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Friday, October 28, 2011

The amazing time-traveling stone thrower

Ma'an reports:
Israeli authorities released on Tuesday Omar Jaradat, 11, from Saeer village north of Hebron after five months in the Israeli prison Ofer. He also paid a 5,000-shekel fine.

Israeli forces tried to forbid people who were waiting for the child near the checkpoint from welcoming him and tried to remove Palestinian flags that were on cars near the checkpoint.

The released prisoner spoke of harsh conditions inside the jails. He said that as winter approaches, there are few clothes for the prisoners and the authorities prevent families from providing them.
Naturally, the idea of an eleven year old kid being in jail for five months was too delicious for the anti-Israel crowd to resist. You can find tweets and articles about the poor kid.

So where were the headlines when he was put in jail to begin with?

From PCHR, last June:
At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Sa’ir village, northeast of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of ‘Omar Mahmoud Jaradat, 17, and arrested him.

The Arabic version of the report also says he was 17, and was arrested for throwing stones.

A Ma'an Arabic article from last July quotes the Prisoners Society as saying that Jaradat was 17 at the time of his arrest as well.

I found a forum from his hometown congratulating him on his release, but it just calls him "young."

And this YouTube video slideshow of lots of photos of someone with his name was uploaded a few weeks after his arrest, so it may very well be a tribute to him as a prisoner.

This Omar Jaradat is not 11.


So how did a 17 year old turn into an 11 year old, in both the Arabic and English versions of Ma'an? Moreover, both versions imply that a reporter was there during the release - is it possible a reporter doesn't know the difference between an 11 year old and a 17 year old?

(Ma'an's editor tells me he will check this out and correct the article if he finds that the innocent 11 year old is in fact 17 or 18 now. As of seven hours later, there is no correction.)

UPDATE: Here's a different YouTube video made in September showing pictures of "the captive Omar Jaradat and his friends" with photos of a teenager along with Saddam Hussein, Arafat, guns and other interesting items.