Reuters continues to mislead on border incident , UNIFIL confirms Israel’s version of events

August 6, 2010

Israel’s activity took place entirely on its side of the border and that the Lebanese attack was unprovoked.

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….and yet the U.S. continues to support Lebanon’s military with Billions of Dollars? Why?

Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri with Barack Hussein Obama

The distinction between the Lebanese Army and Hizbullah has become “cloudy” and advanced weaponry given to the Lebanese military could find its way to the Islamist group, Ambassador to the US Michael Oren warned on Wednesday.

Here’s what happened this morning along the so-called Blue Line, the internationally recognized UN-codified border between Israel and Lebanon. Israeli soldiers were trimming trees and clearing brush as they routinely do, because that kind of natural cover has been used by Iranian-backed Hezbollah soldiers to kidnap Israelis and start wars. Behind them there was a group of commanders who were supervising the operation, because Israeli protocol calls for troops working near the border to be supervised from afar – again, in case Iranian-backed Hezbollah soldiers try to kidnap Israelis and start wars. Israel’s physical border fence is very specifically built several meters on the Israeli side of the border inside the Jewish State’s territory, so that the Israelis can safely trim trees and clear brush, because – you know.
At some point soldiers dressed in Lebanese Armed Forces uniforms launched an ambush, with snipers trying to kill the supervising commanders in the distance. The Israelis promptly retaliated, wounding several of the LAF-uniformed soldiers. Then the Israelis – after receiving an explicit request from the other side of the border – suspended their fire so that the wounded could be evacuated. The Lebanese used the momentary humanitarian gesture to again open fire on the Israeli troops – this time it was an RPG at an Israeli tank – and the Israelis again retaliated. Israel is reporting one IDF soldier killed, one wounded.
There’s a post to be written about how this is the predictable outcome of the US pouring weapons and logistical training into the LAF, even though the Lebanese political hierarchy and several LAF units long ago fell under Hezbollah’s control. Of course some of that security assistance will inevitably find its way into a battle with Israel. Of course it will be. But that’s not this post.
This post is about how Reuters is again using their viciously anti-Israel stringers to dishonestly try to blame the violence on Israel. It’s a pitch-perfect repeat of their Jihad Flotilla performance, when they and the rest of the MSM used the early hours after the incident to valorize the ostensibly unarmed activists who turned out to be death-worshiping terrorists.
Knowing the now-confirmed facts that you know, see if you can spot what’s wrong with this Reuters caption:

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This was an out-and-out ambush either by Lebanese soldiers or Hezbollah soldiers dressed like Lebanese soldiers. It was pre-planned – you can tell as much by how the commanders were fired upon and not the trimming team – and there was even a photographer on hand. Reuters somehow got that picture, evaluated it, and came to exactly the wrong conclusion. The Israelis were on their side of the border, in a so-called enclave, exercising legitimate authority on their sovereign territory. Even the Lebanese have admitted as much in the past, though they don’t like it and complain about how it increases tensions or whatever.
But Reuters immediately published a seemingly conclusive photo and caption insisting the exact opposite. Strange how their mistakes always coincide with anti-Israel propaganda.
Photo:

* Magne Hagesæter [Wiki Commons]

In a continuing effort to downplay Lebanese culpability for the unprovoked attack and killing of an IDF officer on the Israeli side of the border, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton obfuscates some facts and fabricates others:

Lebanon’s army says it first fired warning shots, then Israelis fired at their soldiers, who shot back in turn.

In fact, Lebanon’s army has admitted firing at Israeli soldiers — first.

Hamilton then quotes an anonymous Israeli military source to suggest that the attack was not intentional:

The incident was “an escalation because somebody made a mistake,” said the military source, pointedly refusing to describe it as a deliberate attack.

Conjecture so sensitive apparently that Hamilton cannot disclose the identity of the source.

The Reuters correspondent then attempts to support this anonymous quote with a statement by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak:

Defence Minister Barak told Israel Radio it was a “provocation,” but also declined to call it “an ambush.” 

“I don’t think they planned this in the general staff of Lebanon. Nor do I think they planned it in Hezbollah. I don’t know enough to tell you exactly who gave the order,” he said.

Note how Hamilton seeks to suggest the attack was not an ambush because Barak didn’t happen to use that specific term.  But while Barak reportedly doesn’t believe the attack was planned “in the general staff of Lebanon”, he doesn’t say it wasn’t an ambush and he doesn’t say it wasn’t planned.  He simply doesn’t know who gave the order to attack on the Lebanese side.

The rest is pure rhetorical deception employed by Hamilton to implant doubt in the minds of readers as to Lebanese culpability for the killing of an Israeli officer.

UNIFIL lifts the veil on the Blue Line, revealing for the first time the work that has been going on since the year 2000. Extensive research, measurements and negotiations in close collaboration with the Lebanese Army has been leading to the Blue Line being visibly marked on the ground. This episode gives you a first ever look at the process of marking The Blue Line, while explaining what The Blue Line is and what it is not.
Let’s go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).

Note what he says about the fence around the 8:40 mark and what they say after that. It explains why this week’s incident was entirely in Israeli territory.

Lebanon (AP) — U.N. peacekeepers said Wednesday a cypress tree an Israeli soldier was cutting down just before a border clash with Lebanese soldiers erupted was in Israeli territory, contradicting Lebanese claims that their frontier was breached.
The clash Tuesday left a senior Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist dead and was the most serious since Israel and the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fought a brief war in 2006. It was a stark reminder of how volatile the border remains, even though both sides appeared to be trying to restore calm and prevent an escalation.
The Israeli soldier was cutting down the tree – something Israel does occasionally to improve its sight line into Lebanon – when Lebanese forces opened fire. The Lebanese army and a witness said U.N. peacekeepers intervened to ask the Israeli to stop cutting the tree, but Israel refused. UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, has not commented on that.
Both sides claimed the tree was in their territory.
Lebanon acknowledged Wednesday that the tree was south of an official, U.N.-drawn boundary known as the Blue Line separating the countries. The line was drawn in 2000 following the end of a two-decade Israeli occupation of south Lebanon that began with a war in 1982.
However Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri said his country disputes the Blue Line demarcation in certain areas, including the village of Adeisseh where the clash took place, and saw Israel’s act in as a clear provocation.
“UNIFIL established, however, that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side,” said force spokesman Lt. Naresh Bhatt. He said the peacekeepers were still investigating the clash.
Israel said the U.N. announcement clearly corroborated its version of events.
“Our routine activity yesterday was conducted entirely south of the frontier on the Israeli side and that the Lebanese Army opened fire without any provocation or justification whatsoever,” government spokesman Mark Regev said.
More…


Weasels at Reuters still struggling to blame Israel for border clash

August 4, 2010

In an update to the Reuters story noted in our previous post, Reuters writes:

A Lebanese army official said the military had had prior notice of Israel’s planned activity but it had been agreed on condition that it took place under UNIFIL’s supervision, adding that said the Israelis had gone ahead without this.

So, there is no dispute that both UNIFIL and the Lebanese army had been notified of the maintenance work in advance.  Given that UNIFIL is based on the Lebanese side of the border, how exactly would routine maintenance work on the Israeli side of the border be under UNIFIL “supervision”?  Moreover, the photographic evidence demonstrates that UNIFIL soldiers were embedded with the Lebanese army and carefully observing the Israeli maintenance activity at the time of the attack.

Reuters then sneaks in a suggestion:

The UNIFIL statement did not say whether the Israeli army had coordinated with the peacekeepers.

No, and it didn’t say whether Castro had Kennedy killed either.  The UNIFIL statement speaks for itself; it didn’t say whether the Israeli army had coordinated with the peacekeepers because the assertion that this had been agreed has no basis in reality.  It is simply a red herring tossed in by the Lebanese army to draw attention away from its own culpability.

And Reuters of course, happily takes the bait and feeds it to its readers.


Lebanese tear down Israeli barrier on disputed border

April 17, 2010

Aabasiya: Lebanese residents dismantled a barbed wire fence set up by Israeli troops in a disputed border area yesterday, leading to a call for restraint by UN peacekeepers in the tense region. 
“The residents have taken down the barbed wire near the village of Aabasiya, which Lebanon considers part of its territory,” a Lebanese military spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
Israeli troops set up the fence on Tuesday near the Blue Line, a UN-drawn border with Lebanon, in what the Lebanese army claims was a violation of Lebanese territory. Around 20 Lebanese, led by MP Qassem Hashem, marched into Aabasiya near the disputed area of Ghajar at the Lebanese border with Syria and Israel and tore down the barrier before leaving the area. Two Israeli tanks and dozens of soldiers immediately arrived at the border as Lebanese troops went on alert across the Blue Line, which was established after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in 2000 following a 22-year presence. The UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon — UNIFIL — said however that the Lebanese demonstrators had crossed the UN-drawn border.
The demonstrators “crossed the Blue Line and… removed sign posts of a minefield as well as concertina wire which was laid by the Israeli Defence Forces three days ago, and placed two Lebanese flags next to the Israeli technical fence,” UNIFIL deputy spokesman Andrea Tenenti said. “UNIFIL has contacted the parties in order to prevent any escalation of the situation, urging restraint and calling on them to take the necessary steps in accordance with their obligations under UN Security Council 1701,” he added.

the missing correlative not mentioned in the Arab press here is that UN 1701 also asks that Hezballah not be arming as part of a Lebonese government with advanced weaponry. Essentially any codes declared by the UN are voided by now… that is if one were to take the UN seriously at all