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Networks Hype Israel 'Under Growing Pressure': U.S. 'Appalled' By 'Disgraceful' Shelling

All three network morning shows on Monday eagerly touted the Obama administration denouncing Israel after an attack on Hamas targets in Gaza led to civilian deaths. On NBC's Today, correspondent Richard Engel proclaimed: "After another attack on Palestinians taking shelter at a U.N.-run school on Sunday, Washington issued its strongest condemnation yet of its ally. The U.S. State Department said it was 'appalled by the disgraceful shelling.'" [Listen to the audio]

Engel continued: "U.N. officials were shocked Israel chose to attack where it knew so many civilians would be in danger....The U.N. secretary general called the Israeli strike 'a moral outrage and a criminal act.'"

On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Dan Harris offered a brief report on the ongoing conflict, declaring: "Israel calling a temporary cease-fire in parts of Gaza one day after an especially harsh rebuke from the U.S. government. The State Department said it was, quote, 'appalled' by Israel's attack on a U.N. shelter, calling it 'disgraceful.'"

CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose similarly announced: "The State Department calls the strike 'disgraceful.' In a statement, a spokeswoman says, quote, 'Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.'" Rose added: "A UNICEF report this morning says at least 392 Palestinian children have died in the Gaza conflict."

In the report that followed, correspondent Clarissa Ward described the circumstances of the attack:

There are more than 3,000 displaced people living in this U.N. school. The majority of them, as you can see, are actually children. And we're told that many of them had run outside yesterday morning because they heard that somebody was selling candy bars and ice cream. So they came outside the gate and at about 10:38 a.m. a rocket hit right here.

At the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, both ABC and CBS reported breaking news of a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem. On GMA, Harris explained:

We have breaking news from overseas this morning. Authorities in Israel say they have stopped a terror attack in Jerusalem. They say a man rammed this backhoe into a bus, flipping it over, before he was shot by police. One person critically injured, no passengers, however, were on the bus.

On This Morning, co-host Gayle King noted:

In Jerusalem this morning, a man rabbed – rammed, rather, a massive construction excavator into an Israeli bus. A person walking by was reportedly killed, several passengers are hurt. Police shot and killed the attacker, calling it a terrorist incident.

Today skipped the story completely.

Unlike both Today and GMA, This Morning went on to provide a full report on Israel "still hard at work destroying this vast network of tunnels stretching from Gaza into Israel" created by Hamas. Correspondent Charlie D'Agata indicated: "Fifty feet below a potato field, Israeli forces discovered a tunnel cutting a direct course to a nearby an Israeli community....Israeli military officials say Hamas planned to use the dozens of tunnels penetrating Israeli territory to launch simultaneous attacks on soldiers and civilians."

Here are transcripts of the August 4 coverage on the morning shows:

Today
7:11 AM ET

CARSON DALY: Meantime, Natalie's here with breaking news out of the Middle East. Good morning, Natalie.

NATALIE MORALES: Good morning to you guys. Well, the Israeli military says it has now pulled most of its ground troops out of Gaza. But will that end the fighting? Richard Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent is in Gaza City. Richard, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Israel Under Growing Pressure; Nearly 1900 Palestinians Killed In A Month]

RICHARD ENGEL: Good morning, Natalie. In a word, no, it is not ending the fighting. This war is still continuing even though Israel has pulled out most of its troops from Gaza. There is now a temporary truce in place here as Israel is under growing pressure, especially from Washington, to do far more to limit the number of civilian casualties.

An Israeli tank shell ripped through a home in northern Gaza overnight, killing ten members of an extended family. Israel says it will continue to target Hamas militants and their weapons whenever and wherever it finds them. But Israel is a coming under growing pressure, including from Washington, to stop causing so many civilian deaths.

After another attack on Palestinians taking shelter at a U.N.-run school on Sunday, Washington issued its strongest condemnation yet of its ally. The U.S. State Department said it was "appalled by the disgraceful shelling." U.N. officials say Israel targeted a suspected militant by the gate of a U.N. facility where 3,000 people were living. U.N. officials were shocked Israel chose to attack where it knew so many civilians would be in danger. Ten were killed.

[To Robert Turner] Do you think enough precautions were taken in this case?

ROBERT TURNER [DIRECTOR OF UN RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY]: I think the evidence shows clearly the strike was too close to the schools. We have multiple civilian deaths. We have injuries both inside and outside of the shelter. Clearly this strike should not have taken place where it did.

ENGEL: The U.N. secretary general called the Israeli strike "a moral outrage and a criminal act."

On the diplomatic front, Palestinians have sent a delegation to Cairo. And both Egypt and the Palestinians are calling on Israel to send a delegation of its own to try to work out a permanent cease-fire. Natalie.

MORALES: Alright, Richard Engel in Gaza City. Thank you, Richard.


Good Morning America
7:11 AM ET

DAN HARRIS: Also breaking overnight, Israel calling a temporary cease-fire in parts of Gaza one day after an especially harsh rebuke from the U.S. government.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: U.S. "Appalled" at Israeli Attack; Cease-Fire Imposed Overnight]

The State Department said it was, quote, "appalled" by Israel's attack on a U.N. shelter, calling it "disgraceful." Ten civilians were killed. This is the second time in the last week that a U.N. facility has been hit.


CBS This Morning
7:13 AM ET

VINITA NAIR: In Gaza this morning, Israeli air strikes are continuing. That comes despite Israel's announcement of a seven-hour cease-fire for most of the territory. An attack on Sunday sparked the strongest U.S. criticism of Israel since the fighting began. Gaza officials say Israeli shelling hit a school full of refugees. Ten people were killed.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Crisis in Gaza; Israel Under Fire for School Attack]

CHARLIE ROSE: The State Department calls the strike "disgraceful." In a statement, a spokeswoman says, quote, "Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties." "The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians." A UNICEF report this morning says at least 392 Palestinian children have died in the Gaza conflict.

Clarissa Ward visited the school hit on Sunday.

CLARISSA WARD: Good morning. There are more than 3,000 displaced people living in this U.N. school. The majority of them, as you can see, are actually children. And we're told that many of them had run outside yesterday morning because they heard that somebody was selling candy bars and ice cream. So they came outside the gate and at about 10:38 a.m. a rocket hit right here. You can actually see the point of impact and it looks like a very small crater, but eyewitness reports describe scenes of absolute carnage. Shrapnel ripped through this entire area. Bodies were littered across the ground, including the bodies of five children. We know that the youngest of those children was just three years old.

The Israeli military says that it was targeting militants with the group Islamic Jihad who were on a motorcycle nearby. But representatives from the U.N. tell us that they shared the coordinates of this school with the Israeli militants thirty-three times, including just one hour before the attack. For CBS This Morning, Clarissa Ward, Gaza.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.