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September 16, 2009

Goldstone Report: Layer Upon Layer of Errors

For CAMERA's full analysis of errors in the Goldstone Report, click here.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's much anticipated report on Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip has been published, and as predicted, the hopelessly flawed mission condemns Israel for its "deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population. . . " It also condemns Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel.

Bloggers have already identified plenty of factual errors in the 575-page document -- that there is no evidence of Hamas use of human shields, that the failure of fighters to distinguish themselves from civilians by distintive signs is not a violation of international law, that since 1967 750,000 Palestinian have been detained by Israel, among others. But as the error-filled report garners prominent media coverage, there's another layer of distortions and falsehoods to watch out for -- the media's misreporting of the already problematic document.

For instance, Neil MacFarquhar reports in the International Herald Tribune today:

The report did not take a position on the hotly contested number of civilian casualties during the Gaza war. It noted that they range from the Israeli government figure of 1,166 to the Hamas figure of 1,444, with a couple of humanitarian organizations' estimates somewhere between. [Emphasis added]

Yet, the figures of 1,166 (according to Israel) and 1,444 (according to Hamas) refer to the total number of casualties -- combatant and civilians. As the Goldstone report states (paragraph 30):

Statistics about Palestinians who lost their life during the military operation vary. Based on extensive field research, non-governmental organization place the overall number of persons killed between 1,387 and 1,417. The Gaza authorities report 1,444 fatal casualties. The Government of Israel provides a figure of 1,166.

The New York Times version of the same article -- the Times owns the IHT and has a later press time -- does not mistake the figures of total number of Palestinian fatalities for civilians only. It states:

But the report did not take a position on the number of Palestinian casualties, noting that they ranged from the Israeli government figure of 1,166 to the Hamas number of 1,444, without saying how many were civilians.

Posted by TS at September 16, 2009 02:09 AM

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