Why watch France 24?
France 24 (pronounced “France vingt-quatre”) the wholly state-owned international news and current affairs television network broadcasts in French, English, Arabic, and Spanish via satellite and cable operators around the world and apps for mobile phones. It aims to compete with leading English-language international news channels BBC World News and CNN International. With a €100 million budget each year it certainly has a shot.
It occurred to me that although France 24 (and occasionally other French media in English) generally don’t show the degree of nastiness and anti Israel advocacy of the BBC, the Guardian or the New York Times it would be a public service to keep an occasional eye on their Israel reporting.
For our first effort
Is this the whole story on Two Gazans who died in Egypt border tunnel?
Two omissions struck me in this report.
The first was implication that the Rafah crossing is now open and goods are freely moving into Gaza. Some goods including cooking oil, cement, and benzene have recently entered but that isn’t free trading.
It was not noted in the France 24 account that the crossing is specifically for pedestrians and generally not goods. Surely France 24 should be informing its readers that the crossing is closed most of the time and the reasons for this. Significantly even the illustrative photograph shows the gates closed.
On 6th January the Palestinian Authority withdrew its staff from the crossing effectively shutting down the main exit point for most of its population. This was said to be a response to Hamas harassing of Fatah members in Gaza . By agreement with Egypt the Palestinian Authority polices the Gaza side of the crossing.
One week later the Egyptians opened the Rafah border crossing in one direction to allow entry of passengers, specifically humanitarian cases into Gaza. For crossing in both directions the Egyptians says that a legitimate representative of the PA must be present to manage the crossing from the Palestinian side.
Towards the end of January Hamas announced the crossing would be open for an indefinite period but apparently it was closed again due to anniversary celebrations of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
In short the situation is confused and not many Egyptian goods are imported hence the tunnels.
The second omission is the seeming disinterest in how the two died. Would France 24 have paid so little attention if the two had died through inhalation of poisonous gas allegedly pumped into the tunnels by Israel?
Other reports are much more specific. According to al Jazeera Gaza’s health ministry spokesperson said Egypt pumped toxic gas into border tunnel, suffocating two men.