Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Sky's "Unhinged" Botting criticised for anti-Israeli bias

Anna Botting, Sky News correspondent, has brought sharp criticism following her interview with Mark Regev, Senior Advisor to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in the wake of an explosion at the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital in Gaza.

During the interview, Botting inferred that Israel was directly responsible and that Israel had gone too far in its response to the terror attacks on the 7th October 2023.

While there were comments on social media in support of Botting, there was a groundswell of criticism too.

"This is by the far the worst, most biased interview by a professed journalist I've ever seen," one Reddit user wrote, "Using Hamas as her news source, she acts as their mouthpiece in an interview of Mark Regev not designed to elicit facts but to demonize Israel. Kudos to Regev for keeping his cool and highlighting her obscene bias, double standards, and failure to comprehend Israel's right to self defense.

"The look in [the] eyes of the journalist is scary, like she is deranged" a comment said on YouTube where Sky News posted the full video.

"I appreciate that her job is to challenge the narrative and the interviewer, but she took it too far and lost her impartiality," another said, "It is not for her to agree or disagree with the interviewee (on camera and in public, she can agree with whomever she likes in private), but her job is to the ask difficult questions on our behalf that need to be asked when people are being killed."

Many described her as "unhinged", "angy" and "biased", having clearly made up her mind before facts had been established. "I bet she won't be that emotional and screech at any Hamas spokesman about the atrocities they committed," one Twitter user said. Others described her as a Hamas apologist [Twitter].

While it is true to say that many of the Israeli airstrikes in the week of bombardments have resulted in civilian casualties, it has to be said that such instances are 'collateral damage' and not intentional on Israel's part. Hamas on the other hand have been indiscriminate in launching terror attacks against Israel.

In the hours that followed it seemed clear that the tragedy at the hospital was not as a result of an Israeli airstrike. Still photographs showing the damage were not consistent with an Israeli missile with no visible crater on the ground and only minimal damage to the hospital itself.

Video evidence seemed to back up Israeli claims that the blast occurred after a missile fired from Gaza failed and fell short landing in the parking lot of the hospital and created a fireball. Israeli intelligence released an audio tape said to be of a telephone call between two Hamas operatives which appeared to indicate this was indeed the case and that the missile was one fired by Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery.

None of this was known shortly after the explosion had occurred. However, Botting clearly jumped the gun and went with the line issued by Palestinian sources that it was an Israeli airstrike. Moreover she, along with many other media outlets accepted the casualty count without question.

It is clear there were casualties at the hospital as a result of the explosion. But the numbers come from Palestinian authorities, that is Hamas, which has everything to gain by inflating those figures. The Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, has said 471 were killed, but it is difficult to verify the veracity of these numbers, though the figure is well below the 800 that the ministry claimed might die as a result of the 'strike'.

The following day Botting was still referring to the blast at the hospital as an "attack" and another Sky report referred to the incident as a "strike" which precipitated anger in Bierut and the West Bank.

Sky News was not the only channel jumping to conclusions. Al Jazeera and TRT as well as many Arabic news stations were all describing the incident as an Israeli strike soon after the explosion. This has all helped to fuel the fire in a region which has strong anti-Israeli sentiments. Not all outlets jumped to conclusions. The BBC, CNN and Fox News were all cautious in their language, describing the incident as a 'blast' or 'explosion' and clearly citing claims of it being an Israeli strike as being a claim made by Hamas.

On the streets off nearby Jordan crowds gathered Wednesday chanting "All of Jordan is with Hamas". And there has been unrest across the West Bank and in Lebanon.

"I can see Anna [Botting] getting some compulsory time off very soon..." one Twitter user wrote. Whether this happens will all depend on if she makes any more missteps.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

Friday, October 13, 2023

Questions over Israeli response to Hamas attack

When Hamas launched its attack into Israel it wasn't just Israelis and Jews that became the target of their onslaught. Some six days on it has become clear that many other nationalities were killed, kidnapped or suffered injury. Victims included Chinese, Thai, British and American citizens, details of which are only just emerging. The attacks have been widely condemned with many saying Israel has a "right to defend itself". But Israel's response to the attacks has been criticised as one of retribution and revenge. With pictures emerging from Gaza showing the destruction from days of aerial bombardment Israel risks losing support and feeding propaganda which will act as a recruiting sergeant for extremists.

Hamas targets

While the vast majority of victims in the Hamas attack were Israeli or Jewish, other nationalities also became victims.

Three Chinese were killed in the Hamas terror attack according to the foreign affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin who spoke in a press briefing on Thursday. "We can confirm that three Chinese nationals were killed in the clashes," he said "Two are missing and several are injured." [Newsweek]

Meanwhile 12 Thai workers were killed and 11 kidnapped with a further 13 injured according to the Thai foreign ministry [BBC]. A video posted on social media also appears to show Hamas terrorists beheading one of the Thai workers with a garden hoe while shouting 'Alah Akbar' [God is great]. The video has been disputed by some on social media and the veracity of it cannot be established.

Children are amongst 17 Britons killed in the assault carried out by Hamas on Saturday 7th October [BBC]. It is not known how many British citizens have been taken hostage although one 26-year-old has been reported as missing after the attack at the Re'im kibbutz.

Some 27 Americans have been reported killed with around 14 unaccounted for [Guardian / The Hill].

At least 1,200 were killed in the assault, around 300 reportedly IDF soldiers. Some 200 are believed held hostage by Hamas, their fate unknown. The youngest is said to be 9-months-old while the oldest is reported to be an 85-year-old grandmother. A further 3,400 were injured in the assault [Wikipedia].

Defence or revenge?

It is clear, for anyone with eyes, that the Hamas attack was indiscriminate. And while accounts of the debauchery and bestial nature of the attacks on women, children and babies have been disputed, the fact is Hamas clearly targeted civilians and killed them in cold blood.

However, Israel has lost the moral ground in many respects by initiating a large-scale air assault on the Gaza region.

It is well known that Hamas fighters embed themselves in civilian areas and as such any air assault would undoubtedly result in civilian casualties. Taking out water and electricity supplies, as well as preventing humanitarian supplies from entering the region, also leaves Israel open to criticism.

Netanyahu has said Israel's objective is to weed out and destroy Hamas once and for all. But by killing civilians and babies in large scale airstrikes may only give Hamas and similar groups fuel for their anti-Israeli propaganda.

Of course, Israel could not have sat down and done nothing. But perhaps a better solution would have been a ground offensive, backed up with air support. There would undoubtedly be IDF casualties in such an assault but Israel would have maintained the moral high ground in such a venture especially if run in tandem with placing displaced citizens in a safe area behind enemy lines as they moved south and provided them with humanitarian supplies. Following a full sweep of the territory, which would have likely taken many weeks, Israel could then have initiated either a peacekeeping operation giving way to UN peacekeepers overtime. A gradual withdrawal could then be made as the situation became stable. This would not happen overnight and would require establishment of moderate political leaders in the region who would be acceptable to, not only Israel, but also the population in the Gaza strip itself.

The current reality on the ground seems to be heading in a far different direction. Israel's military has called on civilians to leave Gaza city and head south in what has been widely perceived as a signal that a ground offensive is imminent. Hamas meanwhile have reportedly ordered citizens to remain in their homes. Even if free to leave, many would not have the means to escape. Few people would have vehicles and a journey on foot would be arduous even though the strip is only some 40 km long.

There is much speculation as to how intensive the ground assault will be. Some commentators say it will be fraught. Ben Wedeman, CNN's international correspondent, suggested it could be a "bloodbath".

Israel cannot sit back and do nothing, especially given the nature of the attack launched by Hamas on unarmed civilians. But its military response also needs to be measured and targeted or it may only serve to fuel the fire and feed Islamist propaganda.

As Mahatma Gandhi is often attributed as saying, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"

tvnewswatch, London, UK

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Hamas barbarism "worst since the Holocaust”

Netanyahu has called the atrocities left in the wake of the attack into Israeli territory on Saturday 7th October as being "the worst since the Holocaust".

The statement might sound exaggerated. But as details emerge it is clear that the Hamas assault was horrific beyond imagination.

In one incident, Hamas terrorists stormed into a music festival where people had gathered to have fun over the weekend. In the early hours of Saturday morning the peace was shattered at the Supernova music festival as Hamas gunmen fired indiscriminately. Survivors described the carnage that ensued.

One attendee at the festival said the first sign that something was wrong was when a siren went off at around dawn, warning of rockets. "Suddenly out of nowhere they [the terrorists] come inside with gunfire, opening fire in every direction," Ortel told Israel's Channel 12

"Fifty terrorists arrived in vans, dressed in military uniforms," she said, "They fired bursts, and we reached a point where everyone stopped their vehicles and started running. I went into a tree, a bush like this, and they just started spraying people. I saw masses of wounded people thrown around."

Parents received panicked phone calls from sons and daughters telling of the horror they were experiencing. For many it was the last they would hear from their children.

As the IDF arrived they found a slaughterhouse of more than 260 bodies strewn across the desert.

Further details emerged in the coming hours that some of the festival goers had suffered worse at the hans of the terrorists with reports that some women had been raped, murdered and then had their partially naked bodies paraded back through Gaza surrounded by jubilant crowds [Daily Mail]. 

Some of the reports cannot be entirely verified. However it is clear that Hamas terrorists were indiscriminate in their killing and brutalising of the innocent revellers [BBC].

Some were also taken into Gaza alive to be used as bargaining chips or as human shields.

Further atrocities were discovered at a Kibbutz in Kfar Aza where Hamas terrorists killed occupants including children and babies with reports from the IDF saying a number had been decapitated.

"It's hard to even explain exactly just the mass casualties that happened right here," visibly distraught i24 News correspondent Nicole Zedek said during a broadcast from Kibbutz Kfar Aza near Sderot about a quarter-mile from the Gaza Strip [Twitter].

"Babies with their heads cut off, that's what [the soldiers] said. Gunned down. Families gunned down, completely gunned down in their beds," Zedek said of the "sheer horror."

"This is nothing that anyone would have even imagined," she added. [i24 / CNN / NYPost / BBC].

Many have dismissed the veracity of the reports saying that the claims had not been confirmed by the Israeli authorities and were based only on a single i24 TV news report. However in the hours to come IDF and government officials later confirmed that children and babies had indeed been beheaded in the attack.

More than 150 are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, the youngest only 9 months old and the oldest believed to be an 85 year old grandmother. Amongst them are American citizens [AJC].

A day later and Israel began their onslaught against Gaza while tackling a few remaining pockets of terrorists still fighting on Israeli soil.

In the days that followed Gaza was bombarded with hundreds of missile strikes. The strikes have of course displaced thousands, left hundreds dead and destroyed a large number of buildings.

Israel has defended its course of action saying it is attempting to specifically target Hamas but that the terror group deliberately embed themselves amongst civilians.

Civilians have undoubtedly died in these strikes. Amongst them 11 UN aid relief workers, it was reported Tuesday.

It is the destruction in Gaza that Hamas and its protagonists are capitalising on, using the images to label Israel the aggressor and fueling the rhetoric.

But even before Israel had even launched its major counter offensive there were scenes of people celebrating the Hamas assault. As Sydney Opera House was lit up in the colours of the Israeli flag in solidarity, many pro-Palestinians gathered nearby chanting "Gas the Jews" [Reuters]. 

It wasn't the only example of anti-Semitism observed following the Hamas terror attack. Similar scenes were seen in Toronto, Canada [CBC]. In one demonstration a woman was seen screaming at Jews "Khaybar, Khaybar", a chant referring to the 7th century slaughter of over 100 Jews who refused to convert to Islam and often used as a Hamas war cry [TwitterWikipedia].

In London hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli embassy on Monday lighting flares and shouting "Free Palestine" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" a slogan commonly featured in pro-Palestinian campaigns and chanted at demonstrations.

It is expected that the IDF will soon move into Gaza on foot with tanks and artillery. The buildup of military hardware over three days seems to indicate it is imminent. The intention, from government statements, appears to be with an objective of illuminating Hamas in its entirety. This would require an entire sweep of the territory from the border to the sea.

It is unclear what the plan is. But what is clear is that the conflict has only just begun with risks of escalation all too real with Hezbollah already launching attacks from the north.
Israel's resolve nonetheless is crystal clear. Mark Regev, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, told Sky News that "this war will finish on our terms."

tvnewswatch, London, UK