In response to communication from CAMERA's Israel office, Times of Israel editors today commendably corrected a headline and article which falsely charged that an Israeli driver shot a Palestinian child, when in fact the six-year-old shot himself in the stomach while playing with a gun.
The article had initially reported:
A six-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in his stomach by an Israeli near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Saturday, a Palestinian source quoted by Hebrew media said. There was no Israeli confirmation of the incident.
According to the Palestinian source, the child was standing by the road when an Israel [sic] driver stopped, shot him and fled, the Israeli news website Ynet reported. It was not clear whether the child was throwing stones at cars, Ynet said. The boy was evacuated to hospital in Qalqilya; his condition was unclear.
The Hebrew-language Walla website quoted the Palestinian media as saying that the attack was carried out by a settler. Israeli officials hand no information on the claim.
According to Haaretz, however, the single Palestinian source who claimed the boy was shot in the stomach was the child's father ("Palestinian Boy Believed Shot Accidentally While Playing With Gun"). Other Palestinian sources, along with Israeli authorities, agree that the boy was shot while playing with a gun. The subtitle of Haaretz's story states: "Palestinian sources say family fabricated story that boy was shot by Israeli settler in order to protect older brother and win Palestinian Authority stipend; IDF denies Israeli involvement, holds brother for questioning."
The Haaretz article, which was published a few hours after the Times of Israel story, reports:
A six-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in his stomach near the West Bankcity of Qalqilya on Saturday. According to an Israeli investigation, the boy was playing with a gun when it misfired, injuring him.
Preliminary Palestinian reports said the boy was shot by an Israeli settler who drove by the village and fled after the shooting, but Palestinian sources said the family may have lied to protect the boy's older brother, who was present at the incident, and in order to be recognized as victims of settler terrorism by the Palestinian Authority and receive a stipend.
The Israeli military vehemently denied any Israeli involvement in the incident, and detained the older brother for interrogation.
Times of Israel editors immediately amended the headline to make clear the child was injured while playing with a gun. It currently states:
In addition, editors commendably added the essential information to the second paragraph noting that child was wounded while playing with a gun:
Meanwhile, CAMERA has contacted Ynet, another Israeli English-language news site, which published a brief article
reporting the initial Palestinian allegation about a shooting attack, without any mention that the child in fact injured himself while playing with a gun.
Yet, a lengthier Ynet article later in the day, entitled "Report of settler attack on Palestinian boy
," made clear that according to an Israeli army investigation, carried out in conjunction with Palestinians, the boy shot himself while playing with a gun.