Yishai Goldflam, editor-in-chief of CAMERA’s Hebrew site, www.presspectiva.org, published an Op-Ed Jan. 5 in the free Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom examining how a history of media fabrications have contributed to doubts about the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma.
Below is CAMERA’s translation of the original Hebrew article.
The storm is still raging concerning the circumstances surrounding last Saturday’s death of Jawaher Abu Rahma of Bilin. Regardless of the circumstances, the result is tragic. Jawaher is dead. But the question remains whether she was killed from the inhalation of tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers, or whether she died due to a preexisting illness. Apparently, we will not know the truth any time soon, if at all. Nevertheless, the claim that the Palestinians are not being precise, to say the least, or are manipulating the facts, does not come from a vacuum. It’s hard not to detect a pattern in Palestinian reports from the last few years.
The most famous case is the story of Mohammed Al Dura, the Palestinian boy who was ostensibly shot to death in 2000 by the Israeli soldiers. Today it is clear to all those immersed in the details that there is no chance that the boy was killed by IDF fire and that possibly the whole scene was staged from the start. Another famous case is the Palestinian claim that the IDF massacred 5,000 residents of the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield [in April 2002]. It’s worthy of note that there was not one iota of truth to these claims.
And there are additional cases. On March 30, 2010, 15-year-old Mohammed Faramawi was reportedly shot to death by Israeli soldiers close to Rafah. Three days later, he “returned” from the dead, after it became clear that he had passed the tunnels to cross into Egypt, where he had been caught and arrested.
On May 12, 2008, Physicians for Human Rights reported to the media that Gazan Muhammad al-Harrani died while he was awaiting a permit to enter Israel for cancer treatments. PHR blamed al-Harrani’s death on the Shin Bet’s cruel policies. Only the next day it became clear that al-Harrani was in fact alive. The organization explain in his defense that this was a rare case in which the family deliberately gave them incorrect information.
On July 22, 2003, mainstream media outlets around the world reported, based on Palestinian claims, that an IDF tank killed four Gazans. Israel denied involvement. The next day it came to light that the four were killed in a “work accident,” in other words, a bomb which they placed on the border fence prematurely exploded. Some of the media outlets never corrected their earlier report, but instead presented the story as two conflicting claims.
In April 2002, Israeli drones filmed a staged Palestinian funeral in Jenin, in which a living man can clearly be seen climbing onto a stretcher and playing dead. Even after the pallbearers twice dropped him, he climbed up again onto the stretcher. If you don’t believe it, watch it on You Tube.
There are more such claims. Recently Palestinians reported that in eastern Jerusalem two youths who were run over by David Beeri in Silwan last October were on their way “to their respective homes” after the Friday prayers, “when Beeri’s car suddenly appeared . . . and suddenly he accelerated and ran over two of them.” They released this statement, apparently, before they knew that the entire incident was filmed. In the video, the youths can clearly be seen throwing rocks at Beeri’s car, undermining their entire story. The problem is that there are not always cameras, and it’s more convenient for the media to believe the Palestinians’ emotive allegations as opposed to the official version of the powerful army.
And, of course, there are also cases in which the Palestinian claims are correct, but the abundance of false charges make it difficult to uncover the isolated cases in which the IDF did transgress its moral code. In any case, in light of the aforementioned cases, Palestinians have no right to complain when doubts are raised about their accounts. In the propaganda battle that they are waging against Israel, the Palestinians have cleverly exploited an irresponsible media. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world (and also in Israel), accept these accounts at face value.
In order to battle this phenomenon, meticulous documentation and analyses of Palestinian complaints about unjustified attacks against them are needed. Only the documented truth wins in the communications age, but the troubling question remains: how many times has the world adopted the Palestinian lies when there was no possible way to debunk them?