CAMERA Media Analysis
01 February '10
If the prominent, page-one headline and lead article in Ha'aretz today are to be believed, Human Rights Watch's March 2009 report accusing Israel of the indiscriminate use of white phosphorous against the civilian population during the Gaza Strip fighting last winter — a war crime — got a slight boost.
The double-decker headline, spanning six columns, announces: "Two IDF officers disciplined for using white phosphorous in Gaza offensive." The subhead gives additional detail: "Army's internal probe into shelling of UNRWA facility found that two officers 'exceeded their authority in a manner that jeopardized the lives of others.'" The headlines are followed by a five-column AFP photograph depicting exploding white phosphorous shells over the Gaza Strip, with inset headshots of Ilan Malka, Yoav Gallant, and Eyal Eisenberg (the two officers allegedly involved and the head of the southern command).
The article by Anshel Pfeffer (not pictured above, it begins below the photograph), begins:
An Israel Defense Forces brigadier general and another officer with the rank of colonel endangered human life during last year's military campaign in the Gaza Strip by firing white phosphorous munitions in the direction of a compound run by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the Israeli government says.
The finding acknowledges, at least in part, allegations by international organizations. It was contained in a report that the government provided to the United Nations over the weekend in response to last September's Goldstone Commission report.
Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg and Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ilan Malka, were the subject of disciplinary action by GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Gallant after headquarters staff found that the men exceeded their authority in approving the use of phosphorous shells that endangered human life, the Israeli government report said.
(Read full report)