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July 18, 2012

Planes, Tanks and Lies

Ahmed Masoud blames an Israeli airstrike for being switched at birth, but the Gaza skies were quiet at the time

Elder of Ziyon takes down Ahmed Masoud's tale of being switched at birth in a Gaza hospital in 1981, due to the chaos that ensued from an Israeli bombing. Masoud, a British writer and playwright, originally published his dramatic story in the Guardian, and more recently shared on CBC radio and Radio Netherlands.

Elder observes:

Wow...what a story! It is custom made for reader (and listener) sympathy. You can almost feel the heat from the explosions and smell the gunpowder, as you picture Masoud's father desperately trying to save his baby's life from the heartless Israeli air raid at the maternity ward, and the parents' desperate race through the streets of Gaza - with the still recovering mother forced to flee on foot, no doubt barefooted, dodging the falling bombs and debris while tenderly protecting her newborn baby.

Only one problem: Israel didn't bomb any hospitals in Gaza when Masoud was born. It didn't have air raids until the second intifada.

This story happened six years before the first intifada, when tens of thousands of Gazans were peacefully commuting to and working in Israel. Hamas didn't exist. Thousands of Israelis lived in Gaza. More from Israel would go there weekly to buy goods cheaper than they were within the Green Line. Arabs with the proper means would travel to Israel to be treated in hospitals there.

Masoud's birthday is August 27, and I cannot find any possible actions by Israel in Gaza in 1981 or 1982 around that date. Israel was fighting in Lebanon, not Gaza, and the very few protests there were met with riot control methods, not airplanes.

This takes us back to another story of an Arab birth, flight and the brutal Israeli war machine. The June 11, 1998 front-page Boston Globe story interviewed Hakma Abu Gharoud, a refugee living in Gaza, who fled her peaceful Negev home in 1948:

then nine months pregnant, [Gharoud] fled her Arab village in panic as Israeli tanks closed in. On the road outside her village, she went into labor. As her screams were drowned out by the thunder of shelling, she delivered a baby boy in an open field. She named him Mohajir, which in Arabic means “refugee.�? ... Today, Mohajir and his mother still live in the squalor of the United Nations refugee camp where the family ended up after the 1948 war that gave birth to the nation of Israel but displaced some 700,000 Arabs.

But as CAMERA's Alex Safian noted at the time:

On the date of the alleged attack against the Gharoud’s village of Ashweih, Israel had only two tanks, neither of which was operational. (Arab-Israeli Wars, A. J. Barker, p. 19) According to Chaim Herzog’s The Arab-Israeli Wars, Israel’s armored forces on that date consisted of “some scout cars and a number of crudely home-made armoured vehicles.�? (p. 48) None of these vehicles were anywhere near the Gharoud’s village. Whatever caused the family to leave, it could not have been Israeli tanks or armored vehicles. Of course, [reporter Charles] Sennott never mentions that invading Arab armies possessed such weapons in abundance, which they used to overrun many Jewish communities including, for example, Yad Mordechai and Kfar Etzion. . . .

In the area of Gharoud’s village on the date in question, invading Egyptian forces were the ones on the offensive. The Israeli forces opposing them were heavily outnumbered and outgunned, totaling no more than 800 soldiers, “equipped with light arms, some light mortars, two 20-mm guns . . . and two davidkas (a type of home-made mortar) with ten bombs.�? (Edge of the Sword, Netanel Lorch, p. 201) The hard pressed Israelis struggled, sometimes in vain, to defend their Negev communities, and were in no position to go on the offensive. Sennott’s article was therefore actually an inversion of history.

So Masoud was not the first to come up with a false tale about being chased at birth by Israeli weaponry that was not in use at the time. As long as journalists continue to unquestioningly accept such fictions, he won't be the last.

Correction: This post originally misreported the year of Masoud's birth in one reference as 1987. We regret the error.

Posted by TS at July 18, 2012 08:10 AM


Thanks for the link. Small correction: he was born (and "switched") presumably in 1981, not 1987.

Posted by: Elder of Ziyon at July 18, 2012 09:14 AM

Bit of confusion at the top of this article.

You state: "...birth in a Gaza hospital in 1987...".

The actual CBC/Radio Netherlands transcript quoted by "Elder" reads: "...when I was six, in 1987, the first intifada started."

"Elder's" "...actions by Israel in Gaza in 1981 or 1982..." isn't well stated, either.

It is important to your readers to make a correction here.

Posted by: Anonymous at July 18, 2012 10:46 AM

OMG, thank You Elder for writing this brilliant article which once again shows how the Guaridian continues to spout their Pallywood lies.
After the Guardian's lies about Israel 10 years ago in Jenin, i'm amazed Israel allows the Guardian to report in Israel. has brilliant documented the Guardians hatred towards Israel.

Posted by: Dan Wilson at July 18, 2012 10:47 AM

This account would be hilarious in another context. This account is part of the larger mythology that seems to be encouraged by the fact veteran reporters write these tales down word for word satsified exact quotes make the story valid instead of fact checking. Something that continues to fall more and more on the reader and groups like CAMERA. In the American press corps this approach has been exhausted to the extreme since Vietnam characterizing the forces of Ho as liberators and to this day willfully ignore the on going human tragedy of the communist regime. But then reality never does come easy to some people.

Posted by: jeb stuart at July 19, 2012 11:50 AM

I am old enough to remember the six day war when Egypt and Syria reported and the media repeated that they had shot down most of the Israeli airforce.

Posted by: Ksp48 at July 19, 2012 06:22 PM

Masoud should start a newspaper with the Robert Mackey guy at the New York Times. They both rely on complete lies and/or rumors instead of actual journalism to tell a story. Google the Lede article about Shaima Alawadi. Mackey falsely claimed it was "Islamophobia" when in fact the woman was killed by a Muslim family member. He never even bothered to update the story either!

Posted by: I love Zionists! at July 25, 2012 11:51 AM

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