Wikipedia talk:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2007-04-14 Timeline of Military Operations in the 2006 Lebanon War

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Mediator Statement[edit]

Good evening (GMT time) fellow Wikipedians, and thank you for agreeing to take part in this step of the Dispute Resolution chain. As mediator, it is my duty to remain completely neutral at all times - from full-out statements, to my tidying-up of the Mediation page. To this end, I drew up both a Neutrality and Mediation policy which I follow; these pages lay out my general approach to remaining bias, and my conduct and actions I normally undertake during mediation (respectively). Please do consult these pages, as they shed an enormous amount of light on my actions in the numerous Mediation Cabal cases I have undertaken.

If you have any questions during this case, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me, via:

  • E-mailInternal or externally at anthony [dot] cfc [at] gmail [dot] com;
  • User talk — feel free to drop me a message at my talk page;
  • IRC — although I'm most often at #wikipedia-checkuser, for general access I can be requested to be at #wikipedia-en (or any other channel at your discretion, including private chat).

Kind regards,
anthony[cfc] 19:36, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Mediation Stage 1[edit]

Cyclod[edit]

In a very quick read of the timeline it's clear that it's almost all of the Lebanese point of view and not fact. I will break down the figures of that below.

There are three main points of dispute.

  • Firstly, This is a timeline. If something is done on a day then it must be recorded as fact against that day. If something is done every day over the timeline period then it must be recorded every day regardless of how boring that is to read.
  • Secondly, Israeli's believe there is a very big difference between bombing a) Using un-guidable and un-targetable Katyusha rockets with the aim of killing civilians in civilian areas compared with b) bombing militants who are hiding in and among civilians in civilian areas while using leaflet dropping tactics to pre-warn of bombings. One is a terrorist tactic from a group that the majority of the west regards as a terrorist group and another is by a military army who are held responsible for their actions. The rockets have no target ability once they have left the ground so they kill indiscriminately. The Lebanese point of view does not differentiate between the facts of a) and b). As this is a timeline all facts must be reflected somewhere.
  • Thirdly, There are 24 days in the timeline but only 11 have a record of the rocket attacks which happened every day. No days contain the destruction to Israeli homes but every day details the destruction to Lebanese infrastructure or militant hideouts. The sentences about the rockets are usually incomplete with their facts, usually last or near the end of the days events and offer no explanation around them. Any attempt to change this is met by Salibas "clean up of the mess". Some of these sentences were added by myself an dif not for me there would still be nothing. They have been moved to last place on the day or deleted, but without them the timeline is factually wrong. On the contracty a POV from a Hezbollah person without explanation cannot be left as fact and most information of what Israel did is included and allowed without citations on the day.

Every day contains lots of information on what Israel destroyed but nothing about the hundreds of homes damaged by Hezbollah rocket fire. My attempts to add it were "cleaned up" and reverted - totally deleted.

The timeline is so very biased that anyone with a quick breeze over it can tell it's written completely based on the Lebanese viewpoint.

  • Date, number of sentences on what happened to Israel, (% of coverage)
  • Wednesday, July 12 Start
  • Thursday, July 13 2 sentences (7%)
  • Friday, July 14 2 sentences (12%)
  • Saturday, July 15 nothing (0%) but strangely explains that a Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries were deployed… no reason why
  • Sunday, July 16 5 sentences (43%)
  • Monday, July 17 A recorded Hezbollah POV that is wrong as per fact and not explained for it's inaccuracy. 5 Sentences (50%)
  • Tuesday, July 18 Nothing (0%)
  • Wednesday, July 19 Nothing (0%) but does talk of the Arab children killed by the rocket fire - unexplainable if there was none.
  • Thursday, July 20 Nothing (0%)
  • Friday, July 21 half a sentence (18%)
  • Saturday, July 22 1 sentence (12%)
  • Sunday, July 231 sentence (8%)
  • Monday, July 24 1 sentence (12%)
  • Tuesday, July 25 2 sentence (30%)
  • Wednesday, July 26 1 sentence
  • Thursday, July 27 2 sentences (50%)
  • Friday, July 28 2.5 sentences (38%)
  • Saturday, July 29 nothing (0%)
  • Sunday, July 30 nothing (0%)
  • Monday, July 31 nothing (0%)
  • Tuesday, August 1 1 Sentence which makes no sense without local knowledge. (8%)
  • Wednesday, August 2 nothing (0%)
  • Thursday, August 3 2 sentences which are incomplete and offer no real explanation of what happened. (10%). POV figures are quoted. These figures are hotly disputed and not explained with Hezbollah not wearing uniforms and using turncoat tactics and that Israeli minimised civilian casualties by taking cover in their domestic bunkers located in the civilian areas.
  • Friday, August 4 2 sentences which make no sense without local knowledge. Lots of information on what Israel destroyed but nothing about the hundreds of homes damaged by Hezbollah rocket fire.

I would like to see changed is:

  • the entire timeline to accurately reflect the facts
  • not just a Lebanese POV
  • An equal amount of detail in each day for both sides of the war
  • edits have been removed with the explanation of being labelled redundant. This is history, nothing can be redundant.
  • additional facts can only improve the facts
  • The article is factually wrong and of low quality. The edits I added, when trying to fix that, were "cleaned up".
  • History is not about readability. It is about events of fact.

Hopefully my opinion will be carefully considered Cyclod 12:24, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Disputes, questions or comments of the above section by other users should be placed here; comments not compliant with WP:NPA and WP:CIVILITY will be removed.

Please keep in mind that this is about the set of your edits which I reverted – not about the neutrality of other sections of the article that neither of us has edited. — George Saliba [talk] 02:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

George.Saliba[edit]

My general approach is to revert useless edits that degrade the quality of an article, while keeping any changes that add value if I can:

  • In my opinion, the main problem is the edits in question add no value to the article, while making it more difficult to read. Very similar edits were discussed on the 2006 Lebanon War talk page, resulting in a concensus to not include them.
  • What I would like to see changed is to have the edits reverted. If there is some piece of information which I reverted that was worth keeping in the article, obviously that should be kept, but I tried my best to keep what little of value I could find when I reverted.

Hopefully my opinion will be carefully considered,
George Saliba [talk] 19:14, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I would like to go over each individual edit made, to further explain my reasoning.
  • 17:30, April 11, 2007 - 87.74.79.49 - The user add "Due to continuous unguided missilies being fired into Israel at civilian areas..." in front of a statement regarding the deployment of Patriot missiles in Haifa.
    • I see this as entirely unnecessary, as this article is about the 2006 Lebanon War, and any mention in the article of the deployment of Patriot missiles, an anti-ballistic missile system, would inherently be related.
    • The wording "at civilian areas" implies intended targets, which, without sources, is original research.
  • 17:33, April 11, 2007 - 87.74.79.49 - The user added the sentence "The barrage of rocket fire continues from Lebanon into Israel towards the civilian towns."
    • The word barrage is not accurate of the volume and timing of the attacks.
    • It is inserted before a sentence which states that Hezbollah declares "open war".
    • It is making the redundant statement that Israeli towns are civilian, when all towns, everywhere, are inherently civilian.
    • I tried to clean up this sentence, rather than do a full revert on it.
  • 17:34, April 11, 2007 - 87.74.79.49 - The user labels the northern Israeli cities as "civilian"
    • Again, all cities are inherently civilian, making this redundant and unnecessary.
(At this point I reverted most of these edits for the first time, leaving in the mention of Hezbollah rocket attacks into northern Israel)
I'm quite busy today, so I'll continue from here when I have more time. — George Saliba [talk] 23:31, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  1. No historic information can be redundant, as it is history.
  2. "Civilians were targetted".
  3. "the word barrage is used".
  4. What you see as "entirely unnecessary" may not be what others see it as. That is just your opinion.
  5. The wording "at civilian areas". is not original
  6. If you remove all the sentences about what happened to Lebanon that do not have citation how much would be left? You have also removed other peoples references.
  7. Attempts by people to add what damage there was to Israel is "cleaned up" or regarded as a "mess". It's wiki policy to not use lack of neutrality as an excuse to delete if it's fact.
  8. The word "barrage" is already used in the timeline now regarding rockets!!!

Cyclod 13:54, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I hope you don't mind, but I've editted your comments to include numbers, so that I can cover them point-by-point. Now, as for your comments:
  1. I'm not talking about "historic information". I'm talking about English. I could say "Hitler was a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad man." Is this accurate? Yes. Is it historic? Yes. Does this sentence belong in the Wikipedia? No, not like this – it is far too redundant.
  2. First, please try to find neutral sources to back up this point. Second, I do not disagree, per se, that civilians were targetted. I disagree with (a) adding statements to that effect without citing reliable sources, (b) redundant statements, such as calling towns "civilian towns", when all towns are civilian, and (c) only calling Israeli towns "civilian towns", which adds significant bias.
  3. Again, please try to find neutral sources to back up this point. I'm not entirely opposed to the usage of the term "barrage", though where it was inserted is wrong, and many of the definitions of the word do not agree with its usage in this context.
  4. Of course it's just my opinion. All assessments of quality are based on opinion.
  5. Again, please try to find neutral sources to back up this point. Also, again, I don't disagree with the term "civilian", only the way you used it redundantly.
  6. If any of the sentences on Lebanon warrant sources, and they lack such sources, please feel free to tag them with {{fact}}.
  7. I didn't see much actually being added regarding damage to Israel. I saw a some shifting around in a manner that made the article less readable, or entirely changed the meaning of sentences in some cases. Also, please review policy, as your statements seem to conflict with it.
  8. I believe this has been covered.
George Saliba [talk] 00:40, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
George, I don't mind about the numbers. It helps. I am not a good text formatter for Wiki yet.
  1. your opinion of redundancy is your opinion only. The meaning of redundant is not reflected in your example.
  2. My sources are accurate. I was there. I and am a eyewitness of the damage to houses. It is ironic that you ask for a neutral source of information when a Hezbollah quote is included in the article without explanation and so many sentences are included without citation. see "see also".
  3. If a change is just your opinion then do not revert it as a "clean up". I do not see you cleaning up edits without citation when it expresses the Lebanese opinion.
  4. Why should I tag an uncited source, I should "clean" it up like you do! IE remove it completely.
  5. Adding the damage to the intentionally targeted civilians in the civilian areas from the unguidable indiscriminant rocket fire into Israel does not make the article unreadable. It just clarifies a terroristic intention of an organization that most of the west and non-Muslim countries regard as a terrorist organization. If it's the English you don't like then correct it, but reverting/deleting anything that is against the Lebanese POV is unacceptable as the article now only expresses the Lebanese POV. There are many things I disagree with in the article but they are just kept there because it expresses the Lebanese POV. Hezbulloh is not called a terrorist organisation because it is honourable, it is because it uses terroristic tactics which mainly mean targetting civilians. This is fact. "see also".
  6. Any source I find that expresses the rocket fire into the towns in Israel where only civilians live you will state as non-neutral or unreliable. If I remove all the quotes from Muslim based countries and label them as unreliable then the Lebanese POV would also not be expressed
As I have expressed to Anthony_cfc, I propose an entire overhaul to express an equal amount of text and explanation for both sides of the war. Eg, no where in the article does it mention the damage to the Israeli civilian homes that amount $1.5 billion. This damage must be expressed every day as this is a timeline every day.Cyclod 07:07, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
  1. Maybe something is being lost in translation. Redundant refers to something being said over, and over again. In my example, the excessive use of the word very was redundant.
  2. Please review Wikipedia policy on reliable sources, verifiability, and original research.
  3. I have not reviewed the entire existing article. Thus far I have only reviewed the changes that are made to it.
  4. As the existing state of the article denotes a consensus, since it hasn't be touched in quite a while (note the diagram in policy), it is preferable to tag things that lack references rather than delete them outright. New edits to the article lack any consensus, so sometimes require discussion before inclusion. Anything that can't be back by a reliable source when tagged as {{fact}} for a reasonable period of time should indeed be removed.
  5. This has nothing to do with Lebanese, Hezbollah, or Israeli POVs; I try to remain as neutral as I can. It's not just the English either, it's the repetetive nature of the edits, which say the same thing over, and over again, and in the end often end up saying nothing concrete. Parties that refer to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization are covered in the Hezbollah article, and do not belong in a timeline.
  6. You really need to review the Wikipedia policy articles I mentioned earlier.
You can include almost any quote or specific information you find, provided it is verifiable, and you cite a reliable source. Adding information based on your own knowledge, or what you believe to be the "truth", or without any sourcing, fundamentally violates Wikipedia policy. Also take a look at attributability. — George Saliba [talk] 22:03, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Mediation Stage 2[edit]

Continuing on with my usual format for handling cases, I'd like to progress to "Mediation Stage 2". This is the stage where the editors come together to post possible compromises; the rest of the parties are then free to discuss, request adaptions or dismiss edits on policy grounds. Wikipedians are reminded to remain civil.

Posted below is a sample code for posting a "Request for Implementation".

===Request for Implementation (last request's no. + 1)===
The edit I would like to see implemented is:
*XYZ (e.g., sentence XY...Z (line J) changed to say ABC.)
*...on the ground of MNO.

~~~~

Once again, please remember than requests for an edit to be implemented that do not conform to this tried-and-tested method may be adapted, and in the case of large amounts of deviation from template, removed altogether. This includes rambling - note form, and references/shortcut links to policy is what we're looking for here.

Regards,
anthony[cfc] 01:08, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Request for Implementation 1[edit]

Dear Anthony, I am proposing a complete overhaul of the document. To add in the Israeli POV. Does this fall within your proposed format? Cyclod 13:55, 17 April 2007 (UTC) I suggest that each day is broken down into something of a "Israel did..." and "Hezbulloh did..." Cyclod 08:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

A couple notes:
  • What is this mediation case about? My understanding is that it was about my reverts of Cyclod's edits, not about the neutrality of the article itself. I have not reviewed the article, I have only reviewed Cyclod's changes to the article, so I cannot comment on the article at large.
  • There's been some mention of a "Hezbollah source" and "Hezbollah POV" in the article, but I'm at a loss for where this is alleged to exist. I've skimmed through the 133 references the timeline currently cites, and I don't see any from Al-Manar, Hezbollah's news organization. Furthermore, they seem to be a reasonable mix of sources from around the world, including Israel. What is the "Hezbollah source", and where, specifically, is the Hezbollah POV?
  • I do not disagee at all with improving the article. If Hezbollah fired rockets at Israel on a specific day, it should be mentioned, along with the number of rockets that were fired (whenever possible), and a source stating such. However, I strongly object to the edits that were made, which I don't feel carried any balancing neutrality whatsoever. Vague, redundant, sensationalist sentences do not belong in an encyclopedia.
Are there any specific examples you can provide of sentences you would like to see changed, removed, or added to the article, so we have something more concrete to discuss than "make it better"? — George Saliba [talk] 19:13, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Just a point of interest here; the original reason for mediation (Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2007-04-14 Timeline of Military Operations in the 2006 Lebanon War#What would you like to change about that? was stated as:
Case page, #What would you like to change about that?
Just thought the discussion could use this piece of information.
anthony[review] 20:50, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this statement is extremely vague. Of course I agree the article should reflect attacks from both sides accurately and neutrally, I just don't agree that the changes Cyclod made were accurate and neutral. If Cyclod can provide some specific examples of changes he would like to see made, perhaps we can discuss those. By specific, I mean something like: "I would like to see the phrase X added to the added to the article on line Y" or similar, not vagaries like "making the article more factual and accurate". — George Saliba [talk] 21:10, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


I guess the next step is I present the new format without added or removing sentences, possibly just splitting some though. Many days will be blank for the Israeli side which does not concur with the main story, which again is why I say, is biased in the first place.
I will proceed to the new format. I will use "The position of Israel/Hezbulloh..." for each day and present it to you and Anthony. Pls suggest how I present it if not in the main atricle?Cyclod 19:07, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I guess you could put it here? I'm not sure that it makes sense to split every day into two parts. It will really depend what information we can find for every day. If we find a reliable source saying a certain number of rockets were fired or people killed, that's great, but we should avoid vaguer, qualitative statements if we can't find sources to support them. — George Saliba [talk] 20:29, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I will put a split version where you suggest. Some days will be blank on the Israeli side, and never on the Lebanese side. I have also just ready a BBC article and a haaretz article which refers to barrage of rockets. The second version can also then include these words as the relaible news agencies do, and we can remove any talk of Israel bombing where it does not mention the number of bombs because vague qualitative statements are no good. Cyclod 09:09, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

(reduce indent) guys, I'm not really following the above - are we onto a possible compromise here. Otherwise, an update on each of your position? ~ AGK 21:07, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Not sure. I think Cyclod is going to post his suggested changes here for review, though he hasn't done so yet, so I'm not really sure what to compromise on. My position hasn't changed much – I'm fully open to any improvements to the article, but changes to it should indeed be improvements, not rambling, redundant, sensationalized, and/or unsourced statements that degrade its quality. — George Saliba [talk] 23:07, 27 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi again. I know what steps I want to do, but evidently I am a bad wiki text manipulator. I would like the following. A) to separate each day into a "The position of Israel/Hexbulloh" B) Complete the position of Israel. The problem is that I am not very good at editing the text and I know it will take a long long time. Any help on this?
The agreed rules are as George has stated above. The existing text does not comply with these rules so it too will have to be "cleaned", unless George wants to change his rules. Also all BBC references must be removed as the BBC have admitted that their coverage of the war was "misleading" and "incomplete" resulting in an Anti-Israeli bias.
George does not want to compromise on the war article content, so the only way to bring the bias of the article into the spotlight, as reflected in the % coverage figures not commented on above, is unfortunately to do a step-by-step edit. All of my other edits are continually "cleaned" by George to reflect to position of Lebanon only as the article does now.
I am very clear on what happened in the war, I was there. Just because many Lebanese supporters are doing edits does not make the text correct even by consensus. So, can anyone help with the splitting of the text?
Cyclod 13:57, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Is there consensus with George to do so? ~ Anthony 19:20, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, is there a consensus to do what? If Cyclod wants to create a proposed version of the article where I suggested, then we can review it and see if there is consensus for his revision. I don't really have the time to hand-hold him through the changes at the moment, nor have I seen anything concrete listed as an issue with the current article, but if you want to help him write his proposal that's entirely up to you. Short of that, I'm not sure what I would be agreeing to. Am I okay with splitting each day into two parts? Generally yes, though I believe it's unnecessary, as the current article is very much laid out in this manner, and I think the temporal aspects of a timeline are more important than the categorization. I don't see the "Anti-Israeli bias" Cyclod speaks of, so I doubt there's any concensus on that until we can see what he identifies as said bias, and what he proposes to do to fix it. Short of that, and until I can see some concrete changes proposed, I still consider this to be little more than OR and POV-pushing. — George Saliba [talk] 03:41, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, no worries, I will do my best to produce a split version. Clearly, from Georges comments above about it being "unnecessary"... this is much needed. Cyclod 13:45, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Rolling eyes.GIFGeorge Saliba [talk] 21:04, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
I have taken a look and actually don't have the time to learn how to be a full wiki editor. However, I still want the article to be changed so that it is neutral. Anthony, please comment on the following change requests, or better still, Anthony could you correct the document to express the following; unless you believe these things didn’t happen.
  1. No day can talk about deaths in Israel without first mentioning the amount of rockets sent into Israel as an attack. If children get killed in Israel then the rockets attacks that were fired into Israel must first be mentioned. If Patriot anti-missile stations are deployed, then it must be explained why. (eg Saturday, July 15 & July 19)
  2. Every day had rocket attacks the civilian towns, but these attacks are hardly mentioned. Most days are without any information on this. This must be corrected.
  3. The number of civilians killed is also hotly disputed as Hezbulloh wear no uniforms and use turncoat tactics. So either the numbers of civilian casualties must be removed OR a note must be added to the numbers to explain that no-one can be sure.
  4. July 17, the quotes of someone cannot be simply added if what is said is wrong. The person is quoted accurately but what is said has no backup. Hezbulloh could not target anything because their rockets are unguided. There is a quote that military bases are targetted. This needs an explanation that his entire quote is rubbish. There are no reports of any military bases being hit or targeted anywhere in the war. Leaving this quote in may mislead people thatit is actually true.
  5. It must be stressed everywhere along claims that Hezbulloh targets any military; that there are no reports of any targeting of any military where any military camps or bases were actually hit. Instead all rockets were fired into civilian areas with the intention to target civilians in true terrorist style. There are no military bases in the civilian towns that were fired at. This is in contrast to the Israeli military who targeted militants hiding in civilian areas. This must be mentioned.
  6. Israel dropped leaflets during the war to warn of imminent attacks. This news is found all over the internet, but why not in the article. Samples can be found from images here [1].
  7. Please note that even the "BBC" admit to being misleading. Let’s try not make it in the Wiki too, as these lies spreads anti-Israeli sentiment.
Cyclod 10:16, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll try to address these in order.
  1. If we have information on how many rockets were sent into Israel that day, that is totaly fine. I don't see the point in mentioning that anti-missile systems (such as the Patriot) were deployed because missiles were being fired however, as it is blatantly obvious. Why else would they deploy them?
  2. If you can find sources that say on "Day X, Y people were killed", then by all means we should add it. However, we can't add vague statements like "On Day X, Hezbollah rockets killed more people." How many more people? What proof do we have that this is true? We need sources.
  3. This topic is already covered in the main article, and likely doesn't belong in a timeline.
  4. This is just wrong. If we have a source saying Nasrallah said such and such, there is nothing restricting us from quoting him as having said such. Citing statements made by people, with quotes mind you, is core to Wikipedia.
  5. This is complete OR.
  6. This is also covered in the main article already.
  7. Refusing to release something does not guarantee guilt of anything.
George [talk] 19:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


George, I asked Anthony to comment, not you. It seems pointless with you.
  1. I don't need numbers on rockets. The work barrage is used widely in all news articles. Events are not obvious to everyone. This is why there are encyclopaedias. The complete event needs describing.
  2. It's not just about deaths. I don't need to mention the number of people killed, only that civilian people in civilian towns were targeted and they took cover in their regulation domestic bunkers. Just because the unguided missiles did not hit their target does not mean they didn't do it. Firing barrages of missiles at civilians, as terrorists do, is an event and it must be recorded. It's not just the civilian deaths that matter. There are sources for the total numbers of rockets, but I haven't found a day-by-day one. So I can say that "The day averaged *** rockets into the civilian towns. There are no reports of any hits on military targets hit inside Israel at the towns where the rockets were aimed."
  3. This must be mentioned everywhere there is a number or the numbers must be removed.
  4. If Mickey Mouse is quoted as saying "the sky is green" then it needs an explanation that some idiot is wrong. Otherwise Wiki would be misleading. And a misleading encyclopaedia must be corrected.
  5. ???
  6. It doesn't matter if it's covered in the main article. It can be covered here on a day by day basis to not mislead the people and to show how Israel tried to warn civilians of imminent attacks. I think pictures must be included next to each day.
  7. The BBC Admit their articles were 'misleading'. That is guilt. They also say their coverage was 'incomplete'. Read it. There is guilt and embarrassment in the BBC now because of this!!

Cyclod 12:24, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

If you're only interested in Anthony's opinion, I'm not sure why I was brought in as a party to this mediation, but good luck to you in any event. — George [talk] 15:40, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I think we agree to disagree on many issues... hence this mediation. It's unfortunate that Anthony is so busy. I believe it's really him, at this point, that should help decide on a way forward. You believe the article is good as it is, I believe it is incomplete and misleading. So, lets wait and see what Anthony has to say. Cyclod 12:15, 6 June 2007 (UTC)