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September 12, 2016

USA Today Image Blurs Reality on Israeli Counterterror Raids

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A photograph in USA Today’s Aug. 17, 2016 “World In Brief” section showed two Palestinian children peering through a broken glass window but was accompanied by misleading text.

The image, credited to AFP photographer Hazem Bader, appeared under the headline “Through the eyes of children.” A description underneath the photo read:

“Palestinian children peer through a window at Israeli soldiers conducted searches Tuesday in the al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron. Twenty-five Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers, Red Crescent medics said.”

Yet, the caption does not tell readers what Israeli soldiers were searching for. As The Times of Israel reported, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were conducting an overnight operation to “uncover weaponry” in the al-Fawwar refugee camp (“Palestinian teen said killed in clashes with IDF troops in West Bank,” Aug. 16, 2016).

While conducting their mission, IDF soldiers were assaulted by “dozens of Palestinians [who] hurled IEDs (improvised explosive devices), blocks and rocks” at them. In response, the IDF used riot dispersal measures and “fired .22 caliber bullets toward the main instigators,” according to an Israeli military spokesperson.

Confirming their suspicions, “two improvised handguns” were found at the camp along with “other weapons and ammunition.” Perhaps this is unsurprising. According to The Times of Israel:

“The army closed off the Fawar camp for 26 days last month after a gunman belonging to a Hamas terror cell fired on a car carrying an Israeli family on a nearby West Bank road, causing the vehicle to crash.”

As a result of that attack, in which Rabbi Miki Mark was murdered and his wife and two children injured, the IDF has been “clamping down on Palestinian workshops manufacturing arms in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria],” The Times of Israel noted.

However, none of this crucial context was provided to USA Today readers.

That it was omitted is perhaps not surprising when one considers the photographer.

As CAMERA has noted, photos taken by Bader have been propagandistic in nature. For example, one 2012 image, carried by the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and MSNBC, among others, purported to show “an injured Palestinian construction worker” as he screamed “in pain after an Israeli army driver drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs.”

Yet, as CAMERA’s Israel Director, Tamar Sternthal, pointed out in a Feb. 7, 2012 Canadian Jewish News Op-Ed:

“…After checking Palestinian, international and Israeli sources, it appears that the ‘injured worker,’ Mahmoud Abu Qbeita, was, in fact, not actually injured. Moreover, there is no evidence that he was even run over. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the United Nations, both of which provide comprehensive reports about West Bank casualties, made no mention of the alleged injury (“AFP Shows Lack of Transparency”).”

Bader’s own personal website, as a CAMERA snapshot pointed out, featured a picture of the photographer smiling alongside Yasser Arafat, the now-deceased head of the Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (“Canadian Jews News: AFP Flunks on Transparency,” Feb. 9, 2012).

Posted by SD at September 12, 2016 03:54 PM

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