CBS Airs Accusations Israelis ‘Targeted’ Civilians, Implies Both Sides ‘Belligerent’

On Friday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Mark Phillips treated with credibility accusations by Palestinians, "supported by UN officials," that the Israeli military was "targeting" civilians in Gaza, and played a clip of a woman accusing Israeli troops of "herding" her family into a house and shooting her husband. And, without informing viewers of the blockade’s importance in preventing Iran or Syria from supplying weapons to Hamas, the CBS correspondent seemed to imply that Hamas leaders were actually concerned about the welfare of the civilian population as he referred to Hamas wanting an end to the Israeli blockade "strangling" Gaza right before adding that "the innocent suffer." Phillips: "Israel is not only demanding the rocket fire stop, but that Hamas be kept from re-arming itself. And Hamas keeps fighting because it wants the Israeli blockade that is strangling Gaza lifted. And the innocent suffer. Allegations, some of them supported by UN officials in Gaza, continue to be made of Israeli targeting of civilians. This woman told CBS News 20 members of her family were herded into a house by the Israelis, that her husband was shot, and that tank fire badly injured her children. The Israelis deny these accounts."

After Katie Couric only referred to Israel "rejecting a UN call for a ceasefire" in the teaser, during the setup to Phillips’s piece, Couric relayed that both sides had rejected the proposal. Phillips then opened his report referring to the "belligerents," presumably referring to both sides although he does not clearly say, who don’t want the war to end. Phillips: "The world may want the fighting to stop, but the belligerents don’t. The Israeli answer to the ceasefire proposal was short, blunt and loud. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza was some of the heaviest yet. Its troops continued their ground action as the Israeli war cabinet called the UN ceasefire plan ‘unworkable’ and vowed to continue the battle."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, January 9, CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC, IN OPENING TEASER: Israel rejects a UN call for a ceasefire. The Israelis say they won’t end the bombardment of Gaza until Hamas stops firing rockets across the border.

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COURIC: Meanwhile, overseas, both Israel and Hamas rejected the UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire. Neither side’s giving in. The war goes on. Mark Phillips is at the Israel-Gaza border.

MARK PHILLIPS: The world may want the fighting to stop, but the belligerents don’t. The Israeli answer to the ceasefire proposal was short, blunt and loud. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza was some of the heaviest yet. Its troops continue their ground action as the Israeli war cabinet called the UN ceasefire plan "unworkable" and vowed to continue the battle.

MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: Is it really logical to expect Israel to hold both hands behind our back and do nothing? We will act to protect our people.

PHILLIPS: Protect from the rockets Hamas continued to fire into Israel. Hamas is fighting back in Gaza as well. It released this video of what it says is Israeli soldiers being shot. It’s impossible to confirm for certain what is happening. Both sides have rejected the ceasefire because neither side has the result it wants from this conflict. Israel is not only demanding the rocket fire stop, but that Hamas be kept from re-arming itself. And Hamas keeps fighting because it wants the Israeli blockade that is strangling Gaza lifted. And the innocent suffer. Allegations, some of them supported by UN officials in Gaza, continue to be made of Israeli targeting of civilians. This woman told CBS News 20 members of her family were herded into a house by the Israelis, that her husband was shot, and that tank fire badly injured her children. The Israelis deny these accounts. The longer this operation has gone on, the more embittered and the harder attitudes have become on both sides. Each Palestinian death, each Hamas rocket fired into Israel has ensured there’ll be more of both. The Israelis say that while they will continue to fight, they have not yet decided whether to move to a threatened third phase of their action and push into the urban areas of Gaza, an action guaranteed to raise the death rate on both sides. Mark Phillips, CBS News, on the Israel-Gaza border.