Fatal Addiction: Journalists Erase Terror Affiliations of Palestinians Killed By Israeli Forces

Like an unshakeable addiction, the impulse of mainstream journalists to conceal the terror affiliations of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops remains a persistent feature of reporting at major news outlets. The Associated Press and The New York Times were the lastest media outlets in recent days which simply couldn’t help themselves.

Concerning Ezzedin Kanan, a verified fighter in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, AP’s headline yesterday obscured: “A Palestinian dies a month after being shot during an Israeli raid in the West Bank.” The first paragraph of the accompanying article by Nasser Nasser likewise omitted Kanan’s terror affiliation, reporting only: “The Palestinian news agency reported Saturday that a 20-year-old died of wounds a month after being shot during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.”

Not until the third paragraph does the story acknowledge:

An offshoot of the secular nationalist Fatah party, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed Kanan as one of its “fiercest fighters” and pledged to avenge his loss. Armed and masked militants flanked the mourning procession for Kanan as his body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag and adorned with a headband from the group, was carried through his home village of Jaba.

Associated Press captions from Kanan’s funeral yesterday also ignore that he was a confirmed combatant belonging to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a designated terror organization. The incomplete captions selectively report, referring to

Ezzedin Kanan, 20, who succumbed to his wounds sustained during an Israeli army operation last month, during his funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. The July 3 raid was the most intense Israeli military operation in years in the West Bank, involving airstrikes and hundreds of ground troops, that left a wide swath of damage in its wake. Kanan’s death brings the death toll in the raid to 13. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

AP’s failure to adequately identify Kanan as a combatant was hardly the first such instance at the wire service in recent days. The news agency’s Aug. 22 headline, “A 17-year-old Palestinian is killed during an Israeli military raid in northern West Bank” (screenshot at left) concealed the reality that Othman Abu Kharaj was a fighter for Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades.

As the accompanying AP story by Debra DeBre correctly noted only in the third paragraph, “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group claimed Abu Kharj as a fighter.” Although an internationally designated terror group cast Abu Kharaj as its “fighter,” the headline was written in a way that suggested he was a civilian. Following communication from CAMERA regarding the misleading headline, AP updated the headline to more accurately report: “Palestinian teen claimed by militant group as a fighter is killed in Israeli army raid in West Bank.”

Palestinian Islamic Jihad identified Kharj as a “Jihad warrior martyr” and “one of the fighters of the deterence unit in the Al Quds battalion” (Graphic from PIJ’s website)

AP was not alone in concealing the teen’s membership in a terror organization. In “As West Bank Shootings Rise, Israel’s Government Vows to Retaliate,” The New York Times also omits this highly relevant biographical information. The article reports:

Within that same time frame, an apparently unarmed Palestinian man was seen on video being shot from behind and a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the head during a military raid. . . .

The most recent Palestinian victim, Uthman Abu Kharaj, 17, was shot in the head early Tuesday, according to the Palestinian health ministry, during an Israeli military incursion in the village of Zababdeh, near Jenin in the northern West Bank.

Describing its operations overnight Tuesday, the Israeli military said in a statement that its forces had apprehended 15 “wanted suspects” in overnight raids across the northern West Bank. In Zababdeh, it said, people hurled explosive devices at its forces, who responded with live fire and hit a person, whom the statement did not identify.

Blogger Elder of Ziyon notes that the Hamas-affiliated Felesteen reported that the teen was particularly skilled at building IEDs.

Notably, AP’s failure to identify specific Palestinian fatalities as combatants all to often reflects the failed coverage of the totality of fatalities. For example, yesterday’s article elliptically reports: “The ongoing violence in the West Bank has surged to levels unseen in nearly two decades, with more than 170 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023, according to a tally by The Associated Press.” Not mentioned is the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians killed this year were combatants.

To its credit, The New York Times did correctly report:

So far this year, about 180 Palestinians have been killed, mostly in clashes with the Israeli military or while carrying out attacks against Israelis. Uninvolved bystanders have also been killed.

See also “AP Updates: Jenin Fatality Was a Confirmed Al Aqsa Fighter.” “NY Times Denies Glaring Affiliation With Terrorist Group” and “Nothing Minor About Misreporting on Palestinian Teen Perps.”


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