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Attack on Israeli Soldiers 'Most Serious Flare-Up in Years'–if Arab Deaths Aren't Taken Seriously

The New York Times caption referred to the strike against Israeli soldiers as occurring "on the Israeli border with Lebanon." The soldiers were actually in Israeli-occupied Syrian territory when they were hit. (Photo: Maruf Khatib/Reuters)

The New York Times' Isabel Kershner and Anne Barnard (1/28/15)  described a missile attack in which "two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded" as "the most serious flare-up in the area in years." "Hezbollah claimed responsibility," they pointed out.

But it's not even the most serious flare-up in the area this month, as we learn later in the article. "Hezbollah…had vowed to avenge a deadly Israeli strike on its fighters in southern Syria earlier this month," the article notes in an aside in the third paragraph.

More details come in the 12th paragraph: The January 18 airstrike "killed five fighters from Hezbollah, including the son of the group’s slain military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, and an Iranian general." So that's a more serious flare-up, right? Assuming that we're not defining the seriousness of an attack based on the nationality of those killed, that is.

But the New York Times is seemingly able to forget about the Israeli attack moments after it mentions it: "The flare-up shattered a fragile calm that has mostly held along the frontier since the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006." Mostly–aside from that Israeli airstrike that killed six people ten days ago.

As FAIR (8/22/03) has noted in the past, "Journalists Find 'Calm' When Only Palestinians Die"–or, in this case, people from Lebanon and Iran.

A caption on a picture accompanying the article says the two Israelis were killed near "the village of Ghajar, on the Israeli border with Lebanon." Actually, Ghajar is on the Syrian border with Lebanon, in that part of Syria, known as the Golan Heights, that has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The article itself refers to the site as "a disputed zone along the Lebanese border," which is true insofar as Israel disputes the consensus of the rest of the world that the land belongs to Syria. Normally, of course, an invader's contention that it has annexed the land it occupies is not enough for the New York Times to report that the territory is "disputed."

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Jim Naureckas

Jim Naureckas

Jim Naureckas is editor of EXTRA! Magazine at FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). He is the co-author of Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website.

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