NBC’s Mohyeldin Cites ‘Palestinian Officials’ Labeling the Conflict ‘Disproportionate’

While NBC’s coverage of the latest Israel-Palestine conflict has been distinctly anti-Israel, NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin is perhaps the worst offender. Despite the reality that Hamas has repeatedly rejected Israeli attempts at a cease fire, Mohyeldin touted Palestinian talking points with surprising consistency.

This time, in a report during the July 21 edition of Morning Joe, Mohyeldin cited “Palestinian medical sources” who described the recent Israeli surgical strikes “as nothing short of a massacre.” [MP3 audio here; video below]

The NBC News foreign correspondent cited an Israeli strike targeting a member of Hamas – which also reportedly killed over a dozen members of his family – as a representation of Israel’s use of force being overly aggressive: “And it is precisely that type of casualty toll that Palestinian officials and medical sources say is disproportionate. A lot of human rights organizations as well are saying it is disproportionate the type of force that Israel is using to try to and stop Palestinian rocket fire coming out of Gaza.

Earlier in the segment, similar thoughts were expressed by co-host Mika Brzezinski, who wondered “at what point will Israel’s military operation be counterproductive in terms of both sides somehow agreeing on peace at some point?”

While Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations did note that Hamas has rejected the cease fires, he added: “On the other hand, the way the Israelis are doing this, which is using disproportionate massive fire power as well as troops, is alienating a big chunk of the international community because you are having all these casualties being caused.”    

One might wonder when the "international community" has actually been on Israel's side?

Joe Scarborough also joined the chorus in labeling the conflict “disproportionate” in nature. In fact, he suggested that Israel’s actions may lead the international community “to end up actually doing exactly the opposite of what Israel wants to be done.”

NBC pulled Mohyeldin from Gaza after he witnessed an air strike and in the wake of sarcastic comments he made about Israel. On July 2, the journalist accused Israel of intentionally firing on reporters: "Israeli police firing at crowds of Palestinian protesters and journalists who were clearly marked as such. Despite us yelling that we were journalists they still fired at us and threatened to shoot us if we didn't leave."

The relevant portion of the transcript is below.

MSNBC
Morning Joe
July 21, 2014
6:02 a.m. Eastern

JOE SCARBOROUGH, co-host: The situation does keep getting worse. As the Wall Street Journal wrote this morning, the situation does is getting worse, in part, because Hamas has built a series of tunnels. Those tunnels are being destroyed. It sparked action. Then of course, then you had the deadly killings of the three Israeli youth and the Palestinian youth and it spiraled out of control. Two weeks later over 500 people dead. And the situation going just goes from bad to worse. John Kerry obviously desperate to get over to the Middle East, he’s going to do that now. But a lot of inaction in the international community. I think you're going to see a ramping up this week.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, co-host: Richard Haas, I’m just wondering at what point will Israel's military operation be counterproductive in terms of both sides somehow agreeing on peace at some point?

RICHARD HAASS, Council on Foreign Relations: Israelis face, obviously, a real dilemma. In order to do this in a way that doesn’t cause – to use the awful phrase – collateral damage, hurting a lot of innocents, they've got to put more troops on the ground. When you put more troops on the ground, as we've seen the other day, more troops then get killed. So it's a real problem for them. Hamas has rejected the cease fires. The Israelis therefore feel they have no chance, no choice. On the other hand, the way the Israelis are doing this, which is using disproportionate massive fire power as well as troops, is alienating a big chunk of the international community because you are having all these casualties being caused. This is one of those situations where it's going to take both sides to stop this. And the real question is whether both sides are prepared to accept essentially a narrow, unconditional cease fire. If you try to get ambitious here and solve a lot of the underlying problems, too hard to do, can't do it in the short run. So again, the real question is whether both sides are essentially willing to put aside their long-term goals and just stop.

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: Alright. Joining us now from Gaza, NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. Ayman?

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC: Good morning Mika. Well, you know, thee comment that Secretary of State John Kerry made we actually see it here on the ground. Israel has been saying time and time again it is using surgical strikes. But over the past 24 hours, Palestinian medical sources are describing what is happening here as nothing short of a massacre. In the eastern part of the Gaza strip yesterday, the single deadliest day since this conflict began, the more than 70 people killed in a single neighborhood. That is in addition to some of the other air strikes and shelling that have took place across the Gaza strip that have now pushed the death toll to more than 500 over the course of the past two weeks in fighting. In Gaza today, it has also been an unrelenting day of Israeli bombardment and intense fighting taking place in that eastern strip on the border. You can probably hear some of that shelling taking place behind me. We are getting reports that overnight an Israeli air strike targeting a member of Hamas killed him but also 27 members of his family. And it is precisely that type of casualty toll that Palestinian officials and medical sources say is disproportionate. A lot of human rights organizations as well are saying it is disproportionate the type of force that Israel is using to try to and stop Palestinian rocket fire coming out of Gaza. The situation here on a humanitarian level continues to worsen by the hour. The United Nations now say at least 80,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes and are taking refuge at UN shelters. At least 61 shelters are housing those 80,000 people. So it gives you a sense of how densely populated some of those schools are now becoming and how much pressure is on the UN to try to accommodate them with  health services, food and other basic necessities. Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: Ayman, thank you very much. Joe, clearly, this is spiraling. And John Kerry was talking about peaceful diplomatic engagement, I just wonder how possible that is and what is the sort of diplomatic dimension of Israel's strategy at this point?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, the strategy is simple. The strategy is, uh, stop Hamas from being able to fire rockets into their country and kill their people. Unfortunately for Israel and tragically for the Palestinians, Kim, it is disproportionate right now. And also disproportionate in so many ways that this will obviously – the international community will end up actually doing exactly the opposite of what Israel wants to be done.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.