweet acknowledges responsibility for attacking the school. Instead, it only acknowledges an exchange of fire in the area.

    It most probably was the IDF. But there’s little point resting a claim at this point on such very weak foundations.

    (For more detailed analysis of the attack, see

    • Donald on July 25, 2014, 12:20 pm

      Rudoren’s tweet Obsessing Gaza Ignoring Syria would be a little easier to take if she’d said “Obsessing Hamas rocket fire, ignoring Syria”

      It’s not like people are going to forget the enormous war in Syria. Goldberg and apparently Rudoren just find it suspicious that people care about Gazans.

      • can of worms on July 25, 2014, 12:42 pm

        Why doesn’t she just say right out that ‘obsessing gaza’ is ‘picking on israel’ because of antisemitism? This is what she means. That is what Hillel Neuer basically said in the speech to the UNHRC meeting on Gaza.

      • ziggymar on July 25, 2014, 8:31 pm

        You actually claim to care about Gazans? Then I’m sure you condemned Hamas after the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued a statement.. exactly a month prior to today this in the same area.. what a coincidence:

        At approximately 19:30 on
        Tuesday, 24 June 2014, 4 children from the al-Danaf family, from al-Atatrah
        are in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, sustained shrapnel wounds
        as a home-made rocket landed near them while they were playing. They
        children who were evacuated to Kamal Edwan were identified as:
        1. Jood Muhammad Hasan al-Danaf (2), who sustained shrapnel wounds to the
        chest and head;
        2. Amal Muhammed Hasan al-Danaf (5), who sustained shrapnel wounds to the
        chest and head;
        3. Muhammad Ali Hasan al-Danaf (2), who sustained shrapnel wounds throughout
        his body, and;
        4. Hasan Ali Hasan a-Danaf (5), who sustained shrapnel wounds to his head.
        The children were transferred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where Jood’s
        wounds were described as serious. At approximately 22:00, medical sources
        declared that Jood died of her wounds.
        The Palestinian police and the Drug Control Unit arrived at the area and
        initiated an investigation into the incident. They also collected the
        rocket’s shrapnel from the scene.
        At approximately 15:00 on Sunday, 22 June 2014, Ghazi Rafat Abu Warda (10),
        from Jablaia, was brought Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia as he sustained
        shrapnel wounds to his right leg as home-made rocket landed near him while
        he was playing in an agricultural land belonging to his family in Beit
        Lahia. Medical sources described the aforementioned child’s wounds as minor.
        It should be noted that on 14 June 2014, Mahasen Ibrahim Abu Ghazal (21) and
        Aliaa Jalal Abu Ghazal (16), both from Beith Hanoun in the northern Gaza
        Strip, sustained shrapnel wounds throughout their bodies as a home-made
        rocket landed on a house belonging to Jalal Abdullah Abu Ghazal.
        In light of the above, PCHR:
        1. Calls upon the government in Gaza to seriously investigate the
        circumstances of these incidents and take the necessary measures to protect
        the Palestinian civilians and their property; and
        2. Stresses the importance of taking the necessary measures to protect the
        lives of civilians and spare them any harm in accordance with the
        international humanitarian law standards.
        Public Document
        For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
        2824776 – 2825893
        PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
        E-mail: [email protected], Webpage

  14. Sycamores on July 25, 2014, 12:51 pm

    tweet from UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness

    It is being reported that I confirmed there were Hamas rockets being fired near the school in Beit Hanoun yesterday. I did not RT— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) July 25, 2014

    here’s the tweet that he did sent

    Also being reported there were Hamas rockets falling in Beit Hanoun today RT— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) July 24, 2014

  15. on July 25, 2014, 1:08 pm

    The Times at its most tribal. Especially egregious was: “The United Nations said it could not confirm the source of the blasts.”

    But it’s not the job of the UN to confirm the source of blasts. They may as well have written the UN couldn’t confirm show times for the Roundabout Theater, it’s no more relevant. So not simply misleading here, a shockingly desperate attempt by the Times to hide an uncomfortable truth — present-day Israel.

    • RexBrynen on July 25, 2014, 2:05 pm

      Actually, the UN would very much like to confirm the source of the blasts, and is attempting to do so. They tried to get a weapons expert into the school today for that very purpose.

      At this point all we know that the most probable source of the blasts was a weapon used by both sides, but used in much greater numbers by Israel. When and if they find part of the casing we’ll know for certain (since the IDF and Hamas use quite different munitions)–assuming that the site isn’t subject to additional shelling and battle damage. In this particular case, the NYT’s coverage was largely accurate.

      • on July 25, 2014, 5:08 pm

        Disagree. Israel has a history of murdering civilians — Cast Lead?; Kids Playing Soccer on Beach?; Qana? — there’s no reason at all the NY Times should have given Israel the benefit of the doubt. And it may be part of the UN’s duties to DISCOVER who was responsible for an attack; there is no way they could be expected to know DURING that attack. Therefore, asking them if they could confirm “the source of the blast” IS no different than asking the price of a ticket to the Roundabout — it’s something they’d have to look into.

      • ziggymar on July 26, 2014, 12:29 am

        Please. Reason and logic? No room for this here.

        If the UN determines it was a Hamas mortar then they will be accused of being controlled by Zionists. The people here will not discuss it and it will be barely covered with zero retractions elsewhere.

  16. traintosiberia on July 26, 2014, 10:14 am

    Time to airbrush the dust off the nostrils of the readers of NYT
    ” As an undergraduate at U of Pen,Ron Dermer reluctantly accepted an assignment to argue that Israel should be condemned for its treatment of lies”
    NYT 07/26/2014 on the front page and there is no other news about Israel no news on Gaza
    NYT worships this man and wants it’s readers to worship reminding them that no one wins arguments against him.
    The intelligence of psychopath was established long time ago when he wrote with another dunce worshipped as hero by NYT the book- THE CASE FOR DEMOCRACY :THE POWER OF FREEDOM TO OVERCOME TYRANNY AND TERROR” .

    He should know by now that power is in full display by Hamas and was before in 2006 by Hizbullah .

    His debating ability beyond any possibility of being wrong is captured by his assertion quoted by NYT . NYT said so. End of the story. He ,instead of ushering them in debate who shouted war criminal ,he called them ” Moral Idiot” . That is his persuasive power in debate .

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