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September 24, 2007

NYT/IHT Remake of a Hamas Militant

Mohammed Salim Nablus Sept 19 07.jpe
The body of Mohammed Adib Salim, wrapped in a Hamas flag. According to the New York Times, he was a "civilian"/Photo by Rami Swidan of MaanImages

Over the weekend, the New York Times and International Herald Tribune incorrectly reported that a Palestinian casualty was a civilian, completely ignoring Israeli claims and independent evidence to the contrary. Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Erlanger reported:

During the [Nablus] operation, one Israeli soldier and two Palestinians -- one gunman and one civilian -- were killed.

CAMERA contacted the papers, pointing out that the Israeli army maintains that both Palestinians killed were militants, and that other news agencies such as AP and UPI reported the discrepancy in claims.

Furthermore, Ha'aretz reported that "Palestinian sources said Salim was, however, 'a Hamas member.'" Even more compelling evidence of Salim's status as a militant comes by way of the photographs of his funeral, such as the one above, in which he is wrapped in the Hamas logo.

Thus, while it is disputed whether or not Salim was involved in fighting at the time of his death, even Palestinians acknowledge that he was a Hamas member, and therefore not a "civilian."

Instead of issuing a correction, the NYT and IHT printed a story today by Isabel Kershner which ignores yesterday's misrepresentation, but includes the Israeli army's version of events:

The Israeli Army said upon investigation that both the Palestinians who died were gunmen. No civilians were killed.

But why should anyone believe the Israeli army over the "Paper of Record"? The only way to fix the situation is to print a clarification explaining that while Palestinians say one of the Palestinian casualties from Nablus was not involved in fighting when he was killed, the Israeli army disputes this. Furthermore, the slain man was a Hamas member, and therefore not a civilian.

Anything less is a copout.

Posted by TS at September 24, 2007 04:19 AM


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