The topic that I chose for this project was the renewal of skirmishes between Israel and Hizbullah in South Lebanon. The event took place on November 27, 2000 and major newspapers worldwide reported the event. While most reports were more or less similar in content, the manner in which the event was analyzed and commented on different substantially.
The three articles chosen for this analysis were “Israel strikes South Lebanon after bomb kills soldier” by Lee Hockstader writing for the Washington Post, “Soldier Killed in Har Dov attack” by David Rudge, writing for the Jerusalem Post, and “Israeli killed in ambush: Warplanes retaliate against Hizbullah’s bomb in Ramta” by Nicholas Blanford writing for the Daily Star. All articles were published on the same day.
The three articles reported that Israeli warplanes struck probable Hizbullah posts inside Lebanese territories. The attack came after Hizbullah killed an Israeli soldier and wounded two others in an ambush inside the disputed Shebaa Farms. On the Lebanese side, only one person was mildly injured as a result of the Israeli attack while he was working on a road close to the target. The three articles also quoted officials almost in a similar manner from both the Lebanese and Israeli sides.
Comparison of Titles
The three titles agree on one important aspect, namely that Israel was striking after an Israeli soldier was killed in an ambush by Hizbullah. However, the article of the Jerusalem Post used the name “Har Dov” instead of “Shebaa Farms.” The former is the Israeli term used to identify the area whereas the latter is the official Lebanese name of the area. The usage of the Israeli term, although Israel is officially an occupying force of the area, regardless whether this area belongs to Lebanon or Syria, implies a preliminary bias in favor of Israel. Apart from this, the three titles bear no other forms of bias to either side of the conflict.
Comparison of Content
The three articles are developed more or less in the same manner. First of all, the three reporters started mentioning the fact that Israeli planes struck inside the Lebanese territories in retaliation for the death of an Israeli soldier and the injury of two others in an ambush set by Hizbullah. The three authors also mentioned that Hizbullah had declared its responsibility for the ambush, as part of its “jihad” mission until the liberation of the conflicted farms. The three articles also acknowledged the fact that the region was still an area of conflict between Israel and Lebanon, although both the Jerusalem Post and Washington Post emphasized that the ambush took place beyond the line identified by the United Nations to separate the two sides.
The three authors reflected objectivity in the manner they quoted officials from both sides. On the Israeli side, they quoted ministers and military chiefs, and on the Lebanese side, they quoted the Lebanese president as well as Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah. None of the three authors tried to judge the attacks by either side, although more or less they agreed that this showed a deterioration of peace prospects in the region.
Of the three authors, only David Rudge seemed to be covertly biased in the way he developed his article. To start with he emphasized that “the bomb was planted almost a full kilometer on the Israeli side of the UN-delineated withdrawal line” hence shedding guilt on Hizbullah and presenting Israel as the victim. Rudge is also the only one of the three authors who shed too much light on the drama of the dead Israeli soldier, pointing out that he had a wife and a young two-year-old child depending on him. Furthermore, Rudge emphasized the fact that the killed soldier is a Muslim, hence insinuating that Israel does not discriminate between Jews and Muslims. The objective of humanizing the dead soldier is again to throw more guilt on Hizbullah and presenting them in an indirect manner as murderers.
All in all, the three authors achieved objectivity and accuracy in the manner in which they reported the event. Even David Rudge could not openly take sides in his article, probably because he was aware of the manner in which readers are becoming more critical when reading articles covering Middle East conflict news.