On November 11, 2002, AP distributed a story about an IDF counter-terrorist operation in the Rafah refugee camp in which Palestinians claimed a child was killed. The Israeli action was in response to an initial Palestinian terrorist attack on an Israeli kibbutz which killed five. The article was misleadingly headlined as follows:
“Troops Shoot Dead Palestinian Toddler as Israel Weighs Reprisals for Kibbutz Shooting”
This headline was both inaccurate and judgemental. First, the Palestinian claim that a child was killed was unverifiable at the time. Second, the phrase “troops shoot dead” connotes deliberate targeting, when the child — if indeed killed by Israeli troops — was actually the tragic victim of crossfire.
By contrast, the Palestinian terrorist who attacked Kibbutz Metzer intentionally targeted five innocent civilians, including two young children and their mother who were shot point-blank in their bedroom. Terming this a “kibbutz shooting” minimizes the premeditated cruelty of the act.
Upon contacting AP, CAMERA was told that the headline was changed to:
“Israeli Tanks Sweep into Refugee Camp to Hunt for Killers of 5 on Israeli Kibbutz”
The revised headline clarifies the IDF’s purpose in entering the Rafah camp while conveying the barbarity of the previous Palestinian attack on Israeli civilians.
AP is to be commended for its immediate correction.