AFP: People Shot People Dead in the West Bank

Agence France Presse, one of the leading international wire services, reports today that people shot people in the West Bank.

Israeli victims from left Harel Masood, Elisha Anteman, Ofer Fayerman and Nachman Mordoff (Courtesy)

Beyond that, the basics about the deadly terror attack yesterday in Eli, when Palestinian assailants gunned down four Israeli civilians, including two high school students, are rather fuzzy. Today’s story, “Four shot dead near West Bank settlement” (1:01 am GMT), neglects to identify the perpetrators (Palestinians) and the victims (Israelis).

This most basic information is absent from the headline, which fails to explain who shot whom. The article’s first sentence also omits the most essential points. The article begins:
Four people were shot and killed Tuesday near a settlement in the West Bank, Israeli officials said, a day after an army raid in the territory left six Palestinians dead.
Who were the four people who were shot? Who shot them? While AFP’s opening paragraph fails to identify the perpetrators and victims in the Palestinian attack, it clearly reports that previously an Israeli army raid killed six Palestinians. Why the inconsistency?
Compare AFP’s evasive, uninformative headline to the Associated Press headline from three hours earlier which clearly states: “Palestinians fatally shoot 4 Israelis before being killed, spurring revenge attacks in West Bank” (June 20, 10:11 pm GMT). 
Similarly, AP’s article opens with a straightforward account of perpetrator and victims: “Two Palestinian attackers opened fire at a restaurant and gas station . . . killing four Israelis.”
Reuters’ coverage is also straightforward, clearly identifying the Palestinian perpetrators and Israeli victims, starting with the headline (“Palestinian gunmen kill four Israelis in West Bank“). The first few words in Reuters story capture the key facts of the event “Palestinian gunmen shot dead four Israelis. . . “
In contrast, at no point does AFP identify the gunmen as Palestinian, and leaves only the most determined readers to ferret out that information 27 paragraphs into the story, with a quote from Hamas calling the attack a “response to the crimes of the (Israeli occupation.)” Buried deeper down in paragraph 28 is an Islamic Jihad comment in the same vein.
When it comes to Israeli belligerence, however, AFP consistently identifies the perpetrators: “Jewish settlers attacked,” “settler attacks,” “Israel forces launched a raid. . . in which six Palestinians were killed,” and “the military used lived fire, tear gas and stun grenades.”
AFP’s coverage is equally lacking with respect to identification of the Israeli casualties. Fifteen paragraphs down, AFP reports:
An MDA spokesperson said its medics confirmed four fatalities but their nationalities were not immediately available.
Officials in the Eli settlement named one of those killed as resident Elisha Antman.
But as noted above, hours before AFP published a story claiming that three of the victims’ nationalities were not known, AP already had that information and reported:
The Israeli military said all of the victims were Israeli citizens, and local media described three of the victims as residents of West Bank settlements while the fourth came from central Israel. They reportedly ranged in age from 17 to 60.
Even hours after some of the Israeli victims were buried overnight, AFP doggedly persisted this morning in its insistence that the identity of the fatalities was not quite certain. At 7:35 am GMT, the media outlet continued to insist (“Israel makes arrests after deadly West Bank shooting“):
Multiple Israeli officials were unable to confirm their nationalities when contacted by AFP, while local media reported all of those killed were Israeli.

More than three hours later, at 10:52 AM GMT today, which was more than 20 hours after it was widely reported that four Israeli were killed in a Palestinian terror attack, AFP finally reported as fact that the four dead were Israelis, writing that 17-year-old Nachman Mordoff “was one of four Israelis killed Tuesday when gunmen attacked a petrol station adjacent to nearby Eli settlement before being shot dead” (“Israelis, Palestinians hold teen funerals after West Bank violence”).

As of this writing, AFP still conspicuously fails to specify “Palestinian gunmen.”

June 25 Update: More Than a Day After Eli Terror Attack, AFP Identifies Perpetrators, Victims

Some 30 hours after the June 20 terror attack in which Palestinian gunmen murdered four Israeli civilians, including two fresh high school graduates, AFP finally reported the gunmen were Palestinian and stated unequivocally that the victims were Israelis ("Palestinian killed in West Bank village attacked by Israelis," June 21, 6:18 PM GMT):

The reprisals came hours after mourners held a funeral for a teenager killed in a Palestinian shooting targeting Israelis nearby. …

The teenager was one of four Israelis killed Tuesday when Palestinian gunmen attacked a petrol station adjacent to Eli settlement before being shot dead.

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