Israeli reporter fired for 'wishing more Palestinian deaths' in live TV report
An Israeli news reporter has been fired after expressing regret that a rocket launched from Lebanon did not kill many people when it landed in an Palestinian town in northern Israel.
"It’s a shame, it did not kill many people there", said Channel 20 chief military correspondent and military commentator Kobi Finkler, referring to a rocket that landed in a football field in the town of Shefa Amr near Haifa.
Finkler later tried to clarify his comments, saying that he "misspoke".
"After 10 days of reporting, I saw Arabs applauding the launching of rockets from Lebanon, and then I misspoke. Instead (I meant) to say the missiles could have resulted in many casualties", the pro-Netanyahu reporter said.
Although the television network had initially accepted his clarification and apology, it later decided to let him go.
Palestinian-Israeli Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi condemned Finkler’s remarks, asking what would have happened if a Palestinian working on an Israeli channel had said the same thing about Jews.
הכתב הצבאי בערוץ 20: ״רקטה נפלה במגרש כדורגל בישוב ערבי( שפרעם) ולצערי הרב לא הביא להמון הרוגים שם״. כך אמר. תארו לעצמכם שפוראת נסאר(12) או עלי מוגרבי (13) או סולימאן מסוודה(11) היו אומרים משהו קרוב לזה? pic.twitter.com/rRGmZIJ97J— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) May 19, 2021
Several lawmakers slammed Channel 20 over the report, including left-wing MK Mossi Raz, who demanded Finkler be fired from his position.
The mayor of Shefa Amr also called on the channel to release an official statement apologising for Finkler’s comments.
Several rockets were fired on Wednesday from southern Lebanon toward Israel, following similar incidents over the past week. Most of the rockets landed in open areas, in the sea or were intercepted, according to Israel's army.
While no group has claimed responsibility, the rocket fire from southern Lebanon is believed to have been launched in response to Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 232 Palestinians - including at least 65 children- have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli bombardment began on 10 May.
The death toll in the West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem has reached at least 27 since the violence commenced.
More than 6,000 others have been wounded across the Palestinian territories. A total of 12 Israelis have also died, according to Israeli authorities.
Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian group Hamas agreed to a truce as of early Friday morning. The announcement of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire sparked celebrations in Gaza amid the ruin of the Israeli assault.
Israel's latest assault on Gaza further weakened its infrastructure, which has endured a 14-year blockade, damaging schools, health centres, homes and factories.
Medical supplies, water and fuel for electricity are running low in the territory, on which Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after Hamas seized power from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.