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Middle East Issues





Haaretz Bungles Coverage of Palestinian Casualty


After correcting false July 21 headlines in English and Hebrew which stated as fact that an Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian, Haaretz's English edition continues to misreport the undetermined circumstances surrounding the death of Mohammed Sharaf.
 
As reported by Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew website, Haaretz's July 21 headlines did not leave any room for doubt. The English edition headline stated: "Temple Mount Crisis: Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Settler in East Jerusalem."
 

The Hebrew headline likewise stated an fact that an Israeli settler shot to death a Palestinian, without qualifying it as a "report," or attributing it to any source. It states: (CAMERA's translation): "Tensions in East Jerusalem: Palestinian Shot to Death By a Settler in Ras al-Amud."
 

 
The Palestinian Maan News Agency had reported that a settler shot Sharaf in the neck killing him, and Haaretz also had reported this information at face value without any qualification.
 
(This is not the first time that Haaretz headlines have upgraded unverified or false Arab claims into fact.)
 
Meanwhile, according to an Israeli police investigation, Mohammed Sharaf, 19, was admitted to Al-Maksad Hospital in eastern Jerusalem with a wound on his neck. When police arrived at the hospital to investigate the circumstances of his death, Sharaf had already been buried. As Haaretz's Hebrew edition itself reported July 24, the police described the immediate burial as "atypical for the funeral of shahidim."  Because of the quick burial, police were unable to determine the cause of death. But the police investigation included that the Israeli security guard in east Jerusalem whom Palestinians had identified as the "settler" who allegedly shot Sharaf dead had nothing to do with the incident.
 
In the wake of Presspectiva criticism, editors amended the Hebrew and English headlines and continued to report on the alleged shooting of Sharah at the hands of a settler, but attributed the information to Palestinian sources. 
 
In addition, as previously mentioned, on July 24, Haaretz reported on the police findings both in Hebrew and English. The English edition, however, errs about the police's conclusions. The English article states ("Palestinian Killed on Friday in East Jerusalem Was Not Shot by Security Guard, Police Say"):
At the time, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that the Palestinian, Mohammed Sharaf, was shot in the neck. Palestinians released a video that aroused suspicions that a security guard at a complex in the Palestinian neighborhood where Jews live was the one who shot him. They claimed that he was shot by "a settler." The Israel Police say Sharaf was shot after taking part in violent demonstrations in the neighborhood.
Police summoned the security guard for questioning, after which they concluded that he was not involved in the shooting. The investigation is continuing, but law enforcement officials said the probe has been hampered by the fact that Sharaf was buried very soon following his death, depriving the police of the opportunity to order an autopsy. Nevertheless, they said, they conducted an investigation at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, where Sharaf was admitted following the shooting.
Contrary to the assertion in Haaretz's English edition, the police did not conclude that Sharaf was shot. Given the fact that some Palestinians participating in clashes in the area hurled firecrackers at policemen (and some Israeli police were injured in these incidents), along with the fact that Sharaf was buried before they could examine him, and there was no autopsy, police do not know the cause of Sharaf's injury. In a conversation with CAMERA, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that police were operating in the vicinity when Sharaf was injured, so they do not rule out the possibility that he was injured by police fire. But, he emphasized, contrary to the Haaretz report, the police did not conclude that Sharaf was shot.
 
Indeed, in Haaretz's Hebrew edition Yotam Berger correctly reported that according to police, Sharaf was wounded ("nifgah") – as opposed to shot – after he took part in a violent demonstration.
 
Moreover, as noted above, the Hebrew edition, but not the English edition, reported that the police added that the quick burial is not typical of "shahid funerals," or funerals for Palestinians killed in clashes or attacks against Israelis.
 
CAMERA has contacted Haaretz editors about the discrepancy in the Hebrew and English articles, informing them that, contrary to the English edition's claim, police have not concluded that Shahaf was shot. Editors have failed to correct the article.
 
For additional examples of "Haaretz, Lost in Translation," please see here.
 

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