AFP Captions Cut Terror Groups Out of the Picture

Days after Agence France Presse published a series of captions which omitted that Osama Dueij, who died from a fatal wound incurred during clashes at the Gaza border, was a combatant in Hamas’ military wing, the news agency’s captions again erase key information tying the scenes to terror organizations.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, incomplete and misleading AFP photo captions accompanied images of Gaza homes (one damaged) following an Israeli bombing in Beit Hanoun. The captions failed to note that the Israeli military targeted Hamas infrastructure — specifically, a military compound and terrorist tunnel — when the nearby home was damaged. By ignoring the target of the attacks, AFP captions falsely implied that the home itself was targeted. Examples of the misleading captions follow:

A Palestinian girl checks on caged birds in a bathroom at her house following Israeli bombing in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 29, 2021. The Israeli air force attacked two sites in Gaza, the army said, after Gazans clashed with forces on the border and launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

A Palestinian woman inspects the damage at her house following Israeli bombing in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 29, 2021. The Israeli air force attacked two sites in Gaza, the army said, after Gazans clashed with forces on the border and launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

A Palestinian woman sits in her damaged house following Israeli bombing in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 29, 2021. The Israeli air force attacked two sites in Gaza, the army said, after Gazans clashed with forces on the border and launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

In contrast, Reuters captions for pictures of the same damaged house provided the essential context missing from AFP’s captions. Reuters rightly noted that Israel had targeted nearby Hamas sites. A brief but informative (if somewhat awkwardly worded) Reuters caption stated, for example:

A Palestinian woman looks out of her house damaged in a nearby Israel bombing at Hamas sites over fire balloons into Israel, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

AFP itself reported on Sunday, albeit only in the third paragraph:

Israeli “fighter jets struck a Hamas military compound used for manufacturing weapons and training as well as an entrance to a terror tunnel adjacent to Jabalia,” the Israeli army said.

Hamas in the Gaza Strip wasn’t the only Palestinian terror group to benefit this week from AFP’s tendency to leave terror groups out of picture captions meant to inform about photographs. 

Numerous Aug. 30 AFP photos of protests in Ramallah showed demonstrators holding posters calling for the release of Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hamid (also spelled Abu Hmeid) and glorifying him (in Arabic) as a “hero” and “lion.” Many of the captions don’t identify Abu Hamid at all. Of the elliptical captions that do mention Abu Hamid’s name, they refer to him only as “Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hamid.” All of the captions for images the Abu Hamid posters omit the fact that as a leader in Fatah’s Tanzim terror organization, he was indicted on multiple terror-related charges including several counts of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, for which he is serving seven life sentences.

A protester holds a poster of Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hamid during a demonstration in the centre of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on August 29, 2021 in support and demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention facilities. ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

People gather during a demonstration in the centre of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on August 29, 2021 in support and demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention facilities. ABBAS MOMANI / AFP

 

Update, 2:45 pm EST: AFP Whitewashes Al Qassam Terrorist As ’32-Year-Old Man’

It’s not just a photo editor who has taken it upon his/herself to erase terror organizations from the story. Thus, an AFP article today, “Israel further eases Gaza restrictions despite unrest” (5:45 am GMT), described Osama Dueij, the Al Qassam Brigades combatant fatally wounded Aug. 21 at the Gaza border,  as a “32-year-old man.” It reported:

Less than a week later, on August 21, clashes accompanying a demonstration on the Gaza border wounded around 40 people, according to Hamas, including a 12-year-old Palestinian boy and a 32-year-old man.

AFP subsequently amended the report. But instead of coming clean and finally acknowledging that Hamas has identified him as a member of its military wing, the wire service simply made him disappear entirely from the story. The later truncated article (1:22 pm GMT) reports:

Less than a week later, on August 21, clashes accompanying a demonstration on the Gaza border wounded around 40 people, according to Hamas, including a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.