UPI Lies About U.N. Data, Promotes Blood Libel That Jewish Settlers Killed Nearly 200

April 1, 2024 Update:

Yesterday, following the publication of this post, UPI revised its wording to reflect the fact that the United Nations has found that seven Palestinians were killed in incidents involving settlers, and not nearly 200 as Adam Schatz had previously reported. But the amended wording is itself a gross fabrication, falsely claiming that the U.N. found that at least seven were "murdered" by Israeli settlers, as if assailants killed while carrying out attacks are "murdered." The new fallacious language is: "Before the war broke out in October, 199 Palestinians were killed by Israelis in the West Bank throughout 2023 -- including at least seven murdered by illegal Israeli settlers, data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs shows." The United Nations made no assertion about murders, and qualified, without providing any breakdown, that the incidents include "Palestinians killed or injured during attacks or alleged attacks they perpetrated against Israeli settlers." Instead of coming clean, the UPI buries itself into a deeper pit of embarrassing unprofessionalism and partisanship. E.W. Scripps, the editor who founded the United Press Association in 1907, and who practiced journalism according to the motto "Give light and the people will find their own way," would surely not recognize UPI were he to see the depths to which it has sunk today.

April 10 UPDATE:

McClatchy Deletes Story From All Its Sites

McClatchy has commendably deleted the article from all of its new sites which had published the story.

United Press International boasts "a history of reliable reporting dating back to 1907," and praises itself as "a credible source for the most important stories of the day." But last week's coverage demonizing Israeli settlers with falsely reported United Nations figures indicates that the operative word in this self-congratulatory celebration of reliability and credibility is "history."

Instead of supplying reliable and credible reporting bringing the most important stories of the day, UPI last week debased its once venerable operation with a fabrication propping up a modern day blood libel.

Thus, in his March 24 article, UPI's Adam Schrader falsely stated that according to United Nations data, Israeli settlers are responsible for most of the 199 Palestinians killed in the West Bank from Jan. 1, 2023 until Hamas started a brutal war against Israel on Oct. 7, 2023 ("German Foreign Ministry Condemns Illegal Israeli settlements"). He fabricated: "Before the war broke out in October, 199 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank throughout 2023 – largely at the hands of illegal Israeli settlers, data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs shows." [Emphasis added.]

According to OCHA's own data, Israeli settlers killed seven Palestinians, including those who were pepretrators carrying out attacks against Israelis when they were killed.

In fact, the U.N.'s own data says no such thing. Schrader's assertion about OCHA's casualty data, available here, is absolutely false. After selecting the dates of Jan. 1, 2023 through Oct. 6, 2023 (before the start of the war on Oct. 7), along with the West Bank region, and filtering perpetrator as "Israeli civilian settler," OCHA's data reveals that seven fatalities out of a total of 199 – or 3.5 percent of West Bank Palestinian fatalities – were killed by Israeli civilian settlers. Does UPI consider 3.5 percent "largely"?

Moreover, virtually all of the West Bank Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians were killed as they attempted to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians. Thus, such deaths underscore Palestinian – and not Israeli settler –  violence. Significantly, OCHA's definitions underneath the data chart acknowledge: 

Incidents involving Israeli settlers: includes attacks and alleged attacks by Israeli settlers, as well as incidents involving access prevention, and clashes following the entry of Israeli settlers into Palestinian communities. It also includes Palestinians killed or injured during attacks or alleged attacks they perpetrated against Israeli settlers. [Bold added.]

Lacking transparency, OCHA does not publicly share the details of each incident, making it impossible to verify the circumstances of each of the reported deaths. Nevertheless, B'Tselem, an Israeli NGO adamantly opposed to settlements, does provide identifying details. Of the eight West Bank Palestinians B'Tselem names as killed by Israeli civilians in 2023 prior to the war, six were carrying out attacks – some of them fatal – against Israelis when they were killed.

Elisha Anteman, 17, murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Eli in June 2023. An Israeli civilian on the scene subsequently killed the Palestinian assailant, who had managed to murder four (Photo courtesy of family)

According to B'Tselem, Muhmannad Falah 'Abdallah Shihadah, was "[f]atally shot by an Israeli civilian after he and another Hamas military wing operative shot and wounded the settlement security guard, and then fired at Israeli civilians, killing four, including two minors, and wounding three others." Reuters details Shihadah's murderous June 20 attack outside a hummus restaurant ("Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank").

Then there was 'Alaa Khalil 'Al Qeisiyah, "Fatally shot by an Israeli settler after entering the settlement's limits and, according to the military, approaching settlers holding a knife" ("Palestinian Armed With Knife Shot Dead at Israeli Settlement in West Bank, IDF Says.").

B'Tselem also lists that 'Abd al-Karim Badi'a 'Abd al-Karim Sheikh was "[f]atally shot by an Israeli settler after, according to the military, he entered the settlement armed with knives and explosive devices." Times of Israel reported that Sheikh hurled two IEDs, one of which exploded, before he was shot dead ("Palestinian shot dead after allegedly entering West Bank farm with knives, IEDs").

Similarly, B'Tselem find that Karam 'Al Ahmad Salman was "Fatally shot by settlement security guards when, according to the guards, he tried to enter the settlement." Times of Israel reported he was armed with a gun ("Armed Palestinian shot dead by guard near West Bank settlement, IDF says").

B'Tselem also notes that Tareq 'Odeh Yusef M'aali tried to stab an Israeli, and Sanad Muhammad 'Othman Samamrah managed to do so, moderately wounding his victim. 

In a separate error, Schrader mistakenly cited "borders for Israeli and Palestine established in 1967." Presumably, he was referring to the armistice lines (not borders) which were in place from 1949 to 1967, separating Israel from the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip.

There have never been what Schrader calls "borders for Israel and Palestine." Israel gained control of the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt in 1967 as a result of the Six Day War which was imposed upon it. Those territories remained under Israeli control from 1967 until the Jewish state withdrew from areas of the West Bank as part of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, giving Palestinians authority over parts of the West Bank for the very first time in history. Later, in 2005, Israel withdrew entirely and unilaterally from the Gaza Strip, and Palestinians gained control of the coastal territory for the very first time then as well.

UPI's woeful blood libel, completely detached both from reality and its own source, appears in multiple McClatchy newspapers including Miami Herald, The Telegraph (Macon), The Bellingham Herald, Tacoma News Tribune, The Sun News, The Bradenton Herald, The Modesto Bee, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Idaho Statesmen, San Luis Opisbo Tribune, The Island Packet, The Herald-Sun (Durham) and The Wichita Eagle.

Several days ago, CAMERA contacted senior leadership at both UPI and McClatchy about Schrader's fabrication of U.N. data and the false charges of killings carried out by settlers. Neither media outlet has taken any steps to correct the record.

"UP has, likewise, stood at the cutting edge of newsgathering practices," recounts about the news organization's century-old history. "UP established new rules of style and method."

The news agency's 2007 centenniel anniversary post adds: "Today, side by side with many of the oldest and emerging media giants, UPI faces a new technological frontier with a passion to preserve the best of journalistic practices while engaging a citizenry of lay reporters, photographers, and videographers, and a plethora of sources to publish and receive information."

More than a dozen years laters, UPI has failed to preserve ethical journalistic practices, introducing a novel newsgathering method: lying about its sources to support a predetermined narrative vilifying Jews and Israel. 

See also "The UN's Very Secret Data on Palestinians Killed in 'Settler-Related Incidents' and Media Disinformation"

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