After “Alleged” Rocket Attacks, DPA Reports “So-Called” Burning Balloons

A month after correcting photo captions which had originally referred to hundreds of Palestinian rockets “allegedly” fired at Israel, the German Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) wire service published new photo captions Friday which called incendiary devices launched by Palestinians in Gaza “so-called” burning balloons. The misleading captions dismissively referred to airborne arson attacks launched from the Gaza Strip against southern Israel as “so-called four burning balloons . . . creating small fires in southern Israel” (Emphasis added). A sampling of the numerous photographs which carry the tendentious captions follows:

14 June 2019, Palestinian Territories, Gaza City: Palestinian fishing boats anchored in Gaza port and fish shops empty. According to media reports, Israel closed the fishing area of Gaza fishermen until further notice in response to the so-called four burning balloons that emerged from the coastal enclave creating small fires In southern Israel. Photo by: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

 

14 June 2019, Palestinian Territories, Gaza City: Palestinian fishing boats anchored in Gaza port and fish shops empty. According to media reports, Israel closed the fishing area of Gaza fishermen until further notice in response to the so-called four burning balloons that emerged from the coastal enclave creating small fires In southern Israel. Photo by: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

 

14 June 2019, Palestinian Territories, Gaza City: A Palestinian stands in his empty fish shop. According to media reports, Israel closed the fishing area of Gaza fishermen until further notice in response to the so-called four burning balloons that emerged from the coastal enclave creating small fires In southern Israel. Photo by: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Why does DPA qualify these burning balloons as “so-called” burning balloons? That is, in fact, what they are.

The AFP reported on last Wednesday, June 12, when the fishing ban was imposed:

The Israeli government said late Wednesday that the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza had been closed, in retaliation for the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave.

“Due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, it has been decided tonight (Wednesday) not to allow access to Gaza’s maritime space until further notice,” a spokesperson for COGAT, a unit of Israel’s defence ministry, said in a statement. . . .

A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires just on Tuesday.

In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

Indeed, in the past year, such Palestinian arson attacks have destroyed tens of thousands of dunums of agricultural land and nature reserves.

According to latest figures from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 35,000 dunums of agricultural and park lands in southern Israel have been destroyed in Palestinian arson attacks in the last year, resulting in 13 million shekels of damage.

Moreover, Times of Israel reported that on Wednesday, June 12, the day the fishing ban was imposed, Gazans launched a balloon-borne bomb into Israel, which exploded over an Israeli town. The Times of Israel also reported that “the local fire department report[ed] six fires were started Wednesday in southern Israel as a result of incendiary and explosive devices flown from Gaza.”

CAMERA has contacted DPA editors to request they amend the unjustified reference to “so-called” burning balloons. As of this writing, they have yet to correct.