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An article by Sabah Ayoub
French Media: Covering or Covering Up Israeli Crimes?

France’s media failed to fully report a recent incident in which Israeli rockets landed near a French diplomat’s home in Gaza, causing injuries and a miscarriage.

18 November 2011

The rocket attack did not make the first page in any of the prominent newspapers in France, nor did it receive any coverage from news programs. (Photo: AFP - Francois Guillot)

Four Israeli rockets landed next to the residence of French diplomat Majdi Shaqura in Gaza last Sunday wounding him and his 13-year-old daughter and forcing his wife to abort prematurely, Majdi told an AFP reporter.

Such an attack with its obvious political and humanitarian repercussions would have probably provoked outrage among the international community and the French government had it not been for one fact: the offender this time was Israel.

The French government avoided disclosing news of the attack. The official statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was at best brief.

No reference was made to the miscarriage of Shaqura’s wife, which was very possibly caused by the attack. The ministry’s spokesperson was obliged to mention the incident merely to confirm that it happened.

The rocket attack did not make the first page in any of the prominent newspapers in France, nor did it receive any coverage from news programs.

Articles of news that did appear were based on wire reports, with no correspondent dispatched to examine the particulars of the incident or to add a human touch to the story.

Only a few lines appeared, summarizing the attack with euphemisms and understatements. Not a single picture of the injured diplomat or his bereaved family was featured.

This suggets that mainstream French media, an alleged advocate of human rights and freedom of expression, has submitted to the inclinations of the government and the pressures of the Israeli lobby.

Remarkably, Liberation newspaper mentioned the attack in its “brief news” section as a minor news report. Le Figaro and Le Point parroted the news agencies’ reports, focusing on the so-called “slight wounds” of the diplomat and his family while neglecting to mention details of his wife’s miscarriage.

Le Figaro went even further by using the phrase “collateral damage” to describe the Shaqura family’s injuries, while Le Monde made sure to mention the Israeli response, confirming “no complaints were received and the rockets hit their intended target.”

In fact, the single article that appeared was that of Adrien Jaulmes in Le Figaro, who justified Israeli actions by writing that “the overpopulation in Gaza and the fact that Palestinian activists launched their rockets from residential areas are the reasons why civilians are injured or killed by Israeli attacks.”

Finally, Le Nouvel Observateur magazine published the government’s official statement and reminded readers of the tension between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the recent scandal of a leaked conversation revealing Sarkozy’s distaste for his Israeli counterpart.

French television station websites also avoided covering news of the attack. There was no mention of it on the websites of the TF1 and TV5 Monde.

Other channels, such as France 24, reported that the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Israeli ambassador in Paris, Yossi Gal. The only picture shown was that of Gal.

French media’s failure to report the event came on the heels of the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit whose case dominated the Western press and media.

The question that must be asked is: Can anyone imagine how the scenario would have been if the same family was injured by rockets launched by Palestinians or by Hezbollah?

Sabah Ayoub
english.al-akhbar.com, November 18, 2011.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.