Tuesday, August 08, 2006

When Hezbollah Bombs UN Force--Kofi and Reuters Have It Covered

It's not only when Palestinian Arabs are killed that World Opinion tends to take on a more nuanced approach.

When UN forces are shot at, apparently it is important to first check who did the shooting before Kofi Annan can know whether or not he should make a statement.

Geoffrey MG's Beyond Wallacia notes that UN forces suffered a rocket attack by Hezbollah on Sunday--though you might not have noticed from Kofi's uncharacteristic silence.

According to Reuters:
Three Chinese soldiers in the United Nations peacekeeping force were lightly wounded on Sunday when a mortar round fired by Hizbollah hit their base in southern Lebanon, a spokesman for the UNIFIL force said.

"A mortar round from Hizbollah impacted inside the headquarters of the Chinese contingent in the al-Hinneyeh area," the spokesman said.

"They received medical treatment in position. Their condition is stable and they were not evacuated."
Fortunately, none of the UN force were seriously hurt.

But the Reuters article doesn't stop there of course. The rest of the article strives for balance by recounting incidents where Israel bombed UN forces--going so far as to recount an incident back in 1996:
An Israeli air strike killed four U.N. military observers at their base in southern Lebanon on July 25. Other Israeli shells have hit UNIFIL positions and wounded peacekeepers during the 26-day-old war between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas.

In 1996, during Israel's Grapes of Wrath campaign in Lebanon, Israeli bombed a UNIFIL compound in the southern village of Qana, killing 106 civilians sheltering inside.

UNIFIL was created in 1978 after Israel's first major invasion of southern Lebanon and has been there ever since.

The United Nations has called for a bigger, more robust and better armed force in the area as part of expected resolution for a lasting ceasefire.
So let's see.

o The title of the article: Hizbollah fire wounds 3 UN peacekeepers in Lebanon
o The total number of words in the article: 178 (minus neutral last paragraph = 152)
o The number of words describing the Hezbollah bombing: 69 (45% of article)
o The number of words describing Israeli accidental bombing: 83 (55% of article)

So not only does Reuters need to mention Israel, but goes out of its way to dedicate as equal an amount of text as it does to Hezbollah--and goes over.

In the interests of balance, did Reuters report the historical background on the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers--that when Hizbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers in October 2000, UN forces aided Hezbollah at the time? Or that UNIFIL was bribed by Hezbollah? Or that the UN had important video that it denied it had, and would not give it over until it was edited?

Just asking.

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