Monday, February 19, 2018
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Uncorrected

Violence Since 2000

Error (Associated Press, photo caption, 11/5/01): A Palestinian girl, taking part in an anti-Israeli demonstration Monday, Nov. 5, 2001, in front of the United Nations House in downtown Beirut, carries a stone and a painting based on the killing of 12-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed Jamal Aldura and his father Jamal Aldura in Sept. 2000 at the beginning of the latest Intefadeh. The writing on the painting reads "we will not kneel." Some 150 young Palestinian students demonstrated in support of the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza.

Fact: While Mohammed Jamal Aldura was killed in crossfire in Gaza on Sept. 30, 2000, his father is alive and has been interviewed several times since.



Error (Wall Street Journal, 7/30/01 ): Ultranationalist Jews tried to enter a mosque compound Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary and Jews call the Temple Mount.

Fact: There was no attempt to enter the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary. The ultranationalist group, Temple Mount Faithful, was kept at a parking lot well outside the Old City’s Dung Gate, some 300 yards from the mount.



Error (Los Angeles Times, Laura King, 4/24/04): Also Friday, Israel staged a series of raids in the West Bank that the army described as hunts for wanted Palestinian militants. Undercover troops killed three Palestinian men in an early-morning ambush in the town of Kalkilya, Palestinian witnesses said.

Fact: According to an IDF spokesman, in beeper messages and verbally the army described the raids as hunts for wanted Palestinian “terrorists.” Contrary to King’s statement, the army did not “describe [the raids] as hunts for wanted Palestinian militants” (emphasis added).



Error (AFP, captions for several Mohammed Abed photos, 10/26/03): Israeli troops blew up scores of apartments in the southern Gaza Strip after three soldiers were killed Oct. 24 as they guarded Netzarim Jewish settlement.

Fact: First, the three soldiers were not killed as they guarded a Jewish settlement. As reported by countless news agencies, including AFP, the three were murdered while in their living quarters, probably asleep. For example, AFP’s Abdel Zaanoun accurately reported Oct. 24: “The army said two of the soldiers killed in the night-time raid on the heavily guarded settlement were women and the third a male colleague. They were killed in their sleep in a caravan, according to military radio.”

Second, the dynamited buildings are located in Al-Zahara, which is in the northern Gaza Strip, not the southern Gaza Strip. It is about a mile south of Gaza City, and nearby Netzarim, both of which are north.



Error (AFP, Sakher Abu El Oun, 10/26/03): Israeli troops blew up scores of apartments in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday after three soldiers were killed as they guarded a nearby Jewish settlement.

Fact: First, the three soldiers were not killed “as they guarded a nearby Jewish settlement.” As reported by countless news agencies, including AFP, the three were murdered while in their living quarters, probably asleep. For example, AFP’s Abdel Zaanoun accurately reported Oct. 24: “The army said two of the soldiers killed in the night-time raid on the heavily guarded settlement were women and the third a male colleague. They were killed in their sleep in a caravan, according to military radio.”

Second, the dynamited buildings are located in Al-Zahara, which is in the northern Gaza Strip, not the southern Gaza Strip. It is about a mile south of Gaza City, and nearby Netzarim, both of which are north.



Error (New York Times, James Bennet, 10/19/03): So far, the Israeli Army reports finding three such tunnels during this operation, and a total of 48 during the current three-year conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Fact: Bennet understated the army’s figure for weapons-smuggling tunnels found in the three-year conflict. According to an Oct. 16 press release from an army spokesperson, “Since the beginning of the current armed conflict, IDF forces have discovered some 70 weapon smuggling tunnels.”



Error (San Jose Mercury News, subheadline): Palestinians Assist Rescue Operation [of abducted Israeli cab driver Eliahu Gorel]

Fact: There is no definitive evidence showing the Palestinian Authority took any part in the rescue. In fact, major media outlets reported just the opposite, namely, that despite official Israeli demands that the Palestinians assist in the search for the abducted cabbie, no such help was forthcoming. (See, for example, New York Times, July 16, 2003).

Error (MSNBC, Alex Witt, 4/3/03): Well, Israeli troops backed by 35 tanks, four attack helicopters, as well as bulldozers, raided a refugee camp today on the Gaza-Egyptian border killing at least four people. The Islamic miitant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the biggest military action since the start of the war in Iraq, saying it's a gift to the Iraqi people. According to the Israeli army, the raid was meant to uncover weapons-smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian-Gaza border, but Palestinians have argued Israel has taken advantage of the spotlight on Iraq to use excessive force against them.

Fact: Naturally, Hamas did not take credit for the Israeli raid on the Gaza Strip. Nor did Hamas call that raid “a gift to the Iraqi people.” Ms. Witt was apparently referring to the March 30 suicide bombing next to a cafe in Netanya, in which 49 were injured. It was perpetrated by Islamic Jihad, not Hamas, and it was the first Palestinian suicide bombing since the start of the war in Iraq. Moreover, Palestinian Islamic Jihad referred to the act of terrorism as “Palestine’s gift to the heroic Iraqi people.” Also, the March 30 incident which targeted civilians cannot be accurately referred to as a “military action.” It was a terrorist act. Though an MSNBC producer acknowledged the error and confirmed that the anchor woman had been referring to the Netanya bombing (she skipped a line of the script), no correction was broadcasted.

Error (New York Times, headline, 3/25/03): An Arab Boy Tossing Stones is Shot to Death in West Bank

Fact: This headline accompanied a story by James Bennet which made clear that although Palestinian sources claimed that the boy was merely throwing stones at an Israeli tank when it opened fire, Israeli sources said that soldiers opened fire after he climbed on top of the tank and tried to steal its machine gun. The soldiers, according to the Israeli source, believed that their lives were in danger.

According to an AP report, the Israeli army spokesman stated that the boy was throwing a firebomb at soldiers. In any case, the circumstances of the boy’s death were far from clear.

While Mr. Bennet was careful to report both the Palestinian and the Israeli version of how the boy was killed, the headline gave credence to only the Palestinian version. A New York Times foreign editor agreed that the headline was inaccurate, but decided not to run a clarification.



Error (New York Times, Ian Fisher, 12/20/02): Also today, in the Gaza Strip, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl was killed, apparently by a stray Israeli bullet, at her home near the Egyptian border crossing at Rafah. Witnesses said she was hit in the chest while looking out a third-story window.

Fact: It was not “apparent” that the stray bullet was Israeli. The Los Angeles Times reported this death much more cautiously, stating: “It was not immediately clear whether the fatal shot was fired by Palestinian gunmen or Israeli soldiers. Her family said the bullet came from the direction of an Israeli army observation post about a quarter-mile away. The army said it had exchanged fire about that time with Palestinian gunmen hiding in an abandoned building, according to spokeswoman Capt. Sharon Feingold, who said she had no information about the girl’s death” (“Palestinian Girl Is 3rd Gaza Youngster Killed in 3 Days: The source of gunfire that struck 11-year-old is unclear,” Laura King, Dec. 20).

In reporting the death, AP and AFP both noted that reports that the stray bullet was Israeli originated from Palestinian sources. AP’s Pamela Sampson wrote: “Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl, Nada Madi, was shot to death while watching a funeral from the window of her home, her cousin Mohammed Madi said. He said she was shot by Israeli soldiers” (Dec. 19). Similarly, AFP indentified Palestinians as the source for the claim that Israel was responsible for the girl’s death: “Nadi Madi, 11, from the town of Rafah on the Israeli-controlled border with Rafah, which has become one of the deadliest flashpoints in the protracted conflict, was hit in the chest by automatic gunfire which strafed her house, Palestinian security sources said” (Adel Zaanoun, Dec. 19). 

Because the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Palestinians are so often contentious, it is important to identify allegations as such, and to note their source. Furthermore, unless Mr. Fisher has sources or details beyond the Los Angeles Times, AP and AFP, he clearly does not have enough information to assert the bullet was “apparently” Israeli. The notion that a relative who witnessed the shooting could identify the source of the stray ballistic traveling at such a rapid speed is questionable.



Error (New York Times, Michael Wines, 12/3/02): Islamic Jihad mounted a second attack in Gaza this afternoon, an official of the group said in an interview. It fired two mortar shells at any army outpost near Beit Hanun, in an industrial zone near the northern border of the Gaza Strip.

A spokesman for the Israeli military said troops did not respond because the shells fell short. An Islamic Jihad official said an Israeli shell fired in response killed one man and wounded another.

Fact: Palestinian security forces as well as Israeli officials discount Islamic Jihad’s claim that an Israeli shell was responsible for the man’s death. According to AFP, “Palestinian security sources said the man was killed accidentally Monday by mortars fired by Islamic Jihad in an attack on Israeli troops” (“Islamic Jihad denies killing Palestinian worker in Gaza,” Dec. 3). Similarly, AP’s Mark Lavie reports: “The fourth Palestinian, a sanitation worker at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, was killed when a mortar fired by Palestinians at an Israeli position fell short of its target, Palestinian security officials said” (Dec. 3).



Error (Los Angeles Times, Tracy Wilkinson, 7/30/01): Police in riot gear used stun grenades and yellow rubber bullets–not live ammunition–to corral the Palestinians inside Al Aqsa and wrestled others to the ground.

Fact: While some Palestinians did claim that Israeli police used rubber bullets, Israel disputed this claim. Other major American papers which mentioned the rubber bullets made clear that it was a claim, and not necessarily fact. Moreover, they reported that Israel denied the allegation. For example, the Chicago Tribune reported that "Palestinian hospital officials said four of at least 35 injured demonstrators were struck by rubber-coated metal bullets, one in an eye. Israeli police, criticized in the past for using excessive force, denied using rifle fire."



Error (New York Times, Deborah Sontag, 6/2/01): Some [Palestinian] youths stoned an unmanned Israeli police station and attacked a house in the Muslim compound of the Old City owned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A Jewish tourist fired tear gas at a group of Palestinians, sending them to the hospital. But by the middle of the evening, that had been the extent of the troubles. . . .

Fact: These incidents were not the extent of the troubles by the middle of the evening. As the AP reports, “Palestinians also smashed security cameras at the Old City’s Damascus Gate, and looted and set ablaze a Jewish-owned shop, police said. No one was injured. At another shop, a Jewish tourist sprayed tear gas at would-be looters, witnesses said” (Nicole Winfield, June 2).