ABC News Falsely Blames Israeli Airstrikes for All Gaza Fatalities

This month, Islamic Jihad rockets careened off course from Israeli targets and tragically snuffed out the lives of hapless Gaza residents. ABC’s coverage of these events also suffered a dismal fail.

“The [Palestinian terror] attack [in Jerusalem] comes just a week after a cease-fire ended some of the worst fighting in the region in a year. Israeli air strikes killing 49 Palestinians, including 17 children, and the Islamic Jihad militant group firing more than 1,000 rockets at Israel,” ABC correspondent Ines de la Cuetara falsely reported, blaming Israel for all of the Palestinian deaths in Gaza, and ignoring the fact that a substantial number were killed by errant Palestinian rockets. (Emphasis added.)

While some media outlets like NBC and Reuters labored to either obscure or cast doubt on the fact that misfired Islamic Jihad rockets were responsible for a significant number of the fatalities in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, ABC’s coverage goes one step further with its egregious error of commission.

Contrary to de la Cuetara’s assertion that Israeli airstrikes are responsible for the 49 fatalities, including 17 children, many were killed by failed Islamic Jihad rockets. As The Associated Press recently reported (“Misfired rockets may have killed over a dozen in Gaza battle“): Close to one-third of the Palestinians who died in the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza militants may have been killed by errant rockets fired by the Palestinian side, according to an Israeli military assessment that appears consistent with independent reporting by The Associated Press.”
Other sources give different figures for the percentage of the 49 Gazans killed by Islamic Jihad’s failed rockets. For instance, Haaretz‘s Amira Hass, a veteran critic of Israel, reported Sunday: “Botched launches of Palestinian rockets killed 19 non-combatants, including 12 children.” She provides a detailed account of each fatality: their name, date, place and circumstances of death. A subsequent Haaretz report then said Israeli defense officials speaking off the record acknowledged an Israeli strike was responsible for five deaths Aug. 7 in Jabalya, thereby revising Haaretz‘s figure to 14 Palestinians killed by failed rockets.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center identifies 11 Gazans were killed by Palestinian rockets. The Israeli military believes that 12 children in Gaza were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets, according to Times of Israel.
Thus, while there is uncertainty about the precise number of Palestinians killed by misfired Islamic Jihad rockets, there is no uncertainty that the failed attacks against Israel ended up taking numerous Palestinian lives.
CAMERA’s Israel office communicated this information to ABC very early Monday morning (ET). Nevertheless, a second ABC journalist repeated the same falsehood later that day using wording identical to de la Cuetara’s though she reduced the number of Palestinians allegedly killed by Israeli airstrikes (48 instead of 49). ABC correspondent Reena Roy falsely reported on Aug. 15 on “ABC News Today” at 12:19 pm ET:
The attack comes just a week after a ceasefire ended some of the worst fighting in the region in the year, Israeli airstrikes killing 48 Palestinians, including 17 children and the Islamic militant group firing more than 1000 rockets at Israel.

CAMERA continues to urge ABC to broadcast on-air corrections both on programs in which the false charge was reported, making clear that a significant portion of the Palestinian fatalities in Gaza last week were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets aimed at Israel but which veered off course, and that Israel is not responsible for all 49 (or 48) deaths.


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