Reuters’ Error, Double Standard and Omissions

Dec. 20 UPDATE:

Reuters Corrects: Houthi Attacks Did Not Hit Eilat

In response to communication from CAMERA, Reuters commendably corrected the erroneous claim that Houthi attacks Saturday hit Eilat. Reuters has declined to redress the other issues detailed below. . See below for a detailed update.

It's been an inauspicious couple of days for Reuters reporting on the Hamas-Israel war, with faulty coverage including a factual error, an egregious double standard, omissions and whitewashing.

In a straight forward factual error, the Dec. 16 article ("Shipping firms to avoid Suez Canal as Red Sea attacks continue") mistakenly reported that the Israeli southern city of Eilat was hit by Houthi drones and/or missiles Saturday.

The article erred: "The Houthis have in recent weeks stepped up attacks on shipping and also fired drones and missiles towards Israel - on Saturday hitting the Red Sea resort city of Eilat. . . "

In fact, neither drones nor missiles fired by the Houthis or anyone else hit Eilat Saturday.

As Times of Israel reported, Houthi drones headed towards Eilat were intercepted:

Houthis said they fired a barrage of drones Saturday toward the port city of Eilat in southern Israel.

US Navy forces said they shot down 14 drones over the Red Sea Saturday morning. Egypt’s state-run media also reported that Egyptian air defense had shot down a “flying object” off the Egyptian resort town of Dahab.

A British destroyer brought down a suspected attack drone in the Red Sea, UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps said. The overnight action was the first time the Royal Navy has shot down an aerial target in conflict since the 1991 Gulf War.

(The Arabic version of the same Reuters article does not contain this error, and accurately refers to the targeting of Eilat, with no mention of hitting.) 

Separately, in an egregious double standard on the reporting of fatalities in Israel versus Gaza, a Dec. 17 story ("Hamas turns Gaza streets into deadly maze for Israeli troops") reports:

Israel's offensive was launched after the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas gunmen who Israel said killed 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostage [sic] - some of them now freed.

Since the war began, close to 19,000 people have been killed in Gaza, sparking international demands for a ceasefire and even calls from Israel's staunch ally the United States for a shift in strategy and more precise strikes. [Emphasis added.]

A wall in Modiin, central Israel, with posters picturing hostages, believed to number 240, November 2023 (Photo by Tamar Sternthal)

Why is the figure for victims of Hamas' murderous rampage qualified with "Israel said" while Hamas' unverifiable figure for those killed in Gaza is reported as gospel, without even an attribution to Hamas?

In addition, the number of hostages is believed to be 240, significantly higher than 200. 

Reuters also extends its kids glove treatment to the terror organization's brutal 2007 overthrow of the Palestinian Authority, euphemistically reporting that Hamas "has ruled Gaza since splitting with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2007." That's one way to describe to describe torturing political opponents, throwing them off rooftops and executing them in the streets.

Gunman Ghaith Shehada, killed in Tulkarm, is pictured sporting an Islamic Jihad headband and is armed (Photo from X)

Reuters overage of West Bank violence does not far much better. A brief Dec. 17 article fails to acknowledge that Palestinians killed yesterday morning in Tulkarm were gunmen ("Five Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank's Tulkarm - Palestinian health ministry"). The IDF has identified at least four of the fatalities as gunmen. Times of Israel reported:

Aircraft struck a number of armed terror squads who fired, hurled explosives, and endangered the troops,” it said, adding that at least four gunmen were killed and others were wounded.

At left is gunman Ghaith Shehadeh, one of the fatalities, armed and sporting a Palestinian Islamic Jihad headband. Below him appears  Mahmoud Jaber, another one of the Tulkarm fatalities, armed.

Mohammed Jaber (Photo from X)

In addition, Reuters neglected to report that the Palestinian who died from wounds incurred in a drone strike in Jenin last week had also attacked troops. 

Dec. 20 Update: Reuters Corrects

In response to communication from CAMERA's Israel office, Reuters has correctly the erroneous claim that Houthi attacks managed to hit Eilat Dec. 16. The corrected text now accurately states: "The Houthis have in recent weeks stepped up attacks on shipping and also fired drones and missiles towards Israel - on Saturday saying they had attacked the Red Sea resort city of Eilat …" In addition, editors posted the following correction to the top of the article notifying readers of the change:

(This Dec. 16 story has been corrected to make clear that the Houthis said they had attacked Eilat, removing the unconfirmed reference to ‘hitting’ the city in paragraph 9. The error was first made in Update 1)

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