IHT, LA Times Accept Discredited Palestinian Claim as Fact

Despite the fact that the AFP agrees with the Israeli army that an Israeli airstrike did not kill 15-year-old Nayef Qarmut in northern Gaza yesterday, the International Herald Tribune and the Los Angeles Times continue to blame his death on Israel without any qualification.

The AFP reported yesterday:

The Israeli army on Monday denied it had carried out an air strike on northern Gaza which killed a teenager, with an AFP correspondent confirming there was no sign of an air raid.

Fifteen-year-old Nayef Qarmut was killed and six other teenagers injured as they were on their way to school near the northern town of Beit Lahiya, with a spokesman for the Palestinian medical services blaming an Israeli drone strike. . .

But the Israeli military, after looking into the claim, denied it had conducted any air strikes in northern Gaza then, saying the last time it had struck the area was in the early hours of Monday.

“From an initial check, there were no air strikes in the northern Gaza Strip since the early hours of the morning,” a military spokesman told AFP.

According to an AFP correspondent at the scene, there were no signs of any impact on the ground which could have been caused by a missile, with the most likely cause of his death being some kind of explosive device he was carrying.

The International Herald Tribune, published by the New York Times, nevertheless reports that Qarmut was killed in an Israeli airstrike. The Tribune‘s problematic coverage is particularly inexplicable given the Times‘ longer version of the very same Isabel Kershner which details the AFP’s confirmation of Israel’s denial.

Thus, the Tribune‘s Kershner article reports today: “Israeli airstrikes killed five Palestinians on Monday, bringing the overall toll to 23, with 3 out of the 5 killed on Monday civilians.”

Yet, the longer Times version of the very same piece details:

More than 150 rockets have fallen in Israeli territory since Friday, and Gaza officials said at least six Palestinians died on Monday, bringing the overall toll to 24. Though most of those killed have been militants, at least two of those who died in airstrikes on Monday were civilians.

A Gaza medical official and Gaza human rights groups said that one of the victims, Nayif Shaaban Qarmout, 14, was killed in an airstrike and that five other youths were wounded as they walked to school, but the Israeli military denied having carried out any attacks at that hour. An Agence France-Presse reporter at the scene confirmed that there was no sign of an airstrike.

Later, a missile killed Muhammad al-Hassumi, 65, and his daughter Fayza, 30, as they put out a fire on their land.

Israel disputes the Palestinian claim that Nayif Qarmout was killed by an Israeli airstrike, and an AFP reporter on the scene confirms Israel’s claim, so why does the Tribune count him without question or qualification among those civilians killed by Israel?