May 13 UPDATE:
Los Angeles Times Corrects Inflated Figure for Sheikh Jarrah Residents Facing Eviction
In response to communication from CAMERA, The Los Angeles Times yesterday clarified that the Sheikh Jarrah real estate dispute involves dozens of Palestinians facing eviction after failing to pay their rent, not "several hundred." See below for a detailed update.
In the last two days, The Los Angeles Times, whose recent coverage of Israel consisted mostly of Associated Press stories, ramped up its pace of coverage by enlisting several veteran correspondents. The journalists' combined years of experience, however, don't translate into careful, accurate coverage of recent volatile events in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
In today's article, for instance, Dina Kraft and Laura King report ("Israel and Gaza militants on the brink of all-out war," page 1, and online here):
Targets in Gaza included a 13-story building where Hamas had a civilian office, which collapsed after multiple strikes. Israeli drones first fired warning shots at the structure’s roof — a “knock” to warn those within to quickly exit — and no casualties were reported in that bombardment, although it sent terrified civilians fleeing, dodging falling debris.
In fact, according to Agence France Presse, the office served top Hamas commanders.
AFP reported today:
In Gaza, people sifted through debris after an Israeli air strike destroyed a 12-storey building.
Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, said the tower block had been a residential building. AFP reporters said it also houses offices of several Hamas officials.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group confirmed they had commanders who had died in the Israeli strikes.
Generally, commanders don't issue birth certificates or building permits, or perform other civilian duties.
About the organization said to house a "civilian office" in the toppled building, The Los Angeles Times fails to inform readers that it is a designated terror group.
Deliberately or not, the journalists similarly cover for the organization by failing to note that that a large percentage of the rockets that the terror group has launched at Israel reportedly fell in the densely populated Gaza Strip, which it rules.
Hamas fired 1,000 rockets at Israeli communities
200 of those rockets exploded inside Gaza neighborhoods
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) May 12, 2021
About the devastation in the coastal territory, today's article states:
Gaza, an impoverished and densely packed seaside territory of 2 million people, to which nearly all access is controlled by Israel, was pocked by Israeli airstrikes, some only blocks or yards apart. The roar and clatter of hundreds of outgoing rockets fired by militants mingled with amplified chants from mosque loudspeakers, promising victory and vengeance. …
“Everyone is running away in the street — you feel as if you are running from certain death,” said 29-year-old Ayman Mohamed, who lives near the toppled tower.
Certainly, the Gaza Strip is a horribly scary and dangerous place at the moment. But while Israel's military warns civilians, giving them a chance to flee before striking Hamas targets embedded within the civilian population, Hamas and Islamic Jihad do not extend any such consideration to their own brethren. Hamas endangers their own civilians by launching rockets from residential areas with no warning, despite the estimated 20 percent fail rate in which the rockets hit Gaza territory. Surely this self-imposed risk factor is at least as newsworthy as Israeli airstrikes.
In addition, the reporters omit coverage of violent attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem. They report:
Moreover, this outbreak of fighting — coupled with violent tactics employed by Israeli police against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and the use of stun grenades and rubber bullets on Monday at the Aqsa Mosque compound, home to one of Islam’s holiest shrines — threatened to create a grave rupture between Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of the country, who make up about a fifth of its population of 9 million.
There is not one word about the violence employed Monday by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, including throwing rocks and targeting police with fireworks, which prompted the use of stun grenades and rubber bullets.
כוחות משטרה פועלים משעות הבוקר מול הפרות סדר והתפרעויות אלימות בהר הבית. הכוחות נכנסו לשטח ההר כדי להדוף את המתפרעים, שירו לעברם זיקוקים והשליכו אבנים וחפצים שונים. בפעילות נפצעו 9 שוטרים, אחד מהם פונה לקבלת טיפול רפואי. נמשכת הכוננות המוגברת ברחבי ירושלים בכלל, ובעיר העתיקה בפרט pic.twitter.com/zCsqCwHF4A
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) May 10, 2021
While there can be differences of opinions as to whether the police handled the situation properly (critics could argue that the police used either too much or too little force), there is no justification for news reports that ignore the circumstances which led to the use of stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Another veteran Los Angeles Times reporter put on the task is Tracy Wilkinson. In her article today, she falsely alleges ("News Analysis: Biden struggles To respond to Israeli-Palestinian violence after Trump refused to criticize Israel"):
In recent days, the White House and State Department have expressed “serious concerns” about Israeli plans to evict several hundred Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for far-right Jewish settlers.
The allegation that "several hundred" Palestinians face eviction from their homes is sheer fabrication. The court case in question, according to the anti-settlement organization Peace Now, concerns just seven families, totaling 31 individuals, not "several hundred." And, despite Hamas' preferred narrative, there are no "Israeli plans" (as in government) to evict these individuals. Rather, the private landowners brought the case to the courts.
In addition, Wilkinson cites unnamed activists who make dubious charge: